Confronting the Roadblock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Despite the role that Congress would play in the eventual passage of legislation like the Civil Rights Act 1964 and the Voting Rights Act 1965, its role during the war has traditionally been overshadowed by a focus on the steps towards racial equality taken by the Supreme Court and the White House. The war years did not pave the way for those later developments but instead represented a period of conservative retrenchment in Congress. Southern Democrats tightened their grip on the reins of power during the war. Inside key committees, they crushed many nascent efforts at reform; in the House and Senate, they worked with conservative Republican allies to stop the rest. In the end, southern Democrats succeeded in stalling meaningful civil rights legislation. As a result, congressional conservatives emerged from the war more confident in their abilities to prevent change and more determined to use them to defend white supremacy in the postwar era. Yet there was one unexpected legacy of conservative defiance. Incoming young liberal Democrats learned the importance of controlling congressional machinery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFog of War
Subtitle of host publicationThe Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199932641
ISBN (Print)9780195382419
StatePublished - May 24 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Civil rights act
  • Congress
  • Reform
  • Southern democrats
  • Voting rights act
  • White house
  • White supremacy


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