Huge Scholar Anna-Marie Kroos has received the Nebraska Wesleyan University’s award for “Best Thesis in History.” This award is given annually by the NWU History Department to the student who submitted the best senior thesis. Kroos’s thesis, titled “The Civil Rights Straddle: Kennedy, Nixon, and Morality in the 1960 Election,” thoroughly examines how the presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon both tried to navigate the turbulent political waters of the early 1960s. In order to win the election, both candidates needed to reach out to the African American voters and their supporters while, at the same time, not alienating those voters, primarily in the South, who supported the traditional segregationist point of view. Kroos concludes: “The public perceived no difference between the two [candidates] until a simple phone all to a worried wife convinced African American voters of Kennedy’s sincerity toward civil rights. Whether from courage or calculation, Kennedy’s phone call nevertheless initiated a shift in African American votes in the final stretch of the election; because done masterfully, his southern electoral support went unscathed, permitting Kenney’s election on the slimmest of margins.”
Kroos, who majored in History, graduated this May from NWU.