COLD WAR COLORADO: CIVIL RIGHTS LIBERALS AND THE MOVEMENT FOR LEG ISLATIVE EQUALITY 19 45 1959 by Dani R. Newsum B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, 1977 J.D., University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 1983 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts History 2012
2012 Dani Newsum All Rights Reserved
This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Dani R. Newsum has been approved for the by Thomas G. Andrews Chair Marjorie Levine Clark Chris Agee April 2, 2012
iv Newsum, Dani, R. ( Master of Arts, History) Cold War Colorado: Civil Rights Liberals and the Movement for Legislative Equality 19 45 1959 Thesis directed by Associate Professor Thomas G. Andrews ABSTRACT Historians have established that during and after World War II, the fight against Germany and its Nazi ideology influenced the arguments of national civil rights advocates in the United States, the formulation of national civil rights policies and the Cold War foreign policies of num erous presidential administrations. However, few, if any historians have undertaken an in depth analysis of the impact of World War II and the Cold War on the passage of statewide civil rights legislation. In Colorado, World War II and the subsequent Cold War combined to create an exploitable moment for a comparatively small number of educated and middle class racial liberals in Denver This coalition sought to convince the Colorado legislature of the soundness of their own vision of racial equality: the e nactment of legislation that prohibited discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing. Utilizing newspaper articles and editorials, and the archived records of the key participants in the movement for statewide civil rights protections, this study analyzes how the battle against Nazi Germany which first subjected racist institutions, practices and assumptions to internation al scrutiny and the global racial politics of the subsequent Cold War resulted in the passage of a significant body of statutory civil rights protections in Colorado between 1951 and 1959.
v D uring the 1950s, civil rights movements comprised of diverse organizational and individual proponents of racial equality flourished in states outside o f the S outh lobbying local and state governments for the enactment and enforcement of civil rights laws. They were joined by local and state level politicians, newspaper editors, civic and business leaders and others who viewed anti discrimination laws le ss as moral or democratic imperatives, than as crucial weapons with which to battle communist representations of white supremacy in the United States. However American civil rights historiography does not yet reflect th is complexity B y analyzing the impa ct of national and international developments on civil rights advocates and legislators in Colorado this paper will enlarge the scope of Cold War and s tate civil rights scholarship and will also contribute to the expanding territorial geography of civil rights studies generally The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Thomas G. Andrews
vi DEDICATION I dedicate this work to my husband Ron. His steadfast faith guided me through the years and tears it has taken me to complete this project. When there was too little money in the bank, too much wear on the car, and seemingly too many dark clouds hovering above our heads, he remained resolute in his belief in this project and in me. When I wanted to walk away from this story he insisted that I stay and tell it. Thank you, forever and always. I also dedicate this work to my children Nicholas and McKenna, who have loved me through all the craziness, and who have in spired me with their own commitment to academic achievement and to social and environmental justice.
vii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thank you to my thesis committee: Thomas G. Andrews, Marjorie Levine Clark and Chris Agee. Thomas, my committee chairman, provided unerring intellectual and editorial counsel and never failed to show me great understanding, patience, e ncouragement and a ready smile Over the years Marjorie than I can possibly remember, insisted that I pay attention to my footnotes (!), and always kept her office door open for me And C hris first sparked my interest in the cultural, social, and pol fabulous c ourse on twentieth century United States history. and Geneaological Department (Wendell Cox, Roger Dudley, Erin Edwards, Bruce Hanson, Abby Hoverstock, James Jeffrey, Jim Kroll, Janice Prater, and James Rogers) for easing t hose long, often frustrating hours of research with their cheerful assistance and willingness to help me navigate th ose A special heartfelt nod to Wendell: thanks for the Kleenex and the shoulder Blair Caldwell African American Research Library made sure that I had all the help I needed as I waded through archiv e collections as did Thyria Wilson, specialist with the Beck Archive collection at the University of Denver Although I never had to the fortune to take a class with Associate Professor Carl Pletsch, I thank him for enthusiastically encouraging me years ago to write, write, write!
viii Lastly, I thank my parents, Joan and F itzroy Newsum for their love and the ir example of barriers breached, goals achieved, and lives well lived.
ix TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION: 1957 .. ....................... 1 II. O RGANIZING DENVER DURING THE ... ............................................................. 2 0 III. 39 IV. 5 1 V. THE FIFTH FREEDOM : THE RIGHT TO A 6 2 VI. 7 7 VII. 1949 9 3 VIII. CRUSADE FOR FREEDOM .................... 1 0 4 IX. AMERICANS .. 11 2 X. CHAINS OF LOVE: CHALLENG ING THE INTERRACIAL MA 3 5 XI. STATUTORY CIVI L RIGHTS REVOLUTION OF 19 .. 1 4 3 XII. FIRST IN THE NATION: FAIR HOUSING 1 7 2 XIII. CONCLUSION 19 5 BIBLIOGRAPHY
x LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS A DL Mountain States Anti Defamation League (formerly the Tri States Regional Anti ) CADC Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission CADD Colorado Anti Discrimination Division CCEEO Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunities CCOD Colorado Committee to Oppose Discrimination CORE Colorado Committee for Racial Equality (name later changed to Colorado Congress of Racial Equality) CUC Colorado Unity Council DUC Denver Unity Council JACL Japanese American Citizens League NAACP National Association for the Advancement of Colored People UL Urban League of Denver
1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION : 1957 Legislature set an outstanding example of what can be done been equaled in one session by any other state. Congress can well take a lesson from the Colorado lawmakers! 1 Sheldon Steinhauser, regional director, Mountain States Regional Anti Defamation League, Summer, 1957 Whether or not the United first General Assembly, 1957 was indeed a banner year for civil rights legislation in the state. While Congress had yet to pass a major civil rights bill in the twentieth century the Colorado state legislature approved five bills in 1957 alone. 2 Governor Stephen McNichols, a Democrat who won election to the g prodigious output of civil rights legislation in a statement he prepared for publication in a Colorado Anti administration a new and enforceable Fair Emplo yment Practices Act was enacted, the Housing Act was passed into law, the Public Accommodations Law was amended, the Miscegenation Act was repealed and the Anti Discrimination Commission was strengthened and e 3 In an article published in the Denver Post s tate Senator George Brown, the first African American to be elected to the Colorado Senate and a former reporter for the Pos t, hailed the 4 1 st 1 A. Atkins Collection MSS #21, Box 46, FF 2020, Colorado History Society, Denver, Colorado (hereafter cited as the James Atkins Collection.) 2 Although the U.S. Congress did pass civil rights legislation in 1957, the deeply flawed federal statute did not go into effect until September 9, 1957 months after the April 1 st adjournment of the Colorado Library, accessed February 7, 2001, http://www.crdl.usg.edu 3 Statement for the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission newsletter, August, 1962, James Atkins Collection, Box 35, FF 1644.
2 4 In deed, in 1957 the Colorado legislature catapulted the state into the vanguard of civil rights liberalism. While the output of civil rights legislation enacted in 1957 was remarkable, the Colorado legislature actually approved a series of civil rights proposals over the course of the decade although up until 1957, those measures had been considerably weakened in first fair employment law and l a wmakers actually closed the decade with the passage of a landmark fair housing statute in 1959, the first housing law in the United States to cover both private and public housing. In 1962 Gov ernor Steve McNichols reflected a pprovingly record with the declaration that 5 What factors led the Colorado General Assembly, a legislature dominated by white rura l lawmakers in a state with a small African American population, an even smaller number of Japanese Americans, and a comparatively large but politically unorganized Latino population, to rack up such an impressive civil rights record during the course of t he 1950s? 6 This thesis argues that World War II and the Cold War 4 Denver Post December 18, 1958, Denver Public Library, Western History/Genealogy Department Clipp ing Files, s.v. Denver. African Americans. 1950 1959. (hereafter cited as DPL clipping file, 1950 1959.) 5 tatement for Anti Discrimination Commission n ews l 19 62, James Atkins Collection, Box 35, FF 1644, Jame s Atkins Collection 6 In 1950, out of a total state population of 1, 325, 089, Latinos comprised 118,715 or 9 percent of the total; African Americans comprised 0.6 percent. Carl Abbott, Stephen J. Leonard, David McComb, Colorado: A History of the Centennial Stat e, third edition, (Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1982, 1994), p. 330. The American Jewish Committee estimated that 16,900 Jewish persons lived in Colorado, and of that (Vol. 52,
3 a significant number of influential Coloradans. Elected officials, the press and broadcast media, as we ll as members of the business and philanthropic sectors professed to favor racial equality, although there was much disagreement about just what racial equality a comparatively small nu mber of educated and middle class civil rights liberals in Denver suffered no such ambivalence : they championed the enactment of legislation that would prohibit racial, ethnic and religious discrimination. World War II and the Cold War combined to create an exploitable moment for these advocates of legislative r acial equality to convince lawmakers of the soundness of their own vision This study analyzes how, despite the un population and most of the lawmakers who represented them, the fight against Nazi Germany and its ideology of white supremacy, and the racial politics of the Cold War resulted in the achievement of a significant civil rights legislative framework in Colora do during the 1950s. linked to the larger, national intergroup relations movement (also known as the human relations movemen t) that flourished in the aftermath of a series of t e rrible race riots that convulsed Detroit, Los Angeles and other U.S. cities during the war. 7 Historian Mark Brilliant posits that racial liberalism had its roots in New Deal liberalism: just as the 1951) accessed April 22, 2011, http://www.ajcarchives.org/main.php?GroupingId=10085 7 During World War II, riots erupted on military bases and in cities throughout the U.S., including Detroit, Los Angeles and Harlem. See Quintard Taylor In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West 1528 1990 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998), 270 271, and Eric Foner, Give
4 concept of a government provided economic safety net ha d changed the way in which many Americans viewed the role of government in their everyday lives during the Great Depression, civil rights liberals favored governmental regulation as a means to insure the extension of an anti discrimination safety net to ra cial minorities. 8 Brilliant wrote about racial liberals in California, but his analysis is applicable to Denver (indeed across the country) during the 1940s and 1950s, as many of the intellectual architects of both the human relations movement and civil rights liberalism also had roots in the New Deal. 9 N ot all of the numerous groups comprising the intergroup relations movement were expressly civil rights organizations, and not all agreed that legislation was necessary to the achievement of racial equalit y. 10 Many racial liberals considered racism to be a pathology best fought through public education programs that (they hoped) would work public education would result in more enlightened public mores, and as public opinion became more egalitarian, discriminatory behavior would decrease. They considered discrimination laws to be remedies far more deleterious than the problem they were intended to combat 11 Civil rights liberals also endorsed the use of education Me Liberty! An American History deadly stateside riot took place in Detroit in 1943. See Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), 73 75. For a discussion of the birth of the intergroup movement, see Jo Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 275, Civil Rights in America (May, 1951) : 18 26 ; and Dan W. Dodson Journal of Negro History, Vol. 20, No. 3 The American Negro and Civil Rights in 1950 (Summer 1951) : 398 407. 8 Mark Brilliant The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California 1941 1978 ( Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2010 ) economic security and the Roosevelt administration in Give Me Liberty 761, 772 773. 9 Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 13. 10 22. 11 See Will Maslow Law Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 275, Civil Rights in America (May, 1951) : 9.
5 programs, but insisted that education alone would not end discrimination. According to Will Maslow, a lawyer with the National Jewish Congress and an intellectual powerhouse among civil rights liber als during the 1950s ( Maslow had previously served as counsel for the federal F air Employment Practices Commission and as a lawyer and administrative judge for the National Labor Relations Board), laws also had an educative function. Maslow noted that o ne need only observe how segregation laws served to both reflect and create white supremacist assumptions and beliefs. 12 Yet more importantly, Maslow argued that laws were necessary to advance racial equality because discrimination harmed real people people who should not be made to wait out the 13 I use the term civil rights liberals in this study to signify those advocates in Denver, who, like Will Maslow, considered statutory prot ections and prohibitions to be the most effective remedy against civil rights liberals, against and defeat of former Soviet Union for t he loyalties of millions of dark skinned peoples on the African and Asian continents, would prove invaluable in their pursuit of statewide civil rights legislation during the 1950s. The federal government was first forced to consider the international i mplications of domestic white supremacy during World War II. President Roosevelt established the first Fair Employment Practices Commission in 1941 under pressure from labor and civil rights leader A. Phillip Randolph and his March on Washington Movement. Randolph had warned that if Roosevelt did not take action against the rampant discrimination in the 12 Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 244, Controlling Group Prejudice (Mar., 1946) : 75. 13
6 14 Blacks responded to Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) in a tactical move intended to avoid the international embarrassment that would certainly have followe d a march in Washington D.C. by thousands of black contractors. 15 Executive order 8802 prohibited racial discrimination by federal agencies and government contractors. Yet, while the FEPC certainl y had the power to annoy defense employers, it enjoyed little enforcement capability. 16 World War II offered civil rights advocates a critical opportunity to link racial discrimination, violence and religious bigotry to Hitlerism and war. In 1942, the Pitt sburgh C ourier Double Victory (Double V) campaign, and made the Roosevelt administration aware yet again o f black Americans growing discontent. The Double V represented African American pronged attack against our enslavers at home and those abroad who would enslave us. 17 The Denver Star a popular black newspap er in Denver, hammered the Courier Chicago. The Star invoked the Gettysburg Address, literally and substantively, to argue 14 Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff, The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Str uggle, and the Awakening of a Nation (New York: Vintage Books, 2007), 12. 15 John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss, Jr., From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans seventh edition (New York: McGraw Hill, Inc., 1994), 436 437. 16 Ibid., 437. 17 Pittsburgh Courier February 14, 1942, p. 1.
7 that the Bill of Rights and the Constitut ion itself were as much endangered by domestic testing whether this nation or any nation conceived and dedicated to double standards of citizenship and justice can long endure. 18 As President Lincoln had questioned whether the United States could survive the epic battle to honor the promise of liberty embedded in the Constitution and end the enslavement of millions of African Americans, the Denver Star likened white supremacy in the United States to that extant in Germany and questioned whether either nation could survive the conflagration of World War II. 19 The Star and the Pittsburgh Courier like race papers throughout the United States, were Yet the segregated war service of African American women and men would prove to be a criticial factor in the transform ation of the post war movement for civil rights in the United States. As black war veterans returned home to the United States, many were fiercely determined to win the freedom at home for which they had risked their lives overseas. In Denver on leave during the w We felt we should struggle for freedom all the 18 Denver Star May 1, 1943, p. 1. 19 In another story published in the Star the executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hammered home the same point. Walter White urged American blacks to and in Mississippi Denver Star August 1, 1942, p. 1.
8 theater. 20 The uniform was a powerful symbol of sacrifice and service, and offered at least a visual claim to full citizen ship to the person who wore it. While the war raised the expectations of African American veterans and civilians, it also had a significant impact on the attitudes of many white service members. Retired Colorado legislator Robert Allen, a white Democrat a nd a non veteran, remembered seeking out white lawmakers who had served during the war to support his bill to repeal deliberately went after young Republicans who were World Wa r II veterans because of their attitudes. They were more open minded about race. They had been in the war, had 21 pitted a multi national and multi colored fighting force ag ainst a s u pposed Master Race of Germans intent on conquering Europe. Many had recognized the evil of Nazi white supremacy, and were resolved to battle its American cousin upon their return to the United States. World War II helped transform the unquestio ned white supremacist assumptions held by many white Americans into beliefs that many would come to consider un democratic harbingers of strife and war. 22 In the decades prior to the war anthropologists and other social scientists had laid a foundation for this cultural transformation, arguing 23 During the 1940s, Columbia 20 Rebels Remembered a documentary, Dick Alweis, producer, DVD disc 1, 2 007. 21 Robert E. Allen (former Colorado State Representative, 1951 1960), interview with author, December 5, 2009, Denver. 22 Kevin Leonard, The Battle for Los Angeles: Racial Ideology and World War II ( Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006), 9. 23 Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 124 125.
9 University anthropologists Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish codified this scientific re interpretation of race in a much noted pamph let in which they argued that science recognized no racial differences in blood, intelligence or character. Citing the example of 24 The anthropologi 25 In Denver, racial liberals embraced the arguments of Benedict and Weltfish. Members of the Cos mopolitan Club of Denver, a local chapter of the Cosmopolitan Club its monthly meeting in May 1944. The Tri States Regional chapter of the Anti Defamation League (ADL) p rovided copies of the pamphlet for the discussion. 26 Later that year, according to Cosmopolitan Club minutes, the keynote speaker at the th thesis stressing the 27 The Denver Unity Council, an interracial, interethnic and interfaith civil rights advocacy group established in 1943 in the wake of the race riots in Detroit and other American cities, mirrored the claims of the two Columbia 24 Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish, The Races of Mankind (Public Affairs Committee, Inc., 1 946), 21, accessed May 13, 2011, http://www.archive.org/details/TheRacesOfMankind 25 Ibid., 31. 26 YWCA. Minutes of the Cosmopolitan Club, Clarence and Fairfax Holmes Collection WH 1270, Box 1, FF 33, Western History Collection, Denver Public Li brary (hereafter cited as the Holmes Collection). 27 Ibid.
10 28 Perhaps most importantly, the Unity Council offered a ne w post 29 re definition of Americanism was critical: it signified the emergence of a modern ist racial sensibility in a critical minority of whites in Denver. Like anthropologists Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish, these racial liberals considered race to be an incidental matter of biology, rather than an ultimate determination of biological, cultu ral, and intellectual destiny. 30 But for most white Americans, or at least for those who were willing or capable of grasping the connection between white supremacy in the U.S. and in Nazi Germany, Swedish economist and sociologist Gunnar Myrdal best establ ished the lethal linkage in his extraordinarily influential study, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy fighting fascism and racism, America had to stand before the who le world in favor of 31 Myrdal offered the same analysis of American hypocrisy as African American civil rights advocates had argued for decades: white supremacist beliefs and institutional structures in the U.S. were a fun damental contradiction to an American Creed of individual freedom and equal justice. This fundamental contradiction, argued Myrdal, constituted the American Dilemma. 32 Myrdal 28 Denver Unity Council flyer, 1947, p. 2. Denver Unity Council Collection (MSS 1654), Box S4.B9, FF 18, Colorado Historical Society, Denver, Colorado (hereafter cited as DUC Collection). 29 Denver Unity Council flyer, untitled, 1950, p. 1, Box S4.B9, FF 18, DUC Collection. 30 Leonard, Battle for Los Angeles 9. 31 Excerpt from An American Dilemma: The Negro P roblem and Modern Democracy quoted in Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Imag e of American Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 8. 32 Ibid. The contributions of Dr. Ralph Bunche, the African American Nobel prize winning U.N. diplomat and Harvard d. See the discussion of
11 however, dismissive of the ability or inclination of African Americans to lead a m ovement for racial change, postulated that white liberals would helm efforts to topple white supremacy in the United States. 33 Ultimately, as James T. Patterson argues, Myrdal African Americans; anger that fun damentally changed the face of civil rights advocacy during the political, social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. 34 B lacks Latinos and American Indians organize d and l ed myriad movements for political, economic and social justice in Denver a nd Colorado during those decades ; however during the 1940s and 1950s, whites indeed controlled the movement for civil rights legislation in Colorado much differ from the meaning inherent in the motto that appeared in the Denver Star 35 Nor did the Unity dedic 36 C ertainly the Denver chapter of the NAACP, established in 1915, had been making similar arguments for decades, with limited success. However, World War II helped to accompl ish what the decades of protest and advocacy that had preceded the war ; the critical role played by the United States in defeating Germany and its Axis allies ; and the war service of thousands of Americans Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944 1955 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 17 18. 33 Jame s T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1946 1974 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 21 22. 34 Ibid., 21. 35 Denver Star June 7, 1941, p. 2. 36 l David Menin Papers, 1931 1984 Fd 7, Auraria Library Archives and Special Collections, Denver, Colorado (hereafter cited as Samuel Menin Papers).
12 of col or helped both to render explicit, public expressions of racial prejudice unacceptable in much of the United States, and to establish the concept of racial tolerance as a rhetorical cornerstone of American democracy 37 In Denver, Rocky Mountain News colum nist Lee Casey drew analogies between Nazi and American white supremacy in a column that condemned the horrific lynchings of George and Mae Dorsey (George Dorsey was an Army veteran), and Roger and Dorothy e victims stains us all, just as 38 Casey was a local liberal, but even some southern racists had reached the same conclusion. The linkage between southern white supremacist terror and Hit 1943. Dixon 39 In America, the war had helped upend the assumed scientific and moral validity of white supremacy. of American white supremacy into ghastly, international relief. As members of the National Association of Colored Women picketed in front of the White House to protest the Dorsey and Malcolm lynchings and federal inaction on the atrocity, Trud, a Soviet news paper, declared that the Georgia 40 Locally, Colorado Statesman columnist Earl Mann 37 Leonard, Battle for Los Angeles 9; Thomas Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), 44. 38 Rocky Mountain News July 29, 1946, DPL clipping file, 1940 1949. 39 Borstelmann, Cold War and the Color Line 44. 40 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 20, 23.
13 racial h ierarchy had added another casualty to the list of victims of American racism speaking peoples, and the Orientals of Anglo Saxon who must suffer, as he has been advertised throughout all war zones as a lover of the democratic way of life. He has been challenged as never before. Will he meet it? 41 Black, Latino and Asian Americans had long suffered the stings of racism in America Earl Mann warned and considering the commanding role of the United States in the war against Nazi Germany, white Americans now had much to lose too. The Cold War inte nsified international scrutiny of American white supremacy. During the early years of the Cold War, as the United States Soviet Union and China battled for influence in Africa and Asia, international considerations forced the Truman and Eisenhower admini stration s to consider the ways in which American racism had made In response, r acial progress became the mantra of many officials in the U.S. State Department. How could America prevail in its battle to win the loyalty of the millions of dark skinned citizens of emerging nations in Asia and Africa so many of whom were fighting for their own independence from European colonial powers while at the same time countenancing the denial of full citizenship rights to Americans of color, the ritualized and sadistic murders of black Americans, and racial discrimination against visiting foreign nationals ? 42 The racial politics of the Cold War forced Pres ident Harry Truman to urge Congress to interrupt this disastrous international narrative by pass ing civil rights 41 Colorado Statesman January 27, 1945, p. 2. 42 Borstelmann, Cold War and the Color Line 6.
14 legislation. Truman and his s tate d epartment were anxious to incorporate civil rights reforms into a salutary narrative of democratic racial re demption that, they maintained, was only possible in America. 43 Foreign and domestic pressures, including the fallout Committee on Civil Rights in 1946. The committee issu ed its landmark report, To Secure These Rights the following year. The report condemned racial discrimination in the U.S. and called for comprehensive and unprecedented civil rights reforms, both as a matter of democratic morality and political expediency : the report declared that American white policy objectives. 44 The committee characterized racial apartheid in Washington D.C. where dark skinned diplomats were being refused service by restaurants and hotels as 45 D entreaties, white southern Democrats continued to block anti discrimination legislation. In fact, Congress would not approve comp rehensive civil rights reform until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 46 In the face of fierce southern resistance to federal legislation in Congress, lawyers in the U.S. Justice Department under Presidents Truman and Eisenhower conveyed the ern for the foreign policy ramifications of state sanctioned racial discrimination in amicus curiae briefs submitted in support of legal challenges to Jim 43 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 82. 44 Ibid., 81. 45 Colorado Statesman November 1, 1947, p. 1. 46 After two years of intense wrangling, Congress did approve the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which established the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and a civil rights division within the United States Department of Justice. However, racist southern Democratic senators succeeded in stripping effective enforcement provisions from the legislation. See Mark V. Tushnet, Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marsha ll and the Supreme Court, 1956 1961 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 306.
15 Crow laws. Perhaps most famously, the Justice Department filed a n amicus brief in support of the plai ntiffs in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 47 brief argued that exis tence of discrimination against minority groups in the United States has an adverse effect upon our relations with other countries. Racial discrimination, warned f ederal lawyers furnishes grist for the Communist propaganda mills 48 In Denver, c ivil rights liberals voiced many of the same arguments as Justice Department lawyers in Washington D.C. Dean Paul Roberts, leader of the largest argued for the establishment o f a permanent human relations commission within the threatened by totalitarian id eals 49 Cold War infused message in support of anti discrimination legislation throughout the 1950s. T he Denver Unity Council achieved its most significant and lasting success in y elected mayor, Quigg Newton, kept the promise he had made to the Council during his mayoral campaign, and appointed a committee to study racial and religious discrimination in the city including in city government As will be discussed later in this stu member Interim Committee on Human Relations ignited passionate discussions of race and racism in the 47 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 95 109, 275. 48 Ibid., 100. 49 Denver Post December 20, 1947, p. 8.
16 press. 50 Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News during the fall of 1947 signaled that serious public discussion of racial inequality and of strategies to address those inequities would no longer be limited to the 51 Historian Thomas Borstelmann observes that on the eve o f the Cold War, many 52 In Denver, notwithstanding the heated debates about the need for statut ory civil rights protection and Aryan supremacy along with the positive war service of soldiers of color, and the growing Cold War battle with the Soviet Union and civil rights liberals continued to condemn the hypocrisy of a nation that professed a sacred belief in freedom and self determinat ion abroad while denying those basic guarantees to Americans of color at home, they gained the attention of a growing number of state and local elected officials, newspaper editors, reporters and columnists, and business and civic leaders. The year 1957 marked the culmination of more than a decade of sustained advocacy in Colorado by civil rights liberals who the believed that the most effective method of battling racial, ethnic and religious discrimination was to punish discriminatory behavior through le gislation They employed to their great advantage the 50 Denver Post June 29, 1947, p. 17. 51 Rocky Mountain N ews November 27, 1947, pp. 5 Denver Post November 23, 1947, p. 1. 52 Borstelmann, Cold War Color Line 44.
17 potent symbolism of the fight against Nazi white supremacy and the military service and sacrifice of a multiracial cadre of Americans, and c apitalize d on the domestic and international racial politics o f the Cold War ideological contest between democratic freedom and communist totali t arianism. These civil rights advocates were at once aided and stymied by important actors who seemed to favor the appearance of improved race relations over actual legis lation as well as by many others who occupied the philosophical spaces between the two camps. However, the ideological cleavage that separated civil rights liberals from their ates to accept legislation bridled with weak administrative and enforcement mechanisms. This was especially true in employment and housing, where many legislators likened governmental regulation of private decision making and relationships to the very comm unist menace that the country was so vigorously engaged in fighting. Civil rights liberals would spend the 1950s explaining, defending, and battling for the establishment of a state agency dedicated to the enforcement of civil rights laws and staffed by in dividuals who sincerely believed in anti close, they would achieve that legislative milestone and more. staring down police dogs and f ire hoses in a southern city, or NAACP field workers and earnest young volunteers risking life and limb to register African American voters, or federal soldiers protecting lonely black students from roiling white mobs gathered outside a public high school or university. Many of us may conjure images of lifeless black bodies hanging limp from trees or dredged from a river bottom, or some other horrific
18 happenstance. However, the idea of a monolithic civil rights movement is a myth, as is its singular location in the states of the Old Confederacy during the 1950s and 1960s. 53 Organized civil rights movements have flourished in the United States since at least the eighteenth century. Yet most relevantly for this project, during World War II, civil rights movements took root in every region of the United States, and were comprised of diverse collections of individuals and organizations that faced different hardships and pursued different remedies. In Colorado, a racially and ethnically diverse state with a small African American population, the post war movement for civil rights legislation was multiracial, multi movement took place in an environment where black people were ofte n not the largest 54 Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, necessity required black Americans in Denver to work in coalition with Latino, Japanese, white J ewish and Protestant Americans to advance their civil rights priorities. Howev er in the movement for civil rights legislation in Colorado during the 1940s and 1950s, although most local studies showed that African Americans suffered the most egregious levels of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, blacks generally did not assume positions of leadership. White professionals dominated the post war legislative coalition. It is ironic that issues of economic and social class, and political and civic power within the white dominated coalition, likely served to distance the movement from average African Americans in Denver. 53 Journal of American History Vol. 91, No. 4 (Mar., 2005): 1233 1263. 54 Matthew C. Whitak er, Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005), 4 5.
19 enactment of civil rights legislation during the 1950s signaled an acceptance however halting of the notion that racial discrimination was undemocratic and harmed the Activists in later decades would force a societal a wakening to the searing costs of segregation and racial discrimination fo r its real life victims ) The battle ag ainst Nazi Germany which first supremacist institutions, practices and assumptions to an international audience and the racial politics of the global Cold War were critical factors in winning that acceptance. This paper demonstra te s seat for a white passenger on a bus in Birmingham, and was not the sole province of advocates who were f ighting Jim Crow violence and laws. During the 19 50s movement for civil rights legislation in Denver, Colorado a city with a history of small biracial and multiracial, multiethnic, inter faith anti discrimination coalitions a small number of middle class ra cial liberals successfully utilize d the symbolism of racial tolerance demanded by World War II and the Cold War to influence the passage of a significant body of statutory civil rights protections.
20 CHAPTER II ORGANIZING DENVER DURING THE 1940s ourselves more and knew we had to make things different. I think we paved the way for 1 Denver resident George Morrison, Jr. are aware that there is no simple, overnight remedy to the evils of discrimination and prejudice, and we are equally aware that these problems will never be solved by t is in the interest of all the people that these 2 Denver Mayor Quigg Newton, commenting on the report issued Survey Committee on Human Relations. In 1940, 7,836 African Americans lived in Denver. 3 By 1950 the black population had almost doubled to 15, 214. Ten years later Denver was home to more than 30,000 African Americans lured to the city by well paid jobs in the federal gove rnment. 4 World War II and its defense related industries, followed by the growing infrastructure of the Cold War, offered a bounty of stable jobs in Denver and its growing suburbs. 5 And yet despite these gains, Denver remained a racially segregated city. Despite a n 1895 statute that forbade discrimination based on race or color in places of public accommodations, most Denver restaurants, movie theaters, and department stores refused to their services and products. Discrimination was 1 Colorado Heritage 1990, Issue 1, p. 14. 2 Den ver Post November 23, 1947, p. 15. 3 Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier 223. 4 Ibid., 263 and 286. 5 Stephen Leonard and Thomas Noel, Denver: Mining Camp to Metropolis (Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1990), 235.
21 particularly rampant in businesses in downtown Denver. 6 Blacks also faced pervasive private hood in northeast Denver had been overflowing its borders in the decades before the war T he post war situation was dire, as restrictive covenants and discriminatory lending practices kept the growing black population out of the new housing developments th at were springing up across Denver and its suburbs. 7 In employment, a 1946 survey of thirty six Denver employers conducted by the University laboring the ork 8 However Denver was also a city in transition. Several events made visible the impact of both World War II and the nascent Cold War on notions of racial inequality in public discourse and public policy. The decade witnessed the establishment of three organizations in Denver with overlapping leadership and programs that would play critical roles in the organized movement for civil rights legislation in Colorado. Further, a Denver mayor endorsed the creation of a municipal agency rvey Committee on Human Relations to determine the extent of discrimination in the city. Lastly, a failing Denver Post experienced a change in leadership that would re vitalize the paper and turn it into a power broker in the coming battles for civil righ ts legislation in Colorado. 6 Denver Unity Council Annual Report, May 1946 May 1947 Box S4.B9, FF 1, DUC Collection; J ames A. Atkins, Human Relations in Colorado: A Historical Record (Publishers Press, Inc., 1968) 120; Laura M. Mauck, Five Points Neighborhood of Denver (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2001), 86. 7 A Treasury of Memories, Greater Park Hill Community News June 17 July 15, 1993, p. 9; Denver Post, August 11, 1949, p. 3; Denver Urban League, Urbanalysis July 1952, Box 52, FF 1, James Atkins Collection. 8 Denver Unity Council, Annual Report May 1946 May 1947 Box, S4.B9, DUC Collection.
22 The defeat of a bill in the state legislature that would have stripped Japanese nationals in Colorado of the right to own land illustrated the symbolic power of the fight against Nazi white supremacy. In 1944, the state general assembly rejected a measure that would have allowed Colorado voters to amend the state constitution to prohibit ownership of land by Japanese citizens. 9 Gov. John Vivian and the Denver Post offered their vehemently racist support of the proposal; the Colorado Statesman popular black newspapers, opposed the measure. 10 Earl Mann, a Republican and the only solidarity with the Japanese residents who 11 If African Americans were risking life and limb fighting for freedom overseas, Mann a veteran of World War I (and a Colorado Statesman columnist) believed it was his du ty to protect freedom at home. Although the Denver Cosmopolitan Club, Committee on Fair Play, Denver Unity Council, Japanese American Citizens League and several religious groups lobbied to defeat the bill, many 9 In 1870, Congress passed a Naturalization Act which restricted the right to become a naturalized citizen of the law was intended to exclude Chinese immigrants from U.S. citizenship. Roger Daniels, Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life (New York: Harpe r Perennial, 1990), 245. By 1924, Congress had extended the ban on naturalization to immigrants from most of the Asian continent. During the 1920s, the Supreme Court repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of congressional bans on the naturalization of Asi an immigrants. See Ozawa v. United States 260 U.S. 178 (1922) and U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. 204 (1923). Beginning with California in 1913, many state legislatures approved laws that forbade land ownership by persons who were not eligible to bec ome naturalized U.S. citizens. Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Distant Shore: A History of Asian Americans (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998), 203 207, and Annette Gordon Reed, ed., Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 104 105. 10 Denver Post Life magazine, reprinted in the Colorado Statesman November 3, 1944, p. 1. Two years earlier, the Denver Star had praised governor, Ralph Carr, for extending a welcome to the Japanese Americans who the U.S. Christian and humane position, even at t he point of being severely criticized, and opened the doors of Denver Star December 5, 1942, p. 1. 11 Colorado Statesman, November 3, 1994, p. 1.
23 12 As the Denver Post Wayne Hill, only recently discharged from the Army, defended his vote against the racist measure as a vote for freedom and a vote worth whatever political price he might have political death as I am to die in battle to preserve 13 favor of the proper ty rights of Japanese residents offered a striking example of the way in which the war had helped to expand the concept of American equality and fairness to assumed by many t o be a matter of urgent national security. the waning months of the war illustrated the power of war service to increase the Councilman James Fresques, explaining his sponsorship of the resolution. 14 At a time when an all black unit of military police patrolled with their authority to arrest unruly soldiers limited to the arrest of black personnel, the contributions of African Americans to the w elfare of the city and the nation. 15 12 Minutes of the Denver Cosmopolitan Club, November 28, 1944 Box 1, FF 3, Holmes Collection. 13 Denver Post February 9, 1944, p. 2; Colorado Statesman November 3, 1944, p. 1 14 I Denver Post February 24, 1945, p. 2. 15 Mauck, Five Points, 86.
24 Three organizations that would galvanize the movement for civil rights legislation in Colorado began operating in Denver during the 1940s: t he Tri State Regional Anti ty Council, and the Urban League of Denver The ADL opened its doors in 1941, and played a key role in the establishment and operation of both the Unity Council in 1943 and the Denver Urban L eague in 1946. These organizations professionalized civil rights advocacy in Denver by employing professional staff (as opposed to lay volunteer s) and u tilizing social science research to document the existence and impact of discriminatory behavior. The Unity Council Urban League and ADL also employed public relations and marketing strategies in campaigns designed to educate the public about the reality and danger of bigotry and discrimination, and to garner support for legislative initiatives. Although the Unity Council was an interracial, interethnic, and interfaith organization, educated, middle class white professional and business men and women dominated its leadership. Miller Barbour, an ough the early 1950s; however white men Similarly, educated, middle The Tri State ADL program reflected the priorities of its parent or ganization. The national ADL, o riginally a Jewish self defense organization staffed by lay advocates, expanded its mission during the 1940s to include a full throttled involvement in the American intergroup relations movement. 16 A new young er ADL national leadership, like other members of the burgeoning national intergroup relations movement, considered 16 Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice, 11, 17 18.
25 all types of bigotry to be inseparable components of disease As key ADL leadership considered all forms of prejudice to be inter r elated, they reasoned that actively joining the battle against other incarnations of ethnic and racial hatred would bring greater security to American Jews in their fight against anti Semitism. 17 As the ADL professionalized during the late 1930s, it replaced its staff of untrained lay advocates with professionally trained social workers, lawyers, academics, journalists and advertising and public relations experts. 18 The ADL also capitalized on the ties it had forged with the entertainment news, and pu blishing industries during its early decades ; formed working alliance s with other civil rights and intergroup relations organizations ; and established itself as a powerhouse in the national human relations movement. 19 The Tri State ADL covered Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming from its base in Denver. It opened its doors in 1941 with a salaried director; by 1949, the ADL employed a paid staff of six. 20 Its work during the 1940s reflected the commitment of the national ADL to professionalization, Jewish self defense, and the intergroup relations movement. By the late 1940s, the local ADL was one of the largest professional member organizations in the 99 member Denver Unity Council and certainly one of its most influential. 21 programs were a direct reflection of the intergroup relations 17 Ibid., 18. 18 Ibid., 16 17. 19 Ibid ADL in Forefront Unity Council Newsletter March 1949 Box 35, FF 17, James Atkins Collection. The national ADL formed alliances with other civil rights and human relations organizations, including the NAACP, Urban League, National Cou ncil of Christians and Jews and the Congress of Racial Equality. Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 25. 20 Mountain States ADL 20 th Anniversary program transcript, pp. 4 6, Box 20, FF 3, ADL Collection. 21 Unity Council Newsletter March 1949 Box 35, FF 17, James Atkins Collection.
26 philosoph y of the national ADL. At an annual conference a local ADL official expressed 22 In furtherance of that goal, the ADL devel and of the reach of its anti d universities, Catholic and Protestant churches, radio stations and newspapers. 23 The local radio programs, public service announcements, books, pamphlets, posters even matchbook covers amplified its influence and reach in Colorado The overlapping intergroup relations philosophies of the local ADL and Denver Unity Council were not coincidental The ADL played a key role in the formation of the Denver Unity Council in 1943. 24 However, while the ADL initially focused on gaining a wide and diverse institutional entry for its anti discrimination education programs, the Unity Council functioned as a 22 State ADL Conference, 1947 1948, p 2 Box 10, FF 1, ADL Collection. 23 Ibid., Unity Council Newsletter March 1949, p. 4 Box 35, FF 17, James Atkins Collection 24 According to a transcript of an ADL anniversary program, the local ADL considered the Denver Unity Council to have been Mountain States Regional ADL 1941 transcript, p. 3 Box 20, FF 1, ADL Collection. From 19 through the remainder of the decade, key ADL officials held leadership positions in the Council. Louis Wi 1944, was a Unity Council vice president. Ibid., p. 3, and Denver Unity Council, Annual Report, May 1946 194 7, Box S4.B9, FF DUC Collection It is also important to note that the national ADL had an established rec ord of creating separate organizations to help the ADL, in the belief that the organizations such as the Institute for American Democracy and the Institute for Democratic Education would enjoy greater public credibility if their Jewish roots were not readily apparent. Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice, 45.
27 Committee investigated complaints of discrimination in public accommodations and forwarded those complaints that it found credible to the Denver district attorney for prosecution under the state public accommodations law although there was no guarantee public schools, and in employmen t, housing, health care, and in print and broadcast news organizations. 25 campaigns for state wide fair employment legislation in 1945, 1947 and 1949. Although those efforts were unsucc philosophical foundation for the more fruitful legislative campaigns of the 1950s. The national Urban League founded in New York in 1910, chartered a Denver chapter in 1946. From the outset, th e ADL and Denver Unity Council had strong ties to the local League. 26 Both organizations claimed roles in bringing the chapter to Denver, 25 Denver Unity Council Annual Report, 1946 194 7 Box S4.B9, DUC Collection. 26 Evidence suggests that the Colored Citizens League was an organizational predecessor to the Denver Urban League. In 1974, Bill McGlone, an early president of the local Urban League, recounte d that the 7 years ago and with the leadership of Lester Grainger [at the time the executive secretary of the national Urban League ] a few of us participated in AV box 3, Tape 1, Holmes Collection.
28 directors. 27 In one of its newsletters existed between the two organizations. 28 rural African Americans to urban life, and to assist them in finding employment. It emphasized the use of social science research and statistics to document the various economic and social problems experienced by urban blacks. In 1929, for instance, the national League released a study of African Americans in Denver entitled 29 The Denver Urban League considered itself a part of the intergroup relations frequently quoted in the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain Ne ws as well as the Denver Star and Colorado Statesman, urged blacks to form alliances with other racial minorities 30 Although e xpanding economic opportunity for African Americans especially black veterans, was a central goal of the Urban League, it also provided job training and employment search services to women, 27 Denver Uni ty Council officers Minoru Yasui, a lawyer and former World War II internee, educator Dr. Prudence Bostwick and labor leader George directors. Denver Unity Council Annual Report May 1946 May1947, p.1, Box S4.B9, FF 1, DUC Collection ; Urban League of Denver letter to Denver Unity Council, 27 August, 1949, Box S4.B9, FF 11, DUC Collection ; and Urban League of Denver, Where We Are Today : Annual Report 1949 1950 back page, Box 52, FF 2260, James Atkins Co llection. Former ADL chairman Edwin Wittelshofer helped to press rel ease March 30, 1954, Box 1, FF 2. Urban League of Denver Papers (MS ARL36), Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, Denver Public Library (hereafter cited as the Urban League Collection) 28 Personal ADL Letter May 1949, Box 20, FF 1, p. 3, ADL Collection. 29 Urbananalysis July August 1953, p.1, Box 52, FF 2258, James Atkins Collection 30 Rocky Mountain Life April 1949, p. 11. Miller Barbour also taught sociology and social work course s at the University of Denver Not Alms Rocky Mountain News May 25, 1947, Denver Public Library, Western and Genealogy Department Clipping Files, s.v. Denver African Americans. 1940 1949 (hereafter cited as DPL C lipping F ile )
29 Latino and Japanese Americans. 31 The local Community Chest (predecessor of the United Way) funded the League, and whi te business and civic leaders dominated the leadership of its and Industrial Relations Secretary Sebastian Owens, were black. 32 The Urban League pressure organization concerned with minority problems as 33 The ADL, Denver Unity Council and Urban Lea gue dominated the public discussion of racial discrimination and its legislative remedies from the end of the war in 1945 to the end of the decade, although they were only three of numerous organizations active in the intergroup relations movement in Denve r during the early post war period. They were interconnected professional organizations the Unity Council and Urban League with common roots in the Tri resources and its access to the resources of its parent organization, including the national made it the pivotal member of the coalition that would lead repeated campaigns for 31 ot Alms Rocky Mountain News May 25, 1947, and Urban League of Denver, Industrial Relations Report January 1950, pp. 5 7, Box 1, FF 2, Urban League Collection. 32 The Community Chest funded the Urban League of Denver from the day that the League began operations in Denver. Urban League of Denver, Where We Are Today : Annual Report 1949 1950 back page, Box 52, FF 2260, James Atkins Collection. The nationwide Communi ty Chest charitable fundraising http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,817182,00.html 33 Unity Council Newsletter November 1949, p. 2, Box S4.B9, FF 17, DUC Collection ; Urban League of Denver, 1954 Progress Report p. 5, Box 52, FF 2260, James Atkins Collection. The League took pains to assure potential employers that its clients were not simply minorities, but qualified minorities. One 8 page Urban League annual report used the descriptor workers at least six times. Urban League of Denver, Industrical Relations Report January 1950, Box 52, FF 2258, James Atkins Collection. Over time, the Denver Urban mannered approach garnered the ire of other local organizations that employed more direct and adversarial approaches to combating discrimination. Urban League of Denver, Executive Report March 27, 1956, Box 1, FF 2, Urban League Collection.
30 passage of statewide civil rights legislation. As will be discussed later in this study, t he civil rights coalition in 1950. 34 The Denver Unity Council reached the apex of its influence in 1947, when honored his campaign promise to the Council and appointed an eight member Interim Survey Committee on Human Relations to investigate and document racial and religious discrimination in the city. Mayor Newton appointed members of the Unity Council, ADL and Urban League to the committee, and named Unity Council co founder, Dean Paul Roberts as its chairman. 35 The following year Newton appointed a permanent Denver Committee on Human Relations (In 1951 the Denver City Council approved an ordinance that established a permanent Denver Commission on Human R elations .) 36 Denver was not alone. In the aftermath o f wartime race riots, local governments Dan W. Dodson, the director of curriculum and research at New Yo 34 Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunities, Taking Stock: A Final Report on the Campaign for a Fair Employment Practices Law for Colorado (Denver, 1951), 23 24. 35 Although women, including Dr. Prudence Bostwick and Louis Evans, played significant roles in the founding and leadership of the Denver Unity Council, in 1947 Denver Mayor Quigg Newton failed to Survey Committee on Human Relations, nor did Newton appoint an Asian or Latino American to the committee Original committee members were: Very Rev. Paul Roberts (St Don Calahan (National Opinion Research Center at the University of Denver); Tom Ewing (Denver Boys Inc.); Guy Fox (Denver Public Schools); Bishop Herbert M. Newell (former superintendent of Denver Catholic Schools); and Louis Sidman (regional director of the Tri Rocky Mountain Life role in the creation 36 Denver Commission on Human Relations, undated and untitled pamphlet, Box 35, FF 1660, James Atkins Collection
31 Relations noted the irony of the eruption of racial violence in the U.S. at the same time preserve democracy almost every large city was see thing with tension occasioned by racial and religious prejudice, Dodson observed. 37 By the late 1940s, in addition to established in Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, Pittsburgh, an d Seattle. 38 However, among the states of the Rocky Mountain West, Denver stood almost alone: by 1951 Colorado and South Dakota were the only states in the region with at least one municipal human relations agency in operation 39 Interim Committee member a nd ADL executive director Louis Sidman claimed that Denver was the first city in the United States to conduct a 946. 40 The creation of the perhaps war acceptance of the warnings from members of the human relations movement about the anti democratic dangers of racism. civil rights liberals. Inter im Committee, released late in 1947, ignited a contentious public discussion of the extent of prejudice and discrimination in Denver, and 37 Dan Journal of Negro Education Vol. 20, No. 3 (Summer, 1951): 398. 38 Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 27. 39 Dodson, 40 Rocky Mountain Life February, 1948, Box S4.B9, FF 19, DUC Collection.
32 The committee found discriminatory A criminal justice, entertainment and public and private recreational facilities. 41 In a guest editorial published in the Denver Post committee chairman Dean Paul Roberts urged the mayor to create a permanent city citizens in the past demanded agencies to take care of sanitation, traffic, safety and education of their childre n, so you would demand an agency charged with safeguarding your rights as a free citizen 42 Th ttee, along with c ivil rights liberals across the country, pushed city governments to protect the civil rights of their ci tizens as a basic matter of civic democracy. The Denver Star the popular black weekly paper human relations note of thanks to Mayor Newton and commend 43 In contrast, however, t he Denver Post Unity Council. The Post lambasted the co 44 The paper gave stark descriptions of two approaches to battling racial inequality. The which, according to the Post includ ed the civil rights liberals on the 41 Ibid. 42 B Denver Post December 1947, (date not visible), B ox 1, FF 2, Urban League Collection. 43 Denver Star December 6, 1947, p. 1. 44 Denver Post November 24, 1947, p. 10.
33 favored the enactment of civil rights legislation to fight discrimination. On the other hand f including the Pos s editorial staff believed that changed attitudes would result in changed behaviors, and therefore preferred the use over statutory prohibitions on discriminatory behavior. 45 The Post erred in relegating human relations committee to the ranks of the impractical and also in the need to sanction discriminatory behavior through legislation. The Post aches to battling racial discrimination was indeed prescient of a critical philosophical schism in the Colorado General Assembly that civil rights liberals would face in the coming decade as they pursued statewide civil rights legislation. However, the deb ate was more complex than the description offered by the Post Indeed, the paper should have included yet another approach on its list: the use of legislation that offered an appearance of racial progress yet was intentionally designed to be an ineffectiv e deterrent to discriminatory discrimination legislation over the course of the next decade, they would find themselves stymied by the Post s well as b y others who wanted to claim the mantle of racial progress while doing everything possible to maintain the status quo. Although the Post discriminatory behavior posed a real prob yet startling, development. Just three years earlier the Post had attacked the 45 Ibid.
34 the state senate for defeating an alien land measure 46 legislation position, how had the Post in 1947 arrived at the conclusion that racially bigoted beliefs were a problem at all, much less one in need of a solution? One in Denver to take the reigns of a moribund Denver Post 47 The Post publisher knew more than most about public education programs, having earlier served as head of the Office of War Information under President Franklin Roosevelt. Hoyt was a well connected man he counted Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, U.S. Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson, and General Dwight Eisenhower among his close friends. In 1944, TIME the OWI. 48 agazine ran an adulatory feature on the eye popping soiree Hoyt hosted to celebrate the Denver Post 49 ( Shortly after his arrival in Denver, Hoyt had christened the Post ) Within five years of outstanding editor. During his 24 year tenure at the paper, Hoyt earned national plaudits 46 Denver Post February 9, 1944, p. 2. In a rancorous editorial, the Post condemned the state senators who voted against the proposal to amend the state constitution to prohibit land ownership by have been beaten to death, starved to death and buried alive by Jap fiends, yet fifteen Colorado state senators insist that these yellow rats must continue to have and enjoy all the property rights which bona fide 47 Leonard a nd Noel, Denver: Mining Camp to Metropoli s 243. 48 TIME Magazine online January 17, 1944, accessed August 10, 2010, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,796307,00.html 49 TIME magazine, May 22, 1950, Box 31, FF 24, Palmer Hoyt Collection.
35 for the Denver Post and unabashedly placed himself at the center of th e political, social, and civil life of his western empire. 50 ace mattered to Hoyt albeit more for his de sire to interrupt the Cold War narrative of American racism fashioned by the Soviet Union and oth er critics of the U.S. than out of any sense of democratic morality. From his perch at the Post Hoyt wrote President Harry Truman in 1950, urging the president to support statehood for Hawaii and Alaska expressly for the message that statehood would and Central 51 H e even advised Truman of a possible gubernatorial candidate for Hawaii, a man of Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry whose appointment according to Hoyt, be a further blow at our e 52 Still, however nuanced his motivation, Hoyt did facilitate discussions of racism and discrimination in the Denver Post year series on racism and segregation in Denver. Palmer Hoyt also hired Japanese American reporter Bill Hosokawa after the end of World W ar II. Hosokawa had been imprisoned at 53 Hoyt was a power broker: his opinion mattered in Denver. His early disdain for effective statutory regulation would the coming battles over civil rights legislation. 50 Rocky Mountain News June 26, 1979, p. 4. 51 Palmer Hoyt to P resident Harry Truman, 26 December 1950, Box 31, FF 24, Hoyt Collection. 52 Ibid. 53 Both George Brown and Bill Hosokawa would achieve much public renown in Colorado. In 1974, Colorado vote rs Post Empire and authored several nationally acclaimed books on Japanese Americans Nikkei View: The Asian American Blog July 11, 2011, accessed August 31, 2011, http://www.nikkeiview.com/blog/2011/0 7/11/
36 The promi nence and influence of the ADL, D enver Unity Council and Urban League of Denver in the organized coalition of civil rights liberals that led the fight for anti discrimination legislation during t he 1940s and 1950s forces a question about the role of the Denver NAACP (and other predominantly black civil rights organization s in the city). Certainly the NAACP and individual members of the organ ization were involved with the Unity Council during the time period ( D r. Clarence Holmes, a co founder of the Denver NAACP, is the most notable example ). However available evidence strongly suggests that the NAACP did not wield significant organizational influence within these coalitions. One possible explanation for the relative marginalization of the NAACP might be racism within the white dominated coalition itself, yet that answer alone seems insufficient. P rofessionalization is likely one f actor that separated the local NAACP from the ADL, Unity Council and Urban League. Like the national A nti Defamation League the national NAACP professionalized during the 1940s. It established its storied legal arm, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1940, and in 1942 opened a lobbying bureau in Washington D.C. 54 Clarence Mitchell, an experienced journalist and former employee of the federal Fair Employment Commission began his legendary tenure as director of the NAACP Washington Bureau in 1950. The national office also established public relations and research departments. 55 I n Denver, t he local ADL and Urban League each opened t heir doors with salaried, professional directors; the Unity Council installed a paid 54 Manfred B erg, Ticket to Freedom: The NAACP and the Struggle for Black Political Integration (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005), 111 112. 55 Ibid.
37 director sometime during the late 1940s. 56 However, it appears that the local NAACP did not employ a salaried, professional director during this period. 57 The decision to professionalize local staff was determined, in large part, by the priorities of the national organization. During the 1940s and 1950s, enfranchising black voters in the South and stanching the flood of racist violence in the region became the op priorities. 58 Blacks in Denver (and throughout Colorado) could vote, and the violence and harassment suffered at the hands of the Denver Police Department w ere no match for the ritualized lynchings perpetrated in the southern states. Based on national pr iorities, Denver would not have warranted much attention from the national NAACP on either count. national NAACP over several decades the NAACP Legal Defense Fund compiled a legendary record of victories in federal court. The Denver NAACP also engaged in litigation ( and public protest s) that presented a direct challenge to de facto ra cial segregatio n and exclusion in Denver. 59 In contrast, the ADL, the Denver Unity Council and Urban League pursued public education, negotiation and ultimately legislation. 56 Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunities, Meeting Notes, December 18, 1940, Box 14, FF 1, ADL Collection. 57 Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunities, Taking Stock: A Final Report on the Campaign for a Fair Employment Law for Colorado (Denver, 1951), 72. 58 Berg, Ticket to Freedom 4. 59 In a much covered case, Dr. Clarence Holmes, a co founder of the Denver NAACP and likely the most well known member during the first half of the twentieth century donated to charity the money he received in settlement of a lawsuit that he and his wife, Colfax, filed against a Fort Morgan restaurant for refusing to serve them. Denver Post July 10, 1952, p. 15. Samuel Menin, an officer in both the Denver NAACP and Denver Cosmopolitan Club during the 1940s and 1950s, filed many civil rights lawsuits on behalf of the local NAACP. See the Samuel David Menin Papers, 1931 1984Fd#, Auraria Library Archives and Special Collections, Denver, Colorado (hereafter cited as the Samuel Menin Collection).
38 Of course, these strategies were not mutually exclusive like the NAACP, the Unity Council also pursued ligation in the case of suspected violations of the state public a ccommodations law. The NAACP also engaged in public education efforts. However, the differing priorities of the NAACP, ADL, Denver Unity Council and Urban League are noted here in an attempt to explain the former organizational presence in Cold War civil rights legislative coalition.
39 CHAPTER III BLACK AND WHITE: 1 The Denver Star, July 19, 1941 2 Jackson v. City and County of Denver (1942) George Gallious Ross, Jr. finally got his day in court, but the Colorado Supreme Court decision issued on March 9, 1942 was not the justice Ross had in mind. George Ross and fellow counsel Samuel D. Menin, had hoped to persuade the court to dismiss the vagrancy convictions of their clients, James and Lydia Jackson, and to declare an d declared that such marriages were attempting to marry in violation of the law, or attempting to solemnize a prohibited marriage faced imprisonment a fine or both 3 address to Congre ss in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt had declared the sacred primacy of individual freedom. In 1942, the Colorado S upreme 1 r, July 19, 1941, p. 4. 2 Jackson et al v. City and County of Denver 124 P.2d 240, 241 (Colo, 1942). 3 Harmon Mothershead, the statute was first approve d prior to 1861, the year that Congress officially Colorado Magazine July 1963, 214. The Colorado Supreme in the Jackson v. City of Denver decision dated the statutory ban to 1864. Jackson 197.
40 ourt refused to extend that democratic principle to James and Lydia Jackson Even a s Nazi Germany threatened to overrun Europe, t he court upheld the constitutionality of the Although every state in the West had proscribed interracial marriages at some miscegenation laws in effect in 1942, the year of the Jackson decision, Colorado was just persons, but w ith the exception of Colorado and North Dakota, they also generally included prohibitions on marriages between whites and a smorgasbord of Asian nationalities, and less frequently, American Indians. 4 Even more unus u miscegenation ban did not cover the entire state. It expressly exempted from its coverage a vaguely defined section of southern Colorado. 5 According to Jerry Kopel, a former Colorado state legislator, the law split the city of Pueblo in half: in that section of the city 4 North Dakota and Colorado limited their proscriptions against intermarriage to blacks and white persons. with prohibitions against interracial marriage in effect in 1942 were Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Montana; Nevada; North Dakota; Oregon; South Dakota; Utah; Washington and Wyoming. New Mexico Wallenstein, Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law: An American History (New York: Palgrave Ma cmillan, 2002), 144 145; Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally 118. All of the states with that many of these legislatures proscribed from marrying white persons included American Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Hindus, Japanese, Koreans, Mongolians, and native Hawaiians. Pascoe, What Comes Naturally 2. 5 he people living in that portion of the state acquired from Mexico from marrying according to the custom of
41 that lay so uth of the Arkansas River, interracial marriages were legal, but north of the river such marriages were banned. 6 Denver police arrested James and Lydia Jackson in their home an d charged them with 7 arriage statute, and convicted the couple of living together without the sanction of a legal marriage and thus living together 8 defendants, a colored man and a white woman, were arrested while living together as though married, hence the charge 9 The 5 2 court majority concluded white person to marry a fortiori, a black man and white woman who lived together and la w marriage statute, constituted a prima facie case of immoral living. 10 the black weekly, the Denver Star, the paper barely noted the Jackson ruling, 6 Pueblo Chieftain O nline March 9, 2008, accessed April 3, 2009, http://www.chieftain.com Jerry Kopel served in the Colorado House of uly 22, 1010, http://www.leg.state.co.us/lcs/leghist.nsf/ 7 The Colorado Lawyer Vol. 34, No. 1, 2005: 64. 8 Ibid. 9 Jackson et al, 124 P 2d at 241. 10 Ibid.
42 summarizing it in a sing le paragraph. 11 The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News appear not to have bothered to publish news of the decision at all. However, i n the past, both of major daily papers had published accounts of legal proceedings involving interracial c ouples. In 1884, for instance, the News published a story about the and Rev. Mr. Hodges, the man who had married the couple. 12 Unlike black men living in a southern or border state, a black man accused in fact or fancy of involvement with a white woman in Denver usually did not have to worry about escaping a lynch mob. 13 However, the absence of systemic lethal violence did not diminish the white supremacist assumption i population that required the theoretical protecti statute, since blacks were free to marry Asians, Indians and Latinos Historian Peggy 14 That over time the state legislature declined to add other racial or 11 Marriage Law Denver Star March 14, 1942, p. 1. 12 anuary 5, 1884; January 11, 1884, Rocky Mountain D aily News 13 In Denver in 1922, the Ku Klux Klan so intimidated a young black man named Ward Gash over allegations that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a white woman that Gash left the state. However, Denver District Attorney Phillip Van Cise convened a grand jury to determine whether the Klan had violated any laws in the Gash matter. Leonard and Noel, Denver 197 198; Phil Goodstein, In the Shadow of the Klan: When the KKK Ruled Denver 1920 1926 (Denver: New Social Publications, 2006), 49 51. 14 Pascoe, What Comes Naturally 7 8.
43 ethnic categories to its no marry list suggests that although other groups experienced periods of intense hostility and di scrimination in Colorado, the state legislature never considered intermarriage with members of these groups to present the grave threat to the 15 the same revulsion toward African Americans as did the segregated rail car law at issue in the United States Supreme Plessy v. Ferguson decision. As the first Justice John Marshall Harlan observed in his famous dissent in Plessy, the rail car statute was premised on the 16 Colorado marriage prohibition reflected a belief that black persons as a group were so profoundly inferior that no white person should be legally permitted to marry one. In 1913, another miscegenation drama captured the attention of the Denver Post ront page headline brimmed with the kind of race addled excess designed to Blood will be drawn in court to prove that woman is a Negress Post intoned omino usly 17 However readers soon learned that no one proposed to hurt or kill the attorney and hence the legality of her marriage. Mrs. Nora Harrington Frazier stood accused of miscegenation 15 context of the western region: Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming banned Asian white intermarriage. Further, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington also prohibited marriages between American Indians and whites. Pascoe, What Comes Naturally 118. 16 Plessy v. Ferguson 163 U.S. 537, 538 (1896). 17 Denver Post August 18, 1913, p. 1.
44 of being white and married to Frank Frazier 18 To avoid a criminal conviction, Mrs. Frazier had to convince Judge Benjamin Stapleton that she was not white 19 : a person who, although grandparent). In certain states, that one black great grandparent was enough to r e nder an otherwise white looking person, black. 20 Colorado white; officials charged with policing the interracial marriage ban were on their own when determining racial identity According to the Post officials license office had initially refused to issue a license to the Fraziers based on the 21 The Post reported that the area 22 fice issued the Fraziers a marriage license. Some time after the ceremony Mrs. Frazier was 23 matter Stapleton was not easily convinced. James Harris requeste d that the judge allow 18 Ibid. 19 In 1923, Benjamin Stapleton was elected mayor of Denver with considerable support from the Ku Klux Klan. Leonard and Noel, Denver 198 onal Airport bore his name. 20 In Plessy v. Ferguson the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed this description of plaintiff Homer Plessy, the was a citizen of the United States and a resident of the State of Louisiana, of mixed descent, in the proportion of seven eighths Caucasian and one Plessy v. Ferguson 53 8. 21 Denver Post August 18, 1913, p. 1. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid.
45 a surgeon to draw blood from his client. The Post reported that in addition to attorney report assured readers that the procedure would reveal t racial identity. 24 or asked another way: e her? The Post seems to have left its could be found in the paper. However, a scathing article published in the Denver Star offered a hint of the ultimate outcome of the case. 25 The paper condemned the 26 The Star account also intimated that Judge Stapleton might have 27 The paper quoted Stapleton 28 claim of a black racial identity as her ultimate disgrace Almost thirty years after the Frazier case, James and Lydia Jackson stood accused of livi day in court. 29 Ross had helped found the local NAACP, and on occasion argued cases on 24 Ibid. 25 Denver Star August 23, 1913, p. 1. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. The New York Age one of the leading black newspapers of the early twentieth century, published a New York Age August 21, 1913, p. 1. 29 Denver Star July 19, 1941, p. 4.
46 behalf of the organization (as did lawyer, Samuel Menin), and was quite disappointed that the civil rights group wanted no involvement in the Jackson een made some objection because of the type of case involved by 30 It is likely that the Denver NAACP, like its national parent organization, did not want its name associated with an interracial marriage case. In her study o f miscegenation law in the United States Peggy Pascoe contends that the national NAACP avoided involvement with miscegenation cases during the 1940s and 1950s because it feared the impact of a likely loss in court. 31 The group was also loathe to give south ern racists easy ammunition with which to impugn the 32 N.A.A.C.P does not care to handle the appeal, The Star will get some Five Points Civil 33 bar exam in 1906, two years after earning a law degree from Howard University Law School in Washington D.C. He wrote for the Denver Star for years, and ultimately 34 During the 1930s Ros s had also served on 30 Ibid. 31 Pascoe, What Comes Naturally 202 203. 32 Ibid. 33 Denver Star July 19, 1941, p. 4. 34 David Erickson, Early Justice and the Formation of the Colorado Bar (Denver: CLE in Colorad o, 2008), 105.
47 35 ( The commission was a private organization of Denver residents focused on battling discrimination against blacks in Denver. ) 36 Samuel David Menin Westminster College of Law in 1928. 37 (The Westminster College of Law offered an evening curriculum. In 1957, it merged merged with the University of Denver College of Law.) 38 Menin a dogged white trial lawyer with a decidedly left political sensibility, often partnered with the Colorado American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) a nd frequently represented black and brown civil rights plaintiffs and criminal d efendants. 39 He also represented Japanese American internees who refused induction into the U.S. military during World War II. 40 During the 1940s and 1950s Menin served as treasurer of the Denver Cosmopolitan Club and held numerous positions in the Denve frequently accused him of being a communist sympathizer, due to his trial work on behalf of the ACLU, NAACP, N ational Lawyers Guild, and the Denver Civil Rights Congress. 41 During the mid 1950 s, Menin represented several leaders of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, including union president John Clark and secretary treasurer Maurice E. Travis, on charges of violating the anti communist provisions of the 35 thesis, University of Colorado Denver, 1995) 123. 36 Ibid., 120 121. 37 38 http://www.law.du.edu/index.php/about/du law history 39 In 1950, the House Un Kermit L. Hall, ed., The Oxford Companion to American Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 573. 40 Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives Vol. 23, No. 3 (Fall, 1991), accessed May 16, 2011, http://www.Resisters.com 41 Biographical Note, Samuel Menin Collection.
48 Taft Hartley Act. 42 Menin also defended a celebrated group of seven individuals in Denver accused of violating the Smith Act. 43 miscegenation statute violated the E qual P rotection clause of the Four teenth Amendment, and that the ban was unconstitutionally vague due to the practical difficulty involved in 44 The two attorneys were headed straight into a constitutional brick wall. In her influential essay on American miscegenation law, Peggy Pascoe maintained that most lawyers faced with challenging contest their constitutionality as the U.S Supreme Court seem ed to have slammed the door shut on that argument in its 1883 decision in Pace v. Alabama In Pace the Court reasoned that the miscegenation law at issue and its consequent penalties applied equally to both parties 45 Pascoe contends that rather than hit this insuperable wall, experienced lawyers usually tried to prove th at th eir clients had been classified into the wrong racial group Indeed, this was the strategy James Harris employed in his defense of Nora Frazier in 1913. 42 Congress passed the Taft Hartley Act in 1947 in an attempt to weaken the power of organized labor. One rs to attest by oath and affidavit that they were not members of the Communist Party, nor supporters of the party. Kermit L. Hall, ed., The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 10. 43 Rocky Mountain News November 15, 1964, copy of article obtained from Fd. 6, Samuel Menin Collection. The 1940 Smith Act criminalized teaching or members of the Communist Party USA or those who expressed or intimated agreement with the party. Hall, Oxford Guide 75. 44 The Fourteenth Amendment was one of three amendments to the U.S. Constitution ratified in the five year perio clause prohibits a state government from denying the equal protection of its laws to any person within the 45 Court Cases and Ideologies of Race in Twentieth Century America, Journal of American History Vol. 83. No. 1 (June, 1996): 50 51. Pace v. Alabama 106 U.S. 583 (1883),
49 In the Jackson case, the 5 2 arguments. Applying the standard charted by Pace the majority noted that the marriage ban prohibited both James and Lydia Jackson from marrying the other, and that both had been charged with vagrancy. The majo legal fiction by deeming the equal application of the Colorado miscegenation law to both of the parties to be a racially neutral exercise, and thus constitutionally permissible. 46 Jackson 47 The majority side because the statute failed to define the terms Negro, Mulatto, or white, the law was unconstitutionally vague. The Court concluded that since James Jackson had testified that fit within its stated proscriptions. 48 Justice Otto Bock authored a dissent in which Justice Benjamin Hilliard without a warrant. 49 truction of the Fourteenth Denver vagrancy ordinance. 50 Young Robert E. Allen detes ted the Jackson decision. Bob Allen w as just 18 years old when his family moved to Colorado in 1941 after his father took a position with 46 Jackson v. City and County of Denver 241. 47 Ibid. 48 Ibid, 241 242. 49 Ibid., 243. 50 Ibid., 242.
50 the University of Denver. 51 Allen, who considered himself a New Deal Democrat, was incensed that the police would invad that the legislature had criminalized their attempted common law marriage. 52 Bob Allen winning election to the Colorado Ho use of Representatives in 1950. 51 Robert Allen interview with author, December 5, 2009, Denver, Colorado. 52 Ibid.
51 CHAPTER IV S PUBLIC SPACES unjust and pernicious habit of segregating colore d citizens into the most undesirable tickets to any part of your theater or to practice unfair seating on account of race or color is an open violation of the laws of C olorado, to which we will have to appeal if 1 Denver NAACP Flyer racial discrimination in public accommodations had not been doing m uch for most black Denverites. The statute, first approved by the state legislature in 1895, guaranteed equal access to inns, restaurants, barber shops, theaters, public transportation and other accommodations 2 The l aw offered both civil and criminal remedies : a complainant could file a civil lawsuit and if successful receive up to $500 from the party found to have violated the statute. 3 The criminal provision offered two penalties: a fine of up to $300 or imprisonm ent for up to one year. 4 However, under the criminal provision, a complain ing party was at the mercy of the local district proceedings, the local district attorney co uld (and regularly did) simply decline to investigate or prosecute a complaint. 1 Denver NAACP flyer, undated, Box 2, FF 20, Holmes Collection. 2 entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of all accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of inns, restaurants, eating houses, barber sho ps, public conveyances on land or water, theaters and all other places of public accommodation and amusement, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law Ch. 35 Â§1. 3 Ibid Â§2 4 Ibid.
52 In reality, the Colorado Civil Rights Law ( the public accommodations statute was Civil Rights Law ) did not prevent owners of public accommodatio ns from segregating or otherwise discriminating against people of color, and in some cases, Jews. Of course, not every restaurant, store, theater, or motel in Denver refused to serve African Americans; but enough did that enforcement of the law remained a consistent demand of the NAACP, Denver Unity Council, ADL, Urban League, and other civil rights organizations in Denver throughout the 1940s If it seemed unlikely that the Colorado legislature in 1895 would have criminalized the practice of race and color discrimination in public accommodations, the Stuart, a blac k man born born in Barbados in 1849. 5 Stuart earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1874, and made his way to Denver in 1891, the same year he was admitted to legal practice in Colorado. 6 Three years later Arapahoe County with a get out the sent the Republican Stuart to the Colorado House of Representatives. 7 At the time, Stuart was only the second black man to have serve d in the state House 8 He served only two accommodations bill. Representative Stuart gained majority support for the measure with the assistance of Barney L. Ford, an influential Republican and African American a well 5 David Erickson, Early Justice and the Formation of the Colorado Bar 102 103. 6 Ibid., 103. 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid.
53 known Colorado businessman who had made a fortune as a hotelier, and barbershop and restaurant owner 9 Despite the law, African Americans in Denver still found themselves excluded from most public businesses, recreational faciliti es and entertainment venues. 10 In 1913, The Denver Star 11 That same year, an order by Denver Park Commission er Otto Thum banned black and The Star. 12 Later that year, the Star 13 T he paper tallied the visual evidence detailing the Jim Crow signage displayed by various businesses : th street below Champa Street Champa Street Nigger head bullets The latter sign also featured a picture of a black face painted on a lump of coal. 14 The Star demanded that Denver blacks challenge the de facto segregation in various public facilities by heeding the advice of Dr. 15 9 Atkins, Human Relations in Colorado, 113. 10 Rocky Mountain Life February, 1948, Box S4.B9, FF Rocky Mountain News November 23, 1947, p. 5; Taylor, Racial Frontier 204. 11 Denver Star January 11, 1913, p. 1 12 Denver Star July 26, 1913, p. 1. In the article, the Star mistakenly referred to Otto Thum as Mayor Thum. 13 Denver Star September 20, 1913, p. 1. 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid.
54 ( The Crisis was the official ma gazine of the national NAACP.) Just t wo years later, Denver had a local branch of the NAACP. Clarence Holmes, home on summer break from dentistry studies at Howard University, George W. Gross and attorney George G. Ross helped lead the effort to bring a N AACP chapter to the city. 16 Ross, who would later become editor of t he Denver Star litigated several early cases for the Denver NAACP. He successfully fought an attempt to segregate the swimming pool at Morey Junior High School, and won an injunction fro m the Colorado Supreme Court against a proposal to exclude African American students from recreational activities at Manual High School. 17 occasional lawsuits brought by the NAA CP, racial segregation and discrimination in public businesses and other facilities continued in Denver. Nancelia Jackson moved to the city with her parents as a two year old in 1926. 18 Jackson remembered visiting her Drugstore, where Scott worked the soda fountain during the 1930s. Jackson recalled that she and other family members had to eat their ice 19 Hotel and motel owners also grandfather, William Pitts, bought a plot of land to build a cabin in what would become Lincoln Hills, an 1100 acre mountain resort area for African Americans in 16 Laura M. Mauck, Five Points Neighborhood of Denver (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2001), 43; Leonard and Noel, Denver and other opponents forced at least one public hearing on the issue and delayed the showing of the film at least twice. See the remarkable series of articles on the protest effort published in the Denver Star, November 6, 1915 January 1, 1916. 17 Atkins, Human Relations in Colorado 115. 18 Nancelia Jackson interview with auth or, January 10, 2010, Denver, Colorado. 19 Ibid.
55 ional lodge west of the Mississippi for middle 20 The Lincoln Hills Development Company, the brainchild of two African American men, E.C. Regnier and R.E. Ewalt, sold individual lots for $40. 21 Ja ckson reported that national celebrities, including Count Basie, Lena Horne, and Duke Ellington, denied service at white owned hotels, often lodged at Lincoln Hills when visiting or performing in Denver 22 By custom, blacks had long been excluded from the public lake at Washington Park. 23 When a group of African Americans, with the enthusiastic support of the local Young Communist League, attempted to swim in Washington Park Lake on a hot August day in 1932, they were attacked by a mob of stone throwing wh ites and white policemen. 24 A report on the melee in the Denver Post the 25 The Rocky Mount ain News denounced the black Communist propaganda iken claimed 26 20 Ibid. 21 Gary Jackson and Jane Taylor for Beckwourth Outdoors, Our Time Has Come (Denver: 2010), p. 1. See also Ronald J. Stephens, La Wanna M. Larson, and the Black American West Museum, African America n s of Denver (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2008), 74. 22 Nancelia Jackson interview. 23 Goodstein, Phil Goodstein, Soup Lines to Front Lines: Denver During the Depression and World War II 1927 1947 (Denver: New Social Publications, 2007), 306 308; Leonard an d Noel, Denver, 366 367. 24 Denver Post August 18, 1932, p. 1. 25 Ibid. 26 Rocky Mountain News August 18, 1931, p. 1. Curiously, the weekly Colorado Statesman did not mention the Washington Park conflagration in either its August 20 or August 27, 1932 editions. Issues of the Denver Star for that time period are not available.
56 A decade later young African Americans and other youths of color tried unsuccessfully to gain access to another Denver pool, this time at the downtown public bathhouse at Twentieth and Curtis Streets. The Denver Star reported that city poli cy and whites on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 27 Department stores were another sore point for African Americans despite t he Star tests. Nanceli a Jackson recounted that downtown stores had the most 28 The late Elvin Caldwell, who became the first African American elected to the Denver City Council in 1955 after having served four years in the state House of Representatives, recalled that the Denver Dry and May D & F department stores also prohibited black women from trying on clothes. 29 Most of Denver movie theaters se gregated black patrons. Marie Greenwood, 12 years old when she and her parents moved to Denver in 1925 from Phoenix, Arizona, recalled that a few theaters did not admit blacks at all, while others forced African Americans to sit in undesirable seats up and the usher that he had work to do. 30 Elvin Caldwell remembered sitting in the so called the balcony area that movie theaters reserved for black patrons. 31 27 ic Swimming Denver Star July 12, 1947, p. 1. 28 Nancelia Jackson interview. 29 Rebels Remembered 30 Marie Greenwood interview with author, June 11, 2010, Denver, Colorado. 31 Rebels Remembered DVD, Disc One.
57 Blacks were also barred from area a musement parks Marjorie Gilbert arrived in Denver in 1943 A white woman who grew up on a farm in Iowa Gilbert was thrilled by unted a trip with friends to see Count Basie perform at Lakeside Amusement Park during which s he witnesse d a gate 32 At the time G ilbert was unaware that after playing for a whites finest downtown hotels likely refused to lodge the internationally renowned Basie. If the group of blacks t hat Marjorie Gilbert observed at the Lakeside concert had public accommodations law they almost certainly would have found themselves disappointed with the result. I n 1943, the Denver Star protested Denver District Attorney black World War I veteran, that the only place Oliver could be served was in the 33 Acco rding to the Star because the statute afforded his client a choice of civil or criminal remedies, Burke felt no obligation to bring criminal charges against the restaurant owner. 34 The Star condemned the district att access, invoked the sacrifice of the black Americans who at that moment were risking life 32 Marjorie Gilbert interview with author, April 3, 2010, Denver, Colorado. 33 Denver Star J uly 3, 1943, p. 1. 34 Ibid.
58 the i freedoms and bravely running a good chance of dying for America and Colorado 35 Just one year before the Star published its letter to D.A. Burke, a group of civil rights advoc ates established the Denver chapter of the Committee of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1942 36 CORE used testing to identify discriminating businesses. Typically, the group would send two groups of volunteers one black and one white to a targeted business. A business (like Lakeside Amusement park) that served or admitted the white test group but refused the black volunteers might then face direct action campaigns by ses. 37 If a affiliated attorneys might initiate a civil lawsuit. 38 In fact, the Denver Post reported that a record number of public accommodations lawsuits were filed in cour t s in 1947 The paper attributed the increase to and especially black World War II veterans who were increasingly demanding that they be 39 35 Ibid. The Star my Auxiliary Corps in November 1942. Crain was the first African American woman from Denver to join the WAAC. Major Crain retired from the Army in 1962.Box 1, FF Bios, Oleta L. Crain Collection (MS ARL48), Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, Denver Public Library. An estimated 6,520 black women served in the WAC during the war (the WAAC became accessed March 10, 2011, http://www.womensmemorial.org/education ) 36 Taylor, Racial Frontier 283 284. 37 Marie Greenwood interview, and Taylor, Racial Frontier 283 284. 38 Atkins, Human Relations in Colorado 120 121. According to James Atkins, Carle Whitehead a nd other lawyers affiliated with the Colorado ACLU often provided free representation to civil rights plaintiffs. 39 Denver Post December 21, 1947, p. 1
59 The Post A n editorial in the paper accused accused the 40 The Post caricature that it had deployed ten years earlier after the white ri ot at Washington Park roles of defenders of racial equality and get themselves and their pawns embroiled in se of breaking down 41 In a full page guest column published in the Post CORE defended its 42 The group also attempted to refute the accusation that its white members were exploiting Afri can Americans by known and respected Dr. Clarence Holmes. 43 The local contretemps between the Post and CORE reflected the larger national conflict Post professed to want to change bigoted attitudes, while CORE, more concerned about the victims of discrimination than the perpetrators of discriminatory acts, wanted to employ the power of the state to punish racist behavior. African Americans were not the only veterans experiencing a new post war militancy. Luis Rovira enrolled at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1946 on the G.I. Bill. 44 Rovira, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a white mother and Puerto Rican father, served in the 102 nd Infantry Division, and fought in Belgium France, Holland and Germany. 45 Rovira was elected CU student body president in 1947, as a first year law 40 Denver Post December 26, 1947, p. 6. 41 Ibid. 42 Denver Post January 3, 1948, p. 8. 43 Ibid. 44 Luis Rovira interview with author, January 22, 2010, Denver, Colorado. 45 Ibid.
60 student. 46 The future c hief j ustice of the Colorado Supreme Court remembered his anger on the campus in the 47 Rovira recounted filing a lawsuit against a Boulder barber shop owner who refused to cut the hair of a black CU student. Rovira, then a senior law student, had discovered that Buff Bar ber Shop owner Fred Hall refused service to Edward Johnson, a graduate student from Jamaica. 48 Before filing suit, Rovira engaged in a bit of CORE type testing, sending Johnson back to the barber shop accompanied by two white students. The white men witness ed the shop owner tell 49 Rovira filed suit, alleging that the shop owner had violated the state public accommodations law. 50 After the jury deadlocked, a coalition of CU students groups launched a boycott of those Boulder barbershops that refused to provide service to blacks a boycott that Rovira recall ed 51 The war had helped create a new generation of activists. Some engaged in d irect protest actions, still others transformed college campuses, and some used courtrooms to advance their fight against racial inequity, and still others like Luis Rovira did all three. Leonard Perlmutter editor of the Silver and Gold the official news paper of the CU chapter of the National Student Association reflected on the influence that Rovira and 46 Ibid. 47 American Students Org anize: Founding the National Student Association After World War II: An Anthology and Source Book, ed. Eugene G. Schwartz (Praeger Publishers, 2006), 1006. Rovira was first appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1979, and served as 48 Luis Rovira interview. 49 Ibid. 50 Luis Rovira interview. According to Rovira, in 1950, Colorado per mitted senior law school students to prosecute lawsuits in the now defunct justice of the peace courts. 51 Luis Rovira interview.
61 And their influence 52 m to fight racial discrimination after his return home. Another veteran of color, George Brown, would publish a landmark series of Denver Post during the early 1950s. In his reporting, Brown frequently asserted tha t discrimination and de facto racial segregation in Denver, as elsewhere, were albatrosses around the neck of the United States in its Cold War contest with the Soviet Union. 53 How would the war service and activism of veterans like George Brown, Billy Port standing and regularly 52 American Students Organize 999. 53 Denver Post September 25, 1951, p. 1.
62 CHAPTER V THE FIFT H FREEDOM : THE RIGHT TO A JOB F ifth F freedom: t he 1 Denver Unity Council campaign pamphlet, 1947 international situation. The killing and burial of this bill will be beamed by the Soviet 2 W. Miller Barbour, Denver Urban League and Colorado Committee for Civil Rights Legislation, 1949. director told the Colorado Statesman that if the bakery hired African American women 3 What especially galled the Statesman 4 For blacks in Denver, employment discrimination or outright exclusion was the rule rather than the exception. Elizabeth Pitt Scott moved to Denver in 1926 with her husband Paris, their youn g son John, and two year old daughter Nancelia. Although Mrs. Scott had earlier earned an education degree from Lincoln College in Missouri, in Denver 5 At the time, the Denver Public 1 Denver Unity Council, A Fair Employment Practices Act for Colorado: FEPC Depends Upon You undated, Box S4,B9, FF 15, DUC Collection. Although the pamphlet is not dated, it was almost certainly legislature first approved FEPC legislation in 1945. 2 Colorado Statesman, April 9, 1949, p. 1. 3 Untitled article, Colorado Statesman December 2, 1944, p. 1. 4 Ibid. 5 Nancelia Jackson interview with author, January 10, 2010.
63 School district refused to hire black teachers. 6 In 1930 almost 89 percent of working black women in Denver were employed in domestic service; 3.4% labored in manufacturing and another 3.4% were employed in professional service. 7 According to a national Urban League stu dy of black men in Denver in 1929, almost two thirds were employed as laborers or porters. 8 World War II served to highlight the discrimination and outright exclusion blacks experienced in the military and civil defense work. During the war years co untless of black military personnel, but the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News had remained comparatively silent on the issue. In 1945, however, News columnist Lee Casey 9 Casey was incr edulous that at a time when the United States was experiencing such a shortage of military nurses that the Roosevelt administration was rumored to be c onsidering drafting civilian s to meet the demand, the armed services utilized the services of a mere 308 black nurses. Worse, 6 Integration ey Branch, 1915 Urbananalysis Vol. 2, No. 4, July August 1953, Box 21, FF 2258, James Atkins Collection. 7 Taylor, In Search of the Racial F rontier 224. 8 Urbananalysis Vo. 2, No. 4, July August, 1953, p.1, James Atkins Collection, Box 52, FF 2257. The 1929 national Urban League study was commissioned by the Denver Interracial Commission, a private organization established in 1924 to fight discrimination against African Americans. For more on the 130. 9 Rocky Mountain News February 6, 1945, DPL Clip ping File, 1940 1949
64 10 Casey contended that the issue was one of service and citizenship, although he fices of black men, rather than on the ir own contributions to the war effort. enough to fight and die alongside other citizens. Certainly Negro girls should be good enough to give wounded Americans of any race the care that will s 11 The following year, the Denver NAACP demanded that the Colorado State Nurses 12 Blacks also faced discrimination in the huge civilian defense industries. Although the lure of federal em and 1950, large numbers of African Americans found themselves excluded from white collar and skilled public and private employment. 13 In the early 1940s the Remington Ordnance ammunition plant created thousands of jobs for people living in and near Denver, but in 1942 t he Denver Star excoriated plant officials for limiting the 14 War service raised post war employment expectations for many African Americans. In 1947, W. Miller Barbour, the first executive secretary of the Denver Urban war employment expectations in an interview published in the Rocky Mountain News What the average Negro wants right now is a 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Rocky Mountain News October 19, 1946, DPL Clipping File, 1940 1949. 13 The now de commissioned Lowry Air Force Base opened in 1938; Buckley Field, now Buckley Air Force Base, in 1942; the federal finance center opened in northeast Denver in 1950. Leonard and Noel, Denver 220 221, 232. 14 Denver Star March 14, 1942, p. 1.
65 15 As small but growing cadre of black profe ssionals. Yet, despite those heightened expectations, the majority of black women and men in Denver continued to be employed in low paying service and domestic jobs. The C ommittee on Human Relations reported in 1947 that of the 189 Denver employer s who employed African Americans, two thirds of those black employees labored in unskilled positions, and employed in unskilled or menial labor positions 16 As the continued opposition of southern white congressmen made the creation of a permanent federal fair employment commission impossible, civil rights liberals in Denver (and throughout the United States) began to concentrate on securing enactment of FEPC laws at the state and local levels 17 Natio nal organizations with legal, public education and research departments trained their sights on drafting model state legislation and lobbying for passage of fair employment measures; as a result, state legislatures began to enact FEPC statutes. 18 New York and New Jersey were the first to pass state level fair employment laws in 1945, the same year that the Denver Unity 15 Rocky Mountain News May 25, 1947, p. 35. The Denver Urban League also included women who had worked in clerical positions during the war among its gro up of post war displaced workers for whom the League advocated job training. Urban League of Denver, Industrial Relations Report January 1950, p. 5. Box 52, FF 2258, James Atkins Collection. 16 Louis Sidman, Denver Post December 17, 1947, p. 10. 17 Patterson, Grand Expectations 141 79; Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 89. 18 Historian Stuart Svonkin charts the influence of Jewi sh advocacy organizations, including the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, and American Jewish Congress on the civil rights coalitions that lobbied states to pass fair employment legislation during the 1940s and 1950s in Jews Against Prejudice 88.
66 Council organized its first documented campaign for a statewide fair employment statute in Colorado. 19 Fair employment advocates in Denver began to argue that the ability to work and editorial published in the Denver Post ADL executive director Louis Sidman, also a member of the Denver Unity Commission and the Mayor Interim Committee on Human a living is one of the basic democratic principles. Wha equal membership in society entitles the individual to an equal voice in the control of his government; it must also give him the right to enjoy the benefits of society and contribute 20 During the New Deal, the federal government enmeshed itself in the daily lives of millions of Americans through programs that sought to guarant ee a safety net of individual and family economic security Furthering the notion of the government as an activist guarantor of individual economic well being, in his 1944 State of the Union address, President Franklin Roosevelt announced an expansive list of economic rights including the right to 19 Mas in state legislatures in the United States. Ibid. 20 Louis Sidman, Denver P ost, December 17, 1947, p. 10
67 which every American was entitled. 21 Historian Thomas Sugrue argues that the New Deal ed many Americans to view the federal government as an active security. 22 In pursuit of statutory racial equality during the 1940s, civil rights liberals vil rights coalition labored to apply that re interpretation of governmental power to state and local government. Indeed, the Denver Unity Council declared that individual economic security was a human right and a cornerstone of a demo cratic society. 23 statute during the 1940s. 24 During its first campaign in 1945, t he Denver Unity Council brandished the war service of men of color like a battle flag The Council argued that the sacrifices of these soldiers entitled them to fulfilling employment when they returned home to Colorado. of them? Will, say, Joe Martinez and Sam Naguchi, a nd other Americans with brown skins or yellow skins find jobs as easily as their white comrades? Should C olorado employers or labor organization discriminate against the 21 Presidential Library and Museum online, accessed January 24, 2012, http://fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/stateoftheunion.html In an effort to keep southern white congressmen Civil Rights Journal of American History Vol. 91, No. 3 (March, 2005): 1241 1242. 22 Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (New York: Random House, 2008), xvi xvii. 23 Denver U nity Council, A Fair Employment Practices Act for Colorado campaign pamphlet, 1947, Box S4.B9, FF 15, DUC Collection. 24 Collection.
68 boys who do come home? If you think all citizens of Colorado should have a square deal in getting a job both now and after the war is over, then give your support to S.B. 202, the proposed S tate Fair Employment Practices Act 25 The Council lobbied the Colorado General Assembly to approve its FEPC measure, Senate Bill 202. If passed, the proposal would have established a new independent state agency to administer the fair employment statute. This requirement was across the United States, who believed that a FEPC statut achieved when enforced by civil rights profess ionals with a commitment to fair employment principles, rather than by indifferent or even hostile state employees who happened to have enforcement responsibility thrust upon them by the general assembly. 26 The proposed state fair employment law appeared to enjoy the support of many also enjoyed available evidence does not indicate whether African America ns on the whole exercised significant influence within the organized fair employment coalition. Many gathered for a large rally at Zion Baptist Church during the 1945 legislative session, including members of the Denver NAACP, the Denver Unit of the March on Washington Movement, the local chapter of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Shorter AME Community 25 Denver Unity Council, The Proposed State Fair Employment Practices Act FEPC campaign flyer, 1945, home almost certainly points to World War II, especially when read together with the minutes of the 26
69 Church and the Denver Colored Civic Association. 27 State Sen. Arthur Brooks a co sponsor of Senate bill 202, and a liberal Denver Republican, expla ined the measure to the support both the state proposal and United States Senate Bill 101, a federal proposal that would have established a permanent national fair employment practices commission. Neither the state nor federal bill survived. During th e second FEP campaign in 1947 the Denver Unity Council entwined its argument for a state fair employment law with a vision of a world of free peoples living in peace, security and opportunity a vision famously offered by President Franklin Roosevelt in ongress in 1941 The Council labeled the 28 The Unity Council bolstered its call for a state FEPC law with results from its survey of 36 Denver companies. According to the Council, out of more than 21,000 employees, only 612 were 27 Colorado Statesman March 24, 1945, p. 1. 28 Denver Unity Council, A Fair Employment Practices Act Depends Upon You campaign pamphlet, Box S4.B9, FF 15, DUC Collection. Although this pamphlet is undated, its reference to the FEPC bills enacted fair employment campaign. That same year the Council also sponsored an unsuccessful measure to amend articulated an expansive list of human and including the http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/staeoftheunion.html
70 96% were employed in unskilled positions. The Council reported that 25 per cent of the employers contacted actually employed no persons of color. 29 In a guest editorial published in the Denver Post ee on Human Relations later that same year), insisted that equal employment opportunity was only cheated good people out of the ability to earn a living, but also led to war. 30 many times must we learn that prejudice and discrimination are the deadly foes of democracy How many wars must we fight before we realize that the 31 As in 1945, however, the bill failed to advance out of the House Industrial Relations committee. 32 The Unity Council made its third push for a fair employment law in Colorado in 1949. This campaign differed significantly from the two previous efforts. I t was waged under the aegis of the Colorado Committee for Civil Rights Legislation (CCCRL). At least 180 organizations joined the CCCRL, making the campaign the largest and most organized statewide coalition to lobby for a fair employment statute in Colora do. 33 The core leadership of the CCCRL remained centered in Denver. District Judge Joseph Cook, a Republican, chaired the campaign; Rev. William B. Faherty served as vice chair. 34 The 29 Denver Unity Council, A Fair Employment Practices Act for Colorado campaign pamphlet, 1947. Box S4.B9, FF 15, DUC Collect ion. 30 Denver Post March 13, 1947, p. 10. 31 Ibid. 32 Denver Unity Council, Annual Report May 1946 1947 Box S4.B9, FF 1, DUC Collection. 33 Unity Council Newsletter February, 1949, S4.B9, FF 17, DUC C ollection; and published in the Colorado Statesman April 9, 1949, p. 1. 34 Three judges served on the executive board of the Colorado Committee for Civil Rights Legislation: Judges Joseph Cook, Leo Altman and J. Arthur Phelps. Colorado Committee for Civil Rights Legislation, FEPC campaign pamphlet, S4.B9, FF 22, DUC Collection.
71 CCCRL executive board was comprised of civil rights veterans affiliated wi th various civil rights and intergroup relations organizations including the Unity Council, Urban League, ADL, NAACP, Japanese American Citizens League, and the old Denver Interracial Commission. 35 The 1949 campaign appears to have won broader approval fro m various communities of color in the Denver Acco th urged parishioners to communicate their support for the fair employment proposal to state lawmakers. 36 The ADL ramped up its public education efforts d uring the campaign. During the early months of 1949, it secured the broadcast of an ti prejudice programs by at least three Denver radio stations. 37 Institute for Democratic Action and were made available fo r local broadcast through the Denver ADL. 38 The radio series ran for thirteen weeks, simultaneously with the state 35 Unity Council Newsletter February, 1949, p. 3. S4.B9, FF 17, DUC Collection. 36 published in the Colorado Statesm an April 9, 1949. Leslie H. Smith chaired the East Denver committee; Uni ty Council Newsletter February, 1949, p. 1, Box S4.B9, FF 17, DUC Collection. Valdez would later help establish the Latin American Research and Service Agency, LARASA. Latin American Research and Service Agency online, accessed September 18, 2010, http://www.larasa.org 37 Unity Council Newsletter Box S4.B9, FF 17, DUC Collection. 38 t
72 Senate Bill 665). 39 Even this much improved effort ended in defeat; this time, surprisingly at the hands of the Colorado Committee for Civil Rights Legislation. The original CCCRL bill would have created a separa te state commission to administer and public education provisions. 40 As not ed earlier, the establishment of an independent state agency was of particular importance to civil rights liberals. Although the Democratically controlled House seemed poised to pass the CCCRL proposal, Gov. William Knous, a lso a Democrat, balked at the cr eation of a new government agency. The CCCRL was forced to settle for a compromise measure that, if approved, would have placed administration of the law in the hands of the long standing Colorado Industrial Commission. 41 The House, with a 41 24 Democratic majority, passed the compromise bill, but compromise measure. 42 Sen. Arthur Laws, the conservative Denver Republican who chaired the labor c ommittee, vehemently opposed even the compromise FEPC proposal. 43 Denver Judge Joseph E. Cook, chairman of the CCCRL and a prominent Republican, 39 Colorado House Majority Leader Ben Bezoff, a Denver Democrat, was lead sponsor of the Equal Employment Opportunities Act in the House; the senate majority leader, Republican Averill Johnson from Las Animas County, sponsored the bill in the s Unity Council Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 3, March, 1949, pp. 1 2. Box S4.B9, FF 17, DUC Collection. 40 CCCRL, Report to Affiliated Organizations of the Colorado Committee for Civil Rights L egislation on the Recent FEPC Campaign 1949, 1. Box S4.B9, FF 15, DUC Collection. I have not been able to locate a copy of the failed CCCRL bill, and therefore am not able to detail the provisions of the original proposal. 41 Ibid. 42 CCCRL, Report to Affil iated Organizations Unity Council Newsletter March, 1949, p.1. Box S4.B9, FF 17, DUC Collection. 43 Ibid.
73 admonished the GOP senators in a letter published in the Denver Post must be a misunderstanding are sure the Republican Party of Colorado must be aware that FEPC has always been a Republican 44 Senate Republicans were not moved. Its leadership first tried to kill the compromise bill, but when confronted with a forceful public outcry, including an impressive letter writing campaign coordinated by the CCCRL, replaced the compromise legislation with an even weaker proposal. 45 The CCCRL objected to the GOP maneuver, arguing that the R epublican legislation removed all responsibility to administer the bill from the state, and instead placed jurisdiction in the hands of untrained county level public school superintendents. 46 ferring no bill civil rights coalition urged outraged Democratic a third FEPC defeat, even as coalition partner Tri State ADL celebrated t he passage of a state wide fair employment law in neighboring New Mexi state territory. 47 Although the 1949 FEPC campaign ended in an acrimonious defeat, it did raise the bar for future efforts. The campaign was bett er organized, had made some headway with Republicans in the Colorado House of Representatives, and had even managed to 44 Denver Post March 29, 1949, p. 3. 45 Denver Post April 6, 1949, p. 14. 46 CCCRL, Report to Affiliated Organizations 2. Box S4.B9, FF 15, DUC Collection; and Personal ADL Letter April, 1949, Box 20, FF 1, ADL Collection. 47 The Tri state territory included Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. The ADL played a critical role in the coalition (the New Mexico Committee on Human Relations) that successfully lobbied the New Mexico legislature to approve a fair employment law in 1949. Personal ADL Letter February, 1949, 1; Personal ADL Letter March, 1949, p., Box 20, FF 1, ADL Collection.
74 grab one GOP sponsor in the senate. The ADL boasted public education effort, which it led, and about the in creased participation in the campaign by peoples of color 48 The CCCRL also expressed satisfaction with the improved human relations within the campaign itself : was the ability of all minority groups and other individuals interested in FEPC to get together and work without friction or noticeable difference of opinion toward this 49 The CCCRL seemed to draw the greatest satisfaction from what it called the d other papers around the in favor of fair employment legislation. 50 In the case of the Denver Post the CCCRL apparently decided failed c ompromise bill was better than no endorsement at all since b y 1949, the Post had arguably become the most powerful daily newspaper in the s campaign, the proposal would have placed administration of the law 51 The Post was relieved that under the first compromise bill brokered in the Colorado House professional civil rights advocates would have no role in the administration of the statute promote greater equality of job opportunity would be lodged in the alre ady existing state industrial commission, rather than in a special commission as had been proposed 48 Personal ADL Letter April, 1949, p. 1, Box 20, FF 1, ADL Collection. 49 CCCRL, Report to Affiliated Organizations 3. Box S4.B9, FF 15, DUC Collection. 50 Ibid. 51 Why Colorado Should Have a Fair Employment Law, Denver Post March 25, 1949, p. 14.
75 originally Post This is fortunate, for it lessens the danger of authority falling into the hands of fanatics and race agitators, which has been one of the justified 52 The endorsement of the compromise bill contained the seeds of future FEPC battles, and again revealed the chasm that separated civil rights Post who favored vo luntary anti prejudice public education and compliance programs, and strongly opposed legislation that would have levied sanctions against discriminatory employers. De nver Post were satisfied. Yet despite the defeat of the proposal the 1949 campaign did break new ground. In 1945 and 1947, the Republican dominated legislature killed fair employment bills in legislative committee s and suffered little to no political consequence. However, the intense and organized public reaction to their third attempt to bottle up an FEP C proposal in 1949 forced the GOP to acknowledge a new reality in Colorado political and popular sentiment had shifted in favor of some fo rm of fair employment regulation. Five years of intensive public education efforts by members of the Denver Unity Council, ADL, Urban League, the Relations and other groups had indeed changed some influential minds. Yet Colorado still had no fair employment law. CCCRL member Miller Barbour, executive secretary of the Denver Urban League, issued the most prescient warning concerning the defeat of the FEP proposal a warning that even the most tepid civil rights supporter could not dismiss. At a meeting of the East Denver Improvement League, Barbour insisted that the anti 52 Ibid.
76 Republicans would damage the ability of the United States to achieve its Cold War foreig a bearing on the international situation The killing and burial of this bill will be beamed by the Soviet radio to the lands where 1 billion seven hundred million colored peo ple live They will say how can you people trust the American offer of Democracy when one of [the] traditionally liberal states denies it to a portion of its own 53 r not he intended to do so, Barbour had set a Cold War rhetorical framework for the fourth FEPC campaign in 1951. 53 Colorado Statesman April 9, 1949, p. 1.
77 CHAPTER VI should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood a character of property or occupancy, members of any race or nationality, or any individual 1 Article 34 of the National Code of Ethics of the National Association of Real Estate Boards in effect from 1924 1950. area of our fair and famed city. We, the CITIZENS of Denver, have failed to plan. We were sure that everything was all right with our Colored People. They caused no trouble a nd stayed in their place. Slums were for cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, but it could not happen here in Denver. Mister, we were wrong. You see, we had restrictive covenants our banks, our realtors and many of our most influential citizens s aid this 2 Excerpt from a faux Denver Urban League press release dated 1952 but actually issued in 1947. Points neighborhood in northeast Denver ( an area then known as East In 1921, Walter Chapman rented a home at Twenty first and Gilpin Streets. Chapman was forced to move out after a bomb blast destroyed his front yard and blew out his windows. Unnamed bombers struck again after another renter, also black, moved in after Chapman. 3 From the 1920s through the 1930s the so called Negro district extended east of Five Points to High Street ; the western border to the shores of the Platte River; East 21 st 1 Greater Park Hill Community Newspaper June 17 July 15, 1993, p. 8. 2 Urban League press release, 1947, Box 3, FF 5, Holmes Collection. 3 Leonard and Noel, Denver 193.
78 and 32 nd Streets marked the southern and northern borders respectively. 4 By the h at separated to East Denver streets: High (on the west) and Race (on the east) Colorado had no statute that required racial segregation or discrimination in private or public housing, yet during the 1940s and 1950s African Americans would continually c ontest the residential color line that local realtors, banks, builders, white homeowners and violence imposed on them, in a slow eastward advance towards white Park Hill neighborhood. The influx of thousands of n ew residents into the city of all races and ethnicities during and after the war exacerbated the housing situation for African Americans. 5 Ministerial Alliance, told the Denver City Co growing numbers had created a housing crisis. 6 happen to these peop le, many of whom are living four and five families in small a the entire city, but emphasized the additional racist barr American, un 4 Rocky Mountain News January 29, 1946, DPL Clipping File, 1940 1949. 5 According to the Denver Urban League, during the post of any minority group in D Fact Letter p. 2, April 1959. Box 52, FF 2259, James Atkins Collection. 6 Rocky Mountain News
79 7 Rev. Liggins was not referring to taverns, but to the various institutional of African Americans into an inadequate number of decaying and aging homes in northeast Denver. In his study of post World War II Detroit, historian Thomas Sugrue analyzed the unique housing barriers that urban blacks faced during the wide spread housi ng shortages that followed World War II. Sugrue, in an analysis a lso a pplicable to D e nver d e tailed the discrimination in the private housing market that was a result of the federal government, local bankers, and real estate brokers. 8 The partnership involved two federal agencies: the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) (and after World War II, the Veterans LC in 1933 to provide low interest loans to struggling homeowners fighting to stave off foreclosure during the Great Depression. 9 Congress established the FHA the following year to insure private mortg ages against homeowner default. FHA guarantees took muc h of the risk out of the extension of long term private mortgage loans, and facilitated the rapid growth of both the mortgage industry and postwar suburbia. 10 Both t he HOLC and FHA institutionalized racist assumptions in to their home appraisal and loan policies. The HOLC drafted the residential security maps that mortgage banks and real estate brokers used to make mortgage and home improvement loan determinations ; the HOLC developed those residential maps with input from local banks and realtors. These m aps ranked every block in a city with a code of letters and 7 Ibid. 8 Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (New York: Random House, 1996), 43. 9 Ibid., 203. 10 Ibid. 203 204.
80 colors based on the age and condition of buildings in the area as well as the quantity and 11 Most importantly, the HOLC also factored 12 New developments and racially or ethnically homogenous blocks received the highest ranking D red to neighbo rhoods it deemed to be in significant decline. 13 Neighborhoods with the oldest homes and structures, those nearest urban downtowns, industrial centers, and railroad tracks received the D red rank, as did those areas with black, Latino, or other disapproved 14 Residents and prospective residents of D red neighborhoods were least likely to receive FHA guaranteed home improvement or mortgage loans, as the HOLC reasoned that the given neighborhood. 15 Long before the post World War II housing crisis, r a cial segregation had become a basic component of federal government housing policy. 16 In Denver, federal and real estate industry policies combined to exclude African Americans from new housing developments and higher quality existing homes. In a 1993 interview 11 Ibid., 43. 12 Ibid. 44. 13 Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (Oxford: Oxf ord University Press, 1985), 197 198. 14 James T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: the United States 1945 1974 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 26. 15 Ibid., 27. Kenneth Jackson maintains that realtors linked race and ethnicity to the appraisal of a ho monetary value long before President Franklin Roosevelt created the Home Owners Loan Corporation in 1933. However, the HOLC was instrumental in cementing that linkage: the HOLC institutionalized into public policy the connection between race, ethnici Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier 198 199. 16 Patterson, Great Expectations 27.
81 only. 17 recounted su cceeded in excluding blacks from these newly developed neighborhoods. African Americans remained crammed in a patch of northeast Denv er that lay west of York Street and north of 18 th Avenue. 18 Denver Post reporter George Brown shared his own experience with redlining in Negro buy outside the restricted zone, and he creates barriers to prevent many from buying within. I tried deteriorating and becoming blighted 19 James Atkins, a former race relations specialist in the Federal Works Administration and a guest columnist for the Post during the early 1950s dis cussed the barriers faced by blacks who wanted to buy homes outside of the boundaries post war blacks possessing the financial wherewithal were not able to buy new homes, declared Atkins, citing an home for such persons outside of certain prescribed locations. Even within these 20 crisis in and outside of the Negro district led t he Post 17 Greater Park Hill Community Newspaper June 17 July 15, 1993, p. 1. 18 Ibid. 19 Denver Post September 24, 1951, p. 1. 20 Draft copy of James Atkins column, dated May 26, 1951, Box 38, FF 1721, James Atkins Collection.
82 Brown to conclude that in matters of housing, 21 In addition to the policies of the federal government and real estate industry, private agreements, or restrictive covenants also perpetuated housing segregation in Denver. In a major 1948 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the use of state courts to enforce private restrictive covenants violated the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 22 The Co urt outlawed state e nforcement of the private agreements, but n ot the agreements themselves a distinction that allowed private parties in Colorado to continue to conspire to discriminate against unwanted racial, ethnic and religious minorities. 23 African Americans also faced discriminatory barriers in public housing. To answer the urgent post war demand for housing, the federal government subsidized the building of public housing developments throughout the country. However, in Colorado during the 1940s, the Denver Unity Coun cil and local Urban League accused the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) of segregating its tenants by race, and restricting African 24 Unity Council members met with housing officials in an attempt to resolve these c omplaints, but the DHA refused to guarantee an end to its segregation policy. 25 21 Denver Post September 24, 1951, p. 1. 22 Shelley v. Kraemer 334 U.S. 1, 1948. 23 Almost ten years after the Shelley decision, the Colorado Supreme Court applied the High Court ruling to a private agreement between white homeowners in a Denver neighborhood and declared that agreement to be unenforceable. Capital Federal Savings & Loan Association v. Smith 316 P.2d 252 1957. Both the national ADL and Mountain States ADL filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the African American couple, Ulysses and Helen Smith, who were at the center of the Colorado case. 24 Denver Unity Council, Annual Report May 1947 May 1948 p. 2 Box S4.B9, FF 2, DUC Collection. 25 Ibid.
83 Resolved to attack the dire housing crisis engulfing African Americans and other residents of color in the city, the Denver Unity Council sponsored legislation in 1947 to end restricted covenants in Colorado. 26 (The Council had been busy that year, waging its second unsuccessful campaign in pursuit of FEPC legislation and winning a major victory when Denver Mayor Quigg Newton appointed his Interim Committee on Human Relations.) During the housing effort, the Unity Council provided examples of the threats and violence experienced by African Americans who had residential color line. For example, one Council flyer rec Mr. C a businessman, [who] purchased a home between High and Downing, and moved in just before his out. 27 In another incident the Unity Council reported that after Dr. M to buy a home east of the High Street color line doctor to change his mind. 28 The Unity Council also inveighed against the deleterious eff highest rates of crime and juvenile delinquency occur in such areas. These conditions endanger the city as a whole, and increase the burden of the taxpayer for police fire, 29 Not only was housing discrimination immoral, argued the Denver Unity Council it was also costly to those who thought themselves untouched by the concerns of African Americans color line. 26 In 1947, House Bill 517 and Senate Bill 118 were introduced into their respective chambers. Denver Unity Council, Racial Restrictive Covenants Box S4.B9, FF 15, p. 4, DUC Collection. 27 Ibid., 2. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid
84 In what appears have been a part of a coordinated public education campaign in housing legislation, the Urban League of Denver issued a fake the release 1952, and mourned th e loss of to 30 The faux into FIVE POINTS. But we are handling the problem. We have doubled our police and fire departments, built a new penal institution, and increased our health and V.D. Clinics 31 The release concluded with a vigorous call to fight restrictive covenants, and bemoaned ginally built for single families, had been carved into small apartments to house multiple families, and were falling into disrepair along with the lives of their tenants Denver Post pol l you think that people of other racial and religious groups should be able to live anywhere they like in the city, or do you think that some racial or religious groups should be kept believed that restrictions Spanish Americans ; and 24% supported limiting the options available to Jew ish person s. 32 30 31 Ibid. 32 Denver Post October 9, 1947, p. 6.
85 In November 1947, just one month after the Post published its poll on housing blockbuster report o n prejudice and discrimination in Denver. The Committee followed the report with a series of coordinated opinion columns published in the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News of social apocalypse as was ke news release, but this time made the vision even more ghastly by placing it within a democratic committee, perhaps i ntending to lead readers to 33 mber of interim committee, closed the year with a vivid op ed column published in the Denver Post Barbour acknowledged the critical housing shortage that gripped the entire nation before minorities Negroes, Spanish 34 Barbour included excerpts from some of the interviews 33 Rocky Mountain News November 23, 1947, p. 6. Just News the Denver Post published a Denver Post November 25, 1947, p. 1. 34 Denver Post December 18, 1947, page number obscured. Copy of article obtained from Oversize Folio 1, Urban League Collection.
86 not to buy out there because it would not be good for their children you know what I folks would rather live with their own peo 35 Barbour painted a stark picture the Platte River, from 60 to 90 per cent of the housing is considered sub standard. Conditions here are so bad that much of the area has been marked for condemnation (24,000) of its Spanish Americans; and many of its Japanese are penned into this area, where much of the property has been ruled unfit for human beings. Here sewage, sanitation and recreation facilities are the poorest in the city, and here infant mortality 36 Barbour also addressed the dueling policies of the Denver Housing Authority, the gency : integration for veterans but segregation for non veterans. 37 ( In 1937, Congres s created a national public housing program with the approval of the Wagner Steagall Housing Act, also known as the United States Housing Act 38 However, like many other New Deal programs, states and localities administered the public housing program, and 35 Ibid. 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid. 38 Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty 52.
87 in most regions of the country, racially segregated public housing became the rule rather than the exception.) 39 Miller Barbour closed his column with a call for democratic fairness and a hefty er taxpayers should be anxious to wipeout (sic) these expensive breeding grounds of crime and disease. The solution can be summed up in a few words: m 40 Barbour had swathed his argument in the iconic imagery of the American West a land of wide open spaces and individual liberty. human relations committee hoped that its series of published columns would both educate the public about the deteriorating conditions in which thousands o f Denverites were forced to live, and alert them to the moral and economic dangers that housing segregation posed to the city in general. A lthough the opinion column s failed to sway an appreciable number of state legislators or white Denverites, the issue of housing discrimination did not fade from the papers. In 1949, race and housing in made public their plans to develop a ten acre tract for African Americans in all white Park Hill. 41 The subdivision was plotted on Dahlia, Elm and Eudora Streets, between East 35 th and 36 th Avenues, in an area today known as North Park Hill 42 Kurtz recalle d receiving an avalanche of complaints from whites. People came to us in the planning 39 Ibid., 53. Available evidence did not provide an explanation for Denver Housing Authority policies that allowed racially and ethnically heterogeneous groups of veter ans to live in the same public housing developments, while segregating non veteran public housing residents. 40 Denver Post December 18, 1947. 41 Greater Park Hill Communi ty Newspaper June 17 July 15, 1993, p. 8. 42 Denver Post April 5, 1949, p. 2.
88 43 The complicated battle involved African Amer icans who had purchased lots in the proposed Cavalier development (named after one of the developers, Emil Cavalier); blacks who opposed the precedent that would be established ght Mayor Quigg Newton. City Councilman Ernest Marranzino, whose council district included the Park Hill neighborhood, vehemently opposed the subdivision. 44 Marranzi no repeatedly denied that race had anything to do with his opposition. In making this claim, the councilman had the support of a small group of African Americans who had purchased lots in Cavalier but were now intent on suing the developers for making frau dulent statements about the progress of the development. 45 Yet another group of blacks opposed the subdivision, precedent set by the black housing development would en 46 Philip Van Cise, who as Denver district attorney during the 1920s had battled the the white Park Hill homeowners who opposed the Cava lier development. Van Cise alleged that the developers had 43 Greater Park Hill Community Newspaper June 17 July15, 1993, p. 8. 44 Rocky Mountain News April 5, 1949. DPL Clipping File, 1940 1949. 45 Rocky Mountain News April 7, 1949. DPL Clipping File, 1940 1949. 46 Rocky Mountain News April 12, 1949, p. 5.
89 47 With no sense of irony, the former D.A. declared that Cavalier would be a racially segregated development, which was African Americans entirely out of Park Hill seemed not to bother Van Cise. 48 During a o pponents impeached by displaying published newspapers ads for the subdivision that were headlined with the 49 Councilman Marranzino continued to deny charges that racism fueled his opposition to the subdivision, and offered a novel explanation for his position. The harms our human relations 50 Marr for good human relations revealed the extent to which the World War II and Cold War Denver at least for elected of ficials. Members of the newly formed, all white Park Hill Heights Improvement Association (PHHIA), organized to defeat the Cavalier proposal, were not constrained by any nascent belief in racial progress. According to published nt, Walter Vandenburg, claimed that if the City Council 47 Colorado Statesman April 23, 1949, p. 1. 48 Ibid. Van Cise was most likely referencing the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelley v Kraemer In that case the Court held that state judicial enforcement of racially restrictive covenants violated the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that federal enforcement of racial housing agreements contravened the Fifth Ame Shelley v. Kraemer 334 U.S. 1, 1948. 49 Rocky Mountain News April 12, 1949, p. 5. 50 Rocky Mountain News April 15, 1949, DPL Clipping File, 1940 1949.
90 51 Another member of the PHHIA, George Bakke, predicted a 25 percent to 52 been advanced decades earlier by white academics in real estate and urban sociology, and by the 1940s had become an assumed truism part of the cultural ether. 53 Th e HOLC, FHA and Veterans Administration codified those theorems in federal appraisal and loan policies, and the National Association of Real Estate Board s enshrined them in its code of ethics. Y et not withstanding the academic shibboleths of declining home values entitlement and superiority lay at the heart of the opposition of white Park Hill homeowners to the pro posed Cavalier subdivision : a fter all, a small number of African Americans had simply attempted to assert the same right to home ownership that Park Palmer Hoyt Denver Post stoked the flames o f the Cavalier controversy with an editorial in its Sunday edition. The Post invoking Gunnar Myrdahl, observed that African American entry into all middle class homes, elm guarded streets, good schools and well 54 The Post 51 Ibid. 52 Ibid. 53 real estate values. Crab grass Frontier 198 199. 54 Denver Post April 17, 1949. DPL Clipping File, 1940 1949.
91 Negroes moving into their neighborhood. And you have to recognize their point of view Post One says bother me or my family to be next door to them but when they move in, I can just kiss 55 The Post also offered a sympathetic and uncritical examination of the race based supersti actually happens: t he Negro moves in and, finding the whites inhospitable, he seeks the friendship of his own people. The whites move out, the blacks take over, and, presto you have 56 As for the angry blacks spurned by whites, the editorial accorded credibility and intelligence only to the black opponents of the Cavalier development, rather than to the African American Denverites who were furio us at the structural racism that had kept them in Five Points for decades Post 57 The editorial was vintage Post paying lip service to racial liberalism, w hile siding in no uncertain terms with the white Park Hill residents who were fighting the housing development. Ultimately the Post refused to condemn the racial covenants and other discriminatory practices that had contributed to the squalid living conditions in Five Point permit the proposed development. The Post put its stamp of approval on the segregated 55 Ibid. 56 Ibid. 57 Ibid.
92 news paper had no desire to employ the positive power of the government to protect the legal right of African Americans to acquire private property in neighborhoods of their own choosing 58 Notwithstanding the Post Denver City Council grant ed final approval to the Cavalier subdivision on April 25, 1949. Amid demands from the Park Hill Heights Improvement Association (PHHI A ) to recall the councilmen who approved the subdivision, Denver Mayor Quigg Newton took on Walter Vandenberg, now president of the PHHIA. The mayor planned to live in Cavalier would not be happ y living where they were not wanted. 59 The mayor had effectively synthesized th e practical problem experienced by at least those in East Denver would have to give way. e power of the law as a remedy to private acts of racial discrimination. Over the next twenty years, Northeast Denver and in particular Park Hill would become ground zero in conflicts over race, individual freedom, and living space in the city. How lon g would the defenders of segregated housing be able to continue to frustrate attempts by civil rights liberal s to outlaw restrictive covenants and other discriminatory housing practices in Colorado? 58 Ibid. 59 Rocky Mountain News May 18, 1949. DPL Clipping File, 1940 1949.
93 CHAPTER VII 1949 erals were bitterly disappointed at the implosion of their third statewide campaign for a fair employment law late in the winter of 1949, yet, as is sometimes the case, a few hopeful embers could be found amongst the ashes of defeat. During the 1940s, the determined pluck of the Colorado Committee for Civil Rights a popular agreement in support of some type of FEPC law (although in future legislative battles, as in th e 1949 debacle, the devil would most assuredly reside in the details of exactly what kind of legislation might suffice). Further, as Cold War tensions deepened, the Soviets and members of the international press corps continued to contrast the United State democratic freedom and individual rights. Under such international scrutiny, a wide swath of influential actors, including politicians at the federal state and local levels ; m embers of the press; and civic, education and religious leaders continued to urge improved race relations. This increased pressure to secure tangible evidence of s in Colorado as they con tinued to push for the adoption of civil rights legislation. However, the feverish anti communism of the 1950s would also prove a hindrance to those same civil rights advocates as they sought legislation that punished discriminatory behavior even as their opponents skillfully likened the coercive power of governmental regulation to communist totalitarianism.
94 In Colorado the Cold War would play a leading role in the tug of war between proponents of a statutory civil rights safety net and the critic s of such legislation during the 1950s. In order to provide a greater context for the second half of this study, which examines those legislative battles, this last chapter in the 1940s section will provide a snapshot of the Cold War themes and tensions th at figured so prominently in the legislative debates that took place in Colorado over the course of the next decade. A sampling of those tensions took center stage at the 1949 national Urban League held in Denver during late summer of that year. T he co nvention offers a useful window to launch influence on the 1950s debates over anti discrimination legislation in Colorado. The Urban League convention, hosted by the University of Denver, was the first national Urban League conference to be held in a western city. 1 of Denver was a measure of the success of its local affiliate, and must also have been a permanent Commi ssion on Human Relations a city commission on which local U rban L eague chief Miller Barbour served in 1949. 2 During the convention, Lester Blackwell Granger, executive director of the national Urban League, saluted the progress he claimed Denver ha d made during the 1 Denver Post September 10, 1949, p. 16. 2 In 1948, Denver Mayor Quigg Newton replaced his interim committee with a permanent Commission on Human Relations. The Commis mmission on Human Relations flyer, untitled and undated, Box 35, FF 1660, James Atkins Collection.
95 thinking of a plateau bred people. 3 The League honored Denver Post publisher and editor Palmer Hoyt with a speaking invitation a testament to the fact that de Colorado, by 1949 he had begun to enjoy a local and national reputat ion as a friend of racial progress 4 During the convention, amid public discussions of the various discriminatory barriers that continued to hinder the upward mobility of African Americans, Lester exploiting American racism and Granger condemned the that he claimed were trying disadvantaged minorities of America, of which our Negro populati 5 Granger assured to fight Communist attempts to win the loyalty of African Ameri cans and other 6 Why would the Urban League take pains to denounce Communist overtures to blacks and others during its national conference in Denver, a mid d War nerve center, Washington D.C.? 3 Rocky Mountain News September 7, 1949, p. 14. Granger, an African American with a graduate degree in social work, has been credite d with pushing the Urban League to add civil rights advocacy to its economic and social uplift mission during his 20 year tenure as executive Social Work Pioneers http://www.naswfoundation.org/pioneers/g/granger.htm 4 s award to Palmer Hoyt in 1950. Personal ADL Letter December 1950, Box 20, FF 2, ADL Collection. 5 Denver Post Denver Post September 10, 1949, p. 1. 6 Denver Post September 7, 1949.
96 By 1949 the imperative of racial progress had become a basic if fanciful tenet of public political discourse in Denver (Recall the attempt by Denver City Councilman Ernest Marranzino earlier in the year to shield his opposition to a new black sub division in all white Park Hill in the protective veil communist delirium of the Cold War a sentiment on prominent display at the Urban League convention deep in the intermoun tain west had increasingly cast a long shadow over civil rights liberals. In Denver, both imperative and the push of post war anti communism would become critical counterweights in future debates over statutory c ivil rights protections. Throughout the Red Scare, accusations of communist involvement haunted intergroup relations organizations and civil rights liberals, including the NAACP, Urban League, and ADL. 7 Although the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) had committed itself than any other majority white group communism transformed that support into a Sword of Damocles hovering above the heads of civ il rights advocates. 8 Pressure on these groups deepened after well known historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. a leading McCarthy era liberal anti communist, intimated in a 1946 9 7 Journal of American History Vol. 94, no. 1 (June 2007): 76; Anderson, Eyes Off the Prize: The U nited Nationals and the African American Struggle for Human Rights 1944 1955 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 5; and Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 113 114. 8 rights and civil rights work in the United States in Eyes Off the Prize American Quarterly Vol. 44, no. 1 (March 1992): 123 128. The Soviet Union was heavily involved with the CPUSA, and historians acknowledge the often self interested nature of E yes Off the Prize 25. 9
97 That same year, amidst the horrific lynch ings of military veteran George Dorsey, his wife, Mae Dorsey and their friends Dorothy and Roger Malcom in Georgia, the National Negro Congress an o rganization whom the FBI had earlier pronounced a formally asked the United Nations to intervene to 10 The Dorsey Malcom murders were part of an eruption of white supremacist violence that had engulfed the South as bl ack veterans returned home at the end of World War II. 11 In 1947, one year after the National Negro Congress submitted its petition to the U.N. NAACP research director W.E.B. DuBois also asked the international body to protect American blacks. The Du Bois on the Denial of Human Rights to Minorities in the Case of Citizens of Negro Descent in that southern white su premacy posed a far greater threat to African Americans than the Soviet Union. 12 The Du Bois petition evoked an explosive international response. The Soviet Union urged the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) to investigate the charges, whil e the Truman administration, facing international humiliation, scrambled to mitigate the damage. Due in large part to the intervention of the U.S. delegation to the United Na tions, the UNHCR refused to accept the petition. (DuBois and the NAACP ultimately severed their relationship.) 13 The NNC and NAACP petitions were godsends to those Americans who were eager to impeach domestic 10 Eyes Off the Prize 79 80. 11 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 23. 12 Anderson, Eyes Off the Prize 103. 13 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 45 46 and Berg, 84.
98 demands for racial justice with allegations of c ommunist influence. For racial liberals including the Urban League however much they may have agreed with the substance of the NNC and NAACP petitions th ey also realized that in the eyes of many, th ose documents also served to taint their anti discrimin ation work with a communist hue. Locally in 1947, t he Denver NAACP also dove into national foreign policy with a letter addressed to General George C. Marshall, who a t the time was serv ing as the United States Secretary of State. The letter, more than li kely drafted by local NAACP counsel Samuel Menin, demanded that Mar shall focus as much attention denial of voting rights to African Americans as the Secretary of State had been devoting to Poland ary of 1947 of protest to the states of the south, where a free and fair election has not been held in fifty or more years ," the Denver NAACP demanded. 14 During the Cold War, Denver civil rights advocates like Sam Menin made regular and strategic use of southern white The frequent linkage of communism to human rights and civil rights advocacy bedeviled civil rights proponents during the Cold War an eo political developments exacerbated the already intense pressure on domestic civil rights liberals In 1949, the year of the national Urban League convention in Denver, Associated Press stories on the Chinese civil war dominated the front pa ges of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain Ne ws. 15 That same year, the creation of the communist 14 Unsigned copy of letter from the president of the Denver Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. to General George G. Marshall, Honorable Secretary of State, 3 February 1947, Box 1, FF 5, Samuel Menin Collection. 15 While the majority of ar ticles on the Chinese Civil War published in local Denver newspapers were written by Associated Press reporters, the Denver Post Communist Denver Post April 17, 1949, p. 1 C.
99 China the detonation of the Soviets first atom bomb, and rumblings on the Korean Peninsula magnified fears of global communist domination in the U.S. and western Europe. 16 In 1950, the National Security Council recommended a massive buildup of troops, nuclear weapons and espionage resources to counter a perceived Soviet military advantage 17 communist paranoia in the federal government. In 1947 Congress passed the Labor Management Relations Act (Taft Hartley), which required union officials to certify, under penalty of perjury, that the y were not members of or affiliated with, the Communist Party. 18 While the Denver Post applauded the targeting of communists in American labor unions ( their position of influence in labor unions "), re presented accused labor leaders in high profile Taft Hartley trials in federal court in Denver. 19 In the executive branch, President Truman instituted his own loyalty program with the signing of Executive Order 9835 in 1947. The order prohibited the federa l employment of members of the Communist party or of individuals who expressed with the party 20 African American c ivil rights advocates and black newspapers were particularly vulnerable to charges of disloyalty During World W ar I Chandler Owen and A. Philip 16 Anderson, Eyes Off the Prize bomb led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): ten western European co untries,Canada and the United States pledged mutual defense in the case of a Soviet attack. Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009), 845 847. 17 Paul Boyer, Clifford Clark Jr., Joseph Kett, Neal Salisbury, Harvard Sitkoff, Nancy Woloch, The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004), 824 829. 18 Hall, ed., Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions 10. Congress had previously made it a crime to advocate the overthrow or destruction of the federal government. See the Alien Registration Act in Hall, Oxford Guide 75. 19 Denver Post Tell Jury Rocky Mountain News March 2, 1955, p. 22. 20 Boyer, et al, Enduring Vision 834.
100 Randolph, then editors of The Messenger famously observed that instead of fighting to make the world safe for democracy, as some prominent African Americans had urged sedition charges. 21 During the Second World War black newspapers once again faced allegations of disloyalty for their relentless condemnation of the segregated United States military, the discriminatory treatment of black s oldiers and the exclusion of African American women from many of the armed service auxiliaries. T he FBI claimed that the news among blacks, and accused the m of harboring communist sympathies. Many race papers, including the Colorado Statesman and Denver Star were investigated by the U.S. Justice Department, the FBI and other federal agencies 22 During the post World War II Red Scare, black and other civil rights and intergroup organizations were again th e subjects of official suspicion and investigations. 23 Berg is among those historians who characterize the retreat of t he NAACP to the safe confines of liberal anti communism as justifiable self defense. 24 However, Carol Anderson and o thers have labeled the retrenchment a less than noble capitulation to the anti communis m. 25 However characterized, major civil rights organizations including the 21 Michael L. Levine, African Americans and Civil Rights From 1619 to the Present (Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1996), 140, and Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom 345. 22 Charles A. Simmons, The African American Press: A History of News Coverage During National Crises, With Special Reference to Four Black Newspapers, 1827 1964 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1998), 81 85. 23 24 Ibid. 25 Anderson, Eyes Off the Prize 6 7; 166 209.
101 Urban League and the ADL did seek out the safe harbor of anti communism. Racial liberals took pains to denounce communism in general, to deny any communist involvement in civil rights work in particular and to sh elve critiques of structural economic, political, educational and social inequality in the United States. 26 approved and managed Urban League had felt the hot sting of the Red Scare. Lester Granger, the political conflagrations and shrill domestic anti term well being of his orga nization had undoubtedly been exacerbated in the short term by famed singer, actor, human rights advocate Paul Robeson, one of the most famous African Americans of the 1940s. On the opening day sensational pictures of the riot that followed a Robeson concert in upstate New York were splashed across the front pages of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News A bat wielding white mob had been aroused by comments attributed to Robeson earlier in the year. The s inger activist had been widely quoted in the national and international press as asserting that African Americans would never fight in a war against the Soviet Union. 27 W ith rights and intergroup organizations under increasing scrutiny, it was not surprising that Lester Granger might have believed himself obliged to denounce 26 Anderson, Eyes Off the Prize and Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 112 11. 27 Some scholars argue that Paul Robeson was misquoted. See Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 62; Carol Anderson, Eyes Off the Prize 161. The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News questioned several Denver Post Rocky Mountain News May 1, 1949, DPL clipping file, 1940 1949.
102 attendees that the attendees declared were 28 The Denver Post trumpeted the Le or chose to ignore the asked, Lester Granger most certainly would have included domestic white supremacist group the Jim Crow regimes of the American South as well as racial discrimination and segregation in other regions of the United States, in the lat t er categories. Even prior to the United States entry into World War II, race newspapers, (including the Colorado Statesman and the De nver Star ) and black civil rights and labor leaders had pointedly observed the similarities between American white supremacy and German fascism. Amidst the anti communist sentiment streaming out of the Urban League convention, Rocky Mountain News co lumnist Lee Casey counter punched. Casey criticized Americans who were preoccupied with determining the extent of communist number of Communists among Negroes as compared with the proportionate number of Communists among so called whites serve no sound purpose Rather, there should be an effort to determine the reasons that Americans, regardless of color, see 29 However, anti communist extravaganza staged by the Denver Post 28 Denver Post September 10, 1949, p. 1. 29 Rocky Mo untain News September 8, 1949, 25.
103 year. The heated red bating of the 1949 Urban League convention was a fitting prelude to 19 50 : the year Hoyt ushered the Cold War in to Denver with the launch of the Crusade for Freedom the grand effort to fund and build international support for Radio Free Europe E astern Europe from Soviet domination. During t he 1950s in Colorado (and other non southern states), anti discrimination laws during the Cold War. State level civil rights legislation assumed a prominent role during the era lar gely because powerful southern white senators in Congress were able to frustrate attempts to enact federal civil rights measures. I n Colorado the Cold War would both invigorate and limit the coalition of civil rights liberals that lobbied for civil right s legislation throughout the 1950s Civil rights proponents invoked the global conflict to buttress their demands for government guarantees of racial equality, while w hite supremacists and conservatives condemned governmental regulation at least when the p urpose was to fight racial discrimination and exploited the Red Scare by likening domestic anti discrimination legislative proposals to Soviet totalitarianism. As the 1949 Urban League Convention in Denver illustrated: the Cold War had delineated the polit ical contours of the coming battles for anti discrimination legislation in the Colorado General Assembly.
104 CHAPTER VIII CRUSADE FOR FREEDOM we can not get a 1 Deepening Cold War tensions in Colorado would fourth fair employment debate in 1951 as j ust one year earlier, th e Cold War had arrived in Denver, with Columbia University president and former Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower leading the charge and a phalanx of national and international reporters in tow. The Committee for a Free Europe, Inc. chose Denver to stage the launch of the int ernational Crusade for Freedom (CFF) the funding and public relations arm of Radio Free Europe. The committee was studded with luminaries including Eisenhower, retired Gen. Lucius Clay (the hero of the Berlin air drop), former U.S. Attorney General Franc is Biddle, TIME 2 At the time, the federal government was already operating the Voice of America, but the minds behind the b elieved that Radio Free Europe would be freer to engage in certain propaganda activities tha n the government operated VOA. 3 According to an editorial in the Denver Post take Crusades use in their fight cannot be held against our government, or any 1 Quote from unpublished article, Box 1, FF 30, Holmes Collection. 2 DeWitt C. Poole, President of the National Committee for a Free Europe, Inc., to E. Palmer Hoyt, 12 April, 1950. 3 R.H. Ricketson, Jr., to A.J. Bromfi led, 22 June, 1950, Box 10, FF 1, Palmer Hoyt Collection.
105 4 Mindful that defending capitalism was as much a part of the Cold War as was defending democ racy, the Post bragged that unlike the federal government, the without fear of detection. 5 Denver Post region al chair. Hoyt ever the salesman was in his element, up to his neck in a war of Post no ordinary fund counteract the falsehoods spread around the world by the men in the Kremlin and their 6 Hoyt warned his readers that in this contest for global supremacy, the United States was fighting for its very life. 7 The Crusade for Freedom showcased the need for the United States to win the hearts and minds of peoples around the world with stories and images that celebrated the superiori ty of American democracy and capitalism. However, racial discrimination, the Southern states. The Crusade focused national and international attention on Colorado a nd localized the urgency of supporting democratic superiority By 195 0 m essages of r acial progress had becom e integral to that hopeful narrative. T he participation of Dan Thornton, who would be elected next governor in the fall of 1950 and the Post s Palmer Hoyt in the Crusade, combined 4 Denver Post September 5, 1950, p. 12. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid.
106 with the commitment of the Denver civil rights coalition to winning a statewide fair employment measure, virtually assured the passage of some form of FEP C statute in t he next state general assembly. 8 1950 had been a good year for Palmer Hoyt. Early in the year, the self styled country to celebrate the opening of the Post own Denver. TIME magazine published a glowing report on the opening bash, as did the Los Angeles Times Toledo Blade and the Kansas City Times among others. 9 Hoyt had begun his rescue of the Pos t four years earlie r At the time the paper seemed to have had its best days long behind it. In the intervening years, Hoyt had built up the paper into a publication that enjoyed a favorable national reputation, and in the process, had established himself as a power broker with powerful friend s Senator Lyndon Johnson, a personal friend of the newsman, flattered Hoyt and the Post in a letter from 1954 the Texas Press Association was a perfect explanation of the reasons for the greatness of the Denver Post 10 During the 1950s, local influence and celebri ty, and also h 11 8 Palmer Hoyt was an important member of the Crusade for Freedom during the early 1950s. He w as elected to the CFF board of directors 1952. Harold B. Miller, president of the Crusade for Freedom, to Palmer Hoyt, 3 October 1952, Box 10, FF 1, Palmer Hoyt Collection. 9 "Emperor's New Court," TIME Magazine, May 22, 1950, Box 31, FF 24, Palmer Hoyt C ollection. 10 11 Rotary Club. An Associated Press article on the nt Dwight Eisenhower, 5 February, 1954, Box 22, FF 13; Palmer Hoyt to President Dwight Eisenhower, 8
107 At the Post c ritics 12 For example, Hoyt had barely landed at the Post when he began pressing Quigg Newton to run for Denver mayor. The newsman boasted of using the Post 13 Onc communicated daily. 14 In a biting profile published in Hugh Russell Fraser contended that the Post chief was determined to rule the city morning the mayor of Denver 15 most intricate and far reaching type. He would make a good chairman of the Republican 16 Palmer Hoyt landed a plum role when he was named western regional chairman of the Crusade for Freedom. Hoyt, the former head of the stateside U.S. Office of War Palmer Hoyt Collection. In 1953, Eisenhower hosted Hoyt at a private White House dinner, along with Associated Press June 8, 1953, Box 12, FF 12, Palmer Hoyt Collection. 12 Mort Stern i nterview of Palmer Hoyt, transcript, January 28, 1967, Box 29, FF 15, Palmer Hoyt Collection. 13 Palmer Hoyt to Phil Kerby, 28 January 1950, Box 14, FF 12, Palmer Hoyt Collection. 14 Leonard and Noel, Denver p. 244. 15 file is Not All Bad: a Study in Depth of Editor Who Abandoned March 26, 1958, p. 4. See also Leonard and Noel, Denver p. 244. 16 Ibid. Indeed, Palmer Hoyt encouraged Dwight Eisenhower to make a ru n for the presidency in 1952, and aspects of a holy crusade if it is to succeed. The people are desperate! They will turn to the leader who offers them the great
108 Information, was charged with convincing the residents of seven western states of the importance of supporting Radio Free Europe, the privately funded effort to spread a 17 Hoyt told spiritual movement designed to combat Russian propaganda and Russian political his Rocky Mountain Empire. 18 Popular state senator Dan Thornton, a wealthy Republican chairman. On Sep ed kick the world Tuesday Post a day after the grand launch battlecry for liberty and equality 19 Palmer Hoyt had produced a spectacular show. The master of ceremonies, Robert Selig, president of the Universi chairman, state senator Dan Thornton. The senator told his international audience that American people, 20 17 Transcript of Associated Press story, untitled, August 26, 1950, Box 10, FF 1, Palmer Hoyt Collection 18 Palmer Hoyt to General Lucius Clay, 22 June 1950, Box 10, FF 1, Palmer Hoyt Collection. 19 Denver Post September 5, 1950, p.1. 20 Ibid.
