Indirect action

The Century and civil rights

During the early 1950s, the Century’s editors could hardly be classified as strategists in the war for civil rights, but they tried their hand at analysis and expressed sympathetic support for both the commanders and the ground troops. As Supreme Court decisions moved toward desegregation, editors urged “Christian forces” to assume their responsibility in assuring a peaceful transition toward compliance. They noted that “the court wisely postponed” any directive as to how and when segregation must be completely ended in the southern states. Editors conjectured that this postponement would give Christian forces in the south an “opportunity to calm any storm which may blow, and to lead toward acceptance and implementation of the court’s verdict” (May 26, 1954). They were optimistic that southern leaders would ensure a calm reception of the desegregation order (June 2, 1954).


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