- ‘Jimmy Wilson’s case is one example of the international impact of American race discrimination during the Cold War. Domestic civil rights crises would become international crises. As presidents and secretaries of state from 1946 to the mid-1960s worried about the impact of race discrimination on U.S. prestige abroad, civil rights reform came to be seen as crucial to U.S. foreign relations.’ (6)
- ‘Pearl Buck reported that “
…is declaring in the Japan , in Philippines , in China , India Malaya, and even that there is no basis for hope that colored peoples can expect any justice” from the Russia government. To prove their point, the Japanese pointed to racism in the U.S. . According to Buck, “Every lynching, every race riot gives joy to United States . The discriminations of the American army and navy and the air forces against colored soldiers and sailors, the exclusion of colored labor in our defense industries and trade unions, all our social discriminations, are of the greatest aid today to our enemy in Asia, Japan.’ (8-9) Japan
- ‘The apparent contradictions between American political ideology and American practice led to particular foreign relations problems with countries in
Asia, Africa, and Lain America. The Soviet Union capitalized on this weakness, using the race issue prominently in anti-American propaganda. government officials realized that their ability to promote democracy among peoples of color around the world was seriously hampered by continuing racial injustice at home. In this context, efforts to promote civil rights within the U.S. were consistent with and important to the more central United States mission of fighting world communism.’ (12) U.S.
- ‘In addressing civil rights reform from 1946 through the mid-1960s, the federal government engaged in a sustained effort to tell a particular story about race and American democracy; a story of U.S. progress, a story of the triumph of good over evil, a story of U.S. moral superiority. The less of this story was always that American democracy was a form of government that made the achievement of social justice possible, and that democratic change, however slow and gradual, was superior to dictatorial imposition. The story of race in
, used to compare democracy and communism, became an important Cold war narrative.’ (13) America
- ‘To explore this story, this study will take up civil rights history from a different standpoint than histories of civil rights activists and organizations and histories of domestic civil rights politics. The events the drive this narrative are the events that captivated the world. This focus on particular events and often on prominent leaders should not be seen as an effort to privilege a top-down focus as “the” story of civil rights history. The international perspective is not a substitute for the rich body of civil rights scholarship but another dimension that sheds additional light on those important and well-told stories. Looking abroad and then at home at the impact of civil rights scholarship but another dimension that sheds additional light on those important and well-told stories. Looking abroad and then at home at the impact of civil rights on
foreign affairs, we might more fully see the great impact of civil rights activists. It was only through the efforts of the movement that the nation and the world were moved to embrace the civil rights reform that emerged from this period of American history. The full story of civil rights reform in U.S. history cuts across racial groups. The U.S. policymakers in this study, however, saw American race relations through the lens of a black/white paradigm. To them, race in U.S. was quintessentially about “the Negro problem.” Foreign observers as well remarked that the status of “the Negro” was the paradigm for exploring race in America . Contemporary writers argue that the black/white paradigm renders other racial groups invisible. This limitation of vision affected the actors in this story, both America policymakers and the international audience to which they were reacting. As a result, this history works within that narrow conception of American race relations – not because race in America is a black/white issue, but because this study seeks to capture the way race politics were understood at a time when “the Negro problem” was at the center of the discourse on race in America.’ (14) U.S.
- ‘The Cold War created a constraining environment for domestic politics. It also gave race to new opportunities for those who could exploit Cold War anxieties, while yet remaining within the bounds of acceptable “Americanism.” ’ (15)
- ‘Brown powerfully reinforced the story of race and democracy that had already been told in
propaganda: American democracy enabled social change and was based on principles of justice and equality.’ (16) U.S.
- ‘Harry Truman would come to be seen as a president who put civil rights firmly on the nation’s agenda.’ (24)
- ‘Concern about the effect of U.S. race discrimination on Cold war foreign relations led the Truman administration to adopt a pro-civil rights posture as part of its international agenda to promote democracy and contain communism.’ (27)
- ‘After his Truman Doctrine speech, the president signed an executive order creating a loyalty program for federal employees that required a loyalty investigation for federal employment. According to the order, “complete and unswerving loyalty” on the part of federal employees was of “vital importance,” and therefore the employment of “any disloyal or subversive person constitutes a threat to our democratic processes.” ’ (28)
- ‘In the area of civil rights, anticommunism figured prominently on both sides of the debate. Segregationists argued that efforts to abandon racial segregation were communist-inspired and would undermine the fabric of American society.” (28)
census figures indicated that three-quarters of African Americans lived in the South. In the southern “Black Belt,” “the negroes are overwhelmingly engaged in agriculture, as small tenant-farmers, share-croppers and hired hands. Semi-slave forms of oppression and exploitation are the rule.” African Americans were denied economic rights because of the way the legal system protected the interests of the landowners upon whose property sharecroppers and tenant farmers labored. In addition, “the absence of economic rights is accompanied by the absence of social rights. The poll tax, in effect in the Southern States, deprives the overwhelming majority of negroes of the right to vote.” ’ (38) U.S.
- ‘Race discrimination in the
was not only directed at American citizens. When nonwhite foreign dignitaries visited the country, they were often subjected to similar treatment, and incidents of discrimination against visiting foreigners would generate a highly critical reaction against United States racism in their home country. In 1947, for example, Mohandas Ghandi’s [sic] physician was barred from a restaurant during a visit to the U.S. . A story about the incident was carried in every newspaper in his hometown of United States .’ (39) Bombay
- ‘American vulnerability on the race issue gave civil rights activists a very effective pressure point to use in advocating for civil rights reform. Civil rights organizations relied on the argument that race discrimination harmed
interests in the Cold War.’ (43) U.S.
- ‘These neighbors in a housing project, like millions of Americans, are forgetting whatever color prejudice they may have had; their children will have none to forget.’
Information Agency,The Negro in American Life (47) U.S.
- ‘Jochem’s article was one of countless efforts by the
government to tell its side of the story of race in U.S. . International criticism of America race discrimination could not be left unanswered. American embassies did their part to address racial difficulties by cooperating with the State Department in an effort to present what they considered to be a more balanced perspective on the issue.’ (48) U.S.
- ‘The United States Information Agency prepared materials that placed American race relations in the best possible light for dissemination overseas.’ (49)
- ‘The best-developed presentation of the government position on race appeared in The Negro in American Life, a USIA pamphlet written in 1950 or 1951. This pamphlet revealed, rather than concealed, the nation’s past failings, and it did so for the purpose of presenting American history as a story of redemption.’ (49)
- ‘The discussion of slavery had another, and more central, rhetorical function, however. By setting forth the history of the evil slave past, and contrasting past with present, the pamphlet asked the reader to marvel at the progress that had been made. The reader was asked not to view American race relations in isolation. Rather, ‘it is against this background that the progress which the Negro has made and the steps still needed for the full solution of his problems must be measured.’ With the shameful past as a benchmark, race relations in the early 1950s could certainly be seen as an improvement.’ (51)
- ‘Even with the help of materials such as this, by the early 1950s
officials came to realize that their information programs were inadequate on the difficult question of “the Negro problem.” Much attention was paid to educating embassy personnel, as well as visiting lectures, about how to respond to queries about U.S. race relations, and to locating speakers who could address the issue more effectively.’ (54-55) U.S.
- ‘According to a 1952 report on the status of
propaganda efforts, “In South and U.S. Southeast Asia, anti-colonialism and associated racial resentments have been far more important elements in the psychological situation than anti-communism.” ’ (56)
- ‘Efforts at cultural exchange could backfire when foreign persons of color experienced American-style race discrimination. Students from other nations often came to the
in search of educational opportunities not available in other countries.’ (60) United States
- ‘When Robeson and DuBois criticized
racism abroad, the State Department confiscated their passports, effectively denying them access to an international audience.’ (62) U.S.
