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Between Reconstructions: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1891–1940

  • Jeffery A. Jenkins (a1), Justin Peck (a1) and Vesla M. Weaver (a1)
Abstract

Prior analyses of congressional action on the issue of black civil rights have typically examined either of the two major Reconstructions. Our paper attempts to fill the large five-decade black box between the end of the First Reconstruction and the beginning of the Second, routinely skipped over in scholarship on Congress, parties, and racial politics. Using a variety of sources—bill-introduction data, statements by members in the Congressional Record, roll-call votes, and newspaper reports, among others—we challenge the common assumption that civil rights largely disappeared from the congressional agenda between 1891 and 1940, documenting instead the continued contestation over racial issues in Congress. By examining several failed anti-lynching initiatives, this article uncovers a largely untold story about how and when the Republican and Democratic Parties reorganized around race, finding that the realignment began earlier than is commonly understood.

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1. The period between 1867 and 1877 is typically referred to as “Congressional Reconstruction,” as the Republican-led forces in Congress dictated how the various southern states would be reorganized and brought back into the Union. This contrasts with the 1865–67 period, which is known as “Presidential Reconstruction,” as President Andrew Johnson sought to promote a quick and painless reconciliation with the South, skewed heavily toward the interests of southern white leaders. By 1867, congressional Republicans had won their battle with Johnson, and a more significant social and political upheaval in the South, wherein former slaves would be elevated to “equal status” with whites, would be pursued.

2. The southern Republican Party was comprised of three groups: Carpetbaggers (white northern politicians who recently moved to the South), Scalawags (white southern politicians who had previously been Democrats), and blacks (some of whom were former slaves, and some of whom were free prior to the Civil War).

3. Given the electoral balance between the Republicans and Democrats during the late nineteenth century, the Republicans cold not afford to disregard the South entirely, even as the center of gravity in the party shifted to the political-economic needs of the Northeast and West. For a discussion of a Republican “southern strategy” during this era, especially in relation to the use of executive patronage, see De Santis, Vincent, Republicans Face the Southern Question: The New Departure Years, 1877–1897 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1959); Hirshson, Stanley, Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: Northern Republicans and the Southern Negro, 1877–1893 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962); and Calhoun, Charles W., Conceiving a New Republic: The Republican Party and the Southern Question, 1869–1900 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006). On the use of contested election cases as a partisan device and their role in promoting a southern wing of the Republican Party in the post-Reconstruction era, see Jenkins, Jeffery A., “The First ‘Southern Strategy’: The Republican Party and Contested-Election Cases in the Late-19th Century House,” in Party, Process, and Political Change in Congress, Volume 2: Further New Perspectives on the History of Congress, eds. Brady, David W. and McCubbins, Mathew D. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), 7890.

4. For a lengthy discussion of the political proceedings (and intrigues) surrounding the Lodge Bill, see Calhoun, Conceiving a New Republic, Chapter 9; and Valelly, Richard M., “Partisan Entrepreneurship and Policy Windows: George Frisbie Hoar and the 1890 Federal Elections Bill,” in Formative Acts: American Politics in the Making, eds. Skowronek, Stephen and Glassman, Matthew (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), 126–52.

5. See, for example, Klinkner, Philip A. and Smith, Rogers M., The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Valelly, Richard M., The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); King, Desmond, Separate and Unequal: African Americans and the US Federal Government (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Marable, Manning, Race, Reform and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in Black America, 1945–1982 (London: Macmillan Press LTD, 1984). For important exceptions, see Finley, Keith M., Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight against Civil Rights, 1938–1965 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2008); Sitkoff, Harvard, A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of Civil Rights as a National Issue: The Depression Decade (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

6. Carmines, Edward G. and Stimson, James A., Issue Evolution: Race and the Transformation of American Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989); Frymer, Paul, Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999). For important exceptions, see Sherman, Richard B., The Republican Party and Black America: From McKinley to Hoover, 1896–1933 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1973); Weiss, Nancy J., Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1983).

7. See Feinstein, Brian and Schickler, Eric, “Platforms and Partners: The Civil Rights Realignment Reconsidered,” Studies in American Political Development 22 (2008): 131; Chen, Anthony S., Mickey, Robert W., and Houweling, Robert P. Van, “Explaining the Contemporary Alignment of Race and Party: Evidence from California's 1946 Ballot Initiative on Fair Employment,” Studies in American Political Development 22 (2008): 204–28.

8. The full text of the Federal Elections Law Repeal Act, which was approved on 8 February 1894, is found in Statutes at Large, vol. 28: 36–37.

9. Indeed, Lodge's Federal Elections Bill was pushed in 1890–91 in part because the prior Enforcement Acts, as written, were no longer suitable for federal supervision in the post-Reconstruction environment. The Lodge Bill placed much greater supervisory power with the federal circuit courts, for example.

