The cultural disruption through the Civil Rights Movement in the American South and its reflection in Southern Politics

Anthology, 2015

29 Pages



The cultural disruption through the Civil Rights Movement in the American South and it’s reflection in Southern Politics

An indispensable clarification for the Presentation: The American South and its sub-regions


The DixiecratRevolt

SouthernConceptofDominanceinDept:Andtheoriginforthe exceptionalinfluenceforSouthernlawmakersinCongress

TheBlackRevolutionsucceedingtheRevoltofDixiecrats:TheCivil RightsMovement

TheinitiatingSea-Changeinvotingpatterns: Fromthe50thstothe80ths
a) On the Presidential Level
b) OntheCongressionalVotingLevel
c) OntheLeveloftheSouthernStateLegislatures


Post Mortem: The Sunbelts EconomicSurge




TheculturaldisruptionthroughtheCivilRightsMovementin the American South and it’s reflection in SouthernPolitics

A ComprehensiveIntroduction:

“ThenetresultofthereversalofthetraditionalmakeupofthepartiesintheSouth,with Democrats becoming increasingly like Democrats nationally, while the GOP, ironically, becomesthepartyofSoutherndistinctiveness.”[1]

North,South East,West ascardinaldirectionofhistoryandespeciallyAmericanhistory are vital corner stones to understand regional difference in global history and surely in history regarding the American nation. Variations due to climate and geography constitute variation in different perception in culture and societies, population concentration, views on political debates such as the role of the Federal Government, abortion or labor and union rights and the like. In short all of this constitutes cultural codes that passes on through cultural reproduction to every newgeneration.

TheAmericannationsisgiftedandblessedwithpossiblethebiggestvariationinclimate andgeography.FromaremotecoldareainruralAlaskaoverthedessertsinArizonaorCalifornia to the Rocky Mountains, the tropical zone in Florida, to the fertile plains in the Midwest and the American South, to urban areas in New York and Boston, to the wide forests in New Hampshire and Maine. The very concept of American Exceptionalism is based on the basic bargain, developed in a truly genuine way through the legendary Westward Expansion and the hence following frontier qualities, that should contrast the cultures of Europe with the American one and with so constitute the legendarynarrative of the AmericanExceptionalism.

The American nation is moreover enriched with the greatest migration pattern that the world has ever known. Families coming from literally all over the globe in trusting the American concept of freedom and the desire for social uplift. The free land with the greatest variation in geography and climate has become the greatest melting pot that theworldtrulyhaseverknown.

Every single family coming to America from West or East Europe, coming from Africa, Asia,Latin Americaor the PacificIslandmadethe Americanexperimentgenuineandadvanced the desire to follow the American dream to every remote corner around the globe. The exceptional variation in geography should constitute on its own several cultural codes, but the greatest immigration pattern that the world has ever experienced, influenced cultural reproduction and affected the next American generation.ThereisnoothernationonEarthwithmoredifferentreligionsandvariations of christian faith, more creativity on how to make a living or a different aggregation stateinthewalkoflife.

North,South East,West ascardinaldirectionsofAmericanHistorycandealentirelywith comparingtheculturalcodeofNewEngland,totheculturalcodeoftheMidwest,the FarWest,thePacificCoast,theDeepSouth,theUpperSouthortheRockyMountain area. All of them have the tool of comparison in common. The comparison of one AmericanregiontoanotherAmericanregion,ofoneAmericansub-regiontoanother American sub-region. Complementary one can compare the cultural code of blue stateswiththeculturalcodeofredstatesortheculturalcodeofLatinoAmericawith theculturalcodeofblackAmerica.Isthetoolofcomparisontrulyindispensableforan academicworkdealingwithcardinaldirectionsinhistory?

The following academic work will neglect the comparison from sea to shining sea and instead deal with the political shifts in the American South that was heavily influenced bytheCivilRightsMovementthatliftedthewholeAmericannation.TheAmericanSouth transformedfromaonepartystateinitsliteraltermstoacompetitiveregionforthetwo antagonistic political forces that constituted themselves through two groups of independent elected lawmakers battling about the role of the Federal Government after the successful Revolutionary War that founded the Americannation.

The former Vice President and Deep South native, John Calhoun stated on the state of his ownregionwithrespect to the WestwardExpansiona trulypessimisticscenario:

“Asahopelessminority(…)theSouthernregion,whichhadbeenanintegralpartofthe youngnationandhadprovidedsuchleadersasThomasJefferson,JamesMadison,and Andrew Jackson, embarked on a futile struggle to maintain a semi feudal, agrarian, and racially stratifiedsociety.”

TheVicePresidentdeliveredthisstatementin1831andwithsofifty-fiveyearsafterthe very founding of the American nation. Well, the Westward expansion should continue fromseatoshiningsea,buttheinfluenceoftheAmericanSouthremainedstrong.After NorthernmilitaryruleandReconstruction,theonePartySouthconsolidateditsinfluence atthelatestwiththebeginning20thcentury.Inthe1950thsSouthernBlueDogDemocrats dominated Democratic lawmakers in Congress and not least due to the one Party South,Democratsrun,dominatedandruledfromthefiftiesforalmosthalfacenturythe UnitedStatesCongress.

Insofar reached perhaps no other region in America more influence beyond their normative proportion in population. It took truly unprecedented and genuine strength, wisdomandhistoricmomentumfortheCivilRightsMovementandtheKennedy-Truman Administrations to get the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act through Congress with 63 of all Senate committee chairman being Southern Democrats, which lead Congress through seniority, while the Southern delegation made up only 37 percent of Democrats in the Senate at that time. This is one of the reasons, why the United States Senatewasalsoknownasthe “OldSouthern’sHome”especiallyforthemiddleofthe twentycentury.

