Re: civil rights/60s

Nina Daneshvar (
Wed, 8 May 1996 08:07:07 -0400

Two things:

1) There have been a number of arguments (with which I must admit I
agree) that the Civil Rights Movement was over long before the brutal
slaying of Dr. King. The initial purpose of the SCLC under King was to
end the mandated distribution of seats on public transportation
(busses). Their purpose was not to achieve equality, at least not at the
start. As the movement progressed, their sights changed and progressed
with recent developments and advances. But by the time King turned the
focus of the movement to include economic inequality, it seems as if the
movement was trying to catch up with society rather than vice versa. No
doubt, this had a great deal to do with Malcolm X and the developing base
of the Black Power Movement, which first came to popular existence in
1966. Nonetheless, the civil rights movement was over for all intensive
purposes, though it "continued" until King's assassination.

2) The Kennedys were not particularly *FOR* black civil rights. I know
this is quite contrary to public opinion, but many political scientists
(particularly those with emphases in Electoral Politics) demonstrate
persuasively that they were pushed to embrace civil rights to get the
"black vote," so to speak. Without it, neither could have won the
offices they sought. Such a position effectively gave them a)the black
vote, and b)the student and young adult vote. Without this strong block
strength, they would have lost. (Think Richard Nixon in his 1968
campaign and his "Southern Strategy.")

Just a thought.

Nina Daneshvar
University of California, Irvine
Department of Political Science