A Brief History of the US Once the religious, the hunted and weary Chasing the promise of freedom and hope Came to this country to build a new vision Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope Like good Christians, some would burn the witches Later some got slaves to gather riches But still from near and far to seek America They came by thousands to court the wild And she just patiently smiled and bore a child To be their spirit and guiding light And once the ties with the crown had been broken Westward in saddle and wagon it went And 'til the railroad linked ocean to ocean Many the lives which had come to an end While we bullied, stole and bought a homeland We began the slaughter of the red man But still from near and far to seek America They came by thousands to court the wild And she just patiently smiled and bore a child To be their spirit and guiding light The blue and grey they stomped it They kicked it just like a dog And when the war over They stuffed it just like a hog And though the past has it's share of injustice Kind was the spirit in many a way But it's protectors and friends have been sleeping Now it's a monster and will not obey The spirit was freedom and justice And it's keepers seem generous and kind It's leaders were supposed to serve the country But now they won't pay it no mind 'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy And now their vote is a meaningless joke They babble about law and order But it's all just an echo of what they've been told Yeah, there's a monster on the loose It's got our heads into a noose And it just sits there watchin' Our cities have turned into jungles And corruption is stranglin' the land The police force is watching the people And the people just can't understand We don't know how to mind our own business 'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us Now we are fighting a war over there No matter who's the winner We can't pay the cost 'Cause there's a monster on the loose It's got our heads into a noose And it just sits there watching America where are you now? Don't you care about your sons and daughters? Don't you know we need you now We can't fight alone against the monster
The U.S.A. – A History1960 – 1970 http://www.ushistory.org
Election of 1960 • It was one of the closest elections in American history. • The Republican insider was Richard Nixon of California, relatively young but experienced as the nation's Vice-President for 8 years under Dwight Eisenhower. The Democratic newcomer was John F. Kennedy, senator from Massachusetts, who at the age of 43 could become the youngest person ever to be elected President. Regardless of the outcome, the United States would for the first time have a leader born in the 20th century.
Election of 1960 • Coming into the first televised Presidential debate, John F. Kennedy had spent time relaxing in Florida while Richard Nixon maintained a hectic campaign schedule. As a result, Kennedy appeared tan and relaxed during the debate while Nixon seemed a bit worn down. Radio listeners proclaimed Nixon the better debater, while those who watched on television made Kennedy their choice.
Election of JFK - 1960 • Kennedy was also Roman Catholic, and no Catholic had ever been elected President before. To mollify these concerns, Kennedy addressed a group of Protestant ministers. He pledged a solid commitment to separation of church and state. Despite his assurances, his faith cost him an estimated 1.5 million votes in November 1960. The Presidential election of 1960 was one of the closest in American history. John F. Kennedy won the popular vote by a slim margin of approximately 100,000 votes. Richard Nixon won more individual states than Kennedy, but it was Kennedy who prevailed by winning key states with many electoral votes.
“Camelot” • They called it Camelot. • Like King Arthur and Guinevere, a dynamic young leader and his beautiful bride led the nation. The White House was their home, America their kingdom. They were John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy. John F. Kennedy's youthful looks, cheerful family and charming demeanor captured the American imagination like few Presidents had ever done. Here, Kennedy poses with his wife Jacqueline and their two children John and Caroline.
The New Frontier After squeaking by Richard Nixon in the election of 1960, John F. Kennedy set forth new challenges for the United States. In his inauguration speech, he challenged his fellow Americans to "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." Proclaiming that the "torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans," Kennedy, young and good-looking, boldly and proudly assumed office with a bravado. Many Americans responded to his call by joining the newly formed Peace Corps or volunteering in America to work toward social justice. The nation was united, positive, and forward-looking. No frontier was too distant.
The New Frontier One of Kennedy's most popular foreign policy initiatives was the Peace Corps. Led by Sargent Shriver, this program allowed Americans to volunteer two years of service to a developing nation. Applicants would be placed based upon their particular skill sets. English teachers would be placed where the learning of the language was needed. Entrepreneurs trained local merchants how to maximize profits. Doctors and nurses were needed anywhere.
The Bay of Pigs Kennedy's greatest foreign policy failure and greatest foreign policy success both involved one nation — Cuba. In 1961, CIA-trained Cuban exiles landed in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, hoping to ignite a popular uprising that would oust Fidel Castro from power. When the revolution failed to occur, Castro's troops moved in. The exiles believed air support would come from the United States, but Kennedy refused. Many of the rebels were shot, and the rest were arrested. The incident was an embarrassment to the United States and a great victory for Fidel Castro.
Cuban Missile Crisis In October 1962, the United States learned that the Soviet Union was about to deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba. Kennedy found this unacceptable. He ordered a naval "quarantine" of Cuba and ordered Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to turn his missile-carrying boats back to the USSR. Any Soviet attempt to penetrate the American blockade would be met with an immediate military response. The world watched this dangerous game of nuclear chicken unfold. Finally, Khrushchev acceded to Kennedy's demands, and the world remained safe from global confrontation. The Cuban Missile Crisis marked the closest the United States and the Soviet Union came to direct confrontation in the entire Cold War.
JFK Assassination Ask any American who was over the age of 8 in 1963 the question: "Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?" and a complete detailed story is likely to follow. On November 22, 1963, a wave of shock and grief swept the United States. While visiting Dallas, President Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullet. Millions of Americans had indelible images burned into their memories. The bloodstained dress of Jacqueline Kennedy, a mournful Vice-President Johnson swearing the Presidential oath of office, and dozens and dozens of unanswered questions. November 22, 1963, was a sunny day in Dallas, Texas, and for this reason the convertible Presidential limousine went through the afternoon parade with the top down. The President and his wife are seated in the back of the car, while Texas governor John Connally is seated directly in front of the President.
JFK Assassination President Kennedy was scheduled to speak at a luncheon in Dallas on November 22. The weather was bright and clear, and the President wished to wave to the crowds as his motorcade moved from the airport through the city. A protective covering was not placed over his convertible limousine. As the procession moved through Dealey Plaza, gunshots tore through the midday air. Within minutes President Kennedy was dead, and John Connally, the Texas governor was badly wounded. Kennedy was rushed to the hospital, but to no avail. The news rang out through the nation. Businesses and schools closed so grief-stricken Americans could watch the unfolding events.
JFK Assassination Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder. Oswald was an avowed communist who spent three years living in the Soviet Union. He allegedly shot the President from a window in the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza. Two days later, while Oswald was being transferred between prison facilities, a nightclub owner named Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd and fired a bullet into Oswald at point blank range killing the prisoner. Oswald's murder was captured on live television.
JFK Assassination Oswald's death left many unanswered, searing questions. Among them, "Did Oswald actually assassinate Kennedy?" "Did he act alone?" A committee headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren studied the events surrounding the assassination and declared that Oswald was Kennedy's killer — and that he acted alone. Critics of the Warren Commission cited irregularities in the findings. Questions surrounded the ability of any sharpshooter to fire the number of bullets Oswald supposedly fired, from such a great distance, with any degree of accuracy. Witnesses testified that shots were fired from another direction at the President — the infamous grassy knoll — suggesting the presence of a second shooter
LBJ Presidency Lyndon Baines Johnson moved quickly to establish himself in the office of the Presidency. Despite his conservative voting record in the Senate, Johnson soon reacquainted himself with his liberal roots. LBJ sponsored the largest reform agenda since Roosevelt's New Deal. The aftershock of Kennedy's assassination provided a climate for Johnson to complete the unfinished work of JFK's New Frontier. He had eleven months before the election of 1964 to prove to American voters that he deserved a chance to be President in his own right.
LBJ Presidency Johnson also signed the omnibus Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The law created the Office of Economic Opportunity aimed at attacking the roots of American poverty. A Job Corps was established to provide valuable vocational training.
Civil Rights Act • The Civil Rights Bill that JFK promised to sign was passed into law. The Civil Rights Act banned discrimination based on race and gender in employment and ending segregation in all public facilities.
Voting Rights Act The Voting Rights Act banned literacy tests and other discriminatory methods of denying suffrage to African Americans. It outlawed literacy tests and poll taxes as a way of assessing whether anyone was fit or unfit to vote. As far as Johnson was concerned, all you needed to vote was American citizenship and the registration of your name on an electoral list. No form of hindrance to this would be tolerated by the law courts. The impact of this act was dramatic. By the end of 1966, only 4 out of the traditional 13 Southern states, had less than 50% of African Americans registered to vote. By 1968, even hard-line Mississippi had 59% of African Americans registered. In the longer term, far more African Americans were elected into public office. The Act was the boost that the civil rights cause needed to move it swiftly along and Johnson has to take full credit for this. As Martin Luther King had predicted in earlier years, demonstrations served a good purpose but real change would only come through the power of Federal government. Johnson proved this.