- ‘[Ella] Baker’s impact in
was muted by limited local press coverage. The Montevideo embassy seems to have had a hand in this. Baker later commented that “Upon my arrival in U.S. , the press was very kind to me, but after my speeches, only one newspaper dared to publish my discourse, and they told me that they had received a friendly visit from the American Embassy requesting them not to publish it.” ’ (69) Montevideo
- ‘The military police reported that “the questioning was in response to a suggestion by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation that Miss Baker might be an active Communist.” ’ (74)
- ‘A Year, a month, or even a week in Asia is enough to convince any perceptive American that the colored peoples of Asia and Africa, who total two-thirds of the world’s population, seldom think about the United States without considering the limitations under which our 13 million Negroes are living.’ (77)
- ‘In 1947, Truman’s President’s Committee on Civil Rights issued a report that highlighted the foreign affairs consequences of race discrimination. The committee’s report, To Secure These Rights, argued that there were three reasons why civil rights abuses in the United States should be redressed: a moral reason – discrimination was morally wrong; an economic reason – discrimination harmed the economy; and an international reason – discrimination damaged U.S. foreign relations.’ (79-80)
- ‘One of President Truman’s most important civil rights accomplishments was initiating desegregation of the armed services. Discrimination and segregation in the military were particularly galling to people of color who risked their lives to protect the nation yet were not treated equally even during their military service. When troops traveled to foreign lands, other nations were directly exposed to American racial practices.’ (83)
- ‘Senator Russell turned the Cold War argument on its head. In a political and cultural climate steeped in anticommunism, arguing that civil rights reform would be a capitulation to communists, who themselves must clearly be pursuing ulterior motives to undermine American society, proved to be a very effective strategy. Anticommunism was more important to Congress than civil rights.’ (89)
- ‘For a time the Court allowed schools to expel children who failed for religious reasons to salute the flag, arguing in 1940 that “national unity is the basis of national security.” When the Court reversed itself in 1943, it argued that suppression of religious liberty was a step down the road to totalitarianism.’ (103)
- ‘There does not appear to be direct evidence that members of the Supreme Court discussed the impact of racial segregation on Cold War foreign relations in their deliberations in Brown, but the Justices were well aware of this issue.’ (104)
- ‘When Brown v. Board of Education was decided, the opinion gave the U.S. government the counter to Soviet propaganda it had been looking for, and the State Department and USIA wasted no time in making use of it. Within an hour after the decision was handed down, the Voice of America broadcast the news to
Eastern Europe. An analysis accompanying the “straight news broadcasts” emphasized that “the issue was settled by law under democratic processes rather than by mob rule or dictatorial fiat.” ’ (107)
- ‘The Brown decision had the kind of effect on international opinion that the government had hoped for. Favorable reaction to the opinion spanned the globe.’ (107)
- ‘A report on end-of-the-year activities also noted that desegregation stories were continuing to be emphasized in
and India Africa. The impact of Brown in came as a great relief. As a State Department document noted in 1956, “Criticism of the India because of color discrimination practices…has markedly declined in recent years, partly as a result of the Supreme Court decisions in the school segregation cases.” ’ (109) United States
- ‘Expression of racial animosity was therefore a sign of the strength, not the weakness, of the nation. American was sufficiently sure of herself that she could tolerate the free expression of dissent even as she encouraged her people on the path toward racial enlightenment. American constitutional change, the Voice of America had proclaimed in announcing Brown, illustrated the superiority of democratic process over communist oppression.’ (113)
- ‘Governor Faubus’s [sic] actions were seen to be such a strong aid to the Soviet propaganda machine that Confidential magazine suggested that the governor’s role might actually be part of a communist plot and the governor a communist agent.’ (124)
- ‘The movement would be very effective in keeping worldwide attention focused on civil rights in the
.’ (154) United States
- ‘A Kennedy administration ‘breakthrough’ on civil rights would be some time in coming. In the meantime, one way to improve the nation’s standing overseas was to send Peace Corps volunteers to
Africa and other parts of the world. As Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman has suggested, “At the top of the Peace Corps’ list of implicit goals was to show skeptical observers from the new nations that Americans were not monsters.” The nation’s bad press on civil rights could be ameliorated through one-on-one contact with American volunteers.’ (157)
- ‘In Schlesinger’s view, the administration’s actions in
