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Identity Politics & Liberation Ideologies. MLK Jr. and the Black Civil Rights Movement. Background. Martin Luther King, Jr. ( 1929-1968) Attended and graduated from racially segregated school high school and colleges in Atlanta Received doctorate from Boston U in 1955

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identity politics liberation ideologies
Identity Politics & Liberation Ideologies

MLK Jr. and the

Black Civil Rights Movement

background
Background
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
  • Attended and graduated from racially segregated school high school and colleges in Atlanta
  • Received doctorate from Boston U in 1955
  • Executive Board of NAACP in 1953
  • Began pastoral work in Montgomery, Alabama in 1954
background1
Background
  • Elected leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Council in 1957
  • Led the March on Washington, 1963
background2
Background
  • In 1964, became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Assassinated 4 April 1968
overview
Overview
  • Historical Background to the Civil Rights Movement
  • Liberalism and Liberation
  • King’s Arguments
civil war reconstruction
Civil War & Reconstruction
  • Union army occupies south
  • 14th Amendment (1868)
  • 15th Amendment (1870)
  • Civil Rights Enforcement Act (1870)
  • Civil Rights Act (1872)
  • Civil Rights Act (1875)
reconstruction
Reconstruction
  • First black political leaders elected to Congress
  • Hiram Revels (MS) first black senator
  • 6 blacks elected to serve in House in 41st and 42nd Congress
reconstruction1
Reconstruction
  • 1876 Presidential Election
  • Rutherford B. Hayes (R)
  • Samuel Tilden (D)
reconstruction2
Reconstruction
  • In exchange for Hayes winning electoral college vote, Republicans agree to end occupation of the South
  • 1877 Reconstruction essentially ends with end of occupation
  • Southern governments and vigilante groups move to disenfranchise black voters
rise of segregation
Rise of Segregation
  • Voter intimidation (e.g., KKK activity)
  • Change voting requirements
    • poll tax, literacy test, “white” primaries, grandfather clause
  • Civil Rights cases (1883)
    • Supreme Court invalidates the 1875 Civil Rights Act
  • Plessy vs Ferguson (1896)
plessy vs ferguson
Plessy vs Ferguson

“The object of the [Fourteenth] Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either.” -- Justice Henry Billings Brown

Homer Plessy

plessy v ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson

"We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff\'s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it.”

Justice Henry Billings Brown

jim crow1
Jim Crow

Jim Crow statutes by state

jim crow2
Jim Crow
  • For black civil rights leaders, segregation posed difficult questions of strategy and how to combat legal (de jure) inequality
response to segregation
Response to Segregation
  • Booker T. Washington and “Accomodationism”
  • Take whatever opportunities white America provides and do best you can until conditions change
response to segregation1
Response to Segregation
  • W.E.B. Dubois and the founding of the NAACP
  • Legal strategy of challenging of “separate but equal” provision
separate but equal
Separate, but Equal?

Classroom in black school

Seat Pleasant, Maryland

separate but equal1
Separate, but Equal?

Black school,

Camden, MS

separate but equal2
Separate, but Equal?

Black school, Louisa County, VA

response to segregation2
Response to Segregation
  • Key desegregation cases:
  • Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938)
  • Sweatt v. Painter (1950)
response to segregation3
Response to Segregation
  • McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (1950)
response to segregation4
Response to Segregation
  • 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, KN
response to segregation5
Response to Segregation

Little Rock, Arkansas

September 1957

Federal troops protected 9 blackstudents going to Central Highin Little Rock throughout 1957academic year

response to segregation6
Response to Segregation

Little Rock opted to close all 3 public high schools for 1958 academic year rather than integrate

modern civil rights
Modern Civil Rights
  • Emergence of Modern Civil Rights Movement
modern civil rights1
Modern Civil Rights
  • Emergence of Modern Civil Rights Movement
modern civil rights2
Modern Civil Rights
  • In wake of Brown v. Board of Education, combination of further legal challenges, political mobilization, civil disobedience (peaceful and other)
modern civil rights3
Modern Civil Rights
  • In wake of Brown v. Board of Education, combination of further legal challenges, political mobilization, civil disobedience (peaceful and other)
liberalism revisited
Liberalism Revisited
  • Liberalism focuses on the primacy of the individual
  • The liberation and identity movements we will be examining make two types of claims:
    • Some groups have been treated as “individuals” legally, and that’s neither fair nor just
    • Because of this historical treatment, government policy should be used to advance the collective group well being
king and strategy
King and Strategy
  • King takes on those within the black civil rights movement who would argue that he was pushing too aggressively for equal rights
  • “You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.”
king and strategy1
King and Strategy

He then identifies 4 steps to any campaign of direct action:

  • collection of the facts
  • negotiation
  • self-purification
  • direct action
king and strategy2
King and Strategy

“We know from painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed...We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights.”

king and strategy3
King and Strategy
  • The aim of the direct action, according to King, is to

“create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”

  • Question then becomes “what sort of direct action”?
king and strategy4
King and Strategy

“I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the ‘do-nothingism’ of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest.”

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