"The forgotten years" of America’s Civil Rights Movement : the University of Kansas, 1939-1961
McCusker, Kristine M.
University of Kansas
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On April 15, 1948, an interracial group of University of Kansas students "sat-in" at Brick's Cafe, a student cafe near campus. The sit-in was the end of a civil rights reform movement in Lawrence. At times a liberal movement, at others, a radical one, students and faculty used World War II's democratic rhetoric coupled with Lawrence's long tradition of protest on behalf of blacks to integrate parts of campus and to attack segregation in town.The movement had two parts. The first movement was during the war itself. As University Daily Kansan journalists and other KU students saw their peers march off to war, they began to question the existence of segregation on campus. American citizens of all colors, they said in editorials and various petitions, deserved all of the rights accorded to them by the United States Constitution.After the war, a second movement appeared. Radical students, many of whom were veterans, and faculty counterparts pushed their peers to examine racial attitudes on campus and in town while they directly attacked racial barriers, using direct, non-violent and peaceful actions like Mahatma Ghandi's. The movement quickly died after 1948, not only because a conservative turn in national politics, but also because the vital student leadership needed graduated. As well, students had limited views of radical protests and never followed their protests through.This thesis is based on extensive archival research not only at various campus and regional archives, but also in the University Daily Kansan which either participated in or reported extensively the activities of civil rights reformers. Also crucial to my research were the approximately thirty interviews that I conducted with faculty, students and administrators.
M.A. University of Kansas, History 1994
- Theses 
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