Sucesses of LBJ Head Start, a preschool program designed to help disadvantaged students arrive at kindergarten ready to learn was put into place. The Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was set up as a domestic Peace Corps. Schools in impoverished American regions would now receive volunteer teaching attention. Federal funds were sent to struggling communities to attack unemployment and illiteracy.
Sucesses of LBJ As he campaigned in 1964, Johnson declared a "war on poverty." He challenged Americans to build a "Great Society" that eliminated the troubles of the poor. Johnson won a decisive victory over his archconservative Republican opponent Barry Goldwater of Arizona. American liberalism was at high tide under President Johnson. The Wilderness Protection Act saved 9.1 million acres of forestland from industrial development. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided major funding for American public schools. Medicare was created to offset the costs of health care for the nation's elderly. The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities used public money to fund artists and galleries. The Immigration Act ended discriminatory quotas based on ethnic origin. An Omnibus Housing Act provided funds to construct low-income housing. Congress tightened pollution controls with stronger Air and Water Quality Acts. Standards were raised for safety in consumer products.
Vietnam War (1945-1975) The Vietnam War was the longest war in United States history. Promises and commitments to the people and government of South Vietnam to keep communist forces from overtaking them reached back into the Truman Administration. Eisenhower placed military advisers and CIA operatives in Vietnam, and John F. Kennedy sent American soldiers to Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson ordered the first real combat by American troops, and Richard Nixon concluded the war.
Gulf of Tonkin Incident • In August 1964, in response to American and GVN espionage along its coast, the DRV launched a local and controlled attack against the C. Turner Joy and the U.S.S. Maddox, two American ships on call in the Gulf of Tonkin. The first of these attacks occurred on August 2, 1964. A second attack was supposed to have taken place on August 4, although Vo Nguyen Giap, the DRV's leading military figure at the time, and Johnson's Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara have recently concluded that no second attack ever took place. In any event, the Johnson administration used the August 4 attack as political cover for a Congressional resolution that gave the president broad war powers. The resolution, now known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, passed both the House and Senate with only two dissenting votes (Senators Morse of Oregon and Gruening of Alaska). The Resolution was followed by limited reprisal air attacks against the DRV.
Gulf of Tonkin Incident • Throughout the fall and into the winter of 1964, the Johnson administration debated the correct strategy in Vietnam. The Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to expand the air war over the DRV quickly to help stabilize the new Saigon regime. The civilians in the Pentagon wanted to apply gradual pressure to the Communist Party with limited and selective bombings. Only Undersecretary of State George Ball dissented, claiming that Johnson's Vietnam policy was too provocative for its limited expected results. In early 1965, the NLF attacked two U.S. army installations in South Vietnam, and as a result, Johnson ordered the sustained bombing missions over the DRV that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had long advocated.
Operation Rolling Thunder The bombing missions, known as OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER, caused the Communist Party to reassess its own war strategy. From 1960 through late 1964, the Party believed it could win a military victory in the south "in a relatively short period of time." With the new American military commitment, confirmed in March 1965 when Johnson sent the first combat troops to Vietnam, the Party moved to a protracted war strategy. The idea was to get the United States bogged down in a war that it could not win militarily and create unfavorable conditions for political victory. The Communist Party believed that it would prevail in a protracted war because the United States had no clearly defined objectives, and therefore, the country would eventually tire of the war and demand a negotiated settlement. While some naive and simple-minded critics have claimed that the Communist Party, and Vietnamese in general, did not have the same regard for life and therefore were willing to sustain more losses in a protracted war, the Party understood that it had an ideological commitment to victory from large segments of the Vietnamese population.
Rock and Roll • The Vietnam War grew increasingly unpopular and this was reflected in the music of the ‘60’s. Many of the songs of this era were in protest to this war. The first of these songs was “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town”, a Country Music song. It was about a Vietnam Vet who was paralyzed in Vietnam and the impact it had on his marriage when he came home.
"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" You've painted up your lips And rolled and curled your tinted hair Ruby are you contemplating Going out somewhere The shadow on the wall Tells me the sun is going down Oh Ruby Don't take your love to town It wasn't me That started that old crazy Asian war But I was proud to go And do my patriotic chore And yes, it's true that I'm not the man I used to be Oh, Ruby I still need some company Its hard to love a man Whose legs are bent and paralysed And the wants and the needs of a woman your age Ruby I realize, But it won't be long i've heard them say until I not around Oh Ruby Don't take your love to town She's leaving now cause I just heard the slamming of the door The way I know I've heard it slam 100 times before And if I could move I'd get my gun And put her in the ground Oh Ruby Don't take your love to town Oh Ruby for God's sake turn around
Rock and Roll Some of the other anti war songs included • Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag • War • One Tin Soldier • Give Peace a Chance • The Times They are a Changin’ • Where have all the Flowers Gone • In the year 2525 • Ballad of the Green Berets
By 1968, things had gone from bad to worse for the Johnson administration. In late January, the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong launched coordinated attacks against the major southern cities. These attacks, known in the West as the Tet Offensive, were designed to force the Johnson administration to the bargaining table. The Communist Party correctly believed that the American people were growing war-weary and that its continued successes in the countryside had tipped the balance of forces in its favor. Although many historians have since claimed that the Tet Offensive was a military defeat, but a psychological victory for the Communists, it had produced the desired results. In late March 1968, a disgraced Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek the Democratic Party's re-nomination for president and hinted that he would go to the bargaining table with the Communists to end the war. The Tet Offensive
My Lai Massacre March 28, 1968 - The initial report by participants at My Lai states that 69 Viet Cong soldiers were killed and makes no mention of civilian causalities. The My Lai massacre is successfully concealed for a year, until a series of letters from Vietnam veteran Ronald Ridenhour spark an official Army investigation that results in Charlie Company Commander, Capt. Ernest L. Medina, First Platoon Leader, Lt. William Calley, and 14 others being brought to trial by the Army. A news photos of the carnage, showing a mass of dead children, women and old men, remains one of the most enduring images of America's involvement in Vietnam.
MLK Assignation Martin Luther King, Jr., a prominent American Civil Rights leader and, according to a Gallup poll conducted in 2000, the second most admired person of the 20th Century, was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39. On June 10, 1968, James Earl Ray, a fugitive from a Missouri prison, was arrested in London at Heathrow Airport, extradited to the United States, and charged with the crime. On March 10, 1969, Ray entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee state penitentiary. Ray's many later attempts to withdraw his guilty plea and be tried by a jury were unsuccessful; he died in prison on April 23, 1998, at the age of 70.
RFK Assination The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a United States Senator and brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, took place shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968 in Los Angeles, California. After winning the California primary election for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, Robert F. Kennedy was shot as he walked through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel and died in the Good Samaritan Hospital twenty-six hours later. The assassin was a twenty-four year old Palestinian immigrant named SirhanSirhan, who remains incarcerated for this crime as of 2010. The shooting was recorded on audio tape by a freelance newspaper reporter, and the aftermath was captured on film. Kennedy's body lay in repose at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York for two days before a funeral mass was held on June 8. His body was interred near his brother John at Arlington National Cemetery. His death prompted the protection of presidential candidates by the United States Secret Service. Hubert Humphrey went on to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency, but ultimately narrowly lost the election to Richard Nixon.
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) In June 1962, the founding members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) ratified the Port Huron Statement. The Huron Statement was a manifesto, largely written by a young student named Tom Hayden, condemning middle-class materialism, racism, conformity, and anticommunism. Strongly influenced by C. Wright Mills' The Power Elite, SDS members feared that the Cold War was undermining American democracy. A military-industrial complex seemed to be driving the United States. Military leaders justified huge budgets by involvement in foreign wars. The expenditures led to major defense contracts for industrialists and millions of jobs across America. The liberal establishment of Kennedy and Johnson accepted the trend for fear of losing powerful supporters and thousands of votes from working Americans. The results, they claimed led to unjust involvement in foreign conflicts. Hayden called for "participatory democracy," — grassroots organizations where the true voices of Americans could be heard.
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) SDS became the leaders of the antiwar movement in America. Drawing support from the civil rights movement, SDS chapters organized local demonstrations on college campuses and marches to the steps of the Capitol Building. They worked in inner cities to provide free lunches and participated in voter drives to turn out the African American electorate in the Deep South. In addition to these causes, the movement was concerned with student rights. Many universities required a dress code, curfews, and restrictions on free speech. As SDS advocated a freer society, they pointed their arguments to their deans as well as their political representatives.
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) With the growth of SDS, the New Left flourished in America. Student leaders labeled the Old Left the Socialists of a bygone era. The Old Left was concerned with the problems brought by poverty, while the New Left criticized the suburban conformity and career materialism spawned by postwar affluence as well. They were critical of their left-leaning national politicians. SDS leaders did not believe Kennedy and Johnson were sincere in their support of civil rights. In the wake of McCarthyism, taking a soft stand on communism was unthinkable to Washington politicians. While the New Left did not glorify the Soviet system, they were willing to blame both the United States and the Soviet Union for escalating the Cold War.
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) As the decade came to a close, SDS fragmented into moderate and radical factions much like most other movements. Although most SDS members were dedicated to peaceful protest, some did go beyond marches to the occupation of buildings and confrontations with the police. An extreme branch of SDS splintered off to form the Weathermen in 1970. This group was a terrorist organization openly committed to a violent overthrow of the government. FBI scrutiny forced many Weathermen underground before long.
Freedom Summer 'Freedom Summer" (also known as the Mississippi Summer Project) was a campaign in the United States launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi, which up to that time had almost totally excluded black voters. The project also set up dozens of Freedom Schools and Freedom Houses in small towns throughout Mississippi to aid the local black population. The project was organized by the only two groups working on Civil Rights in Mississippi. The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was a coalition of established civil rights organizations and handled many logistics for Freedom Summer. But most of the impetus came from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Robert Parris Moses, SNCC field secretary and co-director of COFO, directed the summer project.
Freedom Summer By 1964, students and others had begun the process of integrating public accommodations, registering to vote, and above all organizing a network of local leadership. But recent voting campaigns, including a massive effort in Greenwood and a 1963 Freedom Election that brought students from Stanford and Yale to help distribute non-binding ballots, had been met with whiplash violence. Speakers recruited on college campuses across the country, drawing standing ovations for their dedication in braving the routine violence perpetrated by cops, sheriffs, and others in Mississippi. SNCC recruiters interviewed dozens of potential volunteers, weeding out those with a John Brown complex, informing others that their job that summer would not be to "save the Mississippi Negro" but to work with local leadership to develop the grassroots movement.
Freedom Summer Well over 1,000 out-of-state volunteers participated in Freedom Summer alongside thousands of black Mississippians. Most of the volunteers were young, most of them from the North, 90 percent were white and many were Jewish. Two one-week orientation sessions for the volunteers were held at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio (now part of Miami University), from June 14 to June 27.
Freedom Summer Organizers focused on Mississippi because it had the lowest percentage of African Americans registered to vote in the country; in 1962 only 6.7% of eligible black voters were registered. White officials in the South systematically kept African Americans from being able to vote by charging them expensive poll taxes, forcing them to take especially difficult literacy tests, making the application process inconvenient, harassing would-be voters economically (as by denying crop loans), and carrying out arson, battery, and lynching.
Freedom Summer During the ten weeks of Freedom Summer, a number of other organizations provided support for the COFO Summer Project. More than 100 volunteer doctors, nurses, psychologists, medical students and other medical professionals from the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR) provided emergency care for volunteers and local activists, taught health education classes, and advocated improvements in Mississippi's segregated health system. Volunteer lawyers from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Inc ("Ink Fund"), National Lawyers Guild, Lawyer's Constitutional Defense Committee (LCDC) an arm of the ACLU, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR) provided free legal services — handling arrests, freedom of speech, voter registration and other matters. And the Commission on Religion and Race (CORR), an endeavor of the National Council of Churches (NCC), brought Christian and Jewish clergy and divinity students to Mississippi to support the work of the Summer Project. In addition to offering traditional religious support to volunteers and activists, the ministers and rabbis engaged in voting rights protests at courthouses, recruited voter applicants and accompanied them to register, taught in Freedom Schools, and performed office and other support functions.