The following presentation intents to measuring cultural disruption beyond the conventional hermeneutic approach with additionalnormativematerialwithrespecttoSouthernpolitics. Insteadof comparingtwocardinalpointswitheachother,the presentationaimsto examinetheAmericanSouthasifunderamagnifyingglass. Politics comes from the Greek term Polis, meaning to participate in self-governing in a local area,sowastheworldofanticGreek,moreoftenthannotaself-rulinglocaltown. Insofarthe formof the self-governedlocalpolisisindispensableheavilyinfluencedby the local cultural code, which constitutes the localpolitics.

After the Civil War as productive result of a culmination of Northern-Southern tensions, hundred Years after the most significant occasion in American history since Revolutionary war, emerged the Civil Rights Movement that lead to a cultural sea- change in the American nation and a Pole Jump in Southern politics. The political transformationoftheelfConfederateStatesfromaonepartystatetowardsatwoparty system should shift within 55 years to (almost) a Republican one party state, at least in the Deep South in the very present. Politics and culture are two side of one coin of a state, a region or a nation. Variation in culture in terms of regionalism form cleavages that constitute the struggle for the best way of ruling the grand community of citizen, a processthatwecallsimplypolitics.

An indispensable clarification for the Presentation: The American South and its sub-regions

RimSouth: AtermusedinpastdecadesforSouthernareasoutsidetheDeepSouth,including theStatesofVirginia,North-Carolina,(Arkansas),Tennessee,Florida(exceptofthePanhandle) andtheLoneStarState(thoughEasternTexasisinmanywaysclassicDeepSouth).Thereforeit’s debatable, if the beginning of the Rim South matches in all cases State boundaries. It’s a controversialdebate,iftheStateofWestVirginia,Oklahoma,KentuckyorMissouricountstothe American South or not. In general under the term South are meant with respect to my presentationtheelfConfederateStates.FiveofthemareDeepSouthandtheRestisdefinitely includedintermsofRimSouth:Florida.Virginia,NorthCarolina,Texas,TennesseeandArkansas.

PeripheralSouth: AtermusedmoreorlessalikewiththetermRimSouth.

OldSouth: Atermusedreferringtotheoriginalthirteencoloniesthateventuallyfoundedthe UnitedStates.TothetermOldSouthbelongfiveofthethirteencolonies:Maryland,Virginia,South Carolina, North Carolina andGeorgia.

DeepSouth: TheDeepSouthweretheGodMotherofthefatefulnullifyingimperativeinthe South that lead to succession and eventually the American Civil War. The term Deep South includes the states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi plus the PanhandleofFlorida.FortheStatesoftheDeepSouthslaverywasanimperativeelementforthe economicstructureofthestateeconomy.

LowerSouth: AtermwiththealikemeaningoftheDeepSouth.

UpperSouth: FortheUpperSouthSlaverywerelessimperativeforthecontinuationofthe SouthernStateoftheEconomicSystem.UpperSouthmeansSouthernStateswithlessseparatist enthusiasmintheCivilWareraandsmallershareofAfro-Americans.ThetermUpperSouth includestheStatesofNorth-Carolina,Virginia,WestVirginia,KentuckyandTennessee.Possible even more states can be counted to the term “Upper South” but this always will be a controversialdebate.

MiddleSouth: Atermrelevantinthefieldofgeographythatseparatesthetropicalclimateof FloridaoutsidethePanhandleandadifferentclimatemainlyexistentintheUpperSouth

BlackBelt: Hastwomeanings:a)anareasofadarksoilbetweenthestateofMississippiand Alabama, where due to climate the cotton plantation where predominant and concentration of Afro Americansskyrocketing.

b) Intheverypresent,BlackBeltismoreaterminafigurativelymeaningthatdescribescounties in the American South with a strong share of Afro-Americans, many of them being majority- minoritycounties.

BibleBelt: AStrongbeltacrosstheAmericanSouth[exceptofFloridaoutsidethePanhandle], OklahomaandMissouri,whereEvangelicalsareextremelystrongandpredominantinculture andsociety.TheveryoriginsofthesereligiouspatternemergedafterthedefeatintheCivilWar fortheconfederateStates,whichleadtoastrongevangelicalbelief.

TheSunBelt: ThenationsSunbeltcoverstheSouthernhemisphereoftheStatesinamore geographical term. Due to the historic development of the 13thcolonies and the then following WestwardExpansionwasthetermAmericanSouthalwayssynonymicallyunderstoodwiththe geographicSouthEastofthecompletedUnion.Therearemanydefinition,wherethenationsSun BeltsendsandtheSnowBelt’sstarts,buttheareafromNorth-CarolinatoArizonaisdefinitely includedintheSunBelt.IfpartsofCalifornia,Nevada,VirginiaandWest-Virginia,fellalsothis term is debatable. Demographic shift and economic change leads to a declining MidwestandNorth-Eastwithrespecttopopulationshareandeconomicstrength,whiletheSunBeltissteadily rising.ThemaindefiningfeatureoftheSunBeltisitswarm-temperateclimatewithextended summersandbrief,relativelymildwinters;Florida,theGulfCoast,andsouthernTexas,however, haveatruesubtropicalclimate.[2]

TheelfConfederateStates: usedinthefollowingfiguresofthepresentationundertheterm South:ItincludesthoseelevenStatessucceedduringCivilWarfromtheUnionandincludeTexas, Louisiana,Mississippi,Alabama,Georgia,SouthCarolina,NorthCarolina,Arkansas,Tennessee, VirginiaandFlorida.

