Episode from the podcastFrom Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

Episode 8 - 1953: Chipping Away at Jim Crow

Released Tuesday, 31st March 2020
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In '53, the new US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, managed to reach his goal of resolving the Korean War, thanks in part to a leadership change in the Soviet Union. However, with both superpowers successfully testing massively destructive hydrogen bombs, the Cold War still presented serious dangers. Meanwhile, Ike's own Republican Party was soon creating headaches for him in Congress. Sen. Joseph McCarthy insisted on continuing his accusations against federal employees in the Eisenhower Administration, & Sen. John Bricker created an amendment that would reduce the president's power to make diplomatic agreements with foreign nations. The president defied this pressure from the Right, tacking to the Center by picking moderate Governor Earl Warren of California as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But Eisenhower was surprised when Warren took the court in a more liberal direction than he had expected. Warren engineered a unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court to declare racial segregation unconstitutional. The story of Brown v. Board of Education, one of the most famous court cases in US history, also features a crusading civil rights lawyer named Thurgood Marshall, a repentant ex-Klansman named Hugo Black, & a reluctant Justice Robert Jackson, who helped broker the compromise that decided the case. However, there was a nasty backlash by supporters of the Jim Crow system in the aftermath of the Brown decision. The mid-20th Century battle for integration & civil rights in the USA was far from over - it was actually just beginning.

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