Civil Rights Act of 1957
On September 9, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Originally proposed by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, the Act marked the first occasion since Reconstruction that the federal government undertook significant legislative action to protect civil rights. Although influential southern congressman whittled down the bill?s initial scope, it still included a number of important provisions for the protection of voting rights. It established the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department, and empowered federal officials to prosecute individuals that conspired to deny or abridge another citizen?s right to vote. Moreover, it also created a six-member U.S. Civil Rights Commission charged with investigating allegations of voter infringement. But, perhaps most importantly, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 signaled a growing federal commitment to the cause of civil rights.
Archival Collections and Reference Resources
- Presidential Timeline of the Twentieth Century Information: Dwight D. Eisenhower (Dwight D. Eisenhower Library)
- WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection (Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection)
- WSB-TV newsfilm clip of African American civil rights leaders including congressman Adam Clayton Powell and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Washington, D.C., 1957 May 17 (Moving images)
- WSB-TV newsfilm clip of civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph D. Abernathy meeting with vice president Richard M. Nixon and Secretary of Labor James P. Mitchell, Washington, D.C., 1957 June 13 (Moving images)
- WSB-TV newsfilm clip of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. outlining several goals for the upcoming Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Atlanta, Georgia, 1957 April or May (Moving images)