SEMENTSOV N.Yu. The role of the United States Supreme court in securing African Americans’ Civil rights in 1945–1952

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2013.2.11      

Sementsov Nikolay Yur’evich

Post graduate student, Teaching Assistant, Department of International Relations and Area Studies,

Volgograd State University

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Prospect Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation


Abstract. The article dwells on the major United States Supreme court decisions that influenced African Americans’ civil rights progress in 1945-1952. These decisions referred racial segregation in transportation, education, housing and the election system. The Supreme Court reconsidered the federal power in civil rights protection against violations by states, local authorities and private persons. The issue is studied with a brief regard of previous court practice. The study concludes that a significant change in Supreme Court approach to the issue of race took place in 1945–1952. The cases examined allow determining the reasons of the change. They were the new international conditions and the policy of the national executive power. The first one is connected with the international condemnation of Nazi ideology as well as with the need to concur Soviet influence on the new independent sates inhabited by representatives of non-white races. The domestic reason is connected with the personality of president Harry S.Truman. He claimed officially for civil rights reform and turned the attention of all state powers, including the judicial one, to the issue. He gathered a special committee to make recommendations on the civil rights reform. It was also Truman who had formed the personal membership of Supreme court and pointed liberal judge Fred Winson as the court president. Some states had also prepared the basis for the court’s decisions by taking some non-discriminatory measures. The article also includes the comparative evaluation of the Supreme Court and other United States institutions performance in the issue of civil rights. The performance of Congress is determined as incommensurably lower than that of Supreme court. The Supreme Court appearance is regarded as a prerequisite for the followed civil rights movement. But strong opposition of southern states representatives indicated future difficulties of such actions.

Key words: USA, Supreme court, civil rights, African Americans, Truman, racial discrimination issues, racial segregation.

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The role of the United States Supreme court in securing African Americans’ Civil rights in 1945–1952 by SEMENTSOV N.Yu. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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