American Forum - “Stronger than all the armies”
Thomas F. Jackson,
Robert S. Smith,
Risa L. Goluboff,
June 8, 2014
1:00PM - 2:00PM (EDT)
Original television broadcast: June 8, 2014
As the 50th anniversary approaches of enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an American Forum special mini-documentary featuring leading scholars from around the U.S. examines how the landmark law ending racial segregation also radically opened new opportunities for women, gays and lesbians, Native Americans, and other ethnicities. Featuring in-depth interviews with four leading scholars of the civil rights era and American law, this edition first recounts how the Civil Rights Act was passed in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy despite aggressive opposition from powerful southern white supremacists in Congress and the longest filibuster in U.S. history. The program also explores how a law originally intended to end legally-mandated racial segregation in the south also became the catalyst--and legal basis--for guaranteeing civil rights and ending discrimination for myriad other groups of Americans, infusing energy into the women's movement, inspiring Hispanics, farm workers, gays and lesbians, and decades later the current quest for legalization of gay marriage.
Featuring civil rights legend Bob Moses; Thomas F. Jackson, University of North Carolina-Greensboro; Robert S. Smith, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Phil Tiemeyer, Philadelphia University; Risa L. Goluboff, University of Virginia School of Law; and host Douglas A. Blackmon, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning history Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. The episode also explores Supreme Court decisions suggesting trouble ahead for the U.S. law viewed as the most historic of the 20th century. Before the final vote on the law in 1964, the architect of its passage in the Senate, Illinois Sen. Everett M. Dirksen invoked words of the writer Victor Hugo to describe the bill's importance: "Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come."
This special American Forum also kicks off a series of rebroadcasts during summer 2014 marking the 50th anniversary of FREEDOM SUMMER and the peak of the Civil Rights Movement era.
Click on any of these titles to see those programs: