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Birmingham, JFK and the Civil Rights Act of 1963

Implications for Elite Theory


John Walton Cotman

President John F. Kennedy's response to the national political crisis precipitated by the nonviolent campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama launched by Black civil rights activists in April 1963 is the centerpiece of this analysis of the genesis of the Civil Rights Bill of 1963. This bill was the prototype of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Published here for the first time are transcripts of previously secret tape recordings of meetings of President Kennedy's inner circle that mapped out a response to the «Battle of Birmingham».
Contents: Elite theory of politics - Civil rights, U.S.: legislation and movement - Presidential decision-making in crisis situations - Social movements and public policy - Public opinion - Desegregation - John F. Kennedy - Martin Luther King, Jr.