This Day in History: Teddy Roosevelt Discusses America’s Race Problem February 13, 1905 Roosevelt delivered a speech to the NYC Republican Club in which he discussed the country’s state of race relations.
During his administration — just 40 years after the end of the Civil War — much bitterness existed between the North and the South.
The West had also seen an influx of Asian immigrants, which contributed to new racial tensions.
Roosevelt’s solution was to proceed slowly toward social and economic equality, taking caution against radical changes in government policy.
Referring to white Americans as the 'forward race,' he suggested a gradual adjustment in the attitudes of whites toward ethnic minorities.
It would take nearly six decades —with the 1964 Civil Rights Act —for government efforts aimed at correcting racial bias to be passed into law.