1870: Hiram Revels Becomes First Black U.S. Senator
February 29, 1968
Kerner Commission Documents a Divided Society
After six months of study into race riots in American cities, the Kerner Commission issued its findings on this date in 1968. A number of cities, including Los Angeles, Detroit and Newark, were torn by race riots during the summers of 1965-67. President Lyndon Johnson appointed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate the causes of the unrest.
The commission took its name from its chairman, Ohio Gov. Otto Kerner. The commission said black Americans faced many problems in addition to open discrimination, documenting a need for education, jobs and housing. The commission warned that the United States was "moving toward two societies, one black, one white - separate and unequal."
With the election of Richard Nixon and a more conservative Congress in 1968, few of the Kerner commissions recommendations were carried out.
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