However, here has always been a gap between the ideasbehind the principles and how they are actually applied to the society,especially to the black Americans. Throughout most of the American history,black people have been always excluded from the mainstream. This particular gapwas because the federal policies in the early to middle twentieth century werecrafted and administered in a deeply discriminatory manner. President FranklinDelano Roosevelt claimed in his New Deal in the year between 1933 to 1938 thatin order to protect the Southern way of life, the majority of white people needto be employed, which mean the black people would either be excluded from theirbenefits or not considered when placing the administration of beneficialprograms in the hands of state or local authorities who discriminate againstblacks.
What’s more, the overall impact of the racial policies of the militaryduring World War II disadvantaged blacks as well because at the time the U.S.military unites still remained segregated despite the abilities of the black soldiers.
To fight for the black Americans, one of the key goals of progressive Americanpolicy from the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 until the endof the Eisenhower administration was to find avenues affording AfricanAmericans equal legal rights and equal opportunities to enroll in education andworkforce (Johnson, J.W., & Green, R. P. 2009). The first explicitappearance of the words “affirmative action” was in the text of a federal law,which is the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act of1935. However, in this specific law these two words had nothing to do with aspecial consideration for a targeted group.
Instead, affirmative action soundedmore like a gentle exhortation to a regulatory agency instead of a policy,which forced the employers to reconsider their decisions based on race. As aresult, the Wagner Act barely empowered the National Labor Relations Board totake a series of action in order to protect colored workers and the unfairnessin the workplace. In addition, as a response to the growing civil rightsmovement, President Kennedy created the Committee on Equal EmploymentOpportunity (EEOC) and issued Executive Order 10925 in 1961, which used theterm “Affirmative Action” to refer to measures designed to achievenondiscrimination (Eisaguirre, L. 1999). He decreed that federal contractorsmust not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment becauseof their race, color, or national origin.
This racially neural use of the term”affirmative action” actually helps counter to the thrust of the race-basedaffirmative action in late 1960s executive orders and statutes that wouldspring from the rhetoric of Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson (Johnson,J.W., & Green, R.
P. 2009). With the experience of growing up in the hillcountry of Texas when segregation was flourishing in the South, PresidentLyndon Johnson believed that people of color deserved equal rights or even moreopportunities than any other white people in his neighborhood. As a result, in1965, President Johnson delivered a historic speech on civil rights at HowardUniversity, called the “black Harvard,” declaring: “Freedom is not enough.
Youdo not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and