Conflicts in race and resources: The Tidelands oil controversy in Louisiana, 1950–1965
Traditional civil rights historiography focuses on the struggles of individuals and organizations resisting segregation measures implemented by Southern states. By identifying alternative motivations for the adherence to segregation among Southern politicians, historians may better understand the social and economical factors that contributed to the Civil Rights era.
Leading up to the adjudication of United States v. Louisiana in 1960, the submerged lands underneath the Gulf of Mexico gave political leaders in Louisiana a financial interest in maintaining and promoting states' rights. Through segregation, the state anticipated retaining home rule and thus the valuable resources off their coast such as natural gas, seafood, and especially oil. Political leaders fight to preserve state autonomy provided the historical context for Civil Rights history in Louisiana.
0582: Modern history