had concrete foreign relations benefits. “Three weeks after Mississippi , [ Oxford ,] Sekou Toure and Ben Bella were prepared to deny refueling facilities to Soviet planes bound for Mississippi during the missile crisis.” The lesson was clear. The nation’s world leadership and security were enhanced by efforts to secure civil rights at home.’ (165) Cuba
- ‘The USIA’s concerns bore themselves out in a subsequent 1962 report, which found that “[r]acial prejudice is the chief blemish on the image of the American people abroad, even among the majority of citizens of non-Communist nations who hold the United States in high esteem.” ’ (166)
- ‘Early in the Kennedy years a black delegate to the United Nations landed in
on his way to Miami . When the passengers disembarked for lunch, the white passengers were taken to an airport restaurant; the black delegate received a folding canvas stool in a corner of the hangar and a sandwich wrapped with waxed paper. He then flew to New York , where our delegation asked for his vote on human rights issues.’ Dean Rusk (167) New York
- ‘ “We could not expect an African diplomat to gain privileges and services denied black Americans. Nor could we expect him to display his diplomatic passport every time he wanted to eat or get a haircut.” For these reasons, as well as, Rusk said, “the simple rightness of the cause,” the State Department worked on antisegregation efforts, throwing “its full weight behind the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, and especially legislation dealing with public accommodations.” ’ (167)
- ‘The seriousness of the problem required a systematic response. The administration established a new program within the State Department Protocol Office. The Office of Special Protocol Services, and its director Pedro Sanjuan, worked on long-term solutions to the problem of race discrimination against foreign diplomats. While Sanjuan was charged with handling the vast array of difficulties foreign diplomats encountered throughout the country, a particular focus of his work was Route 40 [
highway with segregated services]. When a bill prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations was introduced in the Maryland sate legislature, Sanjuan testified in favor of the bill on behalf of the Department of State. (168) Maryland
- ‘James Baldwin quoted one African American as saying, ‘At the rate things are going here,…all of
Africa will be free before we can get a lousy cup of coffee.” ’ (178)
- ‘President Kennedy and his aides were concerned that a large march would erupt in violence and that the message conveyed might be critical of Kennedy civil rights policy. However, if peaceful, the march might also be seen by the world as an example of effective participation in an open, democratic political process. If supportive of Kennedy administration civil rights policy, it also held potential to be seen as a reinforcement of an argument the administration had been making overseas that the federal government was behind civil rights reform. What better evidence of that then a march by civil rights activists themselves reaffirming Kennedy’s policies.’ (188)
- ‘The State Department and the United States Information Agency worked to ensure that the “right” message would be conveyed by the march, and that the message would be understood as consistent with the image of democracy the government tried to project. Before and after the event, the story of the march was carefully packaged for foreign audiences.’ (188-189)
- ‘Control over the international image of the march slipped through the government’s fingers, however, as the March on
became a worldwide event.’ (189) Washington
- ‘The March on
had a worldwide impact, inspiring additional solidarity marches abroad. On the date of the Washington March, in several countries around the world, people marched on American diplomatic posts to express their solidarity with the March on Washington .’ (192) Washington
- ‘The orderliness of protest could sometimes be a sign of government suppression. In at least one context, [in
,] Cairo embassy complicity in confining the scope of a sympathy march was continuing evidence of U.S. government efforts to protect its image abroad by silencing critics.’ (193) U.S.
- ‘As expected, the march was a major worldwide news event. In
Europe, according to the USIA, “most comment found the March a ringing affirmation of the power of the American democratic process.” The Cold War implications were evident. “Many papers specifically contrasted the opportunity granted by a free society with the despotic suppression practiced by the Washington .” ’ (194-197) [pictures on pp. 195-196] USSR
- ‘Before the March on Washington occurred, the USIA had plans to present the story of the march in an advantageous manner…A USIA documentary was later prepared on the march and distributed in 1964.” (198)
- ‘The [
church] bombing undercut Birmingham efforts to play up the March on U.S. as an example of racial progress.’ (199) Washington
- ‘The narrative of American racial progress was threatened by protest against American racism, so
embassy officers in at least one country took solace in government repression of critics. In Tanganyika, the government “squashed” a demonstration in reaction to the church bombing at the U.S. embassy because, in the words of a Tanganyikan official, “the Tanganyikan government saw no basis for [the] demonstration since [the] policy [of the] U.S. government [is] so firmly against such outrages.” The U.S. embassy response was to express “appreciation” for Tanganyikan government confidence.’ (199) U.S.