10. Mississippi (1890) was the first state to rewrite its constitution and adopt provisions to restrict voter participation. Between 1890 and 1908, ten of the eleven states of the former Confederacy had pursued constitutional reform toward the goal of disenfranchisement (with the sole exception being Tennessee, which pursued statutory reform exclusively). For details, see Kousser, J. Morgan, The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974) and Perman, Michael, Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888–1908 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

11. Sundquist, James L., Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States (Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1973).

12. Valelly, Richard M., “National Parties and Racial Disenfranchisment,” in Classifying by Race, ed. Peterson, Paul E. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995); Jenkins, “The First ‘Southern Strategy.’”

13. Earlier that year (January 1899), Rep. George H. White (R-NC), the last black member of Congress from the South during this era, alluded to a reduction in representation for southern states but did not offer legislation to that end. During an extended floor speech, White stated: “If we are unworthy of suffrage, if it necessary to maintain white supremacy, if it necessary for the Anglo-Saxon to sway scepter in those States, then you ought to have the benefit only of those who are allowed to vote, and the poor men, whether they be black or white, who are disfranchised ought not to go into the representation of the district or the State. It is a question that this House must deal with some time, sooner or later.” See Congressional Record, 56th Congress, 1st Session, (26 Jan. 1899): 1125.

14. Sherman, The Republican Party and Black America, 16.

15. See Congressional Record, 56th Congress, 1st. Session, (12 Dec.1899): 233.

16. See Congressional Record, 56th Congress, 1st. Session, (1 June 1900): 6370; Congressional Record, 56th Congress, 1st. Session, (7 June 1900): 6865–66, 6875.

17. Sherman, The Republican Party and Black America, 16.

18. “Congress at Work,” Dallas Morning News, 4 Jan. 1901.

19. Congressional Record, 56th Congress, 2nd Session, (3 Jan. 1901): 521.

20. “House Fight Opens on Reapportionment,” New York Times, 4 Jan. 1901; “Aims to Injure South,” Washington Post, 4 Jan. 1901.

21. “On His Own Initiative,” The (Baltimore) Sun, 4 Jan. 1901, p. 2.

22. As a reporter for The (Baltimore) Sun noted: “The Republicans were placed in a bad hole because they did not want to adopt the resolution and feared they would be accused of cowardice if it were defeated,” “Marylanders Were Active; Practically Argued Olmsted into Yielding,” 5 Jan. 1901.

23. Congressional Record, 56th Congress, 2nd Session, (4 Jan. 1901): 559.

24. “Measure Put to Sleep,” Washington Post, 5 Jan. 1901.

25. The strategic thinking of the Republican leadership is nicely summarized by a reporter for the Birmingham Age Herald: “the fact remains that if the Republicans had insisted on debating the Olmsted resolution at length and had finally passed it, the Democrats in retaliation would have seriously delayed the business of the House, and probably forced an extra session … by insisting on roll calls on every proposition advanced and every amendment to each bill considered,” Albert Halmstead, “The Criticism of Southern Methods; Disfranchisement of Blacks Will Not Affect Representation,” 7 Jan. 1901.

26. In fact, the Hopkins bill (that is, the bill reported out of the Census Committee) was rejected, and a substitute bill, proposed by Rep. Edwin Burleigh (R-ME), was passed instead.

27. Congressional Record, 56th Congress, 2nd Session, (8 Jan. 1901) 731–48.

28. “House Increases Its Membership to 386,” New York Times, 9 Jan. 1901.

29. Crumpacker was the main initiator of this subsequent legislation. His closest brush with success came in May 1908, during the 60th Congress, when he successfully added a reduction amendment to a campaign-contribution reform bill. The amendment and amended bill passed in the House but died in the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections. For a description of the House events, see “Minority Is Hard Hit; House Republicans Pass the Crumpacker Bill,” Washington Post, 23 May 1908. For an overview of the proceedings on the Crumpacker amendment and the amended campaign-contribution reform bill, see Congressional Record, 60th Congress, 1st Session, (22 May 1908): 6763–68.

30. Sherman, The Republican Party and Black America, 76–77. Later attempts at representational reduction in the early and late 1920s, led by Rep. George H Tinkham (R-MA), met with similar opposition by Republican Presidents Harding and Coolidge. See Sherman, The Republican Party and Black America, 169–71, 221–22.

31. See King, Separate and Unequal, 20–27.

32. Roddenbery's amendment was H.J. Res. 368. See Congressional Record, 62nd Congress, 3rd. Session, (11 Dec. 1912): 507.

33. For the full text of Roddenbery's floor speech, see Congressional Record, 62nd Congress, 3rd. Session, (11 Dec. 1912): 502–504.

34. Roddenbery would strike again in January 1913, raising the subject of miscegenation and pushing for the passage of his constitutional amendment. While earning applause for his forceful appeal, he made no further progress on his proposal. See Congressional Record, 62nd Congress, 3rd Session, (30 Jan. 1913): 2312.

35. See Congressional Record, 62nd Congress, 3rd Session, (10 Feb. 1913): 2929.

36. “Upholds Race Purity,” Washington Post, 11 Feb. 1913; “To Forbid Race Intermarriage,” New York Times, 11 Feb. 1913.