ThenationalcallforpostSegregationandtheSouthernResponse:The DixiecratRevolt

After the civil war and the end of the Northern military rule in the South, with free elections emerging, several Republicans reached public office. Many Afro-Americans and a relevant share of poor whites supported the Republican Party. Though voting for Democrats on the Presidential level, in State and local politics, several Republicans and Afro-Americans gained public office. This lead at the turn toward the 20thcentury to the passing of several voting disenfranchising legislation that excluded millions of Afro- Americansandpoorwhitesfromthefactualrighttovote.ThisleadtotheSolidSouthin its literal terms with Southern Democrats winning Races for House and Senate to the capital of the American nation or the State Legislature either unopposed or otherwise with a margin between 80 to 95 percent and with so total control from the election to the local courthouse to the Electoral Votes for thePresidency.

The American South is being famous to be far more conservative than the rest of the Americannation.Datafrom1972to1984showsasteadySouthernedgeamongwhite conservativesasthefollowinggraphicunderlines:

Conservatism among whites in the South and Non-South1972-1984:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source:Carmines,Edward,Stanley,Harold:IdeologicalRealignmentin theContemporary South, in Steed, Robert, Morland, Laurence, Baker Tod (Hrsg.): The DisappearingSouth.StudieninRegionalChangeandContinuity,Tuscaloosa1990,S.23.

The Presidential Race in 1948 lead to severe consequences for the Solid Democratic South, with the emergence of the State Rights Democratic Party. A third party being founded by Southern Democrats, who disapproved the outspoken civil rights platform adapted by the national Democratic Convention. Southern Democratic Segregationist’s convened in Birmingham, Alabama and nominated the Governor of South Carolina, Thurmond, for President of the United States. Knowing that they only could hope to win electoral votes in the South, they hoped to split the Electoral College and move the Presidential Race to the House of Representatives, where segregationist’s could become thetiebreaker.

After several passing decades, the State Rights Democratic Party resulted in new found competitiveness regarding electoral votes of the American South. Thurmond won severalStatesintheDeepSouth: Louisiana(49,1%),Mississippi(87,2%),Alabama (79,7%)andSouthCarolina(72,0%). InthesestatestheDixiecratsmanagedtoget placed on top of the ballot, where usually were placed the official Democratic Party. In all other States the Dixiecrats failed to replace the Democratic Party on top of the ballot intheSouthandgotplacedasthetraditionalthirdpartyoption.InallotherStatesofthe Union, the States Rights Democratic Party gained fewer votes than the Truman Democrats. Though the States Right Democrats failed from blocking President Truman fromreelection,itsleadtowildspeculationregardingfuturevotingpatternsintheSouth:

1) Itwasthebeginningofaquadrennialefforttodeadlocktheelectoralcollege anddemandconcessiontotheSouthernpointofview

2) Itwasonlyatemporarybolt,andthetraditionaladherentswouldsoonbefound backintheDemocraticParty

3) ItwasthebeginningoftheTwoPartySouth

Finallyallthreeoutlinedimperativesonthelong-termimpactoftheDixiecratsfor Southern politics should becometrue.

SouthernConceptofDominanceinDept:Andtheoriginforthe exceptionalinfluenceforSouthernlawmakersinCongress

Why influenced the cultural code of Southern Lawmaker so momentously the entire American nation? The one party control of the Solid Democratic South lead to several advantages for Southern lawmakers in the United States Congress. This over decades accumulated over proportional influence on national legislation and with so national policy lead to the continuation of Southern White Supremacy and Racial Segregation until the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960ths. Moreover Southern Democrats always could threat a filibuster in the US Senate in order to prevent progressive Civil Rights Legislation that would endanger the Southern White Supremacy. During the first half of the twenty century Southern’s got hardly into the White House or were able to gain a dominant position within the Supreme Court due to their opposition of moving beyond RacialSegregation.IncontrastthecoreoftheirpowerlaidinCongressandespeciallyin theUnitedStatesSenate,whichwascalled“TheoldSouthernshome.”

IntermsoftheSolidDemocraticSouth,theSouthernCongressionalDelegationtriedto concentrate theirresourcesonkeycommittee’sintheUSSenate,whilespreadingtheir resources even to marginal issues for Southern interests in the House. The lack of competitiveness of the one Party System lead to a legendary term of incumbency, whichputSouthernlawmakerontopofseniorityinCongress.

In the Democratic Caucuses in the Senate, Southern Democrats acted in leadership questions often like a monolithic block, which meant they coordinated their votes prior to election of the leader and deputy leader. Moreover the Southern Delegation dominated the Steering Committee of the Democratic Caucuses, where together withtheleadertheassignmentofCommittee’sforeachDemocraticSenatorwassecretly decided.

Southern Democrats reached a sizable over representation in the Standing Committees of agriculture,ForeignCommerce,manufacturing plusthe Rulescommittee.Incontrast Southernersliterallyignoredthe judiciary committee,wherelateron,theCivilRightsAct of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act would get debated and finally adopted.

IncontrastintheHouse,SouthernDemocratshadonlyanaverageinfluenceonthekey Ways and means committee. The Southern political elite developed an own political term for their strategy to maximize influence and power in the upper chamber in Washington. The term is called the Southern concept of “Dominance in Dept:” It means the concentration of key committee’s and strategic takeover of chairmanships and rankingpositions.Evenincommittee’swithlessimportancefortheSouth,senioritywould puttheSenatorsoonerorlaterupintheranks.

Whenbeganthe strongInfluencefrom SolidSouth LawmakersinCongress?TheSolid Democratic South send apparently a strong Southern Congressional Delegation to D.C, but the turning point towards exceptional influence reached the Blue Dog Democrats withthemidtermlossoftheirpartyin1946.PresidentTrumanlostashockingamountof twelveSenateseatsand54HouseSeats.PresidentTrumanlostalloftheseSeatsoutside the South. Furthermore in the Senate Races, Democrats managed to hold on to only three Senate Seats outside their Southern bastion. As a consequence in the new Democratic caucuses Blue Dog Democrats made up nearly half of the total size and leadimpressivelywithseniorityeveryotherregionofAmerica.