- ‘By the time of his death, the nation and the world had taken notice of President Kennedy’s commitment to civil rights. Even those close to the president had noticed a change. Harris Wofford thought that during Kennedy’s last year, “he was not only seeing it straight” on civil rights, “but he was putting it as central – or beginning to put it as really central – to our body politic, the soul of the country and things like that.” Wofford said that Martin Luther King Jr. had felt of Kennedy that “he’s got the understanding and he’s got the political skills and he’ll probably bring it about, but the moral passion is missing on this issue.” However, after the deaths of the four girls in
in September 1963, and the other events in Birmingham that year, King “began to feel the moral passion was there, too.” ’ (201) Birmingham
- ‘[N]o memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.’ (204) Johnson’s first speech before Congress
- ‘In embracing civil rights as a legacy of Kennedy’s presidency, Johnson laid a cornerstone in the construction of Camelot. Kennedy friends and family would place a heroic gloss on the youthful image of the departed leader. Johnson himself, an outcast during the Kennedy presidency, would aid that construction by elevating civil rights as a Kennedy legacy. Civil rights had not been at the top of Kennedy’s agenda while he lived. In death, however, his motives and priorities were transformed.’ (205)
- ‘In December 1963, the U.S. ambassador to the Congo reported that the Congolese prime minister had asked him to convey the following message to Washington: “that Congo along with most [of] Africa does not really care about ideologies…but does care deeply about [the] human factor; [the] key to good US relations therefore is how we continue [to] handle [the] race problem.” ’ (207)
- ‘ “There are some aspects of American life that appear to have little impact on the man in the street in foreign countries….But there are others to which larger proportions seem to react.” The person on the street reacted “above all” to “the status of minority groups in our country.” ’ quoting USIA (208)
Trinidad Guardian agreed that “[t]he bill has advanced the cause of civil rights for men everywhere.” In U.S. , Neues Oesterreich thought that “[t]he nations of Vienna Africa and Asia can now be told convincingly that American takes the equality of all of its citizens seriously.” In , El Nacional wondered whether the Tegucigalpa appreciated “the dignity it has won in the eyes of the whole world.” ’ (210-211) United States
- ‘Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act capped this historic moment. The United State Information Agency prepared ahead of time. On June 30, Rowan told the president, “Your signature on the Civil Rights Act will set in motion a worldwide USIA campaign explaining its meaning.” The agency had already distributed to seventy-two countries a televised round-table discussion of the act featuring Roy Wilkins of the NAACP and others. The Voice of America was prepared to broadcast the soundtrack of this discussion, and the text had been distributed to all USIS posts. Photographs of President Johnson signing the bill would be air-expressed abroad, but in the meantime a “backgrounder” on Johnson’s role in the act’s passage had already been distributed.’ (211-212)
- ‘Within hours of the bill’s passage, Johnson signed it into law. This event provoked one more media opportunity that the president was sure to take advantage of. In his televised remarks, Johnson emphasized that the nation had been founded by “a small band of valiant men” who sought “not only to found a nation but to forge an ideal of freedom.” While the president challenged Americans to pursue justice within the nation’s borders, he also emphasized that the
had inspired democratic movements worldwide. “Today in far corners of distant continents, the ideals of those American patriots still shape the struggles of men who hunger for freedom.” ’ (212) United States
- ‘The Civil Rights Act looked good in American propaganda. It was true evidence of social change.’ (213)
- ‘Civil rights groups sent a letter to a large number of United Nations delegations urging them to bring the issue of violence in Mississippi before the Security Council. They wanted the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force to
.’ (215) Mississippi
- ‘Brutal as it was, as long as racial violence was confined to the South, the USIA could argue that racism was a regional, not a national, problem. American propaganda always tried to put violent incidents like the
murders “in context.” The context was the structure of American federalism. The federal government, the USIA and Mississippi diplomats argued, was committed to civil rights reform. States were making pregress, but the rate of progress varied.’ (215) U.S.