37. Congressional Record, 62nd Congress, 3rd Session, (10 Feb. 1913): 2929. Individual-level vote data for division roll calls were not recorded. However, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune (who mistakenly counted 8 nay votes instead of 12) identified the following members voting in opposition: Madden (R-IL), Mann (R-IL), Fowler (D-IL), Mondell (R-WY), Hamilton (R-MI), Bartholdt (R-MO), La Follette (R-WI), and Kendall (R-IA). See “Bars Diverse Race Union in District of Columbia,” Chicago Tribune, 11 Feb. 1913.

38. “To Forbid Race Intermarriage,” New York Times, 11 Feb. 1913. In addition, the continued influence of boxer Jack Johnson on the southern mind was apparent in an editorial in the Charlotte Daily Observer: “Passage through the National House of Representatives of a bill prohibiting intermarriage of whites with negroes, Chinese, Japanese or Malays in the District of Columbia is the latest evidence of the good which the abominable Jack Johnson case brought forth” (13 Feb. 1913).

39. Congressional Record, 62nd Congress, 3rd Session, (11 Feb. 1913): 2972.

40. H.R. 1710 was “an act to prohibit the intermarriage of persons of the white and negro races within the District of Columbia; to declare such contracts of marriage null and void; to prescribe punishments for violations and attempts to violate its provisions.”

41. Clark introduced H.R. 1710 on 7 April 1913, during the first session of the 63rd Congress, and it was reported to the Committee on the District of Columbia; on 21 March 1914, during the second session, it was reported out of committee and placed on the House calendar. See Congressional Record, 63rd Congress, 1st Session, (7 Apr. 1913): 86; 63rd Congress, 2nd Session, (21 March 1914): 5268. For the full debate and roll-call votes on H. R. 1710, see Congressional Record, 63rd Congress, 3rd Session, (11 Jan. 1915): 1362–68.

42. Congressional Record, 63rd Congress, 3rd Session, (11 Jan. 1915): 1362.

43. Congressional Record, 63rd Congress, 3rd Session, (11 Jan. 1915): 1363.

44. Congressional Record, 63rd Congress, 3rd Session, (11 Jan. 1915): 1366–68.

45. “Anti-Miscegenation Bill Passes House,” The Chicago Defender, 15 Feb. 1913.

46. “Equal Rights League Opposes Marriage Act,” The Chicago Defender, 16 Jan. 1915.

47. Why this small group of northern Democrats opposed shutting off debate is unclear, but one possibility is that they wanted more time to debate the issue and “position take” (or grandstand). That is, they wanted to be able to go on the record with public statements, for their constituents' benefit and consumption, and this could not happen if debate was shut off (in their minds prematurely).

48. The first federal anti-lynching proposals concerned the protection of foreign citizens, after the high-profile lynchings of eleven Italians in New Orleans in 1891 resulted in the U.S. government having to make indemnity payments. See Walter, David O., “Legislative Notes and Reviews: Proposals for a Federal Anti-Lynching Law,” American Political Science Review 28 (1934): 436–42. With regard to the crime of lynching against black Americans specifically, two initiatives around the turn of the twentieth century were attempted, but both failed. Rep. George H. White (R-NC), the sole black member in the House, proposed an anti-lynching measure in 1900 for U.S. citizens generally (H.R. 6963). The bill never emerged from the Judiciary Committee and White left Congress shortly thereafter. Rep. William H. Moody (R-MA) and Sen. George Frisbie Hoar (R-MA) proposed another anti-lynching bill (H.R. 4572) the following year, based on a proposal by Albert Pillsbury, former attorney general of Massachusetts and future leader of the NAACP. However, the Judiciary Committee report on the Moody-Hoar bill was negative due to constitutionality issues, even though the GOP controlled a majority on committee.

49. Ferrell, Claudine L., Nightmare and Dream: Antilynching in Congress, 1917–1922 (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1986). Joel Spingarn was a member of the NAACP's Board of Directors. Hixson, William B. Jr., “Moorfield Storey and the Defense of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill,” New England Quarterly 42 (1969): 6581.

50. Quoted in Robert Paul Goldstein, “The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill: The Movement for Federal Control of Lynching 1900–1922” (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin, 1966), 50.

51. Many of the congressional candidates responded “especially in districts with large Negro populations.” Goldstein, “The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill,” 56.

52. Dray, Phillip, At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America (New York: Modern Library, 2002), 257.

53. Franklin, John Hope and Moss, Alfred A. Jr, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans (New York: Knopf, 2000).

54. Franklin and Moss, Jr., From Slavery to Freedom, 380.

55. Kellogg, Charles, NAACP, A History of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1973), 235. More generally, 10 of the 76 lynching victims in 1919 were returning black soldiers.

56. Hixson, Jr., “Moorfield Storey and the Defense of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill.” Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown.

57. As Mary White Ovington, who investigated the case, observed: “… as she burned, the infant fell to the ground and was trampled under a white man's heel.” Ovington, Mary White, The Walls Came Tumbling Down (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1947), 152.

