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10th American History Unit V- A Nation Facing Challenges. Chapter 18 Section 3 Voting Rights. Voting Rights. The Main Idea In the 1960s, African Americans gained voting rights and political power in the South, but only after a bitter and hard-fought struggle. Reading Focus

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voting rights
Voting Rights
  • The Main Idea
  • In the 1960s, African Americans gained voting rights and political power in the South, but only after a bitter and hard-fought struggle.
  • Reading Focus
  • What methods did civil rights workers use to gain voting rights for African Americans in the South?
  • How did African American political organizing become a national issue?
  • What events led to passage of the Voting Rights Act?
s n c c
  • In October, 1960, students involved in the sit-ins held a conference and established the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The organization adopted the Gandhian theory of nonviolent direct action.
  • They participated in the Freedom Rides during 1961, and the March on Washington in 1963. Also Freedom Schools and later “Black Power”
  • Leading figures in the organization included Ella J. Baker, Robert Moses, Marion Barry, James Lawson, Charles McDew, James Forman and John Lewis.
gaining voting rights for african americans in the south
Gaining Voting Rights for African Americans in the South
  • Voting rights for African Americans were achieved at great human cost and sacrifice.
  • President Kennedy was worried about the violent reactions to the nonviolent methods of the civil rights movement.
    • Attorney General Robert Kennedy urged SNCC leaders to focus on voter registration rather than on protests.
    • He promised that the federal government would protect civil rights workers if they focused on voter registration.
  • The Twenty-fourth Amendment outlawed the practice of taxing citizens to vote.
  • Hundreds of people volunteered to spend their summers registering African Americans to vote.
gaining voting rights
Registering Voters

SNCC, CORE, and other groups founded the Voter Education Project (VEP) to register southern African Americans to vote.

Opposition to African American suffrage was great.

Mississippi was particularly hard—VEP workers lived in daily fear for their safety.

VEP was a success—by 1964 they had registered more than a half million more African American voters.

Twenty-fourth Amendment

Congress passed the Twenty-fourth Amendment in August 1962.

The amendment banned states from taxing citizens to vote—for example, poll taxes.

It applied only to elections for president or Congress.

Gaining Voting Rights
gaining voting rights1
Freedom Summer

Hundreds of college students volunteered to spend the summer registering African Americans to vote.

The project was called Freedom Summer.

Most of the trainers were from poor, southern African American families.

Most of the volunteers were white, northern, and upper middle class.

Volunteers registered voters or taught at summer schools.

Crisis in Mississippi

Andrew Goodman, a Freedom Summer volunteer, went missing on June 21, 1964.

Goodman and two CORE workers had gone to inspect a church that had recently been bombed.

President Johnson ordered a massive hunt for the three men. Their bodies were discovered near Philadelphia, Mississippi.

21 suspects were tried in federal court for violating civil rights laws.

Gaining Voting Rights
the results of project freedom summer
The Results of Project Freedom Summer

Organizers considered Mississippi’s Freedom Summer project a success.

The Freedom Schools taught 3,000 students.

More than 17,000 African Americans in Mississippi applied to vote.

State elections officials accepted only about 1,600 of the 17,000 applications.

This helped show that a federal law was needed to secure voting rights for African Americans.

how did african american political organizing become a national issue
How did African American political organizing become a national issue?

Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders wanted to help President Johnson defeat Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election.

These leaders agreed to suspend their protests until after election day.

SNCC leaders refused, saying they wanted to protest segregation within the Democratic Party.

SNCC helped form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. They elected sixty-eight delegates to the Democratic National Convention and asked to be seated instead of the all-white delegation sent by the state’s Democratic Party.

gaining voting rights2
Gaining Voting Rights
  • What method did civil rights workers use to gain voting rights for African Americans in the South?
  • Recall – What was the purpose of the Voter Education Project?
  • Make Inferences – Why had poll taxes been considered a legal means to prevent African Americans from voting?
  • Elaborate – In what ways did Mississippi present the greatest challenge to the VEP workers?
gaