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Civil Rights Act of 1957

 

In 1957, President Eisenhower sent Congress a proposal for civil rights legislation. The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The new act established the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and empowered federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote. It also established a federal Civil Rights Commission with authority to investigate discriminatory conditions and recommend corrective measures. The final act was weakened by Congress due to lack of support among the Democrats.

Cabinet Paper – The Civil Rights Program - Letter and Statement by the Attorney General, April 10, 1956 [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090725]

Press Release, Statement of the Attorney General on the Proposed Civil Rights Legislation Before The Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee, February 14, 1957 [22 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167080]

Fact Paper - The Administration and Civil Rights Legislation, March 27, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167051]

Memorandum, E. Frederic Morrow to Sherman Adams, July 12, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167063]

Letter, Val Washington (RNC) to DDE, July 18, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023121]

Press Release, Republican National Committee, August 7, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023122]

Letter, William P. Rogers to Joseph P. Martin, August 9, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090722]

Press Release by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, August 30, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167069]

Civil Rights Act of 1957 [Record Officer Reports to President on Pending Legislation, Box 111, Civil Rights HR 6127; NAID #12171136]

Report, Executive Branch Cooperation with the Commission on Civil Rights, February 27, 1959 (outlines the Commission’s authority, duties, responsibilities and actions) [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 10, Civil Rights Commission; NAID #12171139]

Pamphlet, The Commission on Civil Rights [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167074]

Images in the audiovisual collection

For additional information please see:

Civil Rights Act of 1957 Subject Guide