58. Franklin and Moss, Jr., From Slavery to Freedom, 385.

59. Goldstein, “The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill.”

60. “No. 34—Cities Having 50,000 or More Inhabitants in 1920: Population by Color, Nativity, and Parentage, 1910 and 1920—Continued.” Bureau of the Census Library, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1922. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1923), 50.

61. Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk, Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008).

62. Barnes, Harper, Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot that Sparked the Civil Rights Movement (New York: Walker & Company, 2008).

63. Hixson, Jr., “Moorfield Storey and the Defense of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill.”

64. Based on author's calculations using Census records and information on congressional district boundaries in Martis, Kenneth C., The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts, 1789–1983 (New York: Free Press, 1982).

65. Charles Curtis (R-KS) proposed a resolution in the Senate in 1919 after a campaign by the NAACP to investigate lynchings in the nation and the Washington, DC riot (Dyer did the same in the House); both measures failed to be reported out of committee. Rep. Henry Emerson (R-OH) introduced a similar bill, which likewise died in committee. Dyer had also supported a monument for black soldiers' service and made statements about the patriotism of black soldiers and the “educational and economic progress of the race as a whole.” Goldstein, “The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill.”

66. At the time, no state had a law that allowed participants in a lynch mob to be held criminally liable. Several states had passed laws against lynching that would provide for the removal from office of officials who handed those in custody over to the mob. Specifically, anti-lynching laws had been enacted in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama, and Illinois in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, these statutes were generally not enforced and less than one percent of lynchers had ever been convicted in court.

67. County liability measures would be contentious later. For more details, see Goldstein, “The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill,” 43–46.

68. Ferrell, Nightmare and Dream, 123.

69. Republican Party Platform of 1920, John and Gerhard Peters. The American Presidency Project [online]. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California (hosted), Gerhard Peters (database). Available from World Wide Web: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/

70. Zangrando, Robert L., The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 1909–1950 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980), 57.

71. For example, Rep. James Aswell (D-LA) argued: “Gentlemen on the Republican side of the Chamber know the purpose of this bill … is to corral the Negro vote in the next election… . You are trying to satisfy promises your leaders have made the Negro voter …” Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd Session, (19 Dec. 1921): 546.

72. Rep. Finnis Garrett (D-TN), leader of House opposition, along with Rep. Edward William Pou (D-NC) recommended that the bill be titled “a Bill to encourage rape.”

73. For an interesting discussion of the hypocritical stance on federal power in state affairs on several issues during this time, see Holden-Smith, Barbara, “Lynching, Federalism, and the Intersection of Race and Gender in the Progressive Era,” Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 31 (1996): 3178.

74. Goldstein, “The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill,” 71.

75. Ferrell, Nightmare and Dream, 116.

76. It was curious that proponents did not utilize Sections 51 and 52 of the 1870 Enforcement Act and Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibited (and punished) individuals or authorities “acting under color of law” from interfering with the constitutional rights of others; these sections would later be the basis on which the Civil Rights Service of the Department of Justice would seek to prosecute lynchers. See Capeci, Dominic J. Jr, “The Lynching of Cleo Wright: Federal Protection of Constitutional Rights during World War II,” in Finkelman, Paul, Lynching, Racial Violence, and Law (New York: Garland Publishing, 1992).

77. Quoted in Ferrell, Nightmare and Dream, 195.

78. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 62–63.

79. The Chicago Defender, 27 Aug. 1921.

80. Quoted in Ferrell, Nightmare and Dream, 193.

81. See, for example, Harvier, Ernest, “Ohio Grooming for Its Primary,” New York Times, 16 April 1922.

82. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd Session, (26 January 1922): 1795–96.

83. The yea votes were: Campbell (PA), Cockran (NY), Cullen (NY), Gallivan (MA), Mead (NY), O'Brien (NJ), and Rainey (IL). The nay votes were: Hawes (MO), Hayden (AZ), Godsborough (MD), Lea (CA), Linthicum (MD), and Raker (CA). There were also two pairs: one paired-yea (Riordan, NY), and one paired-nay (Rucker, MO).

84. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd Session, (25 Jan. 1922): 1710.

85. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd Session, (25 Jan. 1922): 1711.

86. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd Session, (25 Jan. 1922): 1716.

87. As Mitchell, Franklin notes: “… when Negroes in the district pressed [Hawes] for a commitment to support a federal anti-lynching bill, he demurred, on the ground that the legislation compromised states' rights.” Mitchell, Franklin D., Embattled Democracy: Missouri Politics, 1929–1932 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1968), 81.

88. Dubin, Michael J., United States Congressional Elections, 1787–1997 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1998), 444, 454.

89. Mitchell, Embattled Democracy, 82.

90. Mitchell, Embattled Democracy, 98.

91. See Griffin, William W., “The Political Realignment of Black Voters in Indianapolis,” Indiana Magazine of History 79 (1983): 133–66; Van Deusen, John G., “The Negro in Politics,” Journal of Negro History 21 (1936): 256–74.

