Happy Birthday, Civil Rights Act of 1964!
Birthed on June 19, this act ushered in a new era of legalized discrimination against whites all in the name of uplifting the black population (and now, the Hispanic population is protected via this 50 year old legislation).
For a fifty-year-old act, it still looks good, right?
NASA Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, NASA.gov, 6-19-14]:
Fifty years ago, on July 2, 1964, one of the biggest legal barriers to equal opportunity in America was toppled when President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the most sweeping civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction era. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in such areas as voting, public restaurants, employment, and education on the basis of such characteristics as race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. It was a pivotal moment in our nation’s struggle to form “a more perfect union” and transformed the face of America."Form a more perfect union?"
Since the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, how many American cities have become no-go areas for white people?
How many of these formerly American cities are filled with not only crime and blight, but democratically run by a people "liberated" by the 1964 Act?
After World War II, much of Europe was ravaged with cities burnt out; Hiroshima and Nagasaki were atomic wastelands.
What can be said of Birmingham, Memphis, Detroit, Camden, Baltimore, and Newark?
No one will say it, so we will: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ensured the dissolving of the United States of America and the dismantling of any "more perfect union" talk.
Its passing was far more damaging to the health of the country than any foreign army/air force/navy could ever hope of replicating.
And yet, we must always praise this 50-year-old legislation as the pivotal moment in rectifying inequities of our incurable racist past... well, only incurable until the past can be rewritten to find true non-whites hero worthy of our adulation, love, and respect.
New heroes must emerge to lionize and praise as the foundation of our country, since we will one day celebrate the true birth of the nation as June 19, 1964. [How NASA Joined the Civil Rights Revolution: Integration came to the nation’s space agency in the mid-1960s., Air and Space Magazine, March 2014]
On May 13, 1961, in its first issue after Alan Shepard’s historic Mercury mission, the nation’s leading black newspaper, the New York Amsterdam News, ran a front-page column that asked a question on the minds of millions of Americans. “If you are like me,” wrote executive editor James Hicks, “as soon as you finished thrilling to the flight of the United States’s first man into outer space, your next thought was, ‘I wonder if there were any Negroes who had anything to do with Commander Shepard’s flight?’
There is a short list of steps NASA took to promote equal employment in the year before the 1964 Civil Rights Act became law: The agency created a contractors’ group in Alabama that used its money and influence to make sure African-Americans got space jobs. NASA hired Charlie Smoot, called the “first Negro recruiter” in official agency histories, to travel the nation persuading black scientists and engineers to come south. The Marshall Space Flight Center invited representatives of the historically black colleges to Huntsville in 1963, and a year later opened the agency’s college cooperative education program—in which students alternated semesters at school with semesters at Marshall—to blacks.
As a result, Walter Applewhite, Wesley Carter, George Bourda, Tommy Dubone, William Winfield, Frank C. Williams Jr., and Morgan Watson arrived at Marshall to become the embodiment of Johnson’s plan for jobs in the South.
The idea that the Space Age might help usher in better race relations became a subject of scientific inquiry. In the spring of 1962, NASA made a grant to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to study “the relationships of space efforts to US society.” The report proceeded, in part from the popular conception that NASA, in the academy’s words, represented “a new era of equality according to ability.” There was a belief that “communities with advanced types of industry, with their people employed in research laboratories and in the development of new engineering techniques, should display a high level of social innovation.”
The academy sent sociologist Peter Dodd to the space communities to find out if it was true. In multiple visits to Huntsville, Florida’s Cape Kennedy, and the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, Dodd spoke to NASA workers and administrators as well as municipal officials, city planners, newspapermen, ministers, educators, social workers, housewives, and teenagers.
Studies suggested that space workers had “high levels of education, which are known to be correlated with liberal views,” and that “their youth and geographic mobility have exposed them to liberal opinion.” What Dodd found was exactly the opposite, especially in matters of race. In Huntsville and at Cape Kennedy, he said, “There seem to be no evidence of strong pressure for Negro rights, nor of strong sympathy among technologists for civil rights.” To NASA workers, he found, “the Negroes appear to be an outside group presenting demands which would have to be dealt with in some way, but which are no concern of theirs.”How dare those white males in NASA not understand the blacks forced upon them were their moral superiors (and obviously intellectual superiors, which goes without saying...)!
Talk about your made for Hollywood story: praise black ingenuity (all part of an early affirmative action scheme to scour the country to find suitable black scientists) while denouncing the racist whites at NASA for refusing to accept the notion merit had no place in the workplace when blackness was involved.
Attorney General Robert Kennedy, long a critic of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson’s leadership of the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, met with the committee on 18 June. Webb, a protégé of Johnson, represented NASA. Kennedy grilled Johnson, puncturing his vague claims of progress. After “making the Vice President look like a fraud,” in the words of one observer, the Attorney General turned on [James] Webb. “Mr. Webb,I just raised a question of whether you can do this job and run a Center and administer its $3.9 billion worth of contracts and make sure that Negroes and nonwhites have jobs . . . I am trying to ask some questions. I don’t think I am able to get the answers, to tell you the truth.”By 1973, the federal government workforce was 20 percent nonwhite (primarily black, considering the demographic explosion of Hispanics and Asians was yet to occur), but NASA was roughly 95 percent white.
Marshall established an Affirmative Action Program in June, following recommendations offered by a Civil Service team from Atlanta. Dr. Frank R. Albert became the first Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator. Albert hired Charlie Smoot as a professional staffing recruiter; Marshall claimed Smoot was “possibly the first Negro recruiter in government service.” (p. 118-119)
Marshall’s shortcomings represented a portion of a larger NASA failure. NASA lagged behind other federal agencies in implementing equal opportunity programs. NASA’s minority employment rose only from 4.1 percent to 5.19 percent between 1966 and 1973, when overall federal minority employment reached 20 percent. Furthermore, most of its minority employees were clustered in lower grades. The Agency’s own EEO staff concluded that “NASA has failed to progress because it has never made equal opportunity a priority.” Deputy Administrator George Low conceded that “Equal Opportunity is a sham in NASA,” and derided the Agency’s “total insensitivity to human rights and human beings.” (p. 124)
Remember: it was 1972 NASA became just another federal (taxpayer funded) minority jobs program.
But as the book Societal Impact of Spaceflight makes clear, NASA in 1973 did have a place for blacks: 69 percent of the janitors at NASA were minority (black) males, compared to a government-wide average of 56 percent!
And, like in the movie Good Will Hunting, it was really a black janitor named Robert Wall who helped break a complex math equation Wernher Von Braun left on a chalkboard for one of NASA's insensitive white nerds to try and solve (true story).
So happy 50th Birthday, Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It might just be, but when I look at the ruins of a city like Detroit, I don't see the harmful legacy of capitalism or Democrat rule: I see the legacy of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in full glory.
And NASA being turned into just another United States Postal Service... well, that's just another legacy of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.