109 In keeping with the evolving American narrative of racial and religious tolerance, Hoyt included Catholic, Jewish and Protestant clergy in the program Rabbi Joel Z ion Montview Presbyterian Church, provided the benediction; and Catholic Rev. John Cavanaugh also delivered remarks. 21 Danish born baritone Lauritz Melchior, an inter nationally renowned opera star and naturalized American citizen, led the 4000 member audience in the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. Thornton introduced Palmer Hoyt, mast er Never one for understatement, Hoyt decl 22 After t he Post publisher ushered Dwight Eisenhower to the microphone the future president war n ed his audience that as General Douglas MacArthur prepared to lead American troops in battle at Inchon, South Korea, Moscow would surely 23 Eisenhower clai med 24 The general himself indulged in a phantasm of propaganda, presenting the still largely illusory American narrative of individual freedo m and equality humanity, America has come to symbolize freedom, opportunity, human happiness. They have a mortal fear that this knowledge will penetrate eventually to thei r own people and 21 Denver Post September 5, 1 9 50, p. 3. 22 Denver Post September 5, 1950, p. 1. 23 Ibid., and Foner, Give Me Liberty!, p. 848. 24 Denver Post September 5, 1950, p. 1.
110 25 convincing form about the decency and essential fairness of democr 26 This crusade, 27 ( in concert with chapters throughout the United States ) set up booths a cross Denver 28 The a 29 By declaring that individual equality and freedom were sacred, god given rights, the CFF ha d set itself up for a round of sharp cross examination. How could equality and individual self determination be sacred for those denied them in Eastern Europe and Asia, yet es? Colorado Statesman columnist Earl Mann pounced on this apparent double communists leading the uninformed to believe that the be whiskered boys of the Kremlin ," Mann observed. This is States being members of the infamous KU KLUX KLAN and other hate organizations, 25 Ibid., p. 3. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. 28 29 Ibid.
111 of whi 30 The Denver Star urged Americans to quit blaming communism and look in the mirror and warned the CFF that the United States had just s of colored people have lost faith in the non colored people. They no longer believe them or believe 31 Perhaps Palmer Hoyt took the warnings in the Star and Statesman to heart, or maybe he was simply acting on his oft professed belie f in the power of voluntary programs and public education to fight racial prejudice when he hired black journalist and Tuskegee Airman George Brown as a staff reporter in 1950. 32 Whatever the case, Hoyt, at about the same time, also hired Bill Hosokawa, a yo ung Japanese American journalist who had been imprisoned at during the war 33 As the Crusade for Freedom ushered in a new decade; a new statewide focus on ; a new Colorado governor (Crusade state chairman newspaper who would be satisfied at the close of the 1951 legislati ve session: civil rights liberals or the supporters of tepid legislation that was powerful in symbolism yet weak in efficacy? 30 Colorado Statesman September 2, 1950, p. 1. 31 Denver Star September 9, 1950, p. 2 32 Denver Post http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/06brown.html 33 Nikkeiview.com accessed August 31, 2011, http://www.nikkeiview.com/blog/2011/07/11/denver pays tribute to bill hosokawa a japanese american leader/
112 CHAPTER IX thinking Americans fir mly believe in equal and non discriminatory work opportunities for every citizen regardless of his race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry. Those principles have made America great. They are in keeping with the things for which we are now fighti 1 Colorado Governor elect Dan Thornton to the Colorado General Assembly January 1951. 2 Colorado State Representative Elvin Caldwell, March, 1951. On March 29, 1951, Colorado Governor Dan Thornton signed the Colorado Anti Discrimination Act of 1951 into law practices statute and only the second fair employment practices statute to be passed by a state legislature in the Intermountain West. 3 The next day the Denver Post published a picture of three memb ers of the Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunities (CCEEO), smiling amiably as the gove rnor signed the bill: Denver District Judge Joseph Cook, chairman of the CCCEO, Rev. Edward Bartlett, president of the Iliff School of Theology, Defamation League. 4 Looking at the pi cture, it would have been impossible to tell that Cook, Freed, 1 Quote from inaugural addres s delivered by Colorado Governor elect Dan Thornton to the Colorado General Assembly, quoted in Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunities, Taking Stock: A Final Report on the Campaign for a Fair Employment Practices Law for Colorado (Denver, 19 51), 1. 2 Colorado Statesman March 17, 1951, p. 1. 3 The New Mexico legislature enacted a fair employment law in 1949. Personal ADL Letter March 1949, p. 1, Box 20, FF 1, ADL Collection. In an article pub lished in May, 1951, Will Maslow, director of the Commission on Law and Social Action (CLAS) of the National Jewish Congress, included three western states New Mexico, Oregon and Washington among the states that had enacted FEP laws. Apparently at the time of publication, the article had not been updated to include Colorado among the list of FEPC states. Annals of the Academy of American Political and Social Science Vol. 274, Civil Rights in America (M ay 1951): 9. 4 Denver Post March 30, 1951, p. 19.
113 Bartlett, and the other members of the CCEEO had once again suffered a bitter betrayal. publication of a detailed 10 0 page post mortem report on the legislative session entitled Taking Stock: A Final Report on the Campaign for a Fair Employment Practices Law for Colorado The exhaustive report provided a blow by blow record of the fierce legislative battle in which Cold War pressures, Republican gamesmanship, and a dispirited Discrimination Act of 1951 More than a year before, an ADL newsletter had reported a high level of FEP movement toward the adoption of Fair E mployment Practices legislation. explained that th (CRC) was already lobbying for passage of a local FEPC bill in Denver, and that a worried Denver Chamber of Commerce was attempting to stave off enactment of a strong CRC backed measure by developing a voluntary fair emplo 5 T he Colorado legislature had been on the brink of passing an FEP bill in 1949 diver sionary and ineffective proposal. As the Thirty eighth Colorado General Assembly 5 Personal ADL Letter February, 1950, Box 20, FF 2, ADL Collection. It is likely that the local Civil Rights Congress was affiliated with the n ational Civil Rights Congress. In 1947, the House Un and the U.S. Department of Justice placed the CRC on its list of subversive organizations. See Committee on Un American Activities, Uni http://w ww.archives.org/details/reportoncivilrig1947unit Also see Duziak, Cold War Civil Rights 66.
114 convened in January, 1951, conventional wisdom held that the assembly would quickly approve an FEP law during the upcoming session. Prior to taking his oath of office, the st measure, at least in the abstract. Thornton advised the legislature that his campaign and non 6 Thornton also urged state lawmakers to remember that equality and non rica 7 The governor evocation of a racially egalitarian American political, economic and social ethos signaled his belief that a Colorado FEPC had a role to pl ay in the Cold War fight against communism. Given the political lay of the land, it was no surprise that the Rocky Mountain News predicated easy passage for any reasonable fair employment statute proposed in the upcoming session. 8 Taking lessons from the previous three failed attempts to gain passage of a fair employment bill, the CCEEO mapped out this fourth campaign with precision. The first step involved a major organizational shake up. The Denver Unity Council, the organization that led the three earli er FEPC drives during the 1940s, was out, toppled by Freed was the one late comer in the group, having arrived earlier in 1950 to take the helm of the Mountain States ADL from departing executive director Lou Sidman. Prior to his 6 Taking Stock 1. 7 Ibid. 8 Rocky Mountain News January 9, 1951, p. 11.
115 transfer to Denver, Freed had led the civil rights department of the Los Angeles ADL. 9 Over lunch at the House of Manchu restaurant in Denver, a popular gathering place for the s, Micky Freed convinced the majority of Denver Unity organization that would be independent of both the Denver and Colorado Unity Councils. 10 Freed argued that the Unity Council wa s in serious debt and r epresentatives organizations in Colorado were members of the performed by a small group of civil rights advocates in Denver. As they geared up for the 1951 effort, many civil rights liberals expressed concerns about the ability of the Unity Council to conduct an effective st organizational needs of the upcoming FEPC campaign. 11 By a close vote of 4 3, the committee voted to form a separate organization t employment campaign. 12 It is likely that had been sent to Colorado t to ready it for the coming legislative session. 9 ADL Twentieth Anniversary program transc ript, 1961, p. 10, Box 20, FF 3, ADL Collection. 10 Minutes of luncheon meeting, December 18, 1950, Box 14, FF 1, ADL Collection. Committee members Garman, Liz Halpern, and Minoru Yasui. 11 Taking Stock p. 24. 12 Ibid.
116 Micky Freed, Harry appointed to organize the new CCEEO. 13 In less than two weeks, these leaders recruited educational, and civic communitie s. However, the Mountain States Anti Defamation League was clearly leading the campaign. Micky Freed and ADL principals Harry Schnibbe and Edward Miller (a prominent Denver attorney) served on the CCEEO charged with coordinating the senator A.B. Hirschfeld, founder of the Denver based publishing company that bore his name, served as CCEEO treasurer. 14 e organization committee, was organization. 15 Valdez may have been speaking for himself, or he ma y have given voice to a concern held by other members of the coalition. The record does not indicate what internal racial, cultural and economic tensions common to m ultiracial, multi ethnic and multifaith liberal coalitions; during the later 1960s and 1970s those tensions would erupt and alienate many former civil rights allies. 16 remained in command of the 1951 FEP campaign : an internal ADL memorandum issued 13 Ibid., 25. 14 Personal ADL Letter February 1951, p. 1, Box 46, FF 2020, James Atkins Collection. 15 Minutes of luncheon meeting, December 18, 1950, Box 14, FF 1, ADL Collection. 16 Historians Mark Brilliant ( The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California, 1941 1978 ), Kevin A. Leonard ( The Battle for Los Angeles: Racial Ideolog y and World War II ), and Matthew Whitaker ( Race Work: the Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West) each discuss the internal tensions and conflicts that confronted multiracial and ethnic civil rights coalitions during World War II and the postwar period in the American West.
117 eminent 17 According to the memo, national and Denver ADL staff also provided all of t he literature for the campaign. Micky led re coalition illustrated the priority that the national ADL and its regional affiliate placed on winning approval of fair employment l egislation in Colorado. 18 (NYCAD) in advance of the off icial introduction of the c egislature. The ADL led Republican governor, Thomas Dewey, had the political credibility necessary to convince lawmakers and other influential actors of the critical importance of including penalties and compensatory remedies in a fair employment statute (the New York legislature level FEPC law in 1945.) 19 In early February, 1951, 17 Micky Freed to Edward Miller, 24 May 1951, Box 10, FF 3, ADL Collection. An ADL newsletter boasted about the number of high profile ADL members who served on the executive committee of the CCEEO. Personal ADL Letter February 1951, p 1, Box 46, FF 2020, James Atkins Collection. 18 The three states that comprised the territory of the Mountain States ADL were Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. The New Mexico legislature approved a fair employment law in 1949. As would be the case in Colo rado, evidence suggests that the Mountain States ADL played a critical role in the New Mexico FEPC victory. In a March 1949 newsletter, the Denver based ADL congratulated the New Mexico Committee on Human Relations, Santa Fe ADL chairman Marcel Pick and Da n Valdez of the League of Personal ADL Letter March 1949, p. organizations to the post war intergroup relations movement, the historian notes that the ADL, American to win passage of FEPC legislation in Congress continued to fail, the thr ee organizations focused their efforts on gaining passage of the legislation in the states. Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 88. Svonkin or co drafted the F in 1945. Ibid., 88 89. 19 Taking Stock
118 Spitz addressed the Colorado legislature, advising the lawmakers that education and conciliation could play legitimate roles in the administration of fair employment statutes, to have violated the law. 20 The CCEEO hoped that Spitz would move those legislators who favored improved race relations, but who were wary of using the power of government to punish discriminatory employers. Although political forecasts had predicted smooth sailing for an FEPC bill, as in past fair employment efforts s everal senate Republicans had other plans. While the civil rights coalition worked on the Spitz presentation, the GOP controlled senate readied its own bill a proposal by senate major ity leader Frank Gill (of rural Morgan County, discrimination division within the administrative structure of t he long standing state Industrial Commission. The bill subjected public agencies with more than six employees to its enforcement provisions, but exempted all private employers from its reach, declaring that it would have been quire a private employer to hire any person that the employee. 21 The exemption rendered the bill an enticing, but hollow symbol of racial progress, rather than a concrete v ehicle for social and economic change. Democratic private not public em 22 20 Taking Stock 3. 21 1951 Colorado Sess. Laws, Thirty eighth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, pp. 532 537. 22 Taking Stock 10.
119 victims of private employment discriminati on would simply have to wait out the vague process of re educating 23 Sen ator Gill introduced his bill the day after the Henry Spitz fair employment presentation, a move that caught the CCEEO off guard, since the group had yet to secure House sponsors for its own FEP proposal. 24 The Denver Post described the standoff : bitter senate battle loomed Saturday over a Republican authored fair employment pr actices bill one of the most controversial pieces of legislation before the adjournment 25 Making the situation even more difficult for the CCEEO Sen ator Gill claimed that his bill had the support of Gov ernor Thornton and Re prese ntative Earl Mann, the lone black Republican in the legislature at the time. 26 The Republican proposal offered both good and bad news to the CCEEO. That the GOP felt obliged to offer an anti discrimination bill at all no matter how weak illustrated the that they could no longer kill anti discrimination legislation and escape unscathed. However, Se n ator also anathema to civil rights liberals The crucial distinction between th e civi l rights coalition and the Gill faction was that the CCEEO like civil rights liberals throughout the country sought not simply to change bigoted attitude s but also to employ state power to 27 The CCEEO insisted that fair employment legislation cover private employers and be administered by 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid, 3. 25 Denver Post March 4, 1951. 26 Taking Stock 3. 27 Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 244, Controlling Group Prejudice (Mar., 1946): 79.
120 a permanent and independent government agency established for the sole purpose of administering an FEP law an agency empowered with the statutory authority to investigate complaints, conduct hearings and issue judicially enforceable cease and desist orders. 28 The CCEEO and its predecessor, the Denver Unity Council, followed the philo sophical and substantive tenets of fair employment legislation set forth by Will Maslow, director of the Commission on Law and Social Action a prodigious producer of model civil rights legislation during the 1940s and 1950s. In a 1946 defense of fair emp loyment laws Maslow explained why he and other civil rights liberals favored us ing the power of the state to punish and prevent discriminatory behavior instead of concentrat ing on changing bigoted attitudes. Whether or not the law can affect attitudes there is no doubt that it can and should be directed at the outward effects of such attitudes Your prejudices are of no concern to us, but you shall not deprive individuals of a livelihood because of such a prejudice. 29 Maslow and other civil rights liberals considered legislation such as Sen ator Colorado measure to be window dressing a d e l iberate 30 Democratic senators and representatives attacked the Gill proposal, condemning it as a 31 The Post 32 A 28 Denver Unity Council September 12, 1950, pp. 1, 3, Box S4.B9, FF 15, DUC Collection. 29 Maslow, 30 Ibid. 31 Taking Stock 5. 32 Denver Post March 4, 1951, p. 1.
121 predominantly black group of northeast Denver businessmen and busi nesswomen penned a letter of protest to Gov. Thornton, taking pointed aim at Republican Earl Mann, the only inference that because it has the support of a Negro legislator thi s in any sense expresses the will and desire of the Negro community. The Gill 33 Yet Sen. Gill did not budge; in stead he assured his critics that th e proposal would improve race 34 political framework advanced by Gunnar Swedish scientist who came to our country to study Negro White relations, refers to it as second a liberal, and in the third he is a Christian and in all of them he is superior. 35 or leave it two components of Sen. times conflicting tenets of Cold War racial liberalism: the movement to enact civil rights legislation (for 33 Taking Stock 4. The letter was signed by Leslie Smith, president of the East Denver Improvement Association; Leroy Smith, chairman of the EDIA Board of Directors; Charles R. Cousins; Duke Elligan; Clarence L. Farbes; Dr. Clarence Holmes; Mrs. Ora Harvey; W.G. Howell; William Hunter and Samuel Menin. 34 Denver Post March 4, 1951, p. 1. 35 Taking Stock Appendix 9.
122 Barbour characteriz In truth, Frank Gil l belonged to neither group, but the racial politics of the Cold War had forced the senator and other Republican opponents of fair employment legislation to acknowledge that powerful GOP officials rm of anti discrimination legislation or believed that having an FEPC measure on the books helped advance the appearance of racial progress, or a combination of both. Yet, consistent with Will is legislation any mechanism for achieving substantive social change. Both Gov ernor Thornton and Rep resenative Mann denied having supported Sen. Taking Stock campaign), Gov. Thornton told th e Rocky Mountain News that failing to pass a bill was better than the senate Republicans tepid version. 36 weak FEP bill just for the record, I would just as soon the y 37 Earl Mann reportedly advised t he Denver Post 38 ator proposal, Democratic FEP proponents knew that senate Republicans still controlled the debate and, ultimately the votes: the GOP had 20 seats in the state senate to the Democrats 15. Furious at once again being out maneuvered by the GOP Democratic lawmakers condemned the Gill legislation and belatedly corralled sponsorships for the CCEEO bill (House Bill 333, also referred to as the liberal or Democratic bill). Rep. Elvin Caldwell 36 Taking Stock 5. 37 Ibid. 38 Ibid.
123 agreed to drop his own employmnent bill, a measure with more stringent enforcement provisions than even the CCEEO proposal, and to join fellow Denver Democrat Frank Hays as lead co sp onsors of the CCEEO written bill. 39 Earl Mann, perhaps chastened by his denunciation by the East Denver Improvement Association just a week earlier, also agreed to co sponsor the liberal bill. In clear contrast to Sen ator CCEEO m easure would have established a n independent state agency to administer the fair employment law (the Colorado State Equal Employment Opportunities Board), and author ized the governor to appoint individuals to the principles of fai to investigate complaints, hold hearings, issue cease and desist orders, and award back pay; it also included labor unions, and public and private employers within reach of the provisions. 40 For the CCEEO, already taking the defensive because of Sen ator proposal, the worst was yet to come. On February 13, at least one week before Rep resentative s Caldwell and Hays formally introduced the CCEEO backed H ouse Bill 333 the Denver Post endorsed the GOP legislation, and in the words of the CCEEO, 41 The Post editorial blasted hard, all or ator 42 Palmer n ewspaper refused to support any fair employment bill that carried effective enforcement Post as Sen ator Gill had done one 39 Rep. Elvin Caldwell, letter to constituents, 26 February, 1951, Box 1, FF3, Elvin Caldwell Collection. 40 CC EEO campaign letter, 19 February 1951, Box 1, FF 3, Elvin Caldwell Collection and Taking Stock 82 87. 41 Taking Stock 7. 42 Denver Post February 13, 1951, p. 18.
124 week earlier acknowledged the Cold War imperative of racial progress before aiming lot of other Coloradans who are not convinced we are so wicked in this state that we cannot be approached through reason. If the so its death be on their heads [ sic 43 The conflict between the CCEEO and the st popular daily newspaper a liberal m irrored the chasm that separated civil rights liberals from the larger group of racial liberals who considered prejudice to be through voluntary education efforts. 44 Civil rights liberals sought to prevent and punish considered FEPC legislation 45 In the fair employ ment debate of 1951, the 43 Ibid. 44 In interviews, former Colorado representative Robert Allen state d that during the late 1940s and 1950s, Palmer Hoyt and his Denver Post than the Rocky Mountain News Robert Allen interview, February 28, 2010. Sheldon Steinhauser, who served as execut ive director of the Mountain States ADL from 1957 1988, concurred, recalling that liberals considered the News Post were lauded for progressive positions on civil rights and against McCarthyism. Sheldon Steinhauser interview, March 2, 2010. For a discussion of the rift between racial liberals who championed civil rights legislation as a corrective to discriminatory behavior and those racial liberals who believed that changed societal attitu des Science and Society Vol. 9, No. 1 (Winter, 1945): 1 22; and Svonkin, Jews Against Pr ejudice 40. 45 positive rights and a civil rights theorist, social science liberals like Oswald Garrison Villard, the grandson of abolitionist William Lloyd Ga rrison and a co founder of the national NAACP, disapproved of statutory ade by social scientists, movement during the 1940s and 1950s. Svonkin also details the great reliance placed on anti prejudice research produce d by social scientists by the intergroup relations movement generally, and by civil rights advocates particularly. Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 4, 31 40 (the research of sociologist Gunnar Myrdal was of seminal influence to the postwar intergroup relat ions movement and civil rights advocacy). For example, the brief filed by the NAACP in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education was replete with the which incorporated much of
125 Post to the chagrin of the CCEEO, placed itself in the lat t er category. The CCEEO knew it had suffered a terrible perhaps fatal, setback. The CCEEO responded with a massive statewide lobbying effort. The group explicitly linked the passage of strong, enforceable FEPC laws. It mailed out a campaign letter that contained a hard hitting quote from General George C. Marshall, the architect of the Marshall Plan to r ebuild a shattered post war Europe. Marshall explained the national o exist in the United States serves as fuel for the totalitarian propaganda machine. This propaganda machine rejoices at every job discriminatory practice, at every racist inference which it can truthfully describe as present ctive FEPC legislation will do more for American foreign policy than all of the statements 46 carried a potent individuals by reason of their race, color, religion, national origin, or ancestry is a matter of State concern. Such discrimination foments domestic strife and unrest, threatens the right s and privileges of the inhabitants of the State, weakens our international position and brings our government into world disrepute, and undermines the foundations of a free 47 example of the way in which t he the resea rch is an excellent example of the influence of postwar social science on civil rights advocates and intergroup relations proponents. 46 Box 1, FF 3, Elvin Ca ldwell Collection. 47 Taking Stock 82.
126 laws : anti discrimination legislation furthered the cause democracy, racial progress and But opponents of fair employment in general, a s well as those who favored only FEP C measures, also invoked Cold War rhetoric in support of their opposition to the CCEEO Critics hurled accusations of government over reaching and outright communism at the supporters of H ouse Bill 333. The Pueblo Chieftain 48 The Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph 49 The Durango Herald for its part, painted the bill an even more alarming shad e of red 50 The CCEEO did not receive a favorable endorsement from a single daily newspaper in the state. 51 In addition to its discmissive editorial, the Denver Post also published an incendiary guest column by Denver businessman John B. Young, in which a fictitious grandfather attempted to explain the CCEEO bill to his grandson. With savage wit, Young incorporated every stereotype and rumor that had bedeviled FEP C advocates in Colorado and throughout the country. Q. Grampa, what does FEPC mean? A. It is to pass a law to stop discrimination against minorities in hiring workers. Q. Simplify that, Grampa. it, he can make the minority man and against the majority man? Who are these minority men anyhow? 48 Ibid. 35. 49 Ibid. 50 Ibid. 51 Ibid.
127 A. Well, we have four minority groups of different races, creeds or colors trying call them M1, M2, M3, and M4. Q. Who is the majority man or is he ashamed of his name, too? Q. Tell me Grampa, is it a crime to be an employer? A. No, under our American system an employer is valuable to public welfare. Q. D id he build his business by his own effort, with no special favors? A. Why, yes, usually. Q. They why should the law interfere with the way he runs it? the law says I musn so as to endanger the public. because he has no car, does it? Q. Are there any communists in the co mmittee backing this FEPC? besides he can always use a few votes come election time. the executive Q. The judge and these others are just big hearted? Are they working for their own profit in any way? A. Only for their nice fat salary. Q. No red at all --not even a teensy A. D Q. Well! If all the best people and the big organizations a nd the employers are for fine minority workers themselves and not waste time passing laws just to keep these few stinkers in line? A. Oh, Shut up, Junior! You sound like a fascis t to me! An isolationist, too, so 52 work success through individual effort, unassisted by the government, while African Americans, Jews, Catholics, a coercive assistance that impeded Mr. ability to operate his business (and discriminate) as he saw fit. 52 Denver Post January 15, 1951, reprinted in Taking Stock 68.
128 The Post John mentary. 53 Freed reminded readers that both the national Democratic and Republican parties had endorsed fair employment legislation in their platforms in 1948. Freed, a former marine, also attempted to insolate both himself and the CCEEO from accusations of communist influence by referencing his own World War II service in 54 ) Freed admonished FEPC opponents that even as American soldiers were fighting communist forces in Ko 55 In his effort to bolster fair employment measure, Freed, l ike Gov ernor Thornton in his inaugural address to the state legislature, invoked again held the winni ng hand it was Frank ator Will Nicholson, a Denver Republican ( who would be elected mayor of Denver in 1955 ) urged senators from both parties to support the Republican legislation, contending that the bill furthered importa 56 Sen ator Democratic minority leader (who hailed from the San Luis Valley in eastern Colorado ), brought political advantage in advance of the coming election year was the real reason for the 53 Denver Post February 1, 1951, reprinted in Taking Stock 71. 54 Ibid. 55 Ibid., 72. 56 Ibid., 10.
129 ey can 57 After all, as Micky Freed had noted in his guest opinion column, the national Republican Party was still on record as being supportive of civil rights legislation. 58 Although Sen ator Taylor warned that that the real need for regulation was in 59 The final vote in the senate was twenty five in favor to nine Republicans and just one Democrat all represented rural Colorado districts. 60 On March 29, Gov. Thornton signed the Colorado Anti Discrimination Act into law. The measure was only the second statewide fair employment law to be approved in the intermountain west, the fourth FEP statute to be passed by a western legislature, and the e leventh in the nation. 61 The legislation forbade discrimination by public agencies on the Colorado Anti Discrimination Division (CADD) to educate the public about t he 57 Ibid., 10, 12. 58 As law professor Mark Tushnet noted in his study of the Supreme Court during the 1950s, although President Eisenhower was privately disdainful of the use of government power to enforce congressional or judicial civil rights edicts, the Republican Party still officially supported civil rights. Mark Tushnet, Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marshall an d the Supreme Court, 1956 1961 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 201. 59 Taking Stock 10. 60 Ibid., 11. Of the fourteen Democratic senators who voted for the GOP fair employment bill, 5 represented rural districts. Eight of the 11 Republican senator proposal had rural constituencies, while the nine who voted against the measure has rural constituencies. Ibid. The CCEEO noted that the urban w ith FEPC voting records in other state legislatures. Ibid., 13. The Colorado House of Representatives, a considerably more liberal body than the senate on civil rights legislation, approved the Republican bill by a vote of 57 to 2. Ibid., 16. 61 New Mexico (1953), 117, American Jewish Committee, accessed April 22, 2011, http://www.ajcarchives.org
130 capability to state, county, city or town government agencies that employed six or more persons (excluding public school districts and other educational institutions) Th e new law did not establish a new state agency dedicated to fair employment enforcement (the CADD was placed under the administration of a long standing state agency, the Colorado Industrial Commission) nor did it require the hiring of civil rights pr ofes sionals to oversee the administration of the statute. Even more troubling, the law allowed employers, employment agencies and labor unions to ask applicants about their nationality, ancestry, family associations, and membership in political, social, frater nal and trade organizations. 62 As he signed the GOP provision into law on March 29, 1951, Governor Thornton (who, in truth may or may not have been disappointed with the results of the historic legislative session), told the Denver Post that it [P]roof to Communists that this 63 six months after he and the Denver Post for Freedom, were right on target. Cold War po litics had largely contributed to the the FEPC bill. Yet Cold War rhetoric had also served to limit the reach and effectiveness of the approved legislation. During the FEP debate Sen ator Gill 62 An Act Concerning Discrimination in Fair Employment Practices, 1951 Colo. Sess. Laws, pp. 531 532, 534. The new fair employment law placed responsibility for administration of the statute in the Anti Discrimination Division, and made the division a unit o f the already existing Colorado Industrial Commission. The new law declared that an employer committed an unfair employment practice when it or anc director of the Anti an Relations Commission whose seven members were to be appointed by the governor, and were authorized to attempt voluntary conciliation in cases when efforts by the Anti Discrimination Division had failed. Taking Stock Appendix 11, pp. 1 7; 1951 Colo. Ses s. Laws, pp. 531 539. 63 Denver Post March 30, 1951, p. 19.
131 had acknowledged that passing a fair em ployment law was necessary because it would present Cold War foes with an image of American racial equality. Yet accusations of communistic government intervention in the operations of private business owners also helped kill the CCEEO essive bill. In defeat, CCEEO ally Rep resentative Elvin Caldwell attempted to turn the tables on those critics who saw is the communists who do not want this sort of legislation because they then could use the 64 but losing, rejoinder to the red baiting that had convulsed the fair employment debate. As the governor signed the FEP law, a Denver Post photographer captured The Micky Freed, Rev erend Edward Bartlett and Judge Joe Cook looking on, smiling magnanimously. Their presence at the bill signing is something of a mystery, considering the hand to hand combat they waged i n attempting to defeat the Gill proposal. Perhaps it was a concession offered by Gov ernor Thornton; it would have been unseemly to have Sen ator Frank Gill at his side rather than representatives of the civil rights liberals who had spearheaded three previo us losing FEPC campaigns, and who, most importantly, actually believed that government should protect Americans from discriminatory employers. Although the presence of Freed, Bartlett, and Cook at the bill signing remains uncanny, their smiling images do r eveal something important about the ights liberals had long been a multi racial, multi ethnic, and multifaith group of men and women, white men with strong legal, political or civic connections dominated the leadership of the 64 Colorado Statesman March 12, 1951, p. 1.
132 movement for statutory civil rights protections. Within that small leadership circle, the influence of the Mountain States ADL had grown immensely, in large measure due to the professionalize its operations, and to expand its original mission of Jewish self defense to include a full throttled involvement in both the national intergroup relations movement as well as the organized effort to pursue passage of state level fair emplo yment and other anti discrimination legislation. By 1951 the national ADL had become a powerhouse in the intergroup relations movement by utilizing the extensive partnerships it had forged in academia, as well as in the motion picture, radio, television, publishing, and advertising industries in the decades since its founding in 1913. 65 Like a well oiled machine, the ADL regularly produced or commissioned high quality films, television and radio programs, public service announcements, books, pa mphlets, posters even matchbook covers to deliver its message about the importance of racial and religious equality in a democratic America. 66 techniques and a range of media, wh prejudice programs to the radio industry. 67 Not only did the Denver based Mountain States ADL enjoy access to the expansive resources and expertise of its parent organization by 1951, the Denver ADL had long established working relationships of its own with Colorado politicians, universities and junior colleges, public school districts, civic groups, churches local radio and television 65 Unity Council News letter March 1949, p. 4, Box 35, FF 17, James Atkins Collection. 66 Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 15 16. 67 Unity Council Newsletter March 1949, p. 4, Box 35, FF 17, James Atkins Collection; Svonki n, Jews Against Prejudice 15 16.
133 stations, and publishing businesses and was saturating the state with its human relations materials 68 the anemic Colorado Anti Discrimination Act. The law, intended to satisfy demands for evidence of racial progress while leaving private employers free to continue to discriminate, still offered an important opportunity to proponents of effective fair employme nt regulation to capitalize discrimination public education an Relations. As the April, 1951 ADL newsletter explained in the highly gendered language of the period commission is empowered to execute an educational program designed to foster equality of opportunity in employment. It can recommend necessary ch anges of the law. If Governor Thornton appoints capable men, who are devoted to FEPC principles, the law 69 The governor Commission (GHRC). At the time Miller, a prominent local attorney and fellow Republican, was also 68 State ADL Conference, March 14, 1948, p. 3, Box 10, FF 1, ADL Collection; Personal ADL Letter March 1950, pp. 1, 3; Personal ADL Letter October 1950, p. 2 Box 20, FF 2, ADL Collection. 69 Personal ADL Letter April 1951, Box 20, FF 1, ADL Collection. The that pervaded post Worl d War II American media, entertainment and political institutions. Historian Nancy the workplace were no longer considered to be patriotic Rosie the Rive Women and the American Expericence: A Concise H istory second edition (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2002), 331, 332 335.
