Civil Rights 1954-1968
Origins of the Movement Brown v Board (1954) Result of NAACP challenges Liberal Warren Court overturns Plessy decision Opens door to other possibilities Murder of Emmitt Till (1955) Violent and graphic image shocks many into action Montgomery Bus Boycotts (1955) Initiated by NAACP and other activist groups to create a test case Arrest of Rosa Parks triggers boycotts (many others arrested) Demonstrates power of organized protest Leads to the formation/growth of civil rights groups CORE (James Farmer) SCLC (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Early Movement Early successes inspire further challenges Lunch Counter Sit Ins Showed the ugly side of American racism SNCC formed (Stokley Carmichael) Recruiting young white college students Freedom Riders Challenged Supreme Court rulings Violent responses ultimately force attorney general RFK to step in Public schools Little Rock Ole Miss University of Alabama Early movement characterized by passive nonviolent resistance
Why was nonviolence the only possible strategy? • Why were protests necessary to get laws passed?
Resistance to Civil Rights Southern governors block integration efforts to win over voters Orval Faubus George Wallace In defiance of federal court decisions Southern Senators blocked attempts to pass civil rights laws Filibuster (Super majority needed) Initially US Presidents are hesitant to use their power/influence Call out federal troops to restore order Responsive only to increasing pressure and shifting public opinion March on Washington (peak of pop.) Birmingham Freedom Summer (murder of civil rights workers) Selma
Shifting Movement Late Civil Rights Movement (1965 on) Turning point: 1965 Watts riots Increasing violence will change public opinion In the wake of new legislation (Voting Rights Act) Legislation did little to change lives of most minority Americans A new face Moderate groups became increasingly radical Focus shifts to Northern cities (fair housing) New organizations (Black Power) Nation of Islam (Malcolm X) Black Panthers (Bobby Seale/Huey Newton) Assassination of MLK (1968) Public support lost (Last Civil rights law:1968)
Long-term Impact Inspires other groups Latinos Native Americans Women Begins to shift the concept of accepted social attitudes