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Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement

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Civil Rights Movement

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  1. Civil Rights Movement 1950-1968

  2. Jackie Robinson • In 1947, one man was responsible for fostering pride in African Americans around the country and helped pave the way for other A-A to follow him • Jackie Robinson, an A-A baseball player, was chosen to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 • Jackie did as much for Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan than anyone!!

  3. Setting the Scene • For most of the first 50 years of the 1900s, A-A had failed to see any “real” change in their “equal” treatment in society • But during the 1950s, millions of A-A believed their time had come for equality and began to fight for it • Several factors led to this growing demand for equal treatment:

  4. Civil Rights Movement • A-A Migration – after Civil War, millions had migrated to the North – these had become prominent citizens and held great political power • The New Deal – A-A had begun to support the Democrats and thus many were put to work • World War II – greatest stimulus – increased demand for labor had led factories to open jobs for A-A

  5. Civil Rights Movement • World War II (cont) – ideological change as well – WWII had been fought over the racism and discrimination in Europe and Asia – this opened many people’s eyes to the racism and discrimination here • Rise of the NAACP – worked hard to try to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson, “separate but equal” by using the court system

  6. Brown v. Board of Education • In 1954, the US Sup Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, that the earlier “separate but equal” in schools was UNCONSTITUTIONAL • In 1955, the US Sup Court also ruled that school systems should move to desegregate “with all deliberate speed”

  7. Reaction to Brown v. Board • A-A rejoiced, while many whites accepted the idea (not support) • But for southern whites, the ruling caused anger and alarm • Some Southern congressmen joined in opposition and signed Southern Manifesto – a letter condemning the change and a pledge to fight its decision

  8. Southern Manifesto • “We pledge ourselves to use all lawful means to bring about a reversal of this decision, which is contrary to the Constitution, and to prevent the use of force in its implementation.” • Congressional Record, 84th Congress, 2nd

  9. Rosa Parks and Montgomery • In 1955, attention shifted from the courts to the streets as Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on bus in Montgomery, AL • Her arrest led to city-wide bus boycott – led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. • Year-long boycott was very successful and in 1956 segregation on buses was declared unconstitutional

  10. Rosa Parks

  11. Martin Luther King, Jr. • “There comes a time when people get tired…tired of being segregated and humiliated, tired of being kicked about by the brutal feet of oppression. We have no alternative but to protest.” -MLK • Montgomery boycott established MLK as the leader of a growing movement for equality through the use of peaceful protest

  12. Martin Luther King, Jr. • King encouraged NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE – peaceful means to effect change • Told people to disobey UNJUST laws but asked to love their oppressors and NEVER fight them even if provoked • He believed PUBLIC OPINION not violence would force change • 1964 – King won Nobel Peace Prize for leadership

  13. Crisis in Little Rock • Sept 1957 – Arkansas tested govt policies on integration – enrolled 9 (nine) African-Americans to the all-white Central High School • The governor – Orval Faubus – defied federal authority and sent in National Guard troops preventing integration – bringing together of races

  14. Little Rock • In response – Ike FEDERALIZED 10,000 members of National Guard – ordered to surround school to force the students into the building • Signaled a change in America – but would be many more years before that part of society would see a profound change

  15. Leaders and Strategies • Several important civil rights groups laid the foundation for the movement of the 1960s • Since 1909, the NAACP, an interracial group, had been working through the courts to challenge laws that prevented A-A from achieving full equality • The National Urban League also helped A-A moving into northern cities to find jobs and homes

  16. CORE and SCLC • Another interracial group, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was founded by pacifists (?) and was dedicated to peaceful protests • In 1957, Martin Luther king, Jr., and others, founded a new group, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

  17. SCLC • Headed by southern church leaders like King, SCLC focused the civil rights movement on the South • King and SCLC advocated nonviolent protest and resistance, as the most effective tool for change • To fight for justice, King called for civil disobedience to unjust laws through nonviolence

  18. SNCC [Snick] • Another group, this one student-based, formed from the SCLC, took a different approach – Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) • This young activist group, sought more immediate change, as opposed to gradual change called for by most “older” organizations – NOW!!!

