Contrasting corporate roles in 2 rights movements

“During the civil-rights era, when local administrators across the South resisted desegregation and suppressed protests, business élites in Dallas and Charlotte pushed for moderation; Dallas had desegregated its downtown businesses by 1961, and Charlotte began desegregating public accommodations the year before the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“Those efforts, though, were driven by local businesses and were a response to protests. Today’s fight is driven by national companies, and they’re in the vanguard: there is no federal law protecting L.G.B.T. people from discrimination, but three-quarters of Fortune 500 firms have policies forbidding it….”

— From “Unlikely Alliances: When North Carolina’s legislators tried to limit L.G.B.T. rights, big business was their toughest opponent” by James Surowiecki in the New Yorker (April 25 issue)


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