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Howard E. Shuman: Legislative and Administrative Assistant to Senator Paul Douglas


“The enforcement of these rights, denied since 1876, was clearly his aim.””

Howard Shuman describes the motivations of Senator Paul Douglas, who pushed tirelessly for civil rights legislation and reducing the use of filibusters in the Senate.


SHUMAN: Mr. Douglas' purpose in all of this was to do two things: one was to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment, the Voting Rights amendment; and the second purpose was to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment, which was really in some ways more critical as it applied to more rights, such as desegregating hotels, motels, public parks, buses, trains, etc., than voting rights. It reads that no state may discriminate on the basis of race, creed or color because it is not allowed to deny to any person "the equal protection of the laws." That, of course, brings in any business or group or agency who are accredited by the state, or who are certified by the state, including the schools.

The enforcement of these rights, denied since 1876, was clearly his aim. I think his sense of the history of what had happened to blacks was a very, very important background or motivation or stimulus to what he was trying to do. So, yes, we talked about it a lot.