Coolidge in Samuel Walker’s “Presidents and Civil Liberties from Wilson to Obama”

The Importance of the Obvious

Presidents and Civil Liberties WalkerRacism in Nation_s Service YellinRepublican Party and Black America Sherman

While Mr. Walker delves into an area of study oft neglected these days, he, like Eric S. Yellin in his Racism in the Nation’s Service: Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson’s America, indulges in more than a fair share of unwarranted generalizations, especially when it comes to the Coolidge years.

Yellin acknowledges that Coolidge had a more “sympathetic” outlook for individual blacks than Wilson did, yet he assigns Cal into the realm of insufficient action on the race issue (p.185). For Yellin to conclude that Coolidge ultimately conceded to Wilson’s departmental segregation, he must avoid the removal of Colonel Sherrill over government property, for insisting on the old prejudicial policy, replacing him with Colonel Grant, who was known for fair and even-handed dealings on racial conflicts. The claim that the Coolidge administration targeted Perry Howard for his skin color rather than his repeated violations of ethics…

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