- ‘The March on
was the subject of one important USIA film on civil rights. USIA filmmaker James Blue presented the story of the march using the style of documentary realism. As Nicholas Cull has written, Blue “creates the impression that his film is an authentic record of the events in Washington , presented with the minimum of artifice.” Handheld cameras followed marchers on buses as they made their way to Washington . The focus throughout was on participants in the march, African American and white, young and old, men and women. The minimal use of commentary seemed to enable the film’s viewers to join in the crowed and experience the event as it unfolded. Yet while the film presented itself as a simple, realistic depiction, Blue’s choices in focus told the story of the march from a particular perspective. Although the march was presented against a backdrop of conflict over civil rights, conflict within the March on Washington movement was written out of the story, as was conflict between the march organizers and the Kennedy administration. Rather than challenging government policy on civil rights, the marchers were seen as fulfilling an American ideal. As the film’s brief voice-over suggested, “The Constitution of the Washington guarantees every American the right to protest peacefully. Two hundred thousand Americans, then, are going to use this right.” The image of consensus was reinforced by the film’s coverage, or lack of coverage, of march speakers. Only Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech was included, and that in an edited form. King’s speech had begun with a critique of the state of civil rights, arguing that the U.S. Constitution was a “bad check” whose promise had not been fulfilled, but the film focused only on the forward-looking “dream” segment.’ (216-217) United States
- ‘Dissenting voices within the USIA wondered whether the film’s recognition that some civil rights problems remained to be solved meant that to much of the nation’s dirty laundry was to be aired overseas. Members of Congress got wind of the project, and some were offended by the film’s celebration of protest and the depiction of an interracial couple among those traveling to the march.’ (217)
- ‘Ultimately, the film was edited in response to its critics. The USIA added an introduction by USIA Director Carl Rowan. He called the march “a moving exercise of one of the most cherished rights in a free society: the right of peaceful protest.” Rowan told viewers that he believed “that this demonstration of both whites and Negroes, supported by the federal government and by both President Johnson and the late President Kennedy, is a profound example of the procedures unfettered men use to broaden the horizons of freedom.” Rowan’s introduction put an explicit spin on the film that James Blue’s filmic style had intended to display more subtly. Rowan reinforced the fact that the film was a
government-sponsored propaganda message. In this way, efforts to make the film more palatable to domestic critics may well have undercut its persuasiveness overseas.’ (217-218) U.S.
- ‘Nine from Little Rock was acclaimed from
to Hollywood . It was the first USIA film to receive an Academy Award.’ (218) Kampala
- ‘The March and Nine from Little Rock capped
government efforts to manage the stories of these critical events in the civil rights struggle. In the hands of the USIA, the March on U.S. was portrayed as an illustration of American democracy rather than a critique of it, and the Washington crisis was an episode in the inexorable critique of it, and the Little Rock crisis was an episode in the inexorable democratic progress toward equality. By the early 1960s, however, Little Rock propaganda competed with proliferating international news sources. News photographs of massive resistance published around the world threatened to overcome the government’s story of racial progress. International travel by civil rights leaders meant that Africans, Asians, Latin Americans, and Europeans could get a picture of race in U.S. that they considered more authentic. Efforts to use filmic portrayals of events in the civil rights movement to bolster the government’s narrative of race and democracy could not be fully effective as long as the movement, through efforts at home and abroad, contested the government’s story.’ (219) America
- ‘During the 1960s, many civil rights advocates traveled overseas. They hoped to spread the word about the
civil rights movement, gain support from citizens of other nations, and encourage independence movements around the world. Many activists saw the struggle for civil rights in the U.S. and anticolonial movements abroad as different branches of one worldwide human rights movement. Civil rights activists turned especially to United States Africa, which became a source of support and inspiration.’ (220)
government efforts to present a positive picture of race in American were hampered by African receptivity to the message of Malcolm X.’ (221) U.S.
