Clarence Mitchell Jr. was the driving force in the movement for passage of civil rights laws in America. The foundation for Mitchell’s struggle was laid during his tenure at the Fair Employment Practice Committee, where he led implementation of President Roosevelt’s policy barring racial discrimination in employment in the national defense and war industry programs. Mitchell’s FEPC reports and memoranda chart the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.
The first two volumes of a projected five-volume documentary edition of The Papers of Clarence Mitchell Jr. illuminate the FEPC’s work as a federal affirmative-action agency and the government’s struggle to enforce the nation’s antidiscrimination policy in industry, federal agencies, and labor unions.
Subsequent volumes will trace Mitchell’s successive enlistment of seven presidents in establishing and enforcing a permanent national nondiscrimination policy. Through his efforts, Congress passed the 1957, 1960, and 1964 Civil Rights Acts prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations, federal spending, and employment based on race, color, sex, and national origin; the 1965 Voting Rights Act; and the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
Editor Denton L. Watson introduces and annotates Mitchell’s writings, providing context and insight for students and scholars of civil rights history, government, law, and sociology.