  19. Robert Moses • One of SNCC’s most influential leaders was Robert Moses, a Harvard graduate student, and math teacher in Harlem • Moses helped lead SNCC into civil rights prominence and continued the call for more immediate change

  20. Civil Rights “Heats up” • The continuing civil rights movement brought intensified strife in the South • Young A-A protested through sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, and boycotts • Every step they tried to make they faced arrest and sometimes violence, but King said arrests were a “badge of honor”

  21. Freedom Rides • When the Sup Court banned segregation on interstate buses in 1960, young activists (CORE and SNCC) organized and carried out the Freedom Rides during the summer of 1961 throughout the South • They rode buses south, stopping at stations along the way to test the Court’s ruling

  22. JFK and Freedom Riders • Newly elected President John F. Kennedy, had promised to help – did little to end segregation – but one event would change his role to an active one • In May, busloads of Freedom Riders were attacked in Alabama – beaten, clubbed, and killed – and local police were unwillingly to help • President was forced to use federal marshals to restore order

  23. JFK and Freedom Riders • Reactions to the violence against the Freedom Riders caused national reactions – new volunteers arrived to replace the beaten Riders • JFK also took further measures by prohibiting segregation in ALL interstate transportation (trains, planes, and autos) and the Justice Dept, sued local communities that did not comply

  24. James Meredith and Ole Miss • In 1962, when James Meredith, an A-A, tried to enroll at the all-white University of Mississippi, the governor, Ross Barnett, defied a Sup Court ruling and barred Meredith’s way • Violence erupted, several hundred people were hurt, and federal marshals had to escort Meredith to classes

  25. Birmingham, AL -- 1963 • Elsewhere, civil rights leaders looked for chances for nonviolent protest, and no other city was better suited than Birmingham, AL – to King, “the most segregated city in America.” • King, planned a series of marches and boycotts of local businesses in April 1963, and said he would stay until “Pharaoh lets God’s people go”

  26. “Bull” Conner and the Police • Birmingham Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Conner, a determined segregationist, replied, “I got plenty of room in the jail.” • The marches began peacefully, but city officials declared the marches in violation of city codes and arrested King and others

  27. Letters From Birmingham Jail • King responded to criticisms of the march in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” • After being released from jail (1 wk) he (MLK) decided to allow young people to join the marches • As they marched, Bull Conner arrested over 900 and police used high-pressure fire hoses

  28. Birmingham March • The police also brought in trained police dogs that attacked marchers’ arms and legs • When protestors fell to the ground, the police turned on them with their “billy clubs” • While all of this was happening, the nation was watching the violence through live television cameras

  29. Birmingham March • Even those unsympathetic to desegregation were horrified by the brutality, and caused greater support for nonviolent protest • Birmingham, in the end, was forced to begin desegregating all city facilities in 1963

  30. JFK and Civil Rights • In Oct 1960, candidate for president, JFK, had an opportunity to make a powerful gesture toward the A-As and the civil rights movement • With JFK’s support and pressure, the GA judge released MLK from a Birmingham jail • A-As then went to the ballot box and voted for JKF over Nixon in 1960

  31. JFK and Civil Rights • JFK, as Senator, had voted for civil rights measures, and promised to help as President – but early in his term of office, he had done very little • The violence of confrontations convinced JFK that federal laws were needed to end segregation in the South and he began pushing Congress to pass strong civil rights

  32. March on Washington, 1963 • Unfortunately, JFK was met with stiff southern Congressional resistance that blocked the passage of civil rights laws • To focus attention of JFK’s proposed law and to remember the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, civil rights leaders proposed a march on Washington in Aug 1963

  33. March on Washington, 1963 • That march ended with a speech from MLK from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial – the now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech • The March helped to awaken millions of Americans to the problems for A-A and also helped pass Civil Rights Act of 1964 (LBJ)

  34. LBJ and Civil Rights • Following JFK’s assassination in Nov 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnsonused his political skill to end a filibuster, a tactic of night-and-day talking to prevent a vote on a bill, in the Senate and was able to force Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 • The law stated that all citizens have equal access to public facilities and private facilities that serve the public

  35. Civil Rights Act of 1964 • It also forbade discrimination in education, strengthened the right to vote, and allowed the withholding of federal $$ from public and private programs that discriminated • It also banned discrimination by employers and created the EOC to investigate claims of job discrimination

  36. Selma March, 196 • To push for stronger voting rights, MLK and others organized a march of about 25,000 people • The march would go from Selma, AL, and march to Montgomery - 50 miles • Police again attacked the marchers, TV cameras reported the violence, and LBJ federalized the AL National Guard to protect the marchers

  37. Voting Rights Act, 1965 • The Selma March was highly effective and LBJ responded by forcing Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 • Along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act helped end major discrimination in US and allowed over 400,000 A-A to register to vote in the South