92. Sundquist, Dynamics of the Party System; Andersen, Kristi, The Creation of a Democratic Majority, 1928–1936 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979).

93. Frymer, Uneasy Alliances.

94. Quoted in Ferrell, Nightmare and Dream, 236.

95. Goldstein, “The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill,” 84.

96. According to a report in the New York Times:

Much pressure is being brought on the committee to report a bill of some kind to the Senate. At least one prominent Senator, from a State with many negro voters, is understood to be insistent that the committee take some action in the matter. His negro constituents are known to have expressed themselves very plainly to him on the subject. And there are other Senators facing a similar situation in their own States who are insisting that the committee do something. (“Little Hope for Dyer Bill; Senate Lawyers Think Anti-Lynching Measure Unconstitutional,” Special to the New York Times, 24 May 1922).

97. Sen. Samuel Shortridge (R-CA) introduced the bill in the Senate on 28 July 1922. See Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd Session, (28 July 1922): 10735. Sen. Joseph France (R-MD) attempted to move for the bill's consideration on 16 September 1922 but was not granted the floor. See Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd Session, (16 September 1922): 12737.

98. Quoted in Ferrell, Nightmare and Dream, 267.

99. For an excellent account of the NAACP's lobbying efforts, see Megan Ming Francis, “Crime and Citizenship: The NAACP's campaign to end racial violence, 1909–1923” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 2008).

100. Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown.

101. Quoted in “Negroes Warn Foes of Anti-Lynching Bill; Demand Republican Party Keep Its Pledge, and Issue Appeal to the People,” New York Times, 24 June 1922.

102. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 66.

103. These statistics are from the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

104. Quoted in “Calder Is Friend of Negro, He Insists; Replying to Critics, Senator Declares He Favors the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill,” New York Times, 30 May 1922.

105. Ferrell, Nightmare and Dream, 237.

106. Finley, Delaying the Dream., 6–7.

107. Quoted in Sherman, The Republican Party and Black America, 192.

108. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd. Session, (21 Sept. 1922): 13075.

109. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd. Session, (21 Sept. 1922): 13086.

110. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 2nd Session, (22 Sept. 1922): 13129.

111. Quoted in Ferrell, Nightmare and Dream, 273.

112. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 3rd Session, (28 Nov. 1922): 332.

113. Ibid.

114. See for example “Senate Tied Up by Filibuster; Southern Democrats in Bitter War on Dyer Bill,” Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 1922.

115. Wolff, Wendy and Ritchie, Donald A., eds., Minutes of the Senate Republican Conference, Sixty-second Congress thorugh Eighty-eighth Congress, 1911–1964 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999), 136.

116. Johnson, Along This Way, 371. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Thirteenth Annual Report of the NAACP. (New York: NAACP, 1923), 20.

117. Wolff and Ritchie, Minutes of the Senate Republican Conference, 135–36.

118. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 3rd Session, (4 Dec. 1922): 450.

119. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 3rd Session, (4 Dec. 1922): 450.

120. Johnson, James Weldon, Along this Way: The Autobiography of James Weldon Johnson (New York: Da Capo Press, 2000); White, Walter, Rope and Faggot (New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1969).

121. Mary Lu Nuckols, “The NAACP and the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill: A Barometer of Emerging Negro Political Power” (PhD diss, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1963).

122. Congressional Record, 67th Congress, 3rd Session, (28 Nov. 1922): 334.

123. “The Senate's Surrender,” New York Times, 4 Dec. 1922.

124. NAACP, Thirteenth Annual Report of the NAACP, 21–22.

125. Ibid, 22–23.

126. The transcript of the “Open Letter” is found in the New York Amsterdam News, 20 Dec. 1922, p. 1. Johnson's statement first faulted southern senators but was quick to say “the responsibility rests equally with the Republican majority who surrendered with hardly a struggle to the lynching tactics of the Democrats.” See also Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown, 272.

127. NAACP Thirteenth Annual Report of the NAACP, 24. See also Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 74.

128. Sherman, Richard B., “The Harding Administration and the Negro: An Opportunity Lost,” Journal of Negro History 49 (1964): 151168; Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching; Office of History and Preservation, Black Americans in Congress.

129. New York Times, 9 July 1922.

130. Quoted in “Charge Half-Hearted Work On Lynching Bill; Colored Organizations Accuse Republican Senators,” Washington Post, 27 Mar. 1923.

131. “Negroes Threaten a Republican Bolt; National Conference Decides to Use Political Pressure for Interests of Race,” New York Times, 22 July 1923.

132. Sherman, “The Harding Administration and the Negro.”

133. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 76.

134. Ibid.

135. In a New York Times article, Shelby J. Davidson, the leader of the DC branch of the NAACP, said, “It has been a repudiation of negroes who supported the Republican Party before Mr. Slemp ever became known. Mr. Slemp voted against the Anti-Lynching bill, the real outlook for the negro.” “Negroes Protest Naming of Slemp,” 17 Aug. 1923.

