Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
In 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed to the newly created Commission on Civil Rights John Stewart Battle, a former longtime Virginia General Assembly member and governor who was also a staunch segregationist. Eisenhower appointed him to represent white Southern opinion and because of his national reputation for deft political conciliation. The article reviews Battle's personal background, political career, racial philosophy, and interactions with other figures prominent in the era's civil rights politics, including Father Theodore Martin Hesburgh, Harry F. Byrd, Sr., and J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. During his service on the commission during 1957-59, Battle's segregationist views kept him from addressing constructively the civil rights crisis. In 1959, he publicly dissented from the final report containing the commission's recommendations on voting, education, and housing, and resigned.
Original Publication Citation
Sweeney, J.R. (1997). A segregationist on the Civil Rights Commission. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 105(3), 287-316.
Sweeney, James R., "A Segregationist on the Civil Rights Commission" (1997). History Faculty Publications. 9.