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Laura McEnaney on:African Americans and Civil Defense
Laura McEnaney Q: Did the African American community voice concern about not being equally protected?

LM: Yes. One of the earliest controversies over race, class and evacuation and shelter occurred in 1951 with the appointment of Millard Caldwell, who Truman appointed to head the FCDA. And he was a segregationist governor from Florida, and he believed in states' rights, he believed in segregation, he believed in the tradition of Jim Crow, yet he was appointed to an office that was ostensibly supposed to be charged with caring for the entire American population, protecting the entire population from nuclear threat. The NAACP, which at that time was the largest civil rights organization in the country, launched a very significant protest when Caldwell was floated as a nomination. And in fact various representatives of the NAACP testified at his nomination hearing, arguing that, if Millard Caldwell was going to head the FCDA, that meant that Jim Crow could even survive nuclear war.

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