Civil Rights and Protests

The Post-Civil Rights Era

Why was the President’s Initiative on Race established?

In 1997 President Bill Clinton established the President’s Initiative on Race (Executive Order No. 13050) as an effort to move the country closer to a stronger, unified, and more just America. He asked all Americans to become a part of a national effort to speak openly and fairly about race. President Clinton appointed historian John Hope Franklin (1915–2009) to chair a seven-member President’s Advisory Board to the initiative. It would counsel the president on ways to improve the quality of race relations in America. The board held dialogues on race across the nation and then counseled the president on improving race relations. The board’s report, “One America in the 21st Century: Forging a New Future” (1998), recommended actions to be taken to address race matters in America and set a framework for building one America.

Protesters march in San Francisco in July 2013 after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. Many felt Zimmerman, an armed neighborhood patrolman but not a police officer, confronted the young black Trayvon because of his race, initiating a confrontation that led to Trayvon’s unnecessary death.


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