The Ford Administration & Human Rights, Part 1: The White House Central Files -Human Rights Subject File

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Overview

President Ford’s efforts to end racial discrimination are well-known. Throughout his years in Congress, then-Congressman Ford was active in formulating, and voted for every major piece of legislation aimed at ending discrimination based on race, from the Civil Rights Bills of the 1950’s;to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965;and extensions and strengthening of these and other Acts through the 1970’s.

Notables such as Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman; John Calhoun, Special Assistant to the President; Arthur Fletcher, Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs; and Constance Newman, Assistant Secretary for Consumer Affairs, in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, led the list of African Americans appointed to positions of leadership and responsibility in President Ford’s Administration.

The White House Central Files was a filing and retrieval system shared by President Ford and his staff. It included many of their communications with each other, federal agencies, Members of Congress, and individuals and institutions across the spectrum of American public and private life.

Part 1 consists of material pertaining to human and civil rights, the promotion and denial of such rights, discrimination or discriminatory practices and matters relating to segregation, ideologies and voting rights, including communications from the public expressing views or complaints about such matters.

In the two and a half years of his presidency, Gerald R. Ford ended the U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam, helped mediate a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Egypt, signed the Helsinki human rights convention with the Soviet Union and traveled to Vladivostok in the Soviet Far East to sign an arms limitation agreement with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev.

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