In the 1960s, the United States was a country divided. Segregation was beginning to occur, and many Americans were unhappy, to say the least. Throughout the long, difficult years that led to equality, there were many violent riots in American cities such as Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Newark, N.J. President Lyndon B. Johnson decided something needed to be done about these riots and violent acts, so he developed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, or the Kerner Commission, in July of 1967. Johnson’s goal for this commission was to investigate the cause of these riots and recommendations for what to do in the future. He developed three basic questions that he felt needed to be answered: What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again and again?
The Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (or Kerner Report) was released to the public on Feb. 28, 1968. The document was 426 and became an instant hit. Over two million Americans bought copies of the report. The report found that frustration from the lack of economic opportunity is what caused the riots to break out. They also placed a large blame on the government for failed housing, education and social service developments. Another target of the report was the mainstream media. The report claimed that the media was focused solely on white people and white perspective. The report recommended that the African Americans have more equal treatment in the media so they feel like a part of the community instead of outsiders. It also recommended billions of dollars in new programs to help fix the problem in American cities, which LBJ promptly ignored.
I do believe that the main cause of these riots was racism. When people are oppressed for too long, they eventually snap and tend to react in a violent manner. The Kerner Commission Report was an excellent idea with the best of intentions. I believe that President Johnson attempted with this program to make an effort to prevent more riots from occurring. Thankfully, we live in a world today where racial segregation is no longer prevalent.