134 chairman of the Mountain States ADL regional advisory board. 70 With the chairman of the local ADL statutorily empowered to educate the public on behalf of the GHRC, and the ready access of the Mountain States ADL to its own legal expertise and extensive multi media human relations library as well as to the resources o f its parent organization an organization that had made passage of state FEPC laws a priority the campaign for an effective fair employment statute was far from over. As ADL executive director Micky Freed confirmed in a private memo to chairman Edward Miller just two months after the Colorado Anti Discrimination Act went into effect, the ADL and it s fair 71 Perhaps this hint of future success explains the smiles displayed by the three CCEEO members as they witnessed Governor Thornton sign the legislation that they had fought so very hard to kill. 70 male Human Relations Commission included three m en who had long been Youth Center; Rev. J. Russel Brown, identified by the Denver Post of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. In addition to Edward Miller, the other three men appointed to Post attorney and personal friend of the Gov. Thornton; and L.M. Pexton, president of the Denver Union Stockyard Denver Post July 23, 1951, p. 2. 71 Micky Freed to Edward Miller, 24 May, 1951, Box 10, FF 3, ADL Collection.
135 CHAPTER X CHAINS OF LOVE: CHALLENGING THE INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE BAN in our veins through inter marriage, then we reach that superb condition of having an 1 Excerpt from editorial by Roy Hahn, editor and publisher of the Loveland Roundup as re printed in Rocky Mountain News June 1949. proclaimed by Our Lord, reaffirmed by th e Declaration of Independence and espoused by 2 Betwe en 1951 and 1959, legislators in seven western states i ncluding Colorado repealed statutory bans on interracial marriage. 3 Historian Peggy Pascoe argues that repeal advocates in many western states deliberately minimized the incendiary issue of black white intermarriage by focusing instead on Asian white or American Indian white marriages racial couplings that Pascoe mainta ins whites generally found l ess objectionable 4 Proponents of re peal often highlighted cases of white soldiers who married Japanese or Korean women while serving overseas, but whose marriages had not been legally recognized once they returned to the Unit ed States. Pascoe argues that by making the pe rsonal liberty of a white m a n to marry a woman of his choosing free of 1 Rocky Mountain News June 29, 1949. DPL Clipping File, 19 40 1949. 2 Ibid. 3 Peter Wallenstein, Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage and the Law An American History (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2002), 254. In 1948, the California Supreme Court invalidated a California law that prohibited white person Perez v. Sharp 198 P2d. 15. The following states also repealed statutory bans on interracial marriages during the 1950s: Oregon 1951; Montana 1953; north Dakota 1955; South D akota and Colorado 1957; Idaho and Nebraska 1959. Ibid., 254. 4 Pascoe, What Comes Naturally 240.
136 governmental interference the central issue in these campaigns, repeal advocates frequently led by local branches of the ACLU and Japanese American Citizens League were able to avoid the much more controversial issue of black white intermarriage. 5 of miscegenation repeal in Colorado. Evidence strongly suggest s that Rocky Mountain News epithet spewing editor of the Loveland Roundup in 1949 was not representative of the public discussion of interracial marriage in Colorado during the 1950s. Unlike the heated debates that accompanied the introduction of fair employment and fair housing legislation during the 1940s and 1950s, the record of public discussion on interracial marriage in Colorado is comparatively thin. Indeed, except to note the year Pascoe does not discu ss interracial marriage statute in her study 6 In Colorado, repeal advocates would not have been able to craft a campaign that featured a war tested white male veteran denied the 5 elements that she contends were common in western r epeal efforts. In Wyoming, after officials denied a marriage license to a white man and a Japanese American woman, the JACL, the Mountain States ADL and the AFL n in 1965. Ibid. 6 Pascoe, What Comes Naturally 243. Peggy Pascoe was not alone in her comparative silence on efforts to who along with vagrancy ordinance during the early 1940s, contain no mention of the Jackson case. There may be several reasons for the paucity of evi dentiary material. The records of the Colorado ACLU, a likely candidate to challenge or to have considered a challenge to the miscegenation statute, were not available to research for this project. The Denver NAACP has no archived records, but available ev idence does show that the Colorado Supreme Court. The archived records of the Denver Cosmopolitan Club are also silent on the interracial marriage issue Human Relations, and the Colorado Committee for Civil Rights Legislation. The ADL was also silent, except for brief updates on the work of Representative Bob Allen that appeared sp oradically in the Personal ADL Newsletter
137 freedom to marry an Asian or Indian woman. 7 marital ban was limited to black white marriages, unlike the more extensive statutory bans in effect in other western without focusing on black white marriage In Colorado, the effort to repeal the marriage ban was a comparatively quiet operation Although the thin evidentiary record makes it difficult to reach a definitive l iberals on the matter, it seems likely white coalition considered the topic too incendiary and thus a threat to its other legislative priorities. The coalition was not alone. During the early 1940s, the Denver NAACP refused to support the appeal of a conviction premised on the ban 8 It is also likely that more than a few members of the coalition may not have o ppose d the prohibition against interracial marriage. Representative Robert (Bob) Allen led the effort to repeal the miscegenation statute in the Colorado legislature Allen won election to the state House of Representatives in November, 1950, and made hi s first attempt to rescind the law less than three years later. He rec ounted asking Republican Rep resentative Earl Mann to co sponsor a repeal measure early in 1953. According to the retired lawmaker, Mann refused 7 One can imagine the disastrous debate that would have followed a campaign that argued that a white fem ale veteran had earned the right to marry the man of her choice, regardless of his skin color. justifications offered for the criminalization of interracial mar riage. 8 Denver Star July 19, 1941, p. 4. A Denver trial court convicted James Jackson, an African American, and Lydia Jackson, who was white, claimed a common law marriage. A trial court declared that the state statutory ban on interrac ial marriage rendered their common law union a legal Court affirmed the lower court ruling in Jackson v. City and County of Denver 124 P. 2d 240 (1942).
138 9 demurral to mean that most African Americans in Denver would not support a campaign to repeal the marital ban. Yet That same year, Mann had publicly bristled at an accusation that he was not serving the African American businessmen all members of the Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunity had e arlier taken Mann to task for his refusal to support a bill t hat would have toughened t he state fair employment law The four publicly accused the responded by t estily remind ing his critics that his constituency was not limited to the 10 Perhaps Mann, like many other politicians, laid claim to a certain constituency based on the politic al advantage he perceived might be gained from the affiliation. In th e case of interracial marriage, it appears that Mann could glean no political advantage in challenging the state ban He presumably most feared a backlash as a pretext for sidestepping a potentially divisive issue. 9 Robert Allen interview with author, Denver, Colorado, December 5, 2009. 10 Rocky Mountain News March 10, 1953, DPL Clipping Files, 1940 1940. Earl Mann, although critical of violent southern Jim Crow regimes, freque ntly offered Denver Post January 9, 1952, DPL Clipping File, 1950 1959. Responding to a query about the patriotism of African Americans during the Paul Robeson controversy, Mann, this time presuming to represent the sentiments of es and would Holmes, published in the Denver Post white people have often foll Denver Post February 7, 1952. DPL Clipping File, 1950 1959.
139 civil rights coalition. The Mountain States ADL newslett er gave Allen kudos for in the effort or of the existence of a coalition or group effort to get the legislation passed. 11 By 1953, the seasoned civil rig hts liberals had won creation of ewide fair employment campaigns, but they nonetheless seemed uninterested in waging a public battle against interracial marriage prohibition Allen recou nted that at one point in his first legislative effort, he had more Republican than Democratic co sponsors, and that most of the GOP sponsors were war veterans. 12 Allen explained that he had deliberately sought their sponsorship due to their views on race r minded about race. They had been in the 13 The overwhelming approval of the fair employment bill in the House during 1951 where Republicans enjoyed a 47 18 majority lends cred House domestic relations committee h ad been studying the interracial marriage ban as part of its 14 At an October 1954 11 Personal ADL Letter March 1953, p. 2, Box 14, FF 1, pp. 2 3, ADL Collection. 12 Robert Allen interview. 13 Ibid. 14 Colorado Bar Association, Record of Proceedings, Minutes of the Board of Governors Meeting, Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colorado, October 14, 1954, p.2, obtained from the offices of the Denver Bar Association, 1900 Grant Street, Denver, Colorado.
140 John Gorsuch, chairman of interracial marriage. 15 Those measures approved by the CBA would then be submitted to the state legislature wi eeting m inutes show interracial marria ge proposal 16 The following month, the Denver Post under a provocatively and misleading headline Negro Matings that the CBA intended to submit legislation to repeal the marriage ban during the 1955 legislative session. 17 The s uggestive headline intimated that the CBA wanted to legalize interracial sex, an activity that had never been banned in Colorado. In the art icle, John Gorsuch argued that the law region in southern Colorado while banning them everywhere else in the state. (The statute that portion of the state acquired from Mexico a likely reference to that portion of the state acquired by the United States after the end of the Mexican American War in 1848. ) 18 The lawyer also contended that the ban led to 19 Gorsuch also of the United States Supreme Court. Gorsuch no doubt had in mind the Brown v. Board of Educatio n decision, issued ea rlier that year, in which the Court declared that laws that 15 Ibid., p. 2. 16 CBA, Record of Proceedings, Minutes of the Board of Governors Meeting, October 14, 1954, p. 2. 17 Denver Post Nov. 15, 1954, p. 1. 18 Colo. Stat. Ann. Ch. 107, Â§2 (1935). 19 White Denver Post Nov. 15, 1954, p. 1.
141 mandated racial segregation in public schools violated the e qual p rotection guarantee in determination in Brown th at racial segregation in public schools violated the c onstitutional requirement that states guarantee their residents equal treatment under the law, the justices might also find that state prohibitions against interracial marriages also violated the Const Gorsuch offered one more argument against the marriage ban, one based on the 20 That a well known, established white attorney dared to ob serve publicly that love was colorblind indicates that the position taken by lawyers George Ross and Samuel Menin in the Jackson case thirteen years earlier had gained some degree of social traction. repeal sentiments nonetheless ruffled more than a few Post claimed that : one article in the Post noted that the state law banning white negro marriages, letters received by the Colorado Bar Association 21 Issues of race and racism, rather than legal arguments had rankled the Post that the lawyers who oppos ed repeal 22 In 1955, Rep resentative Bob Allen sponsored House Bill 86, his second attempt to T he bill was one of several CBA supported bills introduced in the legislature that year, but lawmakers again rejected 20 Ibid. 21 Denver Post December 29, 1954. 22 Ibid.
142 the repeal proposal. 23 W ith two strike outs behind him, Bob Allen was determined to mount a third effort to repeal the ban on interracial m arriage during the next legislative session available to him 1957. Yet without a shake up in the political and ideological composition of the Colorado General Assembly that effort, like the previous two, seemed doomed to failure. 23 DICTA Volume XXXII, No. 4, May June, 1955, 205. DICTA was the official journ al of the Denver and Colorado Bar Associations and the University of Denver College of Law.
143 CHAPTER XI CIVIL RIGHTS REVOLUTION OF 1957 the history of the state after passing, in 1957, legislation calling for an ex panded Fair Employment Practices law, repeal of the miscegenation statute and a stronger public 1 George Brown, Colorado state senator and Denver Post reporter, December 19, 1958 h the house as it did the Senate without a dissenting vote. These are the days when members of neither party want to be 2 Colorado Labor Advocate March 1, 1957 The 1956 fall election delivered the politica l sea change of a lifetime to Rep. Bob Allen and his Democratic colleagues in the state legislature. A Democratic tidal wave swept Republicans out of control of both houses of the state assembly for the first time since 1936. 3 Democrats now enjoyed a whopp ing 21 to 14 seat majority in the Senate, and controlled 38 seats in the 4 fortunes all the more remarkable, Denver P ost reporter George Brown won election to the state senate, becoming the first African American ever to hold a seat in that body. 5 For civil rights liberals th e session itself would prove just as spectacular as Election Day had been. During the three month session, the legislature approved five 1 Denver Post December 18, 1958, DPL Clipping Files, 1950 1959. 2 Colorado Labor Advocate March 1, 1957. 3 Colorado Labor Advocate November 9, 1956, p. 1. 4 Denver Post November 7, 1956, p. 1. 5 Ibid. The 41 st General Assembly distinguished itsel f with another human relations milestone: Rev. M.C. Williams became the first African American to serve as chaplain of the Colorado House of Representatives. Denver Post January 20, 1957, p. 3AA.
144 pieces of civil rights legislation The three most significant measures to win approval were a fair employment bill t hat finally brought private employers under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission (CADC); a bill that placed the administration of the 62 year old public accommodations statute under the CADC; and a bill that repealed the nearly 1 00 year old law that had forbidden marriages between white Mountain States 6 The United States Congress indeed would have done well to take notice: during the three month session in which Colorado lawmakers approved their historic slate of civil ri ghts bills, southern Democrats in Washington D.C. continued their two year campaign to obstruct passage of modest civil rights proposals. Brownell had proposed to create a division in the Justice Department dedic ated to enforcing civil rights and protecti ng black voting rights. He also wanted Congress to establish a national Civil Rights Commission and empower it t o investigate claims of voting discrimination and other civil rights violations. Throughout 1955, 195 6 and 1957, civil rights legislation 7 s civil rights achievements. Brown 6 Personal ADL Lette r, Summer 1957, p. 2, Box 46, FF 2020, James Atkins Collection. 7 long struggle to win approval of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 in Presidential Studies Quarterly Vol. 25, No. 3, Civil Rights and Presidential Leadership (Summer 1995): 413 427.
145 had been the lead s enate sponsor of the 1957 fair employment bill; Rep Bob Allen was its primary House sponsor. Brown pronounced the 41 st liberal in the history of the state : both chambers in the assembly had approved the F EP bill unanimously. 8 The senator did not mention Republican Sen Frank Gill co sponsor ed the expansive fair employment measure. I n 1951 Gill had relished foiling the efforts of the Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunity to establish an independent fair employment state agency and make the law applicable to private employers. 9 Although Democratic majorities in both cham bers could have approved the fair employment bill without the support of a single member of the minority party, the measure received the vote of every Republican in the legislature. What changes in support for a bill that made private employers subject to fair employment prohibitions? GOP senators had rejected such proposals in 1947, 1949, 1951, 1953 and 1955, and had also buried Rep. Bob 5. Why would Gill and the interracial marriage ban, and other civil rights laws in 1957? A perfect storm of international, national and local events and pressures he unlikely approval of a slate of anti would have feared impossible a few years earlier. Brown v. Topeka Board of Education evoked public acknowledgement of a historic rethinking of American 8 Denver Post December 18, 1958, DPL Clipping File, 1950 1959. 9 D enver Post January 23, 1957, p. 21.
146 race relations, and of the express (if still largely rhetorical) inclusion of racial equality as a cornerstone of American democracy. After the Brown decision, t he front pages of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News showcased the relentless pace of racist terror that followed in the wake of the ruling. As the forces of global capitalism and communism engaged in proxy battles a round the world, the racist violence and vit riolic efforts of white southerners in and out of Congress to obstruct court orders and destroy federal civil rights proposals sparked local editorial and popular disapproval in Denver As the Gu American Dilemma heap ed internatio n al embarrassment on the Eisenhower administration and the United State s, s outhern outrages c ompete d with Cold War flare ups in Hungary, the Suez and Indochina for space in the pages of dail y newspapers 10 For more than ten years, activists in capitalizing on the exquisite incompatibility of systemic racial discrimination in the for legislation Committee on Civil Rights in its landmark report, To Secure These Rights By arguing that anti discrimination laws were at once an imperative of American democracy and a political and economic battle with the Soviet Union, civil rights proponents were able to exert tremendous pressure on lawmakers in the Colorado General Assembly. 10 Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line 83.
147 The confluence of these local, national and international factors in 1957 created a political atmosphere in which even conservative state lawmakers dared not risk taking a public stance opposing civ il rights legislation. However, it is unlikely that all of the lawmakers who voted for anti discrimination proposals in 1957 actually supported them; rather, they almost certainly cast favorable votes under pressure from events that combined to make voting against civil rights measures in the Colorado 41 st General Assembly a politically costly enterprise. The Colorado Labor Advocate starkly assessed the impact of international, through the House as it did th e Senate without a dissenting vote. These are the days when members of neither party want to be counted against any civil rights proposal 11 By 1957, t he national narrative of democratic redemption and racial progress, begun during the Second World War, h ad become part of the popular political discourse In late 1956, just a few months shy of the start of the historic 1957 legislative session, the Advocate had observed the omnipresence of stories about racial integration and resistance to it in the dail y news The paper also noted the international audience of t is the fact the non white population of the world the is watching closely and will judge much by 11 Colorado Labor Advocate March 1, 1957, p. 2.
148 the outcome whether America be friend or foe 12 Indeed many members of the Colorado House had that internationa l audience in mind early in 1956 when they approved House Memorial No. 5, a resolution submitted by four Democrats, including Representatives George Brown and Bob Allen, that condemn ed 13 The resolution demanded that Congress investigate the denial of black voting rights in the South. In e ndorsing the non binding resolution, Rep Byron Johns on, a Denver Democrat, warned that Colorado could not ignore the southern 14 The House approved the memorial on a bipartisan vote of 49 to 11 (A t the time Republicans still controlle d th at chamber with 36 seats to the Democrats 29. ) All but one including nine representatives from generally conservative rural counties. Twenty one Republicans joined the Democrats in approving the res olution, including Speaker of the House David Hamil, a rancher and farmer from rural Logan County. However, Republicans also cast all 11 opposing votes. 15 The Advocate might have had the House resolution in mind when it predicted a momentous rethinking abo much attention for it appears that a great shift in the views and habits of millions of 16 The editorial made a keen observation: on issues of race and democratic equality, the attitudes of a significant number of whites in America 12 Colorado Labor Advocate September 21, 1956, p. 2. 13 Denver Post January 12, 1956, p. 3 14 Ibid. 15 Representatives, 40 th General Assembly of the State of Colorado (195 6), p. 95. In addition to Denver Democrat Frank Burk, who was absent, four Republicans did not vote on the resolution. 16 Colorado Labor Advocate September 21, 1956, p. 2.
149 were evolving in a manner that would make the racial integration of an increasing the Advocate 17 Partial credit for this historic re visioning of racial hierarchy can be attributed to the intergroup relations movement that grew so exuberantly after the defeat of Germany Nazi white supremacy and genocide a horrific linkage that had been so vividly expressed during the war by the nationwide Double V campaig n. In Denver, the ADL, Committee on Human Relations, and myriad other intergroup organizations incorporated that powerful symbolism into their arguments for racial equality. 18 The inte rgroup relations movement had reached full bloom in Colorado during the 1950s, as advocates in Denver exploited the racial politics of the Cold War to argue that racial equality must be considered a basic tenet American democracy. If the United States hope d to convince the millions of dark skinned peoples in Africa, the Americas and Asia and political superiority to Soviet communism, then the U.S. would have to practice racial democracy at home. At least partial cred it for the collective change in attitude noted by the Colorado Labor Advocate 17 Colorado Labor Advocate Sep tember 21, 1956, p. 2. 18 as universities and several public school districts were enthusiastic participants in the intergroup relations movement. However the purpose of this study is to analyze the organizations and events that most directly have focused on those organizations that exerted the most significant influence on the state legislature.
150 must be attributed to a broader acceptance of the equal opportunity message spread by individuals and organizations involved in the postwar human relations movement. In Cold War Denver, George Brown became an important contributor to the human relations movement by exposing evidence of institutionalized racism in the city. Before winning his historic election to the Colorado senate in 1956, Brown had achieved another m ilestone: as a reporter for the Post hired by Palmer Hoyt in 1950, Brown published a series on racial discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing in Denver. 19 The initial series of reports reached print in 1951; Brown continued to publi sh articles on race and racism in Denver until his election to the state senate in 195 6 Although Palmer Hoyt did not favor punishing discriminatory behavior with state sanctions, the Post e his mouth frequently ventured. In matters of civil rights, Hoyt frequently expressed his changing the attitudes of bigoted persons before attempting to curb their behavior with statutory prohibitions and pena lties. Voluntary educational efforts that publicized the existence and dangers of discrimination were a hallmark of racial liberalism, and were also a vital tool for civil rights liberals. nce of public education and in the years ahead, civil rights liberals including George Brown would journalistic work by engineering substantial changes to Colorado law. 19 George Brown was not the first African American to write for the Denver Post In 1899 the paper hired renowned poet and novelist Paul Laurence Dunbar as a special correspondent. Dunbar, born in Ohio in 1876 decided to travel to Colorado after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. Gary Scharnhorst and Paul Laurence Dunbar in Colorado, 1899 Colorado Heritage July/August 2011, 15 23.
151 Yet it is highly likely that Palmer Hoyt, ever the Col d Warrior, had another Post began publishing the Jim Crow articles almost one year to the month after Hoyt and then General Eisenhower launched the international anti communist Crusade for Freedom fro m a stage in downtown Denver. In his reports, George Brown often asserted that discriminatory and the people in Denver who let him go on living are leaving the door wide ope n for featured on the Post 20 series and t here were many clearly the articles on racial segregation and disc rimination in Denver served another purpose: if whites in Denver would not desist from discriminatory practices on principle, perhaps convincing them that such practices served only to aid the dreaded Communists would disabuse them of their un democratic h abits. In 1951 Freed exposed the exclusionary policies of two Denver swimming pools to Post readers. ngress of Racial Equality the three men sought entr ance to the Lakeside and Sportland swimming pools, the lat t er a YMCA operated facility that received funding from the Community Chest (a predecessor of the United Way). 21 Employees of both facilities denied Brown and Barbour entrance; Freed was 20 Denver Post September 25, 1951, p. 1. 21 Denver Post September 8, 1951, DPL Clipping File, 1950 1959.
152 admitted 22 report in the Post Micky Freed accused the national press of ignoring the incident simply because no physical viol ence had accompanied the violation of human rights and Colorado law. 23 to live in it, or when a World War II hero who gave his life in defense of his country in Korea w as denied burial in Sioux City, Iowa because he was an Indian, such sickening Something akin to this happened right here in Denver; but because no violence attended the incident, you never read a li 24 In comments published in the Denver Post Republican state ed readers that racist policies such as the YM must realize that with three fourths of the world peopled by the dark races, racial discrimination, as practiced in America, can only further human discord, with resultant 25 War Achilles heel racism but also to the anti colonial battles being waged globally by peoples of color. 26 During the 1950s, c ivil rights advocates and observers frequently link ed racist practices in Denver, no matter how localized, to national and international developments. 22 Ibid. 23 Persona l ADL Letter September, 1951, p. 1, Box 20, FF 2, ADL Collection. 24 Ibid. 25 Denver Post August 26, 1953, DPL Clipping File, 1950 1959. 26 Borstelmann, Cold War and the Color Line 132 133.
153 Denver Post series on segregation reinforced on a local level the racial dilemma that first presented itself nationally during World War II and continued to confound the Truman and Eisenhower administrations during the Cold War. American white supremacy was not simply a moral issue; its significance reached far beyond the explained in 1950, 27 If domestic racism aided the communists and led to war as the Denver Unity Council and other local and national civil rig hts and human been asserting since World War II then the tenets of democratic anti communism required that loyal Americans fight world communism by dismantling white su premacy, too. rights organizations simply could not. The Post was a paper of noted influence in y disreputable tabloid into a legitimate newspaper attracted favorable national attention. Locally, Hoyt was also both renowned and reviled for his deep involvement in city, state, and national politics. Love them or hate them, Hoyt and his paper were powe rs to be articles on the Post lawmakers read the Post and editorial sting. Even the most unenlightened state legislators would have been made aware of the 27 Harold Isaacs, quoted in Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line 45.
154 changing political views represented by the Jim Crow articles (and by the black journalist who wrote them), and by the increasing number of stories about r ace and civil rights published in the Post and Rocky Mountain News Nor is it likely that legislators would have been able to overlook the seemingly omnipresent warnings carried in the papers about the dangerous consequences that racial discrimination and exclusion posed to the Numerous private organizations, s everal of which have been discussed in this study dispensed the human relations gospel in Denver. However, in the 1950s movement to win civil rights legislation i n Colorado, the work of the Mountain States ADL was particularly effective. As discussed earlier in this study, the decision of the national ADL to professionalize its operations (including its regional chapters), advance the civil rights of racial minori ties in addition to Jews, along with the exceptional quality and deep reach dynamo in the state wide human relations and civil rights movements. 28 For example, in early 1951, even as the legislature debated competing fair employment bills, the local group spon sored the showing of a human relations film series at Pueblo Junior College, and the ADL provided professional staff, movies, recordings and funding for summer workshops conducted at the University of Denver, University of Colorado and colleges in Utah and Wyoming. The workshops were designed to train teachers from around the 28 The Mountain States ADL boasted that the entertainment industry magazine Variety reported that local television programmers throughout the United States had included three nationa lly produced ADL anti Personal ADL Letter Winter 1958, p. 4, Box 20, FF 2, ADL Collection.
155 29 In 1952 the Mountain States ADL launched a nationally produced, 13 episode human relations TV, and arranged for the airing of another 13 part series on radio stations in Grand Junction, Colorado, as well as in New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. 30 Th at same year the ADL also delivered its pu blic education mat erials to a wide ranging group of recipients that, in addition to radio and television stations in Denver, included Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the University of New Mexico, and the Mountain Prairie Girl Scout Council. 31 In 1951, the Mountain S tates ADL had gained an opportunity to bring its over the strenuous opposition of the ADL led Colorado Committee for Equal first fair employment law the weak measure that created the Colorado Anti Discrimination Division (CADD) lawmakers also established a seven of the GHRC, whose members were appointed by the governor, were limited to making recommendations to the governor and the legislature on fair employment practices and Edward Miller, an attorney and fellow Republican, to chair the fir st GHRC was fortuitous Anti claimed public 29 Personal ADL Letter February, 1 Personal ADL Letter April 1951, Box 46, FF 2002, James Atkins Collection. 30 Personal ADL Newsletter September 1952, p. 3, James Atkins Collection, Box 46, F F 2020. 31 Personal ADL Letter December 1952, p. 4, Box 46, FF 2020, James Atkins Collection.
156 education materials, publishing and broadcast partners, distribution channels, and national civil rights network and expertise. 32 Indeed, in 1953, the state Anti Discrimination Division with considerable assistance from the ADL produced a glossy 15 Merit in Colorado 33 The cover featured three smiling female administrative employees one of them Japanese American and the other two white The t chie Terasa k i of her co Mitchie Administrative office. 34 The selection of images for the pamphlet hardly seems random. In Colorado, repeated surveys conducted by the D enver Unity Council Denver Commission on Human Relations and the Urban League had shown that African Americans and Latinos faced the most serious levels of employment discrimination Ye t the GHRC chose to highlight the merit of a Japanese American woman employee, favorably compare her to two white female co workers and point out that all three held non threatening clerical positions. The cover seemed to be a deliberate attempt to new Anti Discrimination Division so as to not offend a still wary and mostly male state legislature. 32 Denver Post July 23, 1951, p. 2. Other members of lifford Houston, dean of students at the University of Colorado; Lino Lopez, director of the Catholic Youth center in Pueblo, and a former member of the Denver Unity Council; Edward Dutcher, a lawyer and friend of Gov. Dan Thornton; O.A. Knight, president of the International Oil Workers Union and long time Denver Unity Council activist; Rev. Russell Denver Union Stockyards. By 1953, noted Denver att orney Irving Andrews, an African American, had 33 Colorado Anti Atkins Collection. 34 Ibid., p. 1.
157 It was a challenge for which the GHRC or more precisely the Mountain States ADL deemed t he faces of black or brown women and men unacc eptable In a cover letter that GHRC chairman Edward Miller sent along with copies of the Anti Discrimination Division brochure to members of the Mountain States ADL regional n of the 35 Edward Rothstein, a local ADL consultant who also served as an advisor to the Colorado Anti Discrimination Division, sent a copy of the brochure to Oscar Cohen, the director of education programs for the national ADL, and advised 36 During the 1950s campaigns for anti discrimination legislatio n in Colorado, this would not be the only instance in which civil rights liberals decided to de emphasize the fact that African Americans were the most frequent targets of discrimination. A greeting from Gov ernor Thornton opened the CADD brochure with the quintessential message of American postwar liberalism, perhaps scripted for him by hat right thinking Americans firmly believe in equal and non discriminatory work opportunities for every citizen regardless of his race, color, religion, national origin or 37 The government pamphlet also included a list of books, films and pamphlets in the CADD reference library available for 35 Edward 1953, Box 10, FF 5, ADL Collection. 36 Edward Rothstein to Oscar Cohen, 25 August 1953, Box 10, FF 5, ADL Collection. 37 Colorado Anti
158 use by the public. Almost all of the material had been commissioned by or produced in collaboration with the national ADL. 38 In 1953, the local ADL also sold 2,20 0 pro FEPC posters to the Colorado Anti Discrimination Division. The the CADD placed the posters in buses in Denver, Pueblo and Colorado Springs. 39 Clearly, t he ADL had wasted no time in using its lega l, public education and public relations expertise to influence the operation and public image of the new Colorado Anti Discrimination Division, and to lay the groundwork for future legislative campaigns. In addition to the institutionalization o f a professional public education operation in the g th e 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision also War racial politics home to the state. An examination of the local editorials on the Brown ruling illustrates the great degree to which the geopolitical rea lities of the contest with the Soviets, the war service of African Americans, a nd the human relations arguments atmosphere. Editorials in the Denver Post and the Rocky M ountain News followed the Brow n decision as a vital component in American efforts to contain the spread of communism in Africa and Asia. Late in 1952, during the waning days of the Truman admini stration, the U .S. Justice Department filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the 38 Ibid., p. 15, and Edward Miller to ADL Regional Advisory Board, 9 September 1953, Box 10, FF 5, ADL Collection. 39 Personal ADL Letter July 1953, p. 3, Box 20, FF 5, ADL Collection.
159 black plaintiffs in the Brown litigation. 40 Federal attorneys argued that segregation in the tions and to foreign diplomats stationed in Washington D.C. 41 The Justice Department asserted that racial segregation nstant attack in the foreign press, over the foreign radio, and in such international bodies as the United Nations because of various practices of discrimination against minority groups in this country federal attorneys argued. 42 In essence, the Justice Department contended that anti discrimination laws whether judicial or legislative in origin were c ritical to U.S. foreign policy. The lawyers had not engaged in hyperbole: w ithin one hour of the Supreme Court release of the Brown ruling, the Voic e of America broadcast news of the decision to Eastern Europe, followed up with broadcasts to China and Russia. 43 Back in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain News commended Brown opinion, and solemnly invoked the imperatives of communist containment in Indochina to punctuate the necessity of the ruling. As the Supreme Court prepared to issue its Brown decision, Indoc hina had become a particular focus of the Eisenhower administration. 44 With Mao partition of the Korean peninsula into communist and non communist sectors, and the 40 Brown public schools were the subject of a companion case, Bolling v. Sharpe 347 U.S. 497. 41 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 99. 42 Ibid., 100. 43 discrimination, did not refrain from exploiting the public relations value of the Brown decision. In 1956, he sent Chief Justice Earl Warre n, the author of the Brown d ecision, to India in an attempt to plumb as much good will from the ruling as possible. Ibid., 106. 44 Ibid., 107 110.
160 French loss of Vietnam to Chinese and Soviet supported nationalist Ho Chi Minh, the Eisenhower administratio communism in Indochina. 45 The Rocky Mountain News Brown decision an extension of the federal Asia policy looking over our shoulders rved the News We here know that all of our people, black and white, have a greater opportunity than anywhere else on earth. But the equal opportunity of man will ring truer to 46 The Ne ws also commended justified their recognition as Class A citizen s in Korea. No race stood up better under Communist brain washing, and few did as well 47 The News reasoned that the U.S. needed the Brown ruling in order to further its policy of containment in Asia, while the war sacrifices of black men justified African American claims to full citizenship, including equality in public education. In this single editorial, the News cited two of the critical during the 1950s : the fight against global communism and black war service. In a n obvious attempt to distance Denver from the Cold War headaches caused by the de jure segreg ation regimes of the school districts involved in the Brown litigation, the News also slapped a picture of an interracial and interethnic group of seniors from 45 Foner, Give Me Liberty 895 896; Douglas Brinkley History of the United States (New York: Penguin Group, 199 8), 480 United States had assumed financial responsibility for four fifths of the costs incurred by France in its doomed effort to maintain a colonial presence in Asia. I bid. 46 Rocky Mountain News May 19, 1954, p. 30. 47 Ibid.
161 untruthful, headlin 48 Meanwhile, in an editorial Denver Post concluded that the Brown decision had bee n inevitable in an American political system founded on 49 The Post and the News had signaled an editorial belief, however cautious, that Cold War containment aims. As the editorial pages newspapers considered the end of racial segregation in the Un ited States to be 48 Rocky Mountain News May 18, 1954, p. 6. Two years later, parents in East Denver publicly accused the Denver Public School District of deliber ately drawing attendance boundary lines to segregate black and Latino students from white students, and the Urban League claimed that DPS officials were guilty of discriminating against African American teachers. In 1956, both the Denver NAACP and Colorado ACLU were studying discrimination in the Denver Public Schools, with an Rocky Mountain News December 12, 1947, DPL Clipping File, 1940 oundaries, Denver Post Cole Parents Charge School Denver Post April 5, 1956, p. Denver Post August 8, 28, 1956, DPL Clipping File 1950 Denver Post, October 30, 1956 DPL Clipping File 1950 1959. Black parents did eventually file suit against the school district, and in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Denver Public School District had intentionally and unconstitutionally segregated Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1 413 U.S. 189. Keyes was the first case in which all nine justices on the Court considered segregation in a school district outside of the South. Kermit L. Hall, ed., The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 150. 49 Denver Post May 18, 1954, p. 14. The Post they predicted would follow any effort to attack all raci al barriers at once. The editorial praised the ng held too distant future. The Denver Star which by 1954, appeared to have been reduced to a cut and paste operation, re published the Rocky Mountain News editorial under a stark headline that Denver Star May 22, 1954. Microfilm copy of the Colorado Statesmen could not be located it is not clear that the weekly newspaper was in operation during this period.