136. Antilynching. Hearings before Subcommittee no. 4 of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Eightieth Congress, second session, on H.R. 41, H.R. 57, H.R. 77, H.R. 223, H.R. 228, H.R. 800, and H.R. 278 … H.R. 1709 … H.R. 3488, H.R. 3618, H.R. 3850, H.R. 4155, and H.R. 4577 … H.R. 4528. To provide for the application and enforcement of the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and article 55 of the Charter of the United Nations, and to assure the protection of citizens of the United States and other persons from mob violence and lynching, and for other purposes. February 4, 1948 … Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off. Based on a table, “Antilynching bills introduced in Congress from Dec. 4, 1865, to May 26, 1947,” in the Appendix of Hearings Before Subcommittee No. 4 of the House Judiciary Committee on various anti-lynching bills, 80th Congress, 2nd Session, 185–88 (1948).

137. Other pro-black initiatives introduced in the 1920s included efforts to reduce southern representation in the House, à la GOP efforts around the turn of the twentieth century; congressional investigations into disenfranchisement; a memorial to blacks for “negros' contribution to the achievements of America”; and congressional investigations of the Klan and mob violence against blacks. For a good discussion, see Office of History and Preservation, Black Americans in Congress.

138. This followed, as we note earlier, more localized defection in the early to mid-1920s in areas like Indiana, Missouri, and New York.

139. Frymer, Uneasy Alliances.

140. Rable, George C., “The South and the Politics of Antilynching Legislation, 1920–1940,” Journal of Southern History 51 (1985): 201–20; Finley, Delaying the Dream.

141. Kryder, Daniel, Divided Arsenal: Race and the American State During World War II (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000); McAdam, Doug, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930–1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Myrdal, Gunnar, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (New York: Harper, 1944); Brooks, Jennifer, Defining the Peace: World War II Veterans, Race, and the Remaking of Southern Political Tradition (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Dudziak, Mary, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).

142. Indeed, we locate the roots of this party switch earlier than Schickler, Pearson, and Feinstein who argue that it obtained during the “early-to-mid-1940s.” Eric Schickler, Kathryn Pearson, and Brian Feinstein, “Congressional Parties and Civil Rights Politics, 1933–1972,” Paper Prepared for the History of Congress Conference, George Washington University, May 29-June 1, 2008, 2.

143. McAdam, Political Process, 78.

144. McAdam, Political Process, 82; Ware, Alan, The Democratic Party Heads North, 1877–1962 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 189.

145. McAdam, Political Process, 82.

146. Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks, 202.

147. Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks, 205; Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 105.

148. Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks, 204.

149. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 113–14.

150. “Roosevelt Address to Church Group,” New York Times, 7 Dec. 1933.

151. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 111.

152. “Roosevelt Asked for Lynching Curb,” New York Times, 17 Dec. 1933.

153. Watkins, T.H., The Hungry Years: A Narrative History of the Great Depression in America (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999), 498.

154. Congressional Record, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, (4 Jan. 1934): 58; Rable, “The South and the Politics of Anti-Lynching Legislation, 1920–1940,” 209.

155. “Federal Lynch Law Proposed By Democrats,” Chicago Tribune, 5 Jan. 1934.

156. Hearing Before the Subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary United States Senate on S. 1978, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, (20 Feb. 1934): 14, 21. White provided letters of support from the governors of Ohio, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Florida, and Utah.

157. Hearing Before the Subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary United States Senate on S. 1978, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, (20 Feb. 1934): 12.

158. Hearing Before the Subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary United States Senate on S. 1978, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, (20 Feb. 1934): 14.

159. Congressional Record, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, (12 Apr. 1934): 6453.

160. Atlanta Daily World, 10 Apr. 1934. Members of the Committee included Henry Ashurst (D-AZ), William King (D-UT), Clarence Dill (D-WA), Hugo Black (D-AL), Matthew Neely (D-WV), Huey Long (D-LA), Frederick Van Nuys (D-IN), Patrick McCarran (D-NV), Marvel Logan (D-KY), William H. Dieterich (D-IL), William Borah (R-ID), George W. Norris (R-NE), Arthur Robinson (R-IN), Daniel Hastings (R-DE), Felix Herbert (R-RI), Thomas Schall (R-MN), and Warren Austin (R-VT).

161. Congressional Record, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, (28 May 1934): 9654.

162. White, Walter, “The Costigan-Wagner Bill,” New York Times, 5 May 1934.

163. Whelan, “The Politics of Federal Anti-Lynching Legislation,” 20; Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 120.

164. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 126.

165. Hearing Before the Subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary United States Senate on S. 1978, 74th Congress, 1st Session, (24 Feb. 1935): 33. The signers included “10 governors and former governors, 28 mayors of cities in the United States, North and South, 109 bishops and prominent churchmen, by 64 college presidents and professors, both North and South … by 12 lawyers, by 90 prominent editors and writers, and 14 other distinguished American citizens.”