TheBlackRevolutionsucceedingtheRevoltofDixiecrats:TheCivil RightsMovement

Actually the sad event of the Second World War helped Afro Americans in their cause for equality. Urbanization plus migration to the North created an initial framework for change. But the biggest cause for the ongoing black Revolution was the experience of Afro-AmericansoldiersduringWorldWarII.Theheroicfightforfreedomanddemocracy abroad compared with the reality of racial segregation athome.[3]

Secondly the open mind of President Truman and the push of the national Democratic PartyforthisissueagainsttheSouthernBlueDogPartyfraction,leadthisemergingtrend that eventually changed history. The first battle for black equality began with school desegregation. Several lawsuits concerning this issue reached the court system, which reachedeventuallytheSupremeCourt.Thisleadtothe Brownv.BoardofEducation ruling In May 1954, which declared unconstitutional the separate but equal concept of publicschools(Monroe1975:p.109).ThisdecisionleadtoapublicoutcryintheSouth.

Southern Senators among them Byrd and Thurmond wrote a Southern manifesto that was support by almost the entire Southern delegation to Congress. The Southern Manifesto was in its very essence, a stand to take every available legal and parliamentary weapon to hinder school desegregation. The white Southern establishment saw in the Supreme Court ruling the interference in the Law of Man, of God and the constitution itself through a leftist occupation of the highest curt of the land.Thisgave the blackCivilRightsMovementa majorinjectionof energyandmomentum. It occurred the legendary Montgomery boycott that was led by once in a generationpersonalitythatshouldsymbolizeoneofthegreatestandgloriestnonviolent movement in history of human mankind. This young man was a Baptist preacher, who wentdowninworldhistoryunderthenameMartinLutherKing.

A wake up call for racial equality occurred across the American nation in the demand for a national civil rights legislation. In 1956 a second manifesto of Southern Congressmen arose aiming to block national Civil Right Legislation. This document got thesupportfrom83nationallawmakersrightawayouttheSouthernCongressional

Delegation. In 1957 the House of Representative passed the first Civil Rights bill since Reconstruction.AllformerdraftsconcerningCivilRightsLegislationdiedinthe judiciaryCommittee. Senator Thurmond hold a twenty four hour speech trying to filibuster this momentous legislation and set so a record for decades concerning the length of a singlefilibusterofoneUnitedStatesSenator.Thefinalvotewas72to18,thelatterone includedthewiderangeofSouthernSenators((Monroe1975:p.112).

In the Deep South were only 15 percent of the eligible Afro-American population registered to vote at that time. Congress acted again and banned the poll tax for federalelectionsinseveralSouthernStatesthroughaconstitutionalamendment.In1964 75percentofStateLegislaturesratifiedthisamendmentandbroughtitwithsointolaw. TwoyearslatertheSupremeCourtruledpolltaxesunconstitutional.

In1962startedthelegendaryboycottofwhitestoresinBirminghambyCivilRights activists, which led to massive police action. The events in Birmingham, Alabama replicated to other Southern cities. President Kennedy addressed Congress with a special message on Civil Rights and proposed that Federal courts would deal with voting suits ahead for all other matters. Furthermore he reminded the distinguish lawmakers on his proposal to declare every person with a sixth-grade education as literate(Monroe1975:p.116).

The culmination of the Civil Rights Movement were 250 000 people standing before the Lincoln Memorial, one fourth of them white, listening to black leaders and hearing the speechof MartinLutherKing,which wentdowninhistoryas“Ihave a dreamspeech”.TheKennedyadministrationtriedatthesametimetobringallaspectsofthedesperate needed comprehensive Civil Rights legislations together in an omnibus bill, which lead to the longest Filibuster in history of the United States Senate. Southern Senators did filibustertheomnibusCivilRightsActfor82workingdays.


illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source:Engstrom,Richard:BlackPoliticsandtheVotingRightsAct:InContemporary SouthernPolitics(Lea,JamesHrsg),1988BatonRouge,p.86.

The implementation of the great words on paper into real life was a staggering process. The full participation of Afro-Americans still lacked behind. Martin Luther King encouraged mass demonstrations in Selma, Alabama and organized a mass demonstration of a fifty five mile march from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital. The police blocked the march through tear gas and all other avoidable tools. This lead to a national outcry and whites from all over the American nation rushed to Selma to assist on this symbolic project, that took place a few days later protected by federal courtsandit’sleaderMartinLutherKingprotectedbyFBIagents.TheMarchtothestate capital of Alabama, Montgomery went down in history as the legendary march of Selma.

“During the course of the black revolution in the 1950s, black demonstrators and northern politicians together forced profound changes upon the South’s racial patterns (Monroe 1975: p. 121).” Cultural unwritten laws were suddenly challenged, fought and changed. The Old South was swept away by the tide ofhistory.

The Black Revolution that became the Civil Rights Revolution interfered with growing urbanization in the predominant rural American South and industry and commencement substituted more and more the predominant bedrock of the Southern economy – agriculture. All of this should pay tribute to the end of the Old South in politicaltermsandthehencefollowingtransitiontowardsatwopartysystem.


a) On the Presidential Level

FirstsignofemergingcompetitiononthePresidentialvotingpatternemergedin1952 and 1956 with the run General Dwight D. Eisenhower against the liberal Governor of IllinoisStevenson.“TheSouth likesIke”club’semergedacrossthe Southernregion.

Eisenhowerhasbeenprioranindependentandsilentobserverofdomesticpoliticswith hugecredentialsonworldstageandawarheropopularityonthedomesticscene.