162 the following year. In 1955, as the Colorado legislature considered a proposal to create a new, stand alone provisions, sectional reactions to the Brown decision and continued Southern violence were roil ing Congress M any black civil rights activists rightly criticized President Eisenhower anemic approach to the white s aggregious human rights violations attorney general, Herbert Brownell, alarmed at the vitriolic reaction to Brown the continued denial of voting rights to Southern blacks and a steady stream of racist violence, presented a series of civil rights proposals to Eisenhower and other cabinet members early in 1955. 50 Southern Democratic congressmen vehemently opp osed even the mildest of civil rights reforms; yet the political line up was reversed in the Colorado legislature. Democratic lawmakers had been leading the charge for civil rights legislation at the Denver statehouse since the 1940s. Although by the mid 1950s an increasing number of Republican state lawmakers were supportive of such legislation, GOP l egislators in the House and Senate comprised the largest block of holdouts in the Colorado legislature 51 50 51 In Denver, th e blockbuster federal proceedings against labor leaders and others accused of having consideration of the FEP bill in 1955. Late in 1954, the federal governm ent accused seven Denver residents of belonging to a communist cell and advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government in violation of the Smith Act. Government attorneys had also brought charges against Maurice E. Travis, accusing the secretary treasurer of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers of violating the Taft Hartley Act when he signed an affidavit averring that he was not a member of the Communist party. Denver ACLU and NAACP attorney Samuel Menin was a member of the defense te am in both trials. Future Colorado Supreme Court Justice Luis Rovira had been one of the original attorneys appointed to defend the seven Smith Act defendants, but resigned after the defendants demanded the right to choose their own counsel. The Denver Pos t and Rocky Mountain News closely followed the proceedings Denver Post November 11, 1954, p. 1;
163 Amid the national racial and political turmoil of 1955, the Colorado legislature faced a vote on the amendment to the state fair employment law. Civil rights advocates had campaigned for the creation of an independent state agency and coverage of private employers five times since 1945; conservatives, and particularly GOP state senators, had successfully defeated each attempt (senate Republicans succeeded in stripping such Yet in 1955, with sizeable Republican majorities in each chamber ca pable of squashing the proposal, state GOP senators joined the House and their Democratic colleagues in the senate to approve the creation of an independent agency, the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission with only two GOP dissenters in the Senate. Go vernor Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission, which replaced the former Commission on Human Rights (which agency Miller had also served as chairman) ; that same y ear 52 Although civil rights liberals celebrated the creation of the new Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission (CADC) in 1955, that same year they also lost yet another battle to bring private employers under the jurisdiction of the CADC and the fair employment law. Once again a Republican, Denver Representative Palmer Burch succeeded in replacing the more liberal fair employment proposal bill backed by the Colorado Comm ittee for Equal Employment Opportunities (CCEEO) with one that Rocky Mountain News October 22, Rocky Mountain News March 2, 1955, p. 22. 52 June 30, 1956, Denver Post June Colorado Labor Advocate March 4, 1955, p. 2.
164 applied only to public employers. 53 However, t he bill did grant the new commission expanded enforcement powers including the power to conduct hearings. 54 As in 1945, 1947, 1949 and 1951, m any senate Republicans had been loathe to establish a new, stand alone civil rights agency, and apparently would not have done so but for the intervention of state and national Republica P arty leaders, according to the Colorado Labor Advocate. The paper re ported that the bill would not have seen the light of day but for the unceasing lobbying of its supporters, and most significantly, the intervention of powerful Republican leaders who u rged GOP lawmakers to pass the fair employment om top Republican party officials, nationally pledged to remove discrimination against minority groups, was necessary to get the bill on the Senate floor explained the Advocate 55 The Advocate story reflected the political pressure that state Republican s faced during the mid 1950s. Although many opposed anti discrimination laws, n ationally, the 53 William Burnett, a Republican and former member of the Colorado House of Representatives, headed up the CCEEO c ampaign in 1955. Burnett replaced Denver Judge Joseph Cook, who had helmed the CCEEO in 1951 and the Denver Unity Council Personal ADL Letter Spring 1955, Box 20, FF 2, ADL Collection. In 1951 the Colorado An ti Discrimination Act created the Colorado Anti Discrimination Division and placed the agency under the administration of the long existing Colorado Industrial Commission: the CADD was not an independent agency. In 1955, the legislature approved the creati on of the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission, a new and fully independent agency. 54 Colorado Labor Advocate January 14, 1955, p. Colorado Labor Advocate March 5, 1955, p. 5. The original state fair employment statute of 1951 limited the Colorado Anti Discrimination Division to conducting public education campaigns and voluntary conciliation efforts involving government agencies employment six or more emp loyees. An Act Concerning Discrimination in Fair Employment Practices, 1951 Colo. Sess. Laws Colorado Labor Advocate February 4, 1955, p. 1 and Colorado Civil Rights Division/Commission, 1995 1996 Annua l Report p. 23, accessed May 19, 2009, http://www.dora.state.co.us/civil rights/ .. 55 Colorado Labor Advocate April 8, 1955, p. 2. In 1955, the Colorado legislature also approved Colorado Labor Advocate May 31, 1956, p. 9. It appears unlikely that the CCE EO actively participated in the equal pay effort: the archived records of the ADL, the Denver Unity Council, James A.Atkins, Elvin R. Caldwell and the Denver Urban League the collections that contain the most detailed records pertaining employment and fair housing campaigns throughout the 1940s and 1950s do not mention the equal pay issue, or other issues involving discrimination against women.
165 Brown decision the Republican National Comm ittee attempted to claim ownership of the ruling. The RNC issued a press release that boasted that historic opinion i frontal attack on global Communism Human equality at home is a weapon of freedom 56 In Cold War America with civil rights measures stalled in Congress, state level fair employment laws became useful n 1955 C olorado, racial politics had once again played a critical role in the passage of civil rights legislation 57 Of course, not all Americans shared a belief in the morality or political utility of racial equality. As the 41 st Colorado General Assembly convened early in January, 1957, Jim Crow violence and racial discrimination, subjects once largely consigned to the pages black news papers, could be followed daily in the Post and the News in full view of watchful state lawmakers. On January 2, 1957, the opening day of the legislative session, news of the bombing and shooting of buses and black homes in Tallahassee, Florida greeted readers of the Rocky Mountain News 58 Throughout January, race and racism maintained a high profile in the Pos t L ocal columnist Bruce Gustin, who had 56 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 109 110. 57 The Colorado legislature was not alone in transcen ding racial barriers. In May, 1955, two months after the state assembly created the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission, voters in Denver City Council District 8 elected Representative Elvin R. Caldwell to the council, the first known African American to Council District 8. Denver Elects First Denver Star, May 19, 1955, p. 1. 58 Rocky Mountain News January 2, 1957, p. 2.
166 being leveled against the Supreme Court in the aftermath of Brown 59 A letter to the editor, published in the Post the same day as the Gustin column, analogized the killing and wounding of black bus riders in Alabama by white supremacist snipers to the killing of Hungarians by Russian snipers during the 1956 Hungarian upri sing. 60 The Post also published an Associated Press article in which NAACP executive secretary Roy ed President Eisenhower of hypocrisy for condemn ing d the oppression of anti communist dissidents in Eastern Europe, even as the president remain ed indifferent hears the cries of American citizens from Alabama and Mississippi and L ouisiana and 61 Fleeson, whose writings regularly appeared in the Denver Post commentary section, observed the regularity with which the na 62 Fleeson had not engaged in overstatement. During the first five weeks of the Colorado legislat ive session, the litany of articles published in the Post included a report on a federal appellate court order in a Texas desegregation an opinion piece by a nation ally syndicated columnist who defended the senate filibuster as a legitimate tool of opposition to anti discrimination proposals countered by the 59 Denver Post January 24, 1957, p. 14. 60 Denver Post January 24, 1957. 61 Denver Post January 24, 1957, p. 10. 62 Denver Post January 19, 1957, p. 8.
167 Post legislation; the bombings of the homes of black pastors in Montgomery, Alabama and the pleas of southern black ministers for federal protection along with a tearful Martin Luther King commenting on the bombings; the trial of an interracial group of Florida college student round of house bombings in Montgomery, including the home of Rev. King; bombings that follow premature prediction by the editor of the progressive magazine, The Natio n, that white supremacists had lost their fevered defense of Jim Crow; the claim by a North Carolina sta te bureaucrat in testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that the civil rights measures proposed by the Eisenhower administration would result in the creation y state legislators in Georgia and Florida. 63 By 1957, stories about race, racism, segregation and southern obstruction and violence were popular paper. Notwithstanding the Post le gislation that punish ed discriminatory behavior, the paper had changed dramatically 63 The following articles were published in the Denver Post between January 9 and February 8, 1957: Feburary 5,
168 from the tabloid that in 1945 had fiercely supported passage of a bill to strip resident Japanese nationals of the legal right to own land. In 1957 the Post at times reflec ted the changing local, national and international political discourse on race and yet in other instances, the paper h ad actually initiated or facilitated that political discourse, as it did in Jim Crow in Denver. I n 1957, i f any Colorado lawmaker still needed to be reminded of the political danger of publicly appearing to be a racist or a civil rights obstructionist, the Denver Post arguably accomplished the task with its expos of white supremacist skulldugger y among members of the local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) just one week prior fair employment statute. The bill, sponsored by Sen ator George Brown and Rep resentative Bob Allen, proposed to make private employers 64 As senate Republicans had successfully opposed such proposals in 1949, 1951, and 1955, the DAR flag flap was heaven sent ammunition for Brown, Allen and other FEPC supporters. Every year members of the Denver DAR visited the state correctional facility for juveniles in an nationalism. In an interview with a Denver Post reporter, a DAR committeewoman revealed that sh e would not allow Mexican American boys to carry the American flag during the program 65 The Post published Mrs. Charlotte query in a splashy front page story, replete with a large picture of the smiling and unsuspecting Mrs. Rush gripping a small American flag. 64 Denver Post Januar y 23, 1957, p. 2 65 Denver Post February 19, 1957, p. 1.
169 In the fallout from the Post patriotic DAR, Rush lost her chairwomanship F ormer state representative Elvin Caldwell, who one year earlier had become the first African American president of the Denver C ity C ouncil formally complained to the national DAR in Washington D.C., and state senators George Brow n, Bert Gallegos and Herrick Roth introduced resolutions 66 The Colorado Democrat the official newspaper of the state Democratic Central Committee expressed delight. According to the paper, FEPC su pporters in the legislature considered the DAR debacle 67 The fair employment bill which s ubjected private employers and unions to its prohibitions and remedies (including orders to hire, re hire and promote with back pay), and was as tough as any fair employment law in the country at the time sailed through the general assembly without a dissenting vote 68 By the close of the legislative session on April 1, 1957, the 41 st General Assembly had greatly expanded the jurisdiction of the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission a s well as employment ads; transferred administration of the old public accommodatio ns statute to the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission; repealed the interracial marriage b an ; and required hotels and motels to publicly post their rates (an effort to prevent proprietors from quoting outlandish rates to discourage racial and religious minorities from seeking 66 Denver Post Denver Post July 1, 1956, p. 7AA. 67 The Colorado Democrat February 16, 1957, p. 2. 68 Personal ADL Letter Summer, 1957, p. 2, Box 46, FF 2020, James Atkins Collection.
170 lodging). The Colorado Labor Advocate on for 69 The Denver Post opposition to tough civil rights measures. 70 What is striking about the 1957 Colorado legislative session is the absence of the heated debate s or stern warnings about creeping communism that had marked the local commentators pronounced the historic session a snooze : reported the Denver Post 71 Likewise, The Colorado Democrat while reporting Democratic Gov. 72 Had the concept of government required and enforced regulation of private relationships for the purposes of improved human relations b ecome so accepted as to warrant little public comment or debate? In a word, no: at least not concerning certain commercial and personal relationships, as the coming debate on fair housing legislation 69 Colorado Labor Advocate March 29, 1957, p. 2. The Colorado Anti Discrimination Act of 1957 prohibited private and public employers of six or more persons, labor unions and employment agencies from engaging in discriminatory practices based on race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry; prohibited the use of discriminatory language in employment ads; authorized the commission to subpoena witnesses and evidence, and to require employers to hire or re hire successful complainants. The legislation also authorized the commission to initiate lawsuits against businesses accused of violating the statute. An Act Concerning Discrimination in Employment, 1957 Colo. Sess. Laws 492 500. See also Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission, About Your Rights: Em ployment, Accommodations Personal ADL Letter Summer 195, Box 46, FF 2020, James Atkins Collection. 70 Denver Post April 28, 1957, p. 5AA. 71 Denver Post February 3, 1957, p. 15A. 72 The Colorado Democrat March 30, 1957, p. 1. However, the Democrat did object to the average grade handed the legislative session by the Rocky Mountain News The Colorado Democrat April 6, 1957, p. 1.
171 in the Colorado legislature would prove. However, by 195 7 the political topography in the general assembly had changed considerably from the conservative and Republican dominated assembly of 1945. Not only had Democrats taken control of the legislature : t he war service of men and women of color, combined with a stew of Cold War pressures revulsion at the savagery of southern white supremacy outside political pressure and the insistent public education and outreach of a sophisticated coalition of civil rights advocates, had helped to transform perceptions of the Colorado Labor Advocate These are the days when members of neither p arty 73 In 1957, many, but certainly not all, lawmakers in the Colorado General Assembly believed that discrimination was unfair and un democratic, and that the state government could rightly prohibit discriminatory behavior and punish those who violated those proscriptions. However, another, and perhaps more critical, development explains the unanimous passage of the fair employment bill and approva l of the other civil rights measures that year. A significant number of lawmakers had come to consider government action in pursuit of improved citizens, than a necessary component of a Cold War democratic America. Yet civil rights liberals could not claim total victory: the battle for a fair housing statute still lay ahead. 73 Colorado Labor Advocate March 1, 1957, p. 1.
172 CHAPTER XII FIRST IN THE NATION: FAIR HOUSING 1959 1 Colorado Senator Ranger Rogers (R Littleton), quoted in Denver Post January, 1958. transacti 2 Colorado Senator Roy McVicker (D Wheatridge), quoted in Denver Post January, 1956. minority person for fear they will be expelled from the realtors asso 3 Colorado Labor Advocate editorial, February, 1959. A Denver Post headline from 1947 announced 4 Blacks fared the worst in the poll: 72% of the respondents answered that Blacks garnered measurably more public : 62% favored limiting their housing choices while 61 % of respondents thought the housing and 24% favored limiting Jews. A decade later, in 1958, Democrats in the Colorado General Assembly, hoping to capitalize on the convincing civil rights victories of the previous year, introduced a fair housing bill. Had the decade that followed the Post ed 1 Denver Post January 25, 1958, DPL Clipping Files, 1950 1959. 2 Denver Post January 26, 1958, p. 18A. 3 Colorado Labor Adv ocate February 6, 1959, p. 2. 4 Denver Post October 9, 1947, p. 6.
173 so. The housing bill, sponsored by Representative Bob Allen and Senator George Brown, would have prohibited racial and religious discrimination in the transfer or rental of publicly financed housing. 5 Unlike the 1957 civil rights proposals, which were notable for the lack of acrimony that followed their introduction into the legislature, the housing bill set off a maelstrom of angry argument. Republicans in the state senate had consistently offered the most resistance to civil rights legislation, d ating back to the fair employment campaigns of the 1940s. However in 1958, many Democratic senators joined their GOP colleagues in opposing the Allen Brown housing bill. Denver Democrat Ray Danks, chairman of the senate judiciary committee, echoed the defe nsive rhetoric of apoplectic southern 6 Senators James E. Donnelly, Roy McVicker and Walter Johnson ( the latter served as Colorado governor from 1950 1951 ) contended that issues of morality could not be resolved through legislation 7 Although all four senators had voted one year earlier for the line at housing. Sen. George Brown, ever the diploma t, countered the arguments made by his fellow Democrats by declaring that although a law might not change individual 5 The bill banned discrimination in the sale or rental of publicly assisted housing based on race, creed, color, national origin or ance stry. The proposal defined publicly assisted housing as housing owned or operated by the state of Colorado or any of its political subdivisions, tax exempt housing, housing built on land acquired by the state through condemnation procedures, and private ho using financed by loans from the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or Veterans Authority (VA). Paul Hartman, National Anti Defamation League to Sheldon Steinhauser, executive director of the Mountain States ADL, 22 January 1958, pp. 1 2, Box 19, FF 1, ADL C ollection. 6 Rocky Mountain News January 28, 1958, DPL Clipping Files, 1950 1959. 7 Rocky Mountain News January 25, 1958, DPL Clipping Files, 1950 1959.
174 public money (FHA and VA mortgage guarantees) in any form should not be used to 8 The housing bill even attracted the angry attention of a member of the Mississippi White Citizens Council. Robert B. Patterson was furious that Governor Steve McNichols had authorized the legislatu re to consider the housing measure during the 1958 session Patterson, citing 1950 census figures in a letter to the governor, noted comparatively small black population and the state to benefit from the le gislative attempt to achieve 9 Patterson, of Greenwood, Mississippi supremacist declared was far b elow the national average. 10 magnanimous efforts of the states which have a negligible Negro population in their efforts to enforce mandatory brotherhood Patterson wrote. 11 He evidently believed that liberalism was an easy luxury in a state like Colorado with a small black population Patterson claimed that increasing the number of blacks in Colorado by national a was that would wane in the face of significantly higher numbers of black residents. 8 Ibid. 9 Denver Post February 2, 1958, p. 3AA. Robert Patterson stated that 30,251African Americans lived in the city of Denver alone Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier 287. 10 Denver Post February 2, 1958, p. 3AA. 11 Ibid.
175 In a revealing bit of irony during the same month (January 1958) that the fair housing bill faced withering assaults in the Colorado Se nate J udiciary C ommittee, Denver Post publisher and editor Palmer Hoyt delivered a speech in Little Rock to the Arkansas Press Association Hoyt had traveled to Arkansas less than one year a fter white mobs trying to stop nine African American students from entering High School he focus of national and international press coverage The Yankee newsman warned his audi ence that the U.S. 12 Meanwhile, back in Denver, Gene Cervi, editor of rnal and a dedicated Hoyt ado legislators 13 Indeed, wh en it came to fair housing it had become difficult to distinguish many a Democrat and Republican in Colorado from a Dixiecrat fulminating before the cameras and microphones of the national and international press. Senator Ranger Rogers, a Littleton Republican, was concerned by the negative image conjured by such ferocious opposition to an anti discrimination measure, especially in light of the recent international media frenzy created by the snarling white mobs in L ittle Rock and the embarrassing brinksmanship of Arkansas Governor Orval 12 Transcript of Palmer Hoyt speech to the Arkansas Press Association, delivered January 10, 1958, Box 2, FF 46, Holmes Collectio n. 13 February 5, 1958, DPL Clipping Files, 1950 1959.
176 Faubus. The Little Rock desegregation crisis was just the latest in a steady stream of stories that featured obstreperous southern politicians and mob violence that during 1958 regul arly appeared on the front pages of the Denver P ost and Rocky Mountain News as well as in newspapers around the globe. Senator Rogers offered public assurances that 14 Despite judiciary committee. Only two senators voted to send the proposal to the senate floor; Rogers was not one of them. 15 One of the senators who voted in favor of sending the bill t o the upper chamber for full consideration, Republican Carl Fulghum of Glenwood Springs, had smartly defended the housing proposal against charges of governmental inquire i 16 In Colorado, 1957 marked the zenith of Cold War era legislative unanimity on civil rights however h ousing was different. Eating in the s ame restaurant, or working in the same office or factory as a person of color seemed to prompt far less fear in a black people were also free to call home. Although the 195 8 and 1959 campaigns for fair housing legislation involved Americans of African, European, Japanese, Jewish, and Mexican descent, the most serious opposition to fair housing was focused on blacks. 14 Rocky Mountain News January 25, 1958, DPL Clipping Files, 1950 1959. 15 Judiciary Committee members Sens. David Clarke (D Denver) and Carl Fulghum (R Glenwood Denver Post February 7, 1958, DPL Clipping Files, 1950 1959. 16 Ibid.
177 During the 1958 campaign, calls in the state senate for dem ocratic fairness, made against the omnipresent shadow of racist violence in the South, ran headlong into bi partisan opposition rooted in over wrought fears of plummeting home values and the invasion of all white neighborhoods by masses of black homebuyers 17 cursory acceptance of post World War II racial liberalism had been occasioned by the relentless and increasingly sophisticated lobbying and seasoned civil rights liberals along with the critica l political pressure exerted by state and national politicians Ultimately however, passage of such legislation was made possible only as long as the interests of the small number of blacks and other peoples of color actively involved in lobbying for civil rights legislation converged with the varied Clearly, a number of legislators believed that civil rights laws were pre requisite to achieving racial equality. Yet others were concerned less with racial egalitarianism than with complying with the wishes of their political superiors, while s till others favored civil rights legislation as a tactic to reduce the Cold War vulne rability of the United States. 18 However, in the debates over fair housing in Colorado, one could discern the different Democratic and Republican white lawmakers to cast votes against the housing measures. Ultimately, the racism implicit in the fear based 17 Meeting Minutes of the Committee to Oppose Discrimination, April 1, 1958, pp. 1 2, Box 46, FF 2061, James Atkins Collection. The Young Democrats Subcommittee on Civil Rights compiled a list of the top ds; decreased property values; transformation of a nice neighborhood into a slum; mass invasion of minority Spanish ttoes. Young Democrats of Denver: Report of the Sub committee on Civil Rights Box 19, FF 1, ADL Collection. 18 to Racial Literacy: Brown v. Board of Ed ucation and the Interest Journal of American History Vol. 91, No. 1 (June, 2004): 92 94.
178 arguments of many white lawmakers and more than a few racial liberals concerning the implications of sharing living space in close proximity to African Americans, would mar apply to public and private housing. The Urban League had long complained that the Denver Housing Authority (DHA), the city agency responsible for pub lic housing, had a policy of discriminating 19 In a 1952 expos, the Rocky Mountain News published a five year old memorandum signed by Walter Gail, the executive director of the DHA. In the memo Gail admitted the 20 After W. F. Turner, president of the Denver NAACP demanded that Mayor Quigg Newton fire the DHA director, Gail implicated the local Urban Leag ue in the quota scheme, claiming that the League had pre approved the DHA plan. 21 The Urban League acknowledged its involvement, but in its racial and ethnic make up of the improved numbers and pronounced itself satisfied with the a on racial issues. 19 Urbanalysis: A Digest from the Urban League of Denver July 1952, p. 1, Box 52, FF 2258, James Atkins Collection. 20 Rocky Mountain News February 7, 1952, DPL Clipping Files, 1950 1959. 21 Denver Post claimed that in addition to the Denver Urban League, the Denver Commission on Human Relations had housing units. Ibid.
179 The clash between the Urban League an d the NAACP over the DHA minority limitation policy highlighted the disparate interests and leadership of the two groups. The League was an organization with significant corporate funding and oversight, which included a board of directors chaired from its inception in 194 6 through the 1950s by white professional men Further, as a matter both of organizational culture and mission, the League was c ontent to utilize friendly persuasion in pursuit of its mission 22 On the other hand, the loc al NAACP was a n African American led civil rights organization that frequently used litigation and public protest to battle racial discrimination. The Urban prevent segregation and overlook the harm done to the black and brown people who in pursuance of that policy, would be denied entry to Denver public housing, was consistent with its practice of providing assistance to those racial minorities that the League determined w white workplaces or neighborhoods This policy allow ed the League to reassure anxious white employers public housing tenants, and private homeowners t hat t here was no reason to fear the newcomers. Of course, the L rance for DHA quotas was more reflective of the desires of the economically privileged white s who dominated the board of directors than of the black, brown and yellow Denverites who turned to the L eague looking for assistance 22 The list of white professionals who served as president of the Denver U rban League Board of Directors Myron Emrich; Edwin J. Wittelshofer; Judge Albert T. Frantz, and William H. Powers. Urban League of Denver, untitled pres s release, March 30, 1956 Box 1, FF 2, Urban League Collection; and Urban League of Denver newsletter, untitled, June, 1950, p.6, Box 52, FF 2258; Urban League of Denver, 1954 Progress Report p. 10, Box 52, FF 2260; Urban League of Denver Fact Letter January 1957, p. 4, Box 52, FF 2259; Urban League of Denver Fact Letter May 1961, p. 4, Box 52, FF 2257, James Atkins Collection.
180 However, accor ding to the Urban League, it was discrimination in private housing rather than public housing that most vexed African Americans in Denver during the 1950s class worldview. nation against Negro families seeking housing is the unwritten code which denies them the opportunity to purchase in the new 23 The League reported that in 1950, the Denver Board of Realtors had advanced East from the aptly named Race Street to York Street. 24 By the mid 1950s, a small number of black homeowners with the financial means to make the move had actually succeeded in breaching even the York Stre et hurdle. The Urban League estimated that by 1953, one ( Japanese, Negro and Spanish had moved east of York Street and were living in homes in an area bounded by York on the west, Colorado Boulevard to the east, 26 th Avenue on the south and 34 th avenue to the north. 25 Yet m o st blacks remained hemmed in by the color lines drawn by the board of realtors, banks and other mortgage lenders, and agencies of the federal government: an area bounded by the e west, York Street on the east, East 17 th Avenue to the south and East 38 th Avenue on the north. 26 Although realtors had opened up the area between Race and York Streets to African Americans, Denver Post reporter George Brown observed that local realtors were still determined to keep black families west of the Colorado Boulevard boundary that 23 Urban League of Denver Fact Letter January 1957, p. 2, Box 52, FF 2259, James Atkins Collection. 24 Urban League of Denver, Urbanalysis June 1955, p. 2, Box 52, FF 2258, James Atkins Collection. 25 Ibid. 26 Denver Post September 24, 1951, p. 1.
181 separated the all white Park Hill from the formerly all white northeast Denver neighborhoods that African Americans were beginning to populate. 27 In a Post article, Br own, who had not yet won election to his first term in the Colorado House of but 28 In the same article, Brown quoted Harry Graham, at the time who stated that his agency controlled the issuance of real estate licenses, and that the agency would nev er revoke a 29 Shelly v. Kraemer the United States Supreme Court outlawed state enf o rcement of restrictive covenants 30 This ruling, however, d id not prohibit private parties such as the realtor quoted by George Brown from entering into so in which the parties conspired to exclude disfavored racial, ethnic a nd religious minorities. 31 Those private agreements, together with the policies of the Denver Board of Realtors, banks, and federal agencies, continued long after Shelly to keep African burgeoning suburbs. James Atkins, a former Federal Works Administration official who wrote guest columns for the Denver Post during the early 1950s dis cussed the barriers faced by 27 Geor Denver Post March 29, 1954, p. 2. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 Shelly v. Kraemer 334 U.S. 1 (1948) 31 Kermit L. Hall, ed., The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 283.
182 32 Even blacks with sufficient finances were not able to buy new homes, to finance the purchase of a home for such persons outside of certain prescribed locations. Even within these locations, when old house s are purchased, the down 33 The Urban League reinforced Atkins claim, arguing that on average, black homebuyers were forced to pay between $13,000 and $15,000 for a house without a basement (and sometimes even without a garag e) in the coveted area east of York Street. Yet for the same amount of money, or less in some cases, white home buyers were able to purchase four bedroom, brick homes in new and racially restrictive subdivisions in Denver, complete with basements, garages, two bathrooms, and garbage disposals. 34 Nancel called borhood, in 1948. The downtown Denver refused to extend them a building loan. 35 Seeking help, Mrs. Jackson sent a letter to President Harry Truman, but received only a form le tter in reply. 36 Six years after they purchased the land, the Jacksons finally secured a loan from a black 32 Collection. 33 Ibid. 34 Urban League of Denver, Urbanalysis June 1955, p. 2, Box 52, FF 2258, James Atkins Colle ction. 35 Nancelia Jackson interview with author, January 10, 2010. 36 Nancelia Jackson, A Chronicle of Precious Memories (Denver: self published, 2005), 82.
183 owned fraternal organization, the American Woodmen Insurance Company. 37 As more blacks moved to Denver to take advantage of comparatively well paid j obs with the federal government and related industries, the growing demand by such newcomers for housing continued to force the boundary of northeast In 1958, M rs. Loleta Seymour a black woman who lived in northeast Denver, testified before the Colorado Advisory Committee on Civil Rights that six different white owned mortgage companies had refused to finance a GI home loan for her and her husband ( a military ve teran ) after discovering that the Seymours intended to build their home on a lot east of Colorado Boulevard. 38 In testimony before the same committee, Robert Smidl, t he president of the Denver Board of Realtors self righteously blamed the public for the institutionalized barriers faced by the Seymours and other African Americans. Smidl advise d estate man is in business, and he wants to stay in bus 39 Yet some realtors did risk the stings of angry white homeowners, like the realtor who sold a home on a formerly all white block in East Denver to Ruth and Eugene Briscoe. Ruth Denny moved to Denver from St. Lou is in 1951 after her first husband, Eugene Briscoe, landed a well paying position at the federal finance center. By the mid 37 Nancelia Jackson interview with author, January 10, 2010. In 1955 the Denver Urban League predicte d owned American Woodmen Insurance Company and the Equity Savings and Loan Company. Urbanalysis June 1955, p. 2, Box 52, FF 2258, James Atkins Collect ion. 38 Denver Post December 2, 1958, p. 18. 39 Ibid.
184 house on Cook Street 12 blocks east of the then existing York Street color line. Denny recalled that her new white neighbors watched in angry silence from the sidewalk as she and her family moved their belongings into their new home. Not long after the B riscoes moved in their home on Cook Street, a 40 Within two years, Mrs. Denny 41 As whites fled their enclaves west of Colorado Boulevard, those neighborhoods became inc reasingly black. By 1956, Park Hill itself had become ground zero in the battle over housing segregation in northeast Denver. Black homebuyers had nowhere to expand but east n eighborhoods and suburbs remained largely off limits to them. 42 When the first black families breached the Colorado Boulevard bunker into Park Hill, profiteering realtors pounced on panicked white homeowners and urged them to sell their homes. White flight proved particularly lucrative for realtors in the northern sections of Park Hill that contained newer but less expensive homes recently built to meet the urgent post war need for housing. 43 40 Ruth Denny interview with author, January 16, 2010. 41 Ibid. 42 Discriminatory lending practices by private banks and federal agencies kept bl acks out of growing suburban developments, and many blacks opposed the offers of developers to build all black subdivisions. Denver Inquirer May 27, 1953. In Lyons, Colorado, a rural town north of Boulder in Boul Rocky Mountain News July 29, 1955, p. 16. 43 Hill History: Blockbusters, Exodus and Now Greater Park Hill Community News January 20, 1994 February 17, 1994, pp. 6 7. See also the discussion of race and housing in northeast Denver in Noel, Denver 374 376.
185 In response to the frenzied selling, the Urban League launched its 44 In what may have been an unprecedented move at the time, during the spring of 1956, a group of white ministers wit h congregations in Park Hill devoted their Sunday sermons to the subject of racial tolerance in reaction to the acrimonious exodus of white homeowners. 45 As blacks negotiated an increasingly fluid color line in northeast Denver, many Jews were contesting residential boundaries in other Denver neighborhoods. Although the ADL had played a critical leadership role in earlier civil rights campaigns, the blacks and Latinos, J dilapidated housing stocks. However an ADL study of housing discrimination against Jews in Denver concluded that they had been barred from buying homes in some of the 46 In 1955, after three years of unsuccessful negotiations Garrett Bromfield & C 47 ( Just o ne month after 44 gregating the Most Segregated Hour: The Park Hill Congregational (UCC) Religion, 2002), 4. At the time, many Park Hill residents both black and white were concerned that white flight would leave Park Hill an all black neighborhood. Julia Saltzman discusses Park Hill during this period in her study of desegregating neighborhoods, A Fragile Movement: the Struggle for Neighborhood Stabilization (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), 287. 45 Rocky Mountain News April 30, 1956, p. 1; Denver Post April 30, 1956, p. 14; and Campbell, Segregated Hour, 4. 46 Denver Post May 15, 1955, p. 30C. 47 During the same week that the ADL released its findings, the Denver Commission on Human Relations from the Belcaro and Crestmoor Park residential neigh Colorado
186 the ADL released its housing discrimination report, Governor Edwin Johnson appointed Edward Miller c hairman of the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission The legislature had established the CADC, an independent state agency in April, 1955 .) 48 The end Crestmoor Park and Belcaro Park subdivisions. 49 After the disclosure, the dismissive realty Denver Post 50 fade; ultimately however, the realtor underestimated both the political power of the ADL, the tena and the longevity of the evolving p olitical perception of overt racial and religious discrimination as something harmful and undemocratic. that fact was not included in press coverage of the ADL survey. 51 The Urban League argued that of all racial and ethnic groups victimized by restrictive housing covenants, blacks Labor Advocate Jew Sale Policy Laid to Realty Firm, Denver Post May 15, 1955, p. 30C. The following year, the Denver Coordinating Council on Education and Research in Human Rela tions, a research arm of the Denver Commission on Human Relations, sponsored a series of guided bus tour, the Denver Coordinating Council published a pamphlet that stated a key tenet of Cold War racial nd Genealogy Blog, February 1, 2010, accessed August 8, 2010, http://www.history.denverlibrary.org/blog 48 Denver Post June 21, 1955, p. 3. 49 Colorado Labor Advocate May 20, 1955, p. 2; Mountain States ADL Twentieth Anniversary program (1941 1961), Box 20, FF 3, ADL Collection; an Anti Rocky Mountain News May 15, 1955, p. 4. 50 Denver Post May 15, 1995, p. 30C. 51 Goodstein, Denver In Our Time 96.
