Cold War Foreign Policy and Civil Rights Legislation Post-Brown

Based on what I gathered in my TiC, the trajectory of my RBA hypothesis is that international criticism was a large driver of civil rights policy during the 1950’s and preceding Brown v. Board of Ed. In my RBA however, I will be focusing on the post-Brown context of this dynamic and will study whether the international applaud of Brown disincentivized the government from pursuing further anti-discrimination legislation. Specifically, I will look to international reception of Brown, how the U.S. government internal documents reveal the government’s response to the international reception (is there clear evidence that the federal government felt like ‘our image has been salvaged, our work is done’), and the international climate surrounding LBJ’s Civil Rights Act and VRA. If time permits, I will explore civil rights legislation under Nixon, particularly because the height of the tensions between Cold War foreign policy and domestic racism is thought to have ended with LBJ’s presidency. In summary, I will evaluate the post-Brown relationship between civil rights progress and international attention to American domestic dynamics.




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