Eisenhower actively campaigned in several Southern States and played there indirect theRaceCardinordertoturnoverSouthernWhites.EisenhowerwoninseveralSouthern States and came in some States pretty close. In 1952 he won four of the eleven Confederate States and in 1956 increased the number tofive.

The Antagonism between the Democratic candidate and Governor from Illinois Stevenson ripped economic groups in the South apart. As a small case study for this pattern comes a study, which analyzed precincts in New Orleans on the following criteriaandwithsoreconstructedthevotingpatternindifferenteconomicclasses.The data matches pretty well other precincts analyze in the South such as for instance in Atlanta.

New Orleans,Louisiana

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Eisenhower gained 73 percent of the upper income vote in the 1952 Election and led the middle income vote by 26 points in New Orleans, while both candidates split equally the lower income vote. Afro-Americans went to 87 percent for Stevenson. At the rematch of both candidates at the Presidential Race in 1956 Eisenhower now won the Afro American vote in New Orleans with a stunning ten point margin 54 to 44 percent, while winning four years prior only 13 percent of them. In short while Eisenhower and Dixiecrats made the South competitive on the Presidential Level, on all other levels of votingtheDemocratsstillrunalmostunopposedtheSouth.

Historically the Solid South relied on the white middle income vote and upper income class, that’s why at the turn to the 20thcentury comprehensive voter disenfranchising techniques got adopted across the South aiming to exclude poor Whites and Afro- Americansfromvoting.“Strong’sstudies,firstofthe1952presidentialelectionandthen of the 1956 election, revealed that Eisenhower, while he attracted remarkably high levels of support throughout the region, was attracting his heaviest support from the citiesand,withincities,fromthemoreprosperouswhiteurbanites(Highsaw1966,p.27). Also,InthePresidentialRacein1960KennedyvsNixon,couldtheservingVicePresident NixonwinthreeStatesintheSouthfortheRepublicancoalitionintheelectoralcollege.

InthePresidentialRacein1964aftertheadoptionoftheVotingRightsBillandtheCivil Rights Act, Arizona Senator Goldwater run for the Republican side opposing the Civil Rights Act formally not on principal but on the lack of competence of the Federal Government in this area, which was more of an euphemism of the opposition to the substance of the truly land marking bill itself. This lead to a Sea- change in Southern votingpatternsonthePresidentialLevel.

Goldwaterlostbymorethan23pointstoJohnsononthenationallevelandwononlysix states.ExceptofhishomestateArizona,fivestatesintheDeepSouth(amongthemMississippiwith87,1Percentofthevote)whichhavebeenpriorthebedrockofsupport for the Democraticticket.

While Eisenhower and Nixon did over ten percentage points better in the Rim South compared with the Deep South, so did Goldwater perform exactly the complete oppositewayaround.In1952EisenhowerwonSouthernElectoralVotesonlyintheRim Southandwonin1956additionaloneStatefromtheDeepSouth,whichwasLouisiana. While Eisenhower gained 48 of the popular vote in the whole South and Nixon got 46 percent respectively, so matched neither one of them even the 40 percent threshold in the DeepSouth.

“Fromthebroadcontoursofthe1964electionresultsatthesubregionallevel,itisclear that Goldwater carried a different South than his predecessors and that by so doing he caused what appeared as a dramatic change in voting alignments. In the Deep South, the Goldwater candidacy enlisted the support of electoral majorities, largely composed of the votes of Democrats, many of whom were casting their ballots for a Republican presidentialcandidateforthefirsttimeintheirlives.Inthenon-DeepSouthontheother hand, the Goldwater candidacy had the effect of alienating voters in sufficient numbers to drop Goldwater below Nixon in percentage-point terms and, most importantly,todenyhimtheelectoralvotesofthesix-non-DeepSouthstatesinwhichhis immediate predecessors had enjoyed a fair measure of success. (Cosman 1966: pp43- 44).

BernhardCosmandividesinhispublication“FiveStatesforGoldwater”forthestudyof SouthernVotingPattersfrom1900to1964theareaoftheelfConfederatestatesinto fourgroups.

1) ThetraditionalRepublicanSouth

Consists of counties in which the GOP Presidential candidate got at least 35 percentinthreequarterofallPresidentialElectionintheeraoftheOldSouthon thePresidentialLevelfrom1900to1948.Atotalof141countiesfitthisdefinition. MostofthemareinVirginia,North-CarolinaandTennessee.

2) TheMetropolianSouth

Coverscountiesthathavecitiesofatleast50000populationregardingthe1960 Census.

3) TheBlackBeltSouth

Include all 138 counties that hadnon-white minoritiesin 1960census.Three quarterofthemlayintheDeepSouth.

4) TheNonMetropolianSouth

Includes all remaining countiesthatarenotcounted to the above mentioned categories.

SurprisinglyGoldwaterdidbestintheBlackBeltframedgroupinatime,where most Afro-Americans were neither registered to vote and complementary hinderedtocastaballotduetovariousvoterdisenfranchisingtechniquesstillin practice. All Republican candidates prior to Goldwater have done best in the counties counted as the traditional Republican South, where they also often outnumbered the national share of the votes. In the era prior to Goldwater Republicans received the most votes in the second group, the metropolitan South.ThegroupwhereGoldwaterdidworst.

The worst group for Republicans prior to Goldwater was actually the Black Belt, mainly to the strong exclusion of blacks from voting and the strong racism of whitesinmajorityminoritycounties.In1948ThurmondwontheBlackBeltcounties for the State Rights Democratic Party. Goldwater took in the Black Belt counties with59,6percentofthevoteandgainedwithso30percentforRepublicansfrom the previous election. No Republican prior had received 40 percent in the Black Belt counties. In the time prior to 1952 Republicans always gained less than twentypercentintheBlackBeltCounties(Exceptoftheelectionin1928).