187 suburbs. 52 53 rather opaque mention of reference to the fears of plummeting home values and ill kept property that many whites cited in defense of their opposition to housing integration. The unsuccessful 1958 fair housing effort bore bitter witness to the Urban argument During that c under the organizational title of the Colo r ado Committee to Oppose Discrimination (the Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunity had disbanded after the victorious 1957 fair employment legisla tive session ) were p ut on the defens ive by fair housing opponents effective use of racist stereotypes of African Americans As the C olorado C ommittee to Oppose Discrimination (CCOD) chaired by Reverend L.L. Barnes, an African American made plans for anot her fair housing campaign, members agreed to downplay anti black racism in the upcoming effort after Senator George the the coalition to take Brown recommended that the coalition highlight the impact of housing discrimination on 54 I t was an odd yet familiar rea lity that 52 Urban League F act Letter Denver Post virtually impossible 53 Fact Letter January 1957, p. 2 54 Minutes of the Committee to Oppose Discrimination, April 1, 1958, p. 3, Box 46, FF 2061, James Atkins Collection.
188 i n the battle for passage of a fair housing statute, proponents believed it necessary to shift the face of the debate away from blacks, arguably the very people who had suffered the Recall that the brochure published in 1953 by the Colorado Anti Discrimination Division did not feature African Americans on its cover, but three smiling women two white and one Japanese American. 55 Clearly, the racial politics of World War II and the Cold War had provided extraordinary ammunition to civil rights liberals in their struggle to fight racism through the passage of anti discrimination laws. Yet political exigency, no matter how acute, was insufficient to topple entrenched notions of bla ck unacceptability. its 1959 campaign. According to Sheldon Steinhauser, who served as executive director of the Mountain States ADL during the later 1950s the CCOD adopted a strategy of for the 1959 session. The group changed its thematic focus from order to avoid providing an easy, dark skinned target to fair housing opponents. 56 The CCOD ( comprised of battle worn veterans from the Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunity ) launched a massive ADL led lobbying campaign in support of House Bill 259. 57 The measure was an even more ambitious legislative unde rtaking than its failed predecessor. House Bill 259 aimed to outlaw discrimination in 55 Colorado Anti Discrimination Division, Employment on Merit in Colorado 1953, Box 35, FF 1646, James Atkins Collection. 56 Sheldon Steinhauser interview with author, March 2, 2010. 57 Most of the members of the Colorado Committee to Oppose Discrimination (CCOD) were veterans of the Colorado Committee for Equal Employment Opportunity. The CCEEO disbanded after achieving a slate of legislative victories in 1957. That same year, members o f the former CCEEO formed the Colorado Committee to Oppose Discrimination (CCOD) to pursue passage of a state wide fair housing law. CCOD, How the Fair Housing Law Was Enacted undated, p. 2, Box 46, FF 2063, James Atkins Collection.
189 the transfer, rental or lease of public and private housing. 58 The CCOD, Colorado Council of Churches, the Farmers Union and other allies maintained constant pressure on lawmakers. Activists enlisted clergy, civic and business leaders, political party officials and others to urge legislators to support the bill. One senate Republican alone received a visit from his bishop, several ministers, two high profile attorneys, a Republican Party national committeewoman, several members of the League of Women Voters, and even a former University of Colorado teammate ( an African American man who had played baseball with the lawmaker while both attended the University of Colorado ) 59 Under pressure, the senator cast his vote for the housing bill, although he confided that he did 60 Meanwhile, the chaplain of the University of Denver, along with several members of the Methodist Church, sought to convin ce one wavering Democratic senator to vote for the measure. In the end, the senator voted for the housing bill, but only after the state Democratic Party threatened to field an opponent against him in his next primary. 61 senator took to the senate floor to admonish those colleagues who were attempting to kill the bill by having it referred to the public for a state wide vote. 62 The Republican senator (likely Sen. Carl Fulghum from Glenwood Springs, the lone Republican to have voted to move the earlier 1958 fair housing bill out of the judiciary committee for a full vote of the state senate) was convinced that if given the chance, would reject the fa ir housing bill. The senator invoked the ugly white mobs who had 58 1959 Colo. Sess. Law s 491 492. 59 Colorado Committee to Oppose Discrimination Colorado Fair Housing Law 4. 60 Ibid. 61 Ibid. 62 Ibid.
19 0 years earlier, and warned that if his colleagues succeeded in referring the housing measure to the people in the ensuing statewide debate, Colorado warned the senator, 63 was a candid admissio n that the housing proposal did not enjoy the support of a majority In the end, the senate approved the fair housing bill, 24 11. At the time, senate and 8 Republicans voted against the bill; all 11 represented rural counties. 64 63 Ibid, 5. 64 Forty Second General Assembly of the State of Colorado, Journal of the Senate, 1959, p. 492, and Colorado Legislative Council, Legi slator Biographies, http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CGA LegislativeCouncil/CLC/1200536136308 In the Colorado House of Representatives, the measure enjoyed ove rwhelming bipartisan support, and passed with only three dissenting votes. Forty Second General Assembly of the State of Colorado, Journal of the House of Representatives, 1959, p. 552. As originally introduced, House Bill 259 banned discrimination in the transfer, rental or lease of private and public housing based on race, creed, color, national origin and ancestry. Ibid, p. 543. Before the final reading of the bill in the House, the proposal had been amended to also include a prohibition against sex disc rimination. Ibid., p. 552. The senate next considered the bill, and approved it with the ban on sex discrimination intact. The final bill signed by Governor Steve McNichols on April 10, 1959, banned discrimination in the transfer, rental or lease of any h ousing because of race, creed, color, sex, national origin and ancestry. 1959 Colo. Sess. Laws 491 492. The absence of any mention of the sex amendment in mortem report on the 1959 housing campaign is puzzling, How the Colorado Fair Housing Law Was Enacted Box 46, FF 2063, James Atkins Collection. The Denver Post also failed to mention the possibility that the proposal might be amended to prohibit discrimination based on sex in the June, 1959 edition of the Personal ADL Letter also made no mention of the inclusion of a sex discrimination ban in t he final version of the law that had already been signed into law by Gov. McNichols. Personal ADL Letter Box 13, FF 11, ADL Collection. An executive order signed by Gov. McNich ols proclaiming February, The proclamation fair housing law that covered private housing encouraged Coloradans to help promote brotherhood by and moral principle, without regard to race, color, creed or national
191 The Personal ADL Letter 65 Indeed, by January, 1959, only 13 other states had fair housing statutes in effect, and none applied to private housing. The Colorado legislature was the first in the country to approve a ban on housing discrimination that included private housing Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon would follow Colorado l ater that same year. 66 Several weeks after Gov. Steve McNichols signed the law into effect, though, Roy Chapman, staff director of the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission (CADC), set off a powder keg when he told reporters that the new housing statute barred discrimination in the sale of seller occupied homes. 67 In an outraged editorial, the Denver Post t kill this 68 In a and argued that an individual homeowner selling the home in which he lived was free to violate the spirit of the stat e new fair housing law. According to the executive committee, Act of 1959 does not apply to premises maintained by the owner or lessee as the within the enumerated stat utory prohibitions. Colorado Anti 65 Personal ADL Lett er May June 19 59, p. 1, Box 20, FF 2, 66 Political 20, accessed April 22, 2011, http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC DATA/Files/1962 5 USCivicPolitical.pdf 67 Denver Post April 23, 1959, p. 3. 68 Denver Post April 24, 1959, p. 20.
192 69 interpretation of the housing law Duke Dunbar, the Colorado attorney general, rendered an official opinion with an even more generous exemption. According to Dunbar, not only were private homeowners exempt ed from the statute, but so were real estate agents acting on homeowners orders. 70 The exceptions were large enough to swallow the bill itself: prospective home buyers of color would continue to be at the mercy of hom e sellers and their agents. ruling of the Colorado Supreme Court. In Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission v. J.L Case the justices reviewed an order of the CADC that required an errant realtor to make available for sale to an African American couple, James and Elizabeth Rhone, a house similar to the home that the realtor earlier had refused to sell the couple 71 The Court upheld the constitutionality of the overall hous ing statute, ruling that the ability to Constitution and the Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution. 72 However, the court majority invalidated the remedy grante d the Rhones by the CADC. In the statute, the legislature had granted the CADC the authority to issue cease and desist orders and to order the transfer, rental, or lease of housing, but had not given the agency the specific power to force real estate agen cies or agents to make a comparable home available to aggrieved complainants in instances where the original home at issue was no longer 69 Denver Post May 1, 1959, p. 3. 70 Denver Post June 2, 1959, p.3. 71 Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission v. J.L. Case 151 Colo. 235 (1962), 249. 72 Ibid., 24 7.
193 available. 73 The CADC argued that language in the statute that empowered the agency to housing law was broad enough to include the remedy it ordered in the Rhone case. The the legal authority to require a real estate agency to offer a comparable home to aggrieved home buyers. 74 In Colorado during the 1940s and 1950s, the state senate was the legislative body that mo st frequently killed civil rights legislation or weakened proposals to the point of inef were able to wield the weapons of German and American white supremacy and Cold War geo political necessity to capture the votes of many conservative white legislators who opposed government regulation of private commercial relationships in the name of racial equality. Sincere belief in anti discrimination legislation, political expediency and political pressure combined to make 1957 the apogee of political consensus on civil 73 1959 Colo. Sess. Laws 495. 74 Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission v. J.L. Case 250. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the Colorado General Assembly had improperly vested a board grant of legislative authority in the Colorado Anti Discriminatio n Commission in violation of the separation of powers mandate in Article V, section 1of Stanford Law Review Vol. 16, No. 4 (July, 1964): 858 panoply of nationally renowned civil rights attorneys, who filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Rhone. Paul Hartman, Sol Rabkin, Theodore Leskes, Edwin Lukas, and Arnold Foster filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the ADL and the American Jewish Committee. American Jewish Committee ical 98, accessed April 22, 2011, http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Files/1962_5USCivicPolitical.pdf Sol Rabkin served as the director of the national ADL Legal department during the 1950s; the national ADL also Journal of Negro Education Vol. 23, No. 3, Next Steps in Racial Desegregation in Education (summer, 1954 ): 249, and Paul Hartman letter to Barbara Coopersmith of the Mountain States ADL, 17 June 1960, Box 19, FF 1, ADL Collection. Locally, John E. Gorsuch (who in 1954, as head of the Colorado Bar eal of the Colorado ban on interracial marriage), and the principals in the law firm of Berenbaum, Donaldson, Hoffman and Goldstein were among the many Colorado attorneys who filed amicus briefs on behalf of the Rhones.
194 right s legislation in the Colorado General Assembly. That year after six failed attempts, a unanimous house and senate approved the landmark amendment to the fair employment law that brought private employers within the jurisdiction of the Colorado Anti Discri mination Commission. However, just two years later, the 24 11 fair housing vote in the senate employment law on a vote of 25 10. 75 The 1959 fair housing proposal tested how far the arguments and exigencies of Cold War racial liberalism could move the Colorado senate. The belatedly a nnounced exemption of owner occupied home sellers and real estate agents acting on homeowners orders from the reach of the housing law also reveal ed fissures within the very coalition that had labored so strenuously for passage of the anti discrimination measure. In its published post mortem on the 1959 campaign, the Colorado Committee to Oppose Discrimination conveyed an air of frustrated resignati cooperation with both [political] parties and that people must be willing and able to go into a party conference and call upon the good consciences of elected officials to support a measure that will help every man in hi s quest for equality of opportunity and human 76 At the end of what certainly must have been the most pivotal decade in the development of statutory civil rights protections in Colorado history, the coalition of dogged civil rights liberals who ha d pulled, prodded, and pushed the state legislature, seemed tired and quite dispirited. 75 Colorado Committee to Oppose Disc rimination, How the Fair Housing Law was Enacted p. 4. The masculinized summation, like the rest of the CCOD post campaign report, made no mention of the new 76 Ibid.
195 CHAPTER XIII CONCLUSION 1 Denver Post reporter Cha rles Roos 1963 2 J ames F. Reynolds, chairman De nver Congress of Racial Equality 1962 A small group of demonstrators kept up an around the clock sit in at the Colorado Capitol Thursday in support of stronger fair housing laws. Demonstrators from the Denver branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) spent Wednesday night in a corridor 3 Denver Post 1964 The bruising 1959 fair housing campaign that splintered the Colorado legislature foreshadowed the coming decade in Colorado, during which a growing number of advocates of racial equality would s hun bargaining or engaging in gentle persuasion with lawmakers, employers, and real estate agents or private homeowners. These activists few of whom had participated in the comparatively exclusive civil rights lobbying coalitions of the 1950s opted instead to engage in organized sit ins, picket lines and boycotts during the early 1960s. In Denver, a resurgent local chapter of CORE engaged in frequent direct actions In January, 1964, six female CORE members s taged an over night sit office, protesting continuing housing discrimination and Colorado Gov ernor approve plac ing a bill to strengthen the 1 Charles Roose Denver Post October 27, 1963, pp. 1A, 3A. 2 Denver Post June 3, 1962, p. 27A. By the following year, James Reynolds had been appointed director of the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission. 3 Denver Post January 16, 1964, p. 1.
196 4 One year earlier, Denver Post reporter Charles Roos declared that Denver CORE was the local organization in Colorado 5 T h e times and methods of civil rights advocacy were indeed changing Back i n 1962, Air Force veteran James F. Reynolds at the time chairman of Denver CORE, explained why the group targeted a Safeway grocery store in northeast Denver just five years after the Colorado legislature amended the state fair employment law to include a ban on racial di scrimination by private employers like Safeway The store, located in a north Park Hill neighborhood from which whites were fleeing as African Americans continued to buy homes, had no black employees. In fact, o f the than 20 were African American 6 Ruth Denny, an African American who moved to Denver with her family, a teaching degree and high hopes in 1951, became chairwoman of Denver CORE chapter in the early 1960s. 7 It is telling that Denny, a civil rights activi st who believed that racist policies barred her from secur ing even a substitute teaching schools for more than 10 years, had not participated in the fair employment and housing coalitions of the previous decade. 8 In a 2010 inter view, Denny stated that she was the same year that she and her family arrived in Denver; nor did she recall the 4 Denver Post January 17, 1964, p. 1. 5 Denver Post November 5, 1963, p. 16. 6 Denver Post June 3, 1962, p. 27A. James Reynolds became director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division the following year. 7 James Reynolds succeeded Ruth Denny as CORE chairman. 8 Ruth D enny interview with author, January 16, 2010.
197 amendments to the FEPC law or the other anti discrimina tion statutes approved by the General Assembly over the course of the 1950s. 9 legal protections approved by the legislature during the 1950s, and her non participation in the coalition that championed those protections serves to confirm albeit anecdotal ly the the few black students who attended Park Hill Elementary School during the mid 1950s B y 1960 however, after she transferred to the newly built Barrett Elementary (located immediately west of Colorado Boulevard), Briscoe found herself surrounded by African American students Denny and Brisc oe claim (accurately) that the Denver Public School District built Barrett to siphon black students away from Park Hill Elementary, a school located in the largely white section of Park Hill east of Colorado Boulevard. 10 Daniel Hoffman echoed Briscoe and D 1950s Denver. In an interview for a documentary about the work of Denver CORE during the 1960s, the late Hoffman, a well known Denver trial attorney and former dean of the University of Denver College of Law, reflected on t exclusion and discrimination: 11 Despite the state discrimination laws d uring the 1950s, the gulf between 9 Ibid. 10 Dianne Briscoe interview with author, February 27, 2010; Ruth Denny interview with author, January 16, 2010. See also Leonard and Noel, Denver, 374 T Greater Park Hill Community News October 21 November 18, 1993, pp. 6 7. 11 Rebels Remembered DVD, Disc Two.
198 egalitarian symbolism and discriminatory reality remained large as Denver greeted the 1960s By 1963, the growing anger of many African Americans in Denver (and nationally ) led Denver Post reporter Charles Roos to dismis s the civil rights l aws enacted over the course of the previous decade like so many relics in an longer satisfied merely to extend what he calls his ghetto. He is no longer content with 12 Roos, James Reynolds, Ruth Denny, and Dan Hoffman each spoke to the chasm that existed between the form al, statutory equality offered by new anti discrimination statutes and the reality lived by most African Americans In the face of the increasingly palpable anger of many blacks and the prominence of a Southern civil rights movement that had captured the attention of national and local newspapers and television networks, the inclination to dismiss the statutory protections enacted by the Colorado legislature during the previous decade may have been irresistible. Yet, it is important to rem ember that from 1951 through 1959, the Colorado legislature at times with conservative Republican majorities and at others with Democratic majorities succeeded in passing the type of anti discrimination legislation that segregationists in Congress successf ully filibustered until passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Roused by Cold War urgency, t he Colorado General Assembly built a statutory civil rights framework long before the predominantly white members of the legisla ture 12 Denver Post October 27, 1963.
199 or the larger white public had reached a consens us that racial discrimination was immoral and incompatib le with a representative democracy. As attorney and civil rights theorist Will Maslow observed in 1951, m ight not reflect a cu rrent consensus, but instead may serve as a harbinger of future change. enactment of a law is often the signal for a reappraisal of past thinking and past behavior, and the replacement of attitudes and conduct based on unthinking conformance to outmoded pa ttern s. 13 systems of racial hierarchy, a process forced largely by the racial politics of World War II and the Cold War, had just begun. One of the notable short comings of the case by case approach intrinsic to anti discrimination statutes was the comparatively small number of educated, middle class racial and religious minorities who were most able to benefit from such legislation a n un surprising feature of these reforms given the educated, middle class composition of the coalitions that lobbied for the m. The late Constance Baker Motley, associate counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the first African America n woman to s erve on t he federal bench, noted the class bias inherent in anti discrimination laws and rulings with her observation that middle class blacks had been the primary beneficiaries of the Shelly v. Kraemer. In that decision, the Court decla red that state enforcement of private restrictive covenants Equal Protection clause. Judge Motley contended that the ruling a ided upper middle city areas to better housing in w hite 13 Annals of the American Academy of Poltical and Social Science Vol. 275, Civil Rights in America (May, 1951): 17.
200 14 On a local level, could be seen in the repeated assurances offered by the corporate overseen and Community Chest funded Denver Urban League that it sought fair economic and housing opportunity 15 could not jobs and housing. Yet no twithstanding th e comparatively circumscribed reach of the legislation, anti discrimination laws represented a critical step forward in t he postwar re legislation approved between 1951 and 1959 created a formal, statutory norm of racial, ethnic and religious legal equality, and laid the foundation for later effo rts to include discrimination laws, including women, people living with physical and mental disabilities, workers over the age of 40, and more recently lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ed persons. A ctivists in subsequent decades would also engage in the ongoing task of expanding laws to include greater numbers of people from less privileged social and economic back grounds. This project carries great personal meaning for me. I first arrived in Denver with my parents and t wo brothers in 1959, after my father a Tuskegee Airman and United Sta t es Air Force captain Mitchell Field in New York. At the time, I had not yet started elementary school. We were one of the thousands of African American families who helped to nearly quadruple 14 Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty 208 209. 15 See chap. 2, footnotes 32 and 33, and chap. 12, footnote 2 2.
201 Denver black population betw een 1940 (7,836) and 1960 (30,251) 16 Shortly after arriving in the city, my parents purchased a home in Park Hill, an area that just ten years earlier had been engulfed in heated acrimony as small numbers of blacks began to move east across the Colorado Bo ulevard color line. During the course of researching this I asked my mother about the racial composition of our block when we first arrived in 1959. She recalled that we had been the third black famil y to arrive on the 2900 block of Dexter Street: my mother and father purchased the house on Dexter Street from a white Jewish rabbi, but only after several other white owner 17 I was nine years old when my dad received orders to report to McConnell Air Force B ase in Wichita, Kansas old enough to remember that the Dexter Street we left in 1965 had become all black. As I thought about that long ago move, I recalled Denver Post reporter Char observation: The Negro is no longer satisfied merely to extend what he calls his ghetto [H] e wants something more something more than 18 The Colorado legislature approved a landmark fair housing bill in 1959 but in truth, the ability of my African American parents to buy a house remained dependent on the cooperation of individual white homeowners and their real estate agents. By 1965, as increasing numbers of whites sold their homes to black buyers, and as even more fled the neighborhood in response, the northern section s of Park Hill, including the 2900 block of Dexter Street. 16 Taylor, In Search 223, 286. 17 Joan C. Newsum interview with author, February 16, 2011. 18 Denver Post October 27, 1963, pp. 1A, 3A.
202 My family returned to Denver in 1970 from Kansas the year my father, now a colonel, retired f rom the military and accepted a public relations position with Martin Marietta Corporation (now known as Lockheed Martin) Much had changed i n those five year s. y dad, in many ways, surely would have amazed the Den ver Star and Colorado Statesman the popular black weeklies of the 1940s and 50s. The Denver Public School District hired my mother as a substitute special education teacher; the part time nature of her job was her choice, and not a status imposed on her. 19 My parents had a tri level home built in the far southeast reaches of Denver a suburban area that had largely been off limits to African Americans one decade earlier. Perhaps most significant ly for me, in 1984, after graduating from the University of Den ver College of Law (now the University of Denver Sturm College of Law), I became an assistant attorney general for the S tate of Colorado, prosecuting discrimination complaints on behalf of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Colorado Civil Rights Division. As this study evolved, I realized with much surprise that also telling the story of the founding of the state agency that had been my first professional employer. of 19 By 1970, the Denver Public School District may have been more willing to hire teacher s of color than 20 years earlier, however the school district was also defending itself in federal court against charges that it had deliberately segregated schools in the Park Hill area. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the school district had i ndeed intentionally segregated African American and Latino students in northeast Denver schools. Keyes v. School District No. 1 http:///www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/histories/USSC_CR_0413_0189_ZS.html and Hall, ed., Oxford Guide to Supreme Court Decisions 150.
203 the Colorado ban It was, I assumed, an effort in which African Americans had been integrally involved. However, in the early stages of my research, I discovered that the repeal of the marital prohibition had been just one of many civil rights measures approved by the Col orado General Assembly during the 1950s My initial surprise at the legislative achievements deepened into fascination as I discovered trove s of newsletters published by numerous local civil rights and human relations organizations a s w ell as a rticles during the 1940s and 50s Reading the evidence, it became clear that the message of legal equality t of civil rights legislation were both very much connected to the racial politics and geopolitical concerns of the Cold War. I wanted t o understand the influence wielded by the Cold War and a national human relations movement on an interracial and interfa ith coalition of Denver based civil rights liberals local and state politicians, n ewspapers, universities, clergy and other shapers of public opinion. Yet even as I expanded my project beyond its original focus, I also experienced deep discomfort as my research forced me to abandon my assumption that black Denverites had led the movement for statutory civil rights in Colorado. Although individual African Americans and black led organizations clearly participated in the Denver based movement for civil rights legislation, as did Americans of Latino and Japanese ancestry, people of color did not lead the movement A small group of m iddle class, educated white men dominated civil rights coalition a coalition that during the 1950s had the Mountai n States ADL at its organizational center The latter was
204 a development that was not limited to Colorado, as Stuart Svonkin documents in his study of the anti discrimination and intergroup relations work of the national ADL and other Jewish civil rights or ganizations. 20 Svonkin notes that the ADL and other national supremacists continued to defeat civil rights proposals in the United States Congress these organizations and their local affiliates, f ocus ed their civil rights advocacy on state legislatures and city councils. 21 In Colorado, this shift became particularly visible with the arrival of Micky Freed in 1950 as the new executive director of the Mountain State ADL. Prior to his arrival in Denver Freed served as director of the civil rights department of the Los Angeles ADL 22 A convincing body of archival evidence attests to campa igns waged in Colorado during the 1950s. Yet my discomfort at having to relinquish assumptions with important social and historiographical implications was considerably ameliorated by the deep international and national local story I actually discover ed Cold War civil rights decade far exceeded the comparatively narrow substantive, geographic and political boundaries of the tale I first imagined. This project reveals that the racial and geo political exegencies of the Cold War w ere the critical factor s in the passage of civil rights legislation in Colorado during the 1950s W hile the c ampaigns to win passage of anti discrimination statutes were very much local efforts fought by local activists (many of whom had championed racial equality long before World War II or the 20 Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 21 Ibid., 88 89. 22 Mountain States Anti Defamation League Twentieth Anniversary progr am, 1961, p. 10, Box 20, FF 3, ADL Collection.
205 Cold War), the se civil rights liberals were also part of a nationwide movement that sought to build local and statewide legislative frameworks of racial equality Advocates of st atutory c ivil rights in Colorado ( a s in other s tates) made active use of the rhetoric of democratic pluralism employed by the United States during World War II ; yet the Cold War provided them with their greatest ideological assist As the United States and its allies battled for ideological and economic supremacy over the Soviet Union and other communist nations, race was exposed in the words of historian Thomas Borstelmann, as 23 Civil rights liberals in Colorado skillfully in corporated the Cold War rhetoric of racial tolerance de mocratic equality and geopolitical urgency to win approval of state civil rights measures. Similarly, the international conflict that pitted an idealized democratic capitalism against a demonized communism moved many Colorado politicians, legislative bodies, civic and church leaders, journalists and others to support civil rights legislation Although some of these converts may have been spurred to action by the racial violence and discrimination c hronicled by the Denver Post Rocky Mountain News and on radio and television news others were most certainly moved less by concern for racial injustice than by aspirations to against global communism. The Cold War imp etus that spurred the Colorado legislature to enact civil rights legislation between 1 951 through 1959 at once confirms and expands the key arguments of Thomas Borstelmann and Mary Dudziak. Both historians concur that World War II elevat ed the issue of ra cial oppression in the United States to national and international prominence. Dudziak observes that in the U.S., the popular understanding of the Second 23 Borstelmann, Cold War and the Color Line 133.
206 and religious 24 Th is i nterpretation of the war forced the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, as well as the larger American p ublic to consider the searing contradiction presented by the racially segregated U.S. military force that waged war white supremacist forces at the same time that Jim Crow institutions and racist violence reigned in the American South, and hyb rid de jure and de facto regimes flourished in non southern states i ncluding Colorado. Thomas Borstelmann posits that in the aftermath of the war that role served only to magnif segregated America 25 In response to the international focus on American white supremacy and the invigorated use of that focus in the civil rights campaigns waged by the NAACP, other black led organizations, and a burg eoning human relations movement many white political leaders, news organizations and civic and religious leaders embraced often symbolic expressions of racial and religious inclusion. 26 Thomas Borstelmann argues that a policial and philosophical symmetry linked the post war movement s for racial equality in the American South and the anti colonial 24 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 9. 25 Borstelmann, Cold War and the Color Line 84. 26 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 9. Dudziak and Borstelmann argue that the virulent anti communism of the Red Scare also truncated the movement for civil rights in the United States by circumscribing the scope Eyes Off the Prize 2 7, and Stuart Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice 112 134. During the Red Scare, politicians, bureaucrats, university officials, and news and entertainment chieftains marginalized demands for broader social and economic justice by hurling allegations of communist influence at activists and threatening or destroying the livelihoods of many who advocated racial and economic justice. Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 13. This pattern also appeared in Colorado. In the mid 1950s, federal officials in Denver prosecuted a series of high profile trials of Denver residents and union officials accused of violating the anti communist provisions of the Smith and Taft Hartley Acts. See chap. 11, footnote 50. Local civil rights liberals carefully positioned themselves within the philosophical borders o f establishment liberal anti they could Colorado Statesman, March 17, 1951, p. 1.
207 continents. 27 rs embraced that symmetry owned dailies to take n otice of the relationship between freedom fighters in the American South and in Africa and Asia Yet more pertinent to this study is Bors pporting argument that racial segregation, discrimination and white supremacist violence in the American South so seriously compromised U. S. claims of democratic and capitalist superiority over the Soviet Union and other communist nations that one presidential administration after 28 domestic civil right s reform crucial to the egalitarian image of America they were promoting to a Cold War audience comprised of international critics and unaligned Third World nations. 29 showing that nationa dilemma, just as Southern blacks were not the only Americans waging battles for civil rights. In Colorado, a land locked state distant and commercial epicenters, a Denver based coalition of civil rights liberals first c apitalized on the racist reckoning sparked by World War II by urging the state 27 Borstelmann, Cold War and the Color Line 2, 7, 46. See also Penny Von Eschen, who advanced the argument colonialists. Race Against Empire 2. Von Eschen focused on the anti colonial work of the Council on African Affiars and the NAACP, as well as other journalists, po liticians and activists who argued for the existence of a nexus between black American and African freedom fighters. Ibid. 28 Borstelmann, Cold War and the Color Line 133. 29 Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 13.
208 legislature in 19 liberals, along with other reformers, recognized that the post war era had presented a rare 30 In a fl yer published during that first FEP C 31 War service equaled citizenship, advocates argued, and soldiers of color were entitled to the same employment opportunities upon their return home as thos e available to white veteran s During the second FEPC campaign in 1947, fair employment advocates invoked challenge to American democracy Paul Roberts stressed that fair employment was not only a matter of f airness, but also an ultimate test of democracy in America : 32 Roberts that of President Roosevelt and Congress during the Great Depression, and argued that state legislators bore a similar obligation to protect the economic well being of citizens against employment discrimination by approving a fair employment law. 33 Civil ri ghts liberals advanced the willingness to renounce white supremacy and to rectify the economic damage caused by racial discrimination with the passage of fair employment l egislation. 30 George Lipsitz, Rainbow at Midnight: L abor and Culture in the 1940s (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 22. 31 Denver Unity Council flyer, untitled, Box 1, FF 25, Holmes Collection. 32 Denver Post March 13, 1947, p. 10. 33 Ibid.
209 Although the legislature again defeated the FEPC proposal, the Denver Unity Council and local ADL scored a major victory in 1947 when, at their urging, Denver Mayor Quigg Newton established a n interim Comm ittee on Human Relations and directed its members to investigate the extent of racial, ethnic and religious appointment of the committee, President Harry Truman appointed hi s Committee on Civil Rights (PCCR) the national and Denver commi ttees eruption of wartime race riots in the American North; the much publicized lynchings of African Americans in the southern states; and the discourse of universal human rights the United Nations In Colorado many of the long production of civil rights legislation from conservative legislators to Denver Post editor and publisher Palmer Hoyt were motivated by the same impetus that spurred federal officia winning the Cold War. 34 Their support was clearly grounded in the belief that such legislation would help frustrate communist attempts to impale the U.S. on the long and bloody sword of w hite supremacy. Similarly, opponents of statutory civil rights reform in Colorado made the same skillful use of Cold War rhetoric to kill or maim civil rights propos als as had congressional foes of federal anti discrimination legislation. Although the num ber of 34 Borstelmann, Cold W ar and the Color Line 133.
210 state legislators who opposed such legislation w as sufficient to defeat fair employment measures in 1945 and 1947 by 1949 they were forced to match the powerful appeals to American democratic idealism made by civil rights liberals As the political pressure Cold War policies increased, even the most recalcitrant lawmakers were forced to reach an accommodation with civil rights advocates This dynami c was vividly demonstrated when Colorado Senate Majority Leader Frank Gill, the Republican senator who had fervent ly oppo sed fair employment legislation in 1949, was forced to offer a weak anti discrimination bill in 1951 to counter a much more expansive FEPC measure introduced by liberal Democrats. The conservative senator wrapped his intentionally ineffect ual bill in the protective veil of improved human relations, a public relations lure that ultimately rendered his bill impossible for most civil rights 35 The public declaration offered by Colorado Gov. Dan Thornton upon signing Sen. just six months after he and Denver Post editor Palmer Hoyt hosted the launch of the international anti communist propaganda vehicle, the Crusade for Freedom offers another illustration of the long politics Sounding more like a U .S. diplomat than a Colorado governor, Thornton declared that the new state fair employment l 36 pronouncement issued from his capitol office in Denver, was seemingly a direct response 35 Denver Post March 4, 1951, p. 1. 36 Denver Post March 30, 1951, p. 19.
211 against minority groups in this country has an adverse effect upon our relations with other cion and resentment in a country over the way a minority is being treated in the United States is a formidable obstacle to the development of mutual understanding and trust 37 Acheson, concludes Mary Dudziak, was hopeful that public and private barrier to the success of U.S. Cold War foreign policies. 38 As this study demonstrate s that hope was not exclusive to politicians and diplomats in Washington, b ut was shared by many of the ir counter parts among state legislators in Colorado. Colorado Labor Advocate credited pressur e exterted by state and national Republican senate support of an amendment to the state FEPC law that created an independent state agency to administer the statut e ( the Colorado Anti Discrimination Commission ) 39 Two years later, the Labor Advocate implicity acknowledged the power of the Cold vote to bring private employers within the jurisdiction of the C olorado Anti Discrimination Commission Advocate 40 37 Quoted in Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights 80. 38 Ibid. 39 Colorado Labor Advocate April 8, 1955, p. 2. 40 Denver Post March 4, 1951, p. 1.
212 I n Colorado, the racial and geopolitical politics clearly exerted crucial pressure on both the advocates and opponents of state wide civil rights legislation. The discrimination legislation, and by other supporters who were more interested in the mora l high ground they believed that civil rights laws could provide in the global confrontation with world communism, mirrored those made by their counterparts in the federal government. Similarly, local opponents of anti discrimination legislation condemned these proposals with the same accusations of communistic intrusion into private commercial relationships as did many civil rights opponents in Congress. Yet w h ile national attention at the time largely focused on the politics of racial reform in Congress and state required discrimination the Colorado legislature along with many state legislatures outside of the South codified racial equality into law. That many state legislatures acted ahead of Congress sho uld not surprise us; after all, state general assemblies have historically tended to function as laboratories of reform. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously remarked in a Depression era case concerning economic regulation that in the American fed 41 To date, h owever, historians have largely overlooked the laboratories of civil rights reform that operated in many states outside of the South during the 1940s and 1950s. This project will contribute to a historiography that seeks both to expand the narrow focus on national 41 Justice Louis Brandeis dissent in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann 285 U.S. 262 (1932)
213 politicians and policies to one that includes local and state politicians and legislative action, and t o reveal the geographic and aspirational diversity of twentieth century civil rights movements in the United States.
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