Freedom Summer Many of Mississippi's white residents deeply resented the outsiders and any attempt to change their society. Locals routinely harassed volunteers. Newspapers called them "unshaven and unwashed trash." Their presence in local black communities sparked drive by shootings, Molotov cocktails, and constant harassment. State and local governments, police, the White Citizens' Council and the Ku Klux Klan used murder, arrests, beatings, arson, spying, firing, evictions, and other forms of intimidation and harassment to oppose the project and prevent blacks from registering to vote or achieving social equality.
Freedom Summer Over the course of the ten-week project: w four civil rights workers were killed (one in a head-on collision) • W four people were critically wounded • M eighty Freedom Summer workers were beaten • F one-thousand and sixty-two people were arrested (volunteers and locals) • T thirty seven churches were bombed or burned V thirty Black homes or businesses were bombed or burned.
Freedom Summer Violence struck the campaign almost as soon as it started. On June 21, 1964, James Chaney (a black CORE activist from Mississippi), CORE organizer Michael Schwerner, and summer volunteer Andrew Goodman (both of whom were Jews from New York) were arrested by Cecil Price, a Neshoba County deputy sheriff and member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. They were held in jail until after nightfall, then released into a waiting ambush by Klansmen who abducted and killed them. Goodman and Schwerner were shot at point blank range. Chaney was chased, beaten mercilessly, and shot three times. Reported on TV and on newspaper front pages, the triple disappearance shocked the nation and drew massive media attention to Freedom Summer and to "the closed society" of Mississippi.
Freedom Summer As soon as the men had turned up missing, SNCC and COFO workers began phoning the FBI asking for an investigation. FBI agents refused, saying it was a local matter. Finally, after 36 hours of foot-dragging by the FBI, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered an investigation and FBI agents began swarming around Philadelphia, Mississippi, where Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney had been arrested. For the next seven weeks, FBI agents and sailors from a nearby naval airbase searched for the bodies, wading into swamps, hacking through underbrush. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover came to Mississippi on July 10 to open the first FBI branch office there. Throughout the search, Mississippi newspapers and word of mouth perpetuated the common belief that the disappearance was "a hoax" designed to draw publicity. But on August 4, 1964, the three bodies were found buried beneath an earthen dam. These events inspired the film “Mississippi Burning”
Freedom Summer Though Freedom Summer failed to register many voters, it had a significant effect on the course of the Civil Rights Movement. It helped break down the decades of isolation and repression that were the foundation of the Jim Crow system. Before Freedom Summer, the national news media had paid little attention to the persecution of black voters in the Deep South and the dangers endured by black civil rights workers, but when the lives of affluent northern white students were threatened the full attention of the media spotlight was turned on the state. This evident disparity between the value that the media placed on the lives of whites and blacks embittered many black activists. Perhaps the most significant effect of Freedom Summer was on the volunteers themselves, almost all of whom — black and white — still consider it one of the defining moments of their lives.
The Anti War Movement Peace movement leaders opposed the war on moral and economic grounds. The North Vietnamese, they argued, were fighting a patriotic war to rid themselves of foreign aggressors. Innocent Vietnamese peasants were being killed in the crossfire. American planes wrought environmental damage by dropping their defoliating chemicals. Ho Chi Minh was the most popular leader in all of Vietnam, and the United States was supporting an undemocratic, corrupt military regime. Young American soldiers were suffering and dying. Their economic arguments were less complex, but as critical of the war effort. Military spending simply took money away from Great Society social programs such as welfare, housing, and urban renewal.
The Anti War Movement The late 1960s became increasingly radical as the activists felt their demands were ignored. Peaceful demonstrations turned violent. When the police arrived to arrest protesters, the crowds often retaliated. Students occupied buildings across college campuses forcing many schools to cancel classes. Roads were blocked and ROTC buildings were burned. Doves clashed with police and the National Guard in August 1968, when antiwar demonstrators flocked to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago to prevent the nomination of a prowar candidate.
Democratic Convention - Chicago August 28, 1968 - During the Democratic national convention in Chicago, 10,000 anti-war protesters gather on downtown streets and are then confronted by 26,000 police and national guardsmen. The brutal crackdown is covered live on network TV. 800 demonstrators are injured. The United States is now experiencing a level of social unrest unseen since the American Civil War era, a hundred years earlier. There have been 221 student protests at 101 colleges and universities thus far in 1968.