Former Vice President Henry A. Wallace, Jr., in 1948 became the Presidential nominee of the Progressive Party. Wallace ran a spirited campaign which unlike almost any before, took on the question of racial discrimination and segregation against African Americans in the South. What follows is his September 13, 1948 radio address at NBC in which he describes in detail his calls for the end of both discrimination and segregation in the South and the rest of the nation.
I have been in the South so many times and every time I have found many new things. But never were my eyes opened so widely as on my last trip. It is a strange experience to stand on the main street of an American town and to ask only for the right to speak—and to be denied that right. It is a strange experience to look into faces blinded by unreasoning hate, to see people who will not let you speak, when the words concern the improvement of the lives of the very people before you.
Yes I have seen the South many times: the thousands of unpainted shacks, the families living in houses with no doors in the door frames and no windows in the window frames; where a man and his family sleep in one room, all of them sleeping in one bed in cold weather, the children sleeping on the floor in warm weather. The people of the South are fine people: our aspirations are their aspirations. They are a patriotic people, a religious people.
And it is this that struck me on my recent trip: that the basic human need of the South is simply a reconciling of our daily action with what we are taught in the church and what we are taught in school. The foundation of patriotism and religion is the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. The Brotherhood of Man sets forth no limitation of color. The Constitution of the United States sets forth very specifically that the rights of citizens to vote shall not be denied on account of race or color. I came out of the South utterly convinced that these denials of God and man are evils which can