- ‘Malcolm X traveled extensively in
Africa in 1964. He hoped that his popularity in Africa would “forever repudiate the American white man’s propaganda that the black man in Africa is not interested in the plight of the black man in .” He sought to give Africans “the true picture of our plight in America , and of the necessity of Africans helping us bring out case before the United Nations.” ’ (221) America
- ‘ “Many of you have been led to believe that the much publicized recently passed civil-rights bill is a sign that America is making a sincere effort to correct the injustices we have suffered there. This propaganda maneuver is part of her deceit and trickery to keep African nations from condemning her racist practices before the United Nations, as you are not doing as regards the same practices in South Africa” [Malcolm X]. While Dean Rusk had argued that the Civil Rights Act was needed to counter Soviet propaganda, Malcolm X suggested that the act itself was an American propaganda stunt.’ (222)
- ‘Malcolm X traveled to
on September 19. There he was regarded as “Leader of Muslim Negroes in the Saudi Arabia ” and was treated as an honored guest of the Saudi government. During this three days in the country, Malcolm X made a pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca, where he experienced a spiritual rebirth that convinced him that “perhaps American whites can be cured of the rampant racism which is consuming them and about to destroy” the United States. He developed a new interest in working with others across racial and ideological lines. At a speech at University College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the following month, Malcolm X “emphasized the relative unity between himself and such leaders as Martin Luther King, saying that their differences were primarily differences of method rather than goals. ‘The main difference is that he doesn’t mind being beat up and I do.’ ” ’ (223) United States
- ‘Because of concerns about Malcolm x, U.S. diplomats in Africa were thrilled to learn of Core president James Farmer’s interest in traveling to Africa in 1965. Farmer’s trip was sponsored by the American Negro Leadership Conference on
Africa. Secretary of State Dean Rusk told U.S. embassies that Farmer would present a “true picture of the progress of civil rights in America” and would “state the true aspirations of most American Negroes as compared with what was been said in Africa be Malcolm X and Cassius Clay.” Rusk asked missions in U.S. Africa to “extend the usual courtesies” to Farmer, and to “facilitate his making contact with government leaders, university students, media representatives, and other influential groups.” Embassies should keep their enthusiasm to themselves, however. “It is recognized that in some countries too close an identification with the Embassy may be counterproductive.” In preparing for Farmer’s visit, “All posts which Malcolm X visited should have [a] file on statements and suggestions re tactics available for Mr. Farmer on arrival.” Posts were also to “offer political briefings” to Farmer and to keep the State Department informed about his visits.’ (224-225)
companies would not risk their image by doing business with communist countries, so why U.S. ?’ (226) South Africa
- ‘On September 24, 1964, fifty-five representatives to the United Nations from African and Asian countries submitted a petition to UN Secretary General U Thant expressing “grave concern” about discrimination against UN diplomats in New York. The petitioners were particularly concerned about an attack on Youssouf Gueye, first secretary of the Permanent Mission of Mauritania to the United Nations. Mr. Gueye was assaulted “by a group of
citizens” while walking hear his home on the evening of August 30.’ (229) New York
- ‘USIA reported that “press interest in
’s racial problem has declined steadily in the past year, especially since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” ’ (235) America
- ‘Even in the
Soviet Union the coverage of , although critical, was “far less extensive than previous coverage of such disturbances.” The harshest criticism came from Selma . Propaganda from China Peking criticized the Civil Rights Act and suggested that Johnson’s call for voting rights legislation was designed to “paralyze the fighting will of the Negroes.” Social change could only happen through struggle against imperialism. “The law and the court are but instruments of the ruling class for the oppression of the American people.” ’ (235) U.S.
- ‘Overall it appeared as if the tenor of international coverage of race in
had changed. Civil rights crises no longer threatened the nation’s international prestige. Instead, they had become moments to showcase and reinforce the lessons of the previous twenty years of America propaganda.’ (236) U.S.
- ‘Foreign opinion was developing along the lines the USIA and State Department had long hoped for. Racial problems were not going away, but they could now be seen in the light the government had argued for. Racial incidents were not a sign of national moral failure or a compromise of the nation’s underlying principles. Rather, they were a product of American federalism and of the tensions inherent in integrating a historically disadvantaged minority into the mainstream.’ (241)
- ‘American could be seen as good, even as American racism was abhorrent.’ (241)
- ‘By 1966
had replaced American race relations as an important matter of international concern.’ (242) Vietnam
- ‘Class-based inequality did not threaten the nation’s core principles. The U.S. Constitution did not address the issue. The Supreme Court, for the most part, treated class and conditions of poverty as a natural phenomenon, as something outside the law, as something that triggered no special constitutional concern.’ (243)
- ‘As liberation struggles in Africa and the United States gained strength from each other, the movement itself took on an international character, so that the March on Washington was literally a worldwide event.’ (252)