166. Albright, Robert C., “Southern Bloc Snags Senate In Lynch Fight,” Washington Post, 28 Apr. 1935.

167. Congressional Record, 74th Congress, 1st Session, (1 May 1935): 6687.

168. Wawro, Gregory J. and Schickler, Eric, Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the U.S. Senate (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2007), 37.

169. Wawro and Schickler, Filibuster, 36. These authors argue that demonstrations of intent can serve as effective signaling strategies for both those interested in obstructing and those interested in opposing obstructive efforts.

170. “Six Day Filibuster Ends,” New York Times, 2 May 1935.

171. Congressional Record, 74th Congress, 1st Session, (1 May 1935): 6677.

172. Congressional Record, 74th Congress, 1st Session, (3 Jan. 1935): 42.

173. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 141.

174. Wilkins, Roy, Standing Fast: The Autobiography of Roy Wilkins (New York: Da Capo Press, 1994), 131.

175. Congressional Record, 74th Congress, 2nd Session, (22 Apr. 1936): 5888.

176. Congressional Record, 74th Congress, 2nd Session, (22 Apr. 1936): 5887.

177. Ibid.

178. Congressional Record, 74th Congress, 2nd Session, (18 June 1936): 9961–66.

179. Dubin, United States Congressional Elections, 514, 503.

180. Whelan, “The Politics of Federal Anti-Lynching Legislation,” 35–36; Rable, “The South and the Politics of Anti-Lynching Legislation,” 213; Klarman, Michael, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 112.

181. Hearing Before the Subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary United States Senate on S. 1978, 73rd Congress, 2nd Session, (10 Mar. 1934): 248.

182. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 141.

183. With a discharge petition, a member can force a bill out of committee and onto the floor for consideration by securing 218 signatures (that is, a majority of the House).

184. Congressional Record, 75th Congress, 1st Session, (15 April 1937): 3563.

185. Edwards, Willard, “Democrat Lines Torn Wide Open By House Vote,” Chicago Tribune, 15 April 1937.

186. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 141.

187. Ibid.

188. Weiss, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln, 206.

189. “Senator Johnson Helped Fight for Mob Bill,” Los Angeles Sentinel, 9 May 1935; “Race Vote to Be Vital Factor in 1936 Elections,” Pittsburgh Courier, 18 Jan. 1936; “Dallas Daily Notes Race Voting Power,” Chicago Defender, 11 Dec. 1937; “Oklahomans Beat Man Who Voted Against Race,” Pittsburgh Courier, 23 July 1938.

190. “Anti-Lynching Bill is Passed by House After Bitter Talk,” New York Times, 16 Apr. 1937.

191. Sullivan, Mark, “Anti-Lynching Bill Perils States' Rights,” Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 1937.

192. Whelan, “The Politics of Federal Anti-Lynching Legislation,” 25. In 1937, the language of the Costigan-Warner bill was replaced by the House-passed Gavagan language, and because Sen. Costigan had retired in 1936, Sen. Fredrick Van Nuys (D-IN) co-sponsored this version with Sen. Wagner (D-NY). Those voting to send the bill to the floor include Senators Henry Ashurst (D-AZ), Matthew Neely (D-WV), Frederick Van Nuys (D-IN), Marvel Logan (D-KY), William Dieterich (D-IL), George McGill (D-KS), Carl Hatch (D-NM), Edward Burke (D-NE), Joseph O'Mahoney (D-WY), George Norris (I-NE), Warren Austin (R-VT), and Frederick Steiwer (R-OR).

193. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 144.

194. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 145–46.

195. Congressional Record, 75th Congress, 3rd Session, (27 Jan. 1938): 1166; Whelan, “The Politics of Federal Anti-Lynching Legislation,” 29. Former Republican Robert La Follette, Jr. (WI), reelected to the Senate as a Progressive in 1934, also opposed cloture.

196. Congressional Record, 75th Congress, 3rd Session, (16 Feb. 1938): 2007; Whelan, “The Politics of Federal Anti-Lynching Legislation,” 30. Those members who voted against cloture in January and for cloture in February include: Henry Ashurst (D-AZ), Guy Gillette (D-IA), James Lewis (D-IL), and John Townsend (R-DE). Those who were absent from the first vote and voted for cloture in February include: James Davis (R-PA), Theodore Green (D-RI), and James Hughes (D-DE).

197. “Filibuster Gets In Senate's Hair After 16 Days,” Chicago Tribune, 26 Jan. 1938.

198. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 150.

199. Congressional Record, 75th Congress, 3rd Session, (27 Jan. 1938): 1164.

200. Congressional Record, 75th Congress, 3rd Session, (27 Jan. 1938): 893.

201. “Closure Failure Seen in Filibuster,” New York Times, 26 Jan. 1938.

202. Congressional Record, 75th Congress, 3rd Session, (27 Jan. 1938): 1165.

203. “Filibuster Gets In Senate's Hair After 16 Days,” Chicago Tribune, 26 Jan. 1938.