Goldwater gained seven percent in the countryside of the South, while losing eight points in the group of the traditional Republican counties. Goldwater also lost votes in the Metropolian South, a group that supported Eisenhower with majority in both elections and where Kennedy and Nixon got an exact draw in 1960.

With respect to the Deep South, Goldwater won all four outlined groups and doubledthevotesfromNixoninthecountrysideoftheDeepSouthandrosethe votesintheBlackBeltgroupfrom32,3(Nixon1960)toastunning72,7percent.

ThesepatternrepeateditselfinthePresidentialRacein1968and1972wereDemocrats got only around 30 percent on average in the South. The only shining light for Democrats there was the nomination of Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, who could bend back to strong Democratic voting tradition and win all Southern States for Democrats, except ofVirginia.

ThefollowingtableshowthechangeinvotingpatternsintheSouthfromDemocrats towards Republicans in the former bedrock of the Democratic Party: Blue Collar Households,NonHighSchoolGraduates,andDeepSouthresidents:

Blue CollarHouseholds

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Deep-South Residents

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source:Carmines,Edward,Stanley,Harold:IdeologicalRealignmentin theContemporary South, in Steed, Robert, Morland, Laurence, Baker Tod (Hrsg.): The DisappearingSouth.StudieninRegionalChangeandContinuity,Tuscaloosa1990,S.31.

b) OntheCongressionalVotingLevel

TheRepublicanpathtowardscompetivenessintheSouthstartedin1960andwithso even before the implementation of the Civil RightsAct.

DuringthisperiodemergedasignificantDeepSouth-RimSouthdivisionconcerningthe transitionfromaliterallyonepartystatetowardsatwopartysystemtowardsRepublican dominance in the presence. Rim- South and Deep South separates a different share of Afro-American citizen, which soon should become vital for the survival of Democratic incumbents.

Despite the core of Republican conservatism being settled in the present in the Deep South, Democratic incumbents could survive far better in the Deep South than in the Rim SouthernStates.

The passing of the Voting Rights Act lead to majority minority districts in the South and the participation of a far stronger Afro-American vote, which went overwhelmingly for Democrats due to their national civil rights platform. On congressional elections the white establishment often continued their support for the Democratic incumbent due to seniority in Congress and due to the lack of Republican candidate with a background of relevant experience and or credentials in the field of public service. For instance the complete lack of classical political background such as attorney general experience and the like. So more often than not the white establishment and the Afro-American vote formed a black white coalition that defended long-term Democratic incumbents against challenges from the Republican side, which benefited from an unprecedented injectionof votesfromalmosteveryothergroupof Southernsociety.

All of this lead to a slow transition of Democratic Southern Congressional Delegations towards a more balanced one and then towards Republican dominance. The development was in every state genuine and depended often on momentous local occasions.ForinstancethepartyswitchinSouthCarolinafromformerGovernor,former Presidential Candidate and back then Senator Thurmond, who supported actively Goldwater during the Presidential campaign in 1964. Thurmond then feared his reelection prospects in the democratic primary due to the massively increased Afro American vote and therefore switched over to the Republican Party. His Party switch helped the GOP enormously to get legitimized in South Carolina and the bordering states.EvenunderaRepublicanballotpositionThurmondwonReelectionasSenatorin 1966,1972and1980andcontinuedtoserveasSenatorforatotaldurationof47yearsuntil 2002 being the first Seantor doing so with over hundred years in age and the longestdurationofservice,whichwasthenbypassedbyWestVirginiaSenatorRobert Byrd another Blue DogDemocrat.

Also the first Republican gubernatorial candidate in South Carolina with a winning prospect in 1970 has been a former Republican Congressman, who switched over to theRepublicansandlostanailbiterrace.FouryearlatertheRepublicanswonforthe firsttimetheGovernorRaceinSouthCarolinainthe20thcentury.

LikewiseinthestateofMississippi.OnthepresidentiallevelGoldwaterwontheMagnolia State with 87 percent of the vote. Four year later the Republican Nixon got only 13,5 percent in the three way State race. Four years later Nixon’s challenger McGovern won only19,6percentintheonceDemocraticstronghold,whichisalsofamous forbeingthe nation’s poorest state. In the 1964 Election cycle Mississippi elected its first Republican Congressman in the 20thcentury. But as in South Carolina alike, the often formed black white coalition of newly registered Afro-American voters and the upper white establishment, helped many Democratic incumbents to a continuation of their mandate.

Alexander Lamis analyzed the Share of Republicans on Senate or Governor Position in the elf Southern States that succeeded from the union. All together they make up 22 UnitedStatesSenatorsandelevenGovernors.From1900to1962theRepublicanParty holdnoneofthesepositions.In1962aRepublicanwonaSpecialElectionfortheopen Senate seat in Texas, due to the election of Majority Leader Johnson to become Kennedy’s Vice President. Several Democrats run for the open seat and so the Republican challenger John Tower, who challenged Johnson before won. This gave Republicans1/33SouthernUSSenateandGovernorPositionsandwithsoashareof3 percent.

In1964theshareofRepublicansrosetosixpercentduetothePartyswitchofSenator ThurmondinSouthCarolina.In1966thissharealmosttripledto15,2percentwiththe Election of a Republican Senator in Tennessee and a Republican Governor in Florida andArkansas.Butittookuntil1974,unlessRepublicansgotaquarterofelectedoffices in the above mentioned category. But no Republican won such a State wide office in the DeepSouth.

InthisveryyeartheRepublicanEdwardswontheGovernorshipinSouthCarolina,where Senator Thurmond laid already the groundwork for Republican success. It took until 1978, that apart from South Carolina, a Republican in the Deep South won a State wide office (meaning either US Senator or Governor). In this year the Republican Cochran wontheSenateSeatinMississippiandrosetheshareofRepublicansintheelfSouthern States back to 27,3 percent. With the election of Ronald Reagan to the oval office in 1980 occurred in the Deep South the Revolution and suddenly all of them elected either a Republican Senator or Governor and with so the share of Republicans in the 33 outlinedpositonsgrewovernighttoaskyrocketing45,4percent.

