Estes Kefauver who successfully transformed the Democratic Party into the Nation’s leading civil rights organization. Senator Kefauver was a member of Congress from Tennessee from 1939 until his death in 1963. He was a major contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1952, 1956, and 1960, and our Party’s Vice Presidential nominee in 1956. But it was at the Democratic National Convention in 1956 that Kefauver’s influence was decisive. In 1952 the Democratic ticket was Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois and Senator John Sparkman of Alabama. And the Party’s racial policy was best articulated by Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama: “Segregation Today! Segregation Tomorrow! Segregation Forever!” With the adoption at the 1956 Convention of the Kefauver-inspired Platform’s Article Eleven, the Democratic Party became permanently committed to the principle that America belongs to all Americans. And the only acceptable school is an integrated school. It was not the politically expedient way to go. The Solid Democratic South would soon become the Solid Republican South, and this loss would make a Democratic Party Electoral College majority a sometimes difficult task. I’m proud of our Party standing for what is right rather than for just winning elections at whatever cost. And I think you are too!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Point Loma Democratic Club of which he is a member.