The Road Ahead for Civil Rights:
The President's Report: One Year Later
One year ago a presidential commission headed by General Electric’s Charles E. Wilson produced a document that has no exact parallel in American history. It was entitled: To Secure These Rights. The report embodied a critical running commentary on the state of human freedom in this country and outlined a daring program for the here-and-now. Its press notices dramatized the explosive content of the survey. Southern editorial writers almost uniformly voiced anguish over the issuance of such a proclamation under White House auspices, leveling their heaviest fire against its challenge to segregation.
Elsewhere the reaction was mixed, ranging from enthusiastic approval in the Negro press to faint damns in some conservative journals. There were those who once again piously warned that “you can’t legislate brotherhood.” There were others who said the Committee had sounded a discordant note at a time when “slow but steady progress is being made.” There were perfectionists who solemnly concluded that the authors of the report had disastrously compromised their principles in a few esoteric areas. And finally, inevitably, there were those who decided that the document was a sinister Communist enterprise foisted upon the innocent. This claim was apparently based on the proposition that any description of American frailty must have been written in Moscow—or would at least give aid and comfort to the Soviet enemy.
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