Chapter

The Black Cabinet: Economic Civil Rights in the Nixon Administration

Leah M. Wright

in Painting Dixie Red

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036847
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043999 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813036847.003.0012
The Black Cabinet: Economic Civil Rights in the Nixon Administration

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This chapter provides a positive assessment of Richard Nixon's appeals for minority enterprise as a crucial component of increasing black support for the GOP. As such, it provides a counter to traditional understandings of the Nixon Administration as one that exploited racial tensions through a “Southern Strategy.” The chapter understands minority enterprise initiatives as the echo of a central theme of black Republican ideology: one that wedded liberal appeals for racial equality with a belief in traditional Republican principles of self-help, thrift, entrepreneurship, and free enterprise. The chapter holds that black activists had long called for the implementation of an aggressive movement for economic civil rights and that Nixon's “Black Cabinet”—a loosely assembled group of black Republican appointees—was central to this effort. The cabinet's specialized outreach program used the Nixon administration to advance an alternative social, economic, and political civil rights agenda that viewed economic uplift and political shrewdness as the final, critical step in the struggle for racial equality and black independence.

Keywords: Richard Nixon; Black Entrepreneurship; Economic civil rights; Capitalism; The “Philadelphia Plan”; Affirmative Action; Edward Brooke

Chapter.  23519 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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