204. Congressional Record, 75th Congress, 3rd Session, (27 Jan. 1938): 1165.

205. Congressional Record, 75th Congress, 3rd Session, (21 Feb. 1938): 2207.

206. Ibid.

207. White, Walter, A Man Called White: The Autobiography of Walter White (New York: Viking Press, 1948), 169170.

208. “Lynch Bill ‘Flop’ Blamed To Politics of Senators,” Atlanta Daily World, 31 Jan. 1938.

209. Philadelphia Tribune, 27 Jan. 1938.

210. Miller, Kelly, “Kelly Miller Accuses Republicans of Playing Politics With Negro Vote,” Pittsburgh Courier, 19 Feb. 1938.

211. As Weiss's account demonstrates, FDR won a significantly larger number of black votes in 1936 than he did in 1932. We attribute this, in part, to the anti-lynching effort, and these news reports demonstrate that contemporaneous news accounts illustrate this shifting loyalty. Weiss, Party of Lincoln, 206–207.

212. Albright, Robert C., “Bitterness of Row Over Anti-Lynching Bill Threatens Sectional Split,” Washington Post, 23 Jan. 1938.

213. “ ‘Lynch Bill’ Row Alarms Senator,” The Oregonian, 14 Jan. 1938; Finley, Delaying the Dream, 50.

214. Mallon, Paul, “Signs That Filibuster Is Peeving President; Bill's Painless Death Predicted,” The Oregonian, 26 Jan. 1938.

215. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 1st Session, (3 Jan. 1939): 31.

216. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 161.

217. Ibid.

218. “Roosevelt Urges Senate to Reverse the Arms Embargo,” New York Times, 5 July 1939.

219. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 1st Session, (18 July 1939): 9421.

220. “House Dismayed by Fish Plea for Anti-Lynching Vote,” Chicago Tribune, 19 July 1939.

221. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 1st Session, (28 July 1939): 10388.

222. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 3rd Session, (9 Jan. 1940): 176–77.

223. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 159.

224. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 3rd Session, (10 Jan. 1940): 253.

225. Hearing Before the Subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary United States Senate on H.R. 801, 76th Congress, 3rd Session, (6–7 Feb.; 5, 12, 13 Mar. 1940): 56–60.

226. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 3rd Session, (8 Apr. 1940): 4108.

227. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 3rd Session, (22 Apr. 1940): 4819; (28 May 1940): 6983; (27 Sept. 1940): 12746.

228. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 3rd Session, (20 Jan. 1940): 560.

229. “Anti-Lynching Politics,” Washington Post, 9 Jan. 1940.

230. Congressional Record, 76th Congress, 3rd Session, (8 Oct. 1940): 13354.

231. The legislation was co-sponsored by Senators George Allen (R-VA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). See USA Today, 13 June 2005; New York Times, 14 June 2005.

232. Such data exists for the 1910 census and earlier, thanks to the pioneering efforts of Stanley B. Parsons and his coauthors. See Parsons, Stanley B., Beach, William W., and Hermann, Dan, United States Congressional Districts and Data, 1789–1841 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1978); Parsons, Stanley B., Beach, William W., and Dubin, Michael J., United States Congressional Districts and Data, 1843–1883 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986); Parsons, Stanley B., Dubin, Michael J., and Dubin, Karen Toombs, United States Congressional Districts, 1883–1913 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990). In the Introduction to his third volume, Parsons indicates that his goal was to collect county- and district-level data for members of Congress through 1956, but no subsequent volume has been released (and no other researcher has stepped in to fill the void).

233. Take, for example, New York's 22nd district during the 66th and 67th Congresses. Using Martis, Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts, 251, we see that this district includes

New York City (beginning at the Harlem River and E. 117th St., and thence westerly along E. 117th St. to 2nd Ave., along 2nd Ave. to E. 118th St., along E. 118th St. to Park Ave., along Park Ave. to E. Morris Park and along 5th Ave. to the Harlem River, and along the Harlem River to W. 145th St., along W. 145 St. to 8th Ave., along 8th Ave. to the Harlem River, thence along the Harlem River to E. 117th St., the point or place of beginning); Bronx (beginning at Jerome Ave. and the Harlem River, thence along Jerome Ave. to E. 161st St. to Melrose Ave., along Melrose Ave. to E. 157th St., along E. 157th St. to 3rd Ave., along 3rd Ave. to E 156h St., along E. 156th St. to St. Ann's Ave., along St. Ann's Ave. to E. 149th St., along E. 149th St. to the East River, thence along the East River, Bronx Kills and the Harlem River to Jerome Ave., to the point or place of beginning; North Brother's, South Brother's, and Riker's Island).

234. Stanley Parsons also discusses these difficulties in detail. See Parsons et al., United States Congressional Districts, 1883–1913, xiv.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, and at the 2009 Congress & History Conference at the University of Virginia. We thank Richard Bensel, Jason Roberts, Eric Schickler, and Rick Valelly for helpful comments.

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Studies in American Political Development
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