Public Accommodations and Voting Rights in the Johnson Years
Those who advocated civil rights encountered a wide variety of challenges during the Johnson years. Attention was drawn away from issues of race during the summer of 1965 because the United States was actively involved in the Vietnam war. A week after the Voting Rights Act was imposed, several riots occurred in various places in the United States, and whites often associated blacks with unreasonable demands and lawlessness after these events. A number of congressmen initiated the passing of an antiriot bill, and as a result the presidential aide, Fred Panzer, articulated that the races were entirely polarized and that many people feared racial violence on the streets. While whites saw the actions of the blacks as unnecessary, the blacks asserted that their actions reflected economic deprivation. This chapter attempts to examine some of the fundamental issues during the Johnson years and it looks at how civil rights activists were able to confront such obstructions.
Keywords: civil rights, United States, Voting Rights Act, Fred Panzer, Johnson years, economic deprivation, riot, antiriot bill, Vietnam war