The Civil Rights Act of 1875, enacted March 1, 1875, banned racial discrimination in public accommodations – hotels, public conveyances and places of public amusement. In 1883 the U.S. Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional, ushering in generations of segregation until 1964. This first full-length study of the Act covers the years of debates in Congress and some forty state studies of the midterm elections of 1874 in which many supporting Republicans lost their seats. They returned to pass the Act in the short session of Congress. This book utilizes an army of primary sources from unpublished manuscripts, rare newspaper accounts, memoir materials and official documents to demonstrate that Republicans were motivated primarily by an ideology that civil equality would produce social order in the defeated southern states.
Prologue -- A muster of moths : the Forty-third Congress of the United States -- Charge at New Market Heights : debate in the House of Representatives -- Purblind child of darkness : Sumner's civil rights bill passes the Senate -- The deadest corpse : no exit in the House -- Horace Redfield's journey : the long hot summer of 1874 -- The shirt of Nessus : elections in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia -- Quintessence of abominations : elections in Tennessee and Alabama -- Carry the news to Hiram : elections in Florida and Louisiana -- Greeley's ghost : elections in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Maryland -- Taliaferro's ghost : border states and the north -- Suffer the little white children : vox populi reconsidered -- If ruin comes from this : a House decided -- Dear Tom's deception : birth of the civil rights act -- De pervisions, josiar : civil rights dawn -- Epilogue : then and now