Home Timeline 1941-1973 Reporters & Writers Perpsectives on Reporting Civil Rights Resources Reporting Civil Rights: The LOA Anthology
Timeline 1942-1973
The 1940's The 1950's
The 1960's The 1970's
1950 1954 1955 1953

On May 17, the Supreme Court rules 9–0 in Brown that public school segregation violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Warren declares that the "separate but equal" doctrine has no place in public education and requests further argument concerning implementation.

Department of Defense announces on October 30 that the armed forces have been fully desegregated.

James Poling profiles NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall.

July: At a White House press conference, Chicago Defender reporter Ethel L. Payne questions President Eisenhower about his plans for ending segregation in interstate travel.

Things came to a head when I asked Ike what he intended to do about ending segregation in interstate travel. The Interstate Commerce Commission has handed down an opinion saying that the time had come when the practice should cease.
But Ike took this as a personal affront. Drawing himself up to his five-star general authority, he proceeded to chew me out as he would one of his top sergeants. "What makes you think," he demanded icily, "that I should do any special favors for any special interest group? I will do what I believe is in the best interest of the country."
His angry reaction startled even veteran newsmen. Ed Folliard of the Washington Post said to me afterwards, "I haven't seen that kind of temper displayed since Franklin Roosevelt almost leaped out of his wheel chair to grab me by the collar because he was so mad at me."
That afternoon, the Washington Evening Star carried a center box on page one with the caption "Negro Reporter Angers Ike." In Chicago, my mother[,] who was an old-fashioned Republican, heard the news on the radio. She telephoned to gently chide me, "Now sister, I don't think you ought to be down there making the President mad." John Sengstacke and Louis Martin's reactions were to call and chuckle, "So you're picking on presidents now."
I was put into deep freeze and given the silent treatment by the White House.
—from Ethel L. Payne, "Loneliness in the Capital: The Black National Correspondent" (1974)