Monday, June 19, 2017

Civil Rights Maps in the News

Today in History:  Civil Rights on the Map

On June 19, 1964, the Civil Rights Act was approved by the Senate by a vote of 73-27, following a long filibuster by Senators Russell of Georgia and Byrd of West Virginia.  The bill passed in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Johnson on July 2, 1964.

The map above (click to enlarge) identifies the votes in the House of Representatives—green denotes a vote in favor of the Civil Rights Act, and red identifies the nay votes.  This map was published in the atlas Mapping America’s Past by Henry Holt available from Ball State University Libraries GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC).  A description of the vote from the atlas details a little-known amendment added to the bill by the opposition:

Howard W. Smith, a Virginia Democrat, led the opposition.  When it became evident that the bill would pass, he slyly proposed an amendment that, in addition to barring discrimination in employment on account of race or religious beliefs, would also prohibit it on account of gender.  Smith hoped that the amendment, which threatened to transform almost every workplace in the nation, would cause moderate and conservative Republicans to vote against the entire bill.  As the bill’s managers scrambled to squash the Smith amendment, a bipartisan group of women representatives declared their support for what they called ‘this little crumb of equality.’  The bill’s supporters, after hastily rethinking the political consequences of opposing women’s rights, meekly endorsed the amendment.

To Smith’s chagrin, the Civil Rights bill—including his women’s rights plank—passed by a vote of 290 to 138….152 Democrats voted for the bill, only a handful of them from the South.  But almost as many Republicans (138) supported the bill….The bill also received strong bipartisan support in the Senate, which for the first time ever terminated a filibuster on civil rights legislation.

Both Republicans and Democrats from Indiana voted in unanimous support for the bill, as did representatives from Illinois, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Kansas, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Oregon, and Washington.

With the passage of Civil Rights legislation, the publication of the famous “Green Books” ended.  The Negro Travelers’ Green Book was published by Victor Green beginning in 1936 and ending in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  These guide books listed restaurants, hotels, and other services that were available for Blacks when traveling across the country during the era of Jim Crow laws.

The New York Public Library has a collection of the books available from their Digital Collections.  And the University of South Carolina has an interactive online map based on the establishments listed in the 1956 book.  The GRMC used this edition of the book to create a map marking the locations of the cities in Indiana that had at least one restaurant, hotel, or other business listed in the Green Book, a little known part of American history.  (Photographs from the Libraries’ Digital Media Repository were included on the map).

The map is available in digital format from the Ball State University Libraries’ Cardinal Scholar and the GRMC teacher resources files under “Indiana history maps for displays.”  A Missouri version of the map is also available for download, and a map about the civil rights movement in Indiana is also included. 

Maps and atlases from the GRMC circulate for two weeks or longer.  Large-format plotter printing of maps and other resources is also available to members of the BSU community.

For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

No comments: