Betrayed: A History of Presidential Failure to Protect Black Lives

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In this timely and eye-opening book, noted political analyst and media commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson traces the root cause of the White House’s failure to protect the rights of African Americans. Drawing extensively from public and private presidential papers, private correspondence, personal interviews, and national archive documents, Hutchinson gives a rich historical account of the racial philosophy, policies, and practices of successive presidents from Warren G. Harding to Bill Clinton.Franklin D. ...

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Overview

In this timely and eye-opening book, noted political analyst and media commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson traces the root cause of the White House’s failure to protect the rights of African Americans. Drawing extensively from public and private presidential papers, private correspondence, personal interviews, and national archive documents, Hutchinson gives a rich historical account of the racial philosophy, policies, and practices of successive presidents from Warren G. Harding to Bill Clinton.Franklin D. Roosevelt is one example. The popular view is that Roosevelt was a friend to blacks because of his enactment of New Deal programs. But he was also a prisoner of the biased racial thinking of his times. He refused to actively support antilynching legislation and repeatedly curried political favor with racist southern Democrats.Lyndon B. Johnson is yet another example. He is known as a champion of civil rights, but Hutchinson details two crucial moments when Johnson shrank from using the full force of executive power to push Congress to enact new and tougher federal criminal civil rights statutes to punish racist violence.In this book, Hutchinson reveals that no American president has ever signed into law a federal antilynching bill despite a fifty-year campaign by the NAACP for presidential and congressional action. He documents how Nixon, Reagan, and Bush rolled back civil rights and affirmative action, failed to fully enforce equal protection provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment against police abuse and racial violence, encouraged conservative legal obstructionism, and fueled the rise of a repressive domestic security state. These actions in turn have reinforced institutionalized racism and continued the historical pattern of devaluing black lives in law and public policy.Finally, Hutchinson warns that the century-old failure by the White House to enforce federal law to protect black lives still has dangerous consequences for American society.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Political analyst Hutchinson traces the failures of presidential administrations from Harding to Clinton in relation to civil rights. His research draws on presidential papers, private correspondence, personal interviews, and national archive documents to reinforce a body of evidence which clearly points to political conflicts and racial philosophies that hindered the enforcement and advancement of federal law. The conclusion points to an institutionalized racism continuing the devaluing of African Americans in law and public policy. Paper edition (unseen), $14.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813324661
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Lexile: 1320L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.11 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 "At the Hands of Persons Unknown": The Harding-Coolidge-Hoover Years 9
2 No New Deal on Racial Violence: The Roosevelt Years 27
3 "Give 'Em Hell": The Truman Years 51
4 The Big Chill: The Eisenhower Years 71
5 "Don't Lean Toward the Negroes": The Kennedy Years 95
6 Did We Overcome?: The Johnson Years 117
7 Deadly Force: The Nixon-Ford Years 143
8 "The Only Rights You Get Are Right Fists": The Carter Years 157
9 Rolling Back the Clock: The Reagan-Bush Years 175
10 A Compelling Federal Interest 199
Conclusion 213
Notes 221
Bibliography 249
About the Book and Author 255
Index 257
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