SouthernDemocratsinCongresscouldsurviveforalongtimethemarginalizationofthe Southern Democratic Party in Presidential Races in the post Goldwater era and the constantdropofDemocratsinthePartyidentificationintheSouth.



illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source:Carmines,Edward,Stanley,Harold:IdeologicalRealignmentintheContemporarySouth, in Steed, Robert, Morland, Laurence, Baker Tod (Hrsg.): The Disappearing South. Studien in Regional Change and Continuity, Tuscaloosa 1990, S.22.

c) OntheLeveloftheSouthernStateLegislatures

The figures for the Party State of the Upper Chamber in the Southern State LegislatureshowstheonePartySystemsinitsliteralmeaning.Thesameistruefor theLowerChamberacrosstheSouth.In1962were205DemocratsintheHouse of Representatives of Georgia controlled by a Republican opposition of zero. Ten year later Democrats dropped from a hundred percent control in the Houseof

Representatives in Georgia by two seats, which were then controlled by two Republicanlawmakers.In1972theLowerHouseofGeorgiaweresplitin173Seats for Democrats and 22 Seats for Republicans. The developing of a two Party systemshowedastarkcontrastbetweenDeepSouthandRimSouthernStates.

Evenintheyear1972weretheLowerHouseintheDeepSouthsplitasitfollows: Alabama(D104R2),Louisiana(D103R1),Mississippi(D120R1)andSouthCarolina(D113R11).

From all Deep Southern States in the year 1972 had only Georgia and South CarolinaatleastadepositofRepublicanSeatsintheStateLegislature.South Carolina most likely to the political turnover of the Segregationist Senator Thurmond.InContrastRepublicansdonefarbetterintheRimSouthernStatesintheLower Houseintheyear1972.Theexactnumberbrokeasitfollows: Florida(D81R38), NorthCarolina(D96R24),Tennessee(D56R43)andVirginia(D75R24).

Its Remarkable that the strongest political transition from Democrats to Republicans emerges in Tennessee, where also most Afro-Americans were registered to vote early on. Moreover Tennessee was the only Southern State. Where in 1952 two Republican Congressman got elected and hold fest to their seats over the next decade. Furthermore Tennessee is the only state, where Republicans come halfway near to fifty percent in the State Legislature and got, also,firstintheagricultureandCommerceStatetwoUSSenatorssimultaneously serving.


Afro-Americans,whomadeupattheearly60thsonly15percentvoterregistrationinthe DeepSouth,startedtheirwaytothepoliticalinstitutionstrulyfromthebottomup.They gained first Sherriff position, than made it into the city council in strong Afro-American areas,beforegainingtheirfirstSeatinaStateLegislatureinGeorgia.TheGeorgiaState Legislature refused to seat the successful Afro American candidate twice, before a Federal Court ordered the seating of this twice subsequently elected lawmaker. At the start of the 1970thdecade, every Southern State Legislature had at least one Afro Americanmember.

In 1985 more than half from the nationwide elected 6056 blacks to public office came from the South. Compared to the 512 000 elected offices available in the whole nation, the amount of 6056 Afro-Americans in public office count for only one percent, while the Afro-American amount on the population stand on 12 percent (Mack, Coleman, McLemore1988:p.110).Mostofthesepublicoffices,wherethosemosttothebottomin the politicalspectrum:SchoolBoard,Election Commissioner,Constable,JusticeCourtjudge,Sheriff,CountySupervisor,councilmanorSuperintendentofEducation.

In 1984 and 1988 Jesse Jackson made Breaking News through a surprisingly strong showing in several Primaries and Caucuses. He was the second Afro-American to run for the office of the President. He won back then four States and ran in the Democratic Primary in 1988 again. Now he got started with a comprehensive financial operation and a high national name recognition. During the Democratic Primary in 1988, he won severalStatesevenbeyondtheSouthwithitsstrongconcentrationoftheAfro-American vote especially in the Democratic Primary. He was once in the Primary Raceevenconsidered the Frontrunner. With his run for the Presidency Jesse Jackson lead the way to unprecedented Afro-American voter registration. This process lead eventually to a risingshareoftheAfro-Americanvoteinthe1988GeneralElectiontotenpercentofthe nationalturnout.

Post Mortem: The Sunbelts EconomicSurge

The end of the Old South brought economic prosperity for this region in many ways. Industrialization,migrationfromthe Northandexceptionalopportunityto startas anentrepreneur made the South to one of the most dynamic growing regions in the country.HistoricallythepercapitaincomeintheSouthlackedotherregionsconstantly behind. Under the economic surge, the South cached up a long way and got every cycle even more economically competitive. While traditional industrial areas in Detroit, Cleveland or Pittsburg are and were declining, so was and is the South a region of steady rise. Though the South West in geographic terms, meaning Texas, Arizona and alikestates,profitedevenmorefromtheSunBeltrise:

Fromthe1970stothe1980sthepopulationgrewineverySunbeltstatefasterthanthe national average rate. In contrast, also in the Frostbelt emerged economic growth and populationincreaseinabsoluteterms,buttheFrostBeltloststeadyontherelativeshare compared with the nationsSunbelt.

SofelttheFrostBeltshareoftheAmericannationsinpopulation(1950-1984)from49 percentin1950to41percentin1984(O’Rourke1988:p.15).Withthe1980censuslost theSnowbeltfifteencongressionalSeatstotheSunBeltandlogicallythesameamount of votes regarding the ElectoralCollege.

Withrespecttotheverypresent,theUSCensusBureauprojectsthat88percentoffuture populationgrowthintheUSwilloccurintheSunBelt.Stateswiththegreatestprojected increases are Texas, Florida, California, Arizona and Georgia. As demographic shift from one region to another region follows economic development, job opportunity and estimatedfutureprosperity,theSunBeltbelongsinmanywaysthefuture.


North,South–EastandWest orchestratedinmanyways,patternandtrendsinAmerican history.ThecoreoftheAmericannationisitsdiversityinculturalvariations.Fromthelatte consuming, vegan student in Yale University in New England,to the Southern stereotype of an overweight soccer mom owning two cars. From the Jewish Massachusetts liberal, startingasentrepreneurinBrooklyn,totheNewBornagainChristian,devotinghisliveto the gospel and regarding the right to own a gun as literally imperative. From the hard workingcatholicLatinomominSouthTexas,totheretiredBestSellingauthorStephanie Meyer near Phoenix, Arizona. From the agnostic Blockbuster producer in Hollywood to the MidwesternconservativefarmerinIowa.

From the border to Canada to the border to Mexico, from the Atlantic Ocean to the PacificOcean,figurativelyandliterallyfromSeatoShiningSea,istheAmericanculture, by history and in present society enriched by its unprecedented diversity. Starting by growingupindifferentareasalongcardinaldirections,havingafamilyhistory,whooncemigratedtoAmericanfromfardifferentcardinaldirectionsonthisveryEarth,bymovingtodifferentareasalongcardinaldirectionstostudy,work,marry,inventa businessandfinallystartafamily.

America is truly an exceptional nation and unlike any other country on the globe. America’s culture is a product of sub-cultural codes from Augusta, Maine and Berlin, New Hampshire in New England to Seattle, Washington and Wasilla, Alaska. From New Orleans,LouisianatoBismarck,NorthDakota.America’scultureisauniquesellingpoint thatspreadto East,West,NorthandSouth onthisEarthandshoutedaloudthenarrative fromtheShiningCityupontheHilltoliterallyeveryremotecorneraroundtheglobe.

The perception of the American South in Europe is heavily influenced by Klisches and thelike.Those,whoneverlivedinoneCountyoftheSouthernStatesforseveralmonths can hardly judge the full cultural codex of the American South, which was shaped by English occupation, Spanish occupation, French occupation and eventually it’s belonging to the United States ofAmerica.

Especiallyunderthe polarizingBush43eraandthe IraqinvasionemergedinEuropea revitalizationofallkindsofnegativeKlische’sabouttheAmericanSouththatwereoften alike,withprejudicesaboutRedAmerica,New BornagainChristianin andoutsidethe Bible Belt or Fox News consumers. The base for all of this is often a lack of intellectual access that is unable to divide the values of the American heartland from those of the Deep South or geographic South West. The concept of cardinal directions is vital to understand all factors that shaped the cultural codex of the different regions and sub- regions ofAmerica.

Thispublicationisfarfromperfect,veryfarindeed.Thoughwasthebasicintentionto put enlightenment into the face to face encounter of the Eastwards and Southwards cardinaldirections oftherecentAmericanhistory.Theytransformedthepastorientated Old South, in a prosperous magnet for capital, ideas, motivated citizen and creativity. From the Gulf Coast to the Ohio River, which separated Slave Owning and Slave Free States, emerged a dynamic land that thanks to the powerful force driven by humble citizen never accept cultural codes such as racial segregation that doomed the most basic human rights and laws of God. Those humble citizen made the South ready for unprecedentedprosperityinthe21thcenturythatwillgoalongwiththeSunBeltsrise.


Bernhard,Cosman:FiveStatesForGoldwater.ContinuityandChangeinSouthernVotingPatterns,1920- 1964,UniversityofAlabama1922.

Black,Merle,Black,Earl:TheSouthintheSenate.ChangingPatternsofRepresentationonCommittees,in Steed,Robert,Morland,Laurence,BakerTod(Hrsg.):TheDisappearingSouth.StudieninRegionalChange andContinuity,Tuscaloosa1990,S.5-20.


Carmines, Edward, Stanley, Harold: Ideological Realignment in the Contemporary South, in Steed, Robert, Morland,Laurence,BakerTod(Hrsg.):TheDisappearingSouth.StudieninRegionalChangeandContinuity, Tuscaloosa 1990,S.21-34.


Engstrom,Richard:BlackPoliticsandtheVotingRightsAct:InContemporarySouthernPolitics(Lea,James Hrsg),1988BatonRouge Lamis,Alexander:TheTwo-PartySouth,NewYork1984.

Except:Black,Merle,Black,Earl:TheSouthintheSenate.ChangingPatternsofRepresentationon Committees,inSteed,Robert,Morland,Laurence,BakerTod(Hrsg.):TheDisappearingSouth.Studienin Regional Change and Continuity, Tuscaloosa 1990,S.7.


[1] Green,John,Guth,James:TheTransformationofSouthernPoliticalElites.Regionalismamong party and PAC Contributors, in Steed, Robert, Morland, Laurence, Baker Tod (Hrsg.): The DisappearingSouth.StudieninRegionalChangeandContinuity,Tuscaloosa1990,S.37.

[2] 2004/

[3] Billington,Monroe:ThePoliticalSouth.IntheTwentiethCentury,NewYork1975.p.109.

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The cultural disruption through the Civil Rights Movement in the American South and its reflection in Southern Politics
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American South, Civil Rights Movement, Cultural Codes, Political Transition of the American South, One Party South, History of the American South, Blue Dog Democrats, The American South becomes Republican
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Oliver Märtin (Author), 2015, The cultural disruption through the Civil Rights Movement in the American South and its reflection in Southern Politics, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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