Southern Senator Defends a Black During McCarthyism

In the two minute video clip below from 1954 Arkansas Senator John McClellan defends the rights of a black lady that was under interrogation by New Yorker Roy Cohn when Cohn was the legal counsel to Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy’s Investigative Subcommittee.

Although school segregation was regrettably legal in McClellan’s home state at the time and he would ignobly sign the Southern Manifesto to retain Jim Crow two years later, his conduct also shows that he believed blacks were entitled to some rights that Cohn and McCarthy evidently did not.

Historians that did not experience Southern segregation often fail to realize that even some segregationist Southern leaders could stand up for the rights of blacks when some influential Northern whites would not.

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