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Welcoming Ruin

The Civil Rights Act of 1875

Series:

Alan Friedlander and Richard Allan Gerber

The Civil Rights Act of 1875, enacted March 1, 1875, banned racial discrimination in public accommodations – hotels, public conveyances and places of public amusement. In 1883 the U.S. Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional, ushering in generations of segregation until 1964. This first full-length study of the Act covers the years of debates in Congress and some forty state studies of the midterm elections of 1874 in which many supporting Republicans lost their seats. They returned to pass the Act in the short session of Congress. This book utilizes an army of primary sources from unpublished manuscripts, rare newspaper accounts, memoir materials and official documents to demonstrate that Republicans were motivated primarily by an ideology that civil equality would produce social order in the defeated southern states.