My research explores the tie between Cold War geopolitics and segregation policy in the United States. I argue that during the Cold War, foreign criticism of racial strife in the United States compromised and sullied international perceptions of American democracy and its leadership in the third world. The overall effect of coverage of the race issue was to tarnish America’s stature as a lover of freedom, as well as to undermine American foreign policy endeavors and its relations with other countries.
Many of the scholars whose writing I have read on this subject matter point to the lack of literature addressing the connection between foreign policy concerns and desegregation during the Cold War. Particularly, many academics discuss the Brown v. Board of Ed. Supreme Court case as if it was decided within a bubble of Civil Rights activism. My argument is unique in its analysis of domestic Civil Rights progress through the lens of the era’s geopolitics. Furthermore, in citing third world foreign nations’ and communist governments’ criticisms of the race issue, along with American government personnels’ responses to this criticism, my essay will cogently tie together external actions and internal reactions. With this tie, my argument establishes the profound but surprising connection between Cold War foreign policy concerns about American international stature and federal civil rights legislation. .