Antilynching bill: Step toward Reconstruction II?

“[North Carolina’s Josiah] Bailey became the first Southern senator to outline what he perceived as a dangerous aspect of the [1937] antilynching measure…. To him, it  represented the vanguard of a much larger movement aimed at dismantling Southern society.

” ‘I fear it, I dread it, I fight it, I argue against it because I know the moment it goes through the very men who put it forward will almost be compelled to go ahead with the old Civil Rights Act [of 1875]….

“Reconstruction all over again…. will destroy the South.’ ”

— From “Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight Against Civil Rights, 1938-1965” by Keith M. Finley (2008)

The Civil Rights Act of 1875, passed in the waning days of the last biracial Congress of the 19th century, was not enforced, and the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1883. It contained many provisions — such as guaranteed access to public accommodations — that eventually were included in 1960s legislation.

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