June 3, 1954 – The Politics Of Civil Rights – Segregation, Capitol Hill And Communists – The Eisenhower Years
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June 3, 1954 – A day with a lot of domestic political issues in the air. Starting with news from Capitol Hill and the matter of Civil Rights and segregation in housing. On this day, a bill calling for Liberalization of loan guarantees on home repair projects was approved in the Senate by a voice vote. It was essentially the same bill called for by President Eisenhower and his advisers. The Public Housing program called for 140,000 units of low-cost housing over a period of four years. The budget also called for slum clearance as well as housing for congested areas. Opposition came from Southern Democrats who were still reacting to the Supreme Court decision on School desegregation. It was anticipated this was going to be the type of reaction from the Southern States to legislation of this type from now on. In addition to the landmark decision over segregation in schools came another decision on the same day that said that segregation could also not be enforced on any housing projects. And because of that, the Southern Senators attempted to knock out the entire section on Public Housing. Up until the Supreme Court desegregation decision, the Southern Senators were in favor of Eisenhower’s Public housing program, which essential features called for a general liberalization and loosening up of terms under which the government would insure mortgages. Since the Supreme Court decisions, a number of positions were being reversed not only by Southern Democrats but by Republicans in Congress as well. It was going to make for an interesting off-year election, come November.
And the issue of Communist influence was continuing – this time it was the matter of the Security status of Atomic Scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who was chairman of the influential General Advisory Committee of the newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission. He used that position to lobby for international control of nuclear power to avert nuclear proliferation and a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. After provoking the ire of many politicians with his outspoken opinions during the Second Red Scare, he suffered the revocation of his security clearance in a much-publicized hearing in 1954, and was effectively stripped of his direct political influence; he continued to lecture, write and work in physics.
All that, and much more news from commentators Fulton Lewis Jr. and Frank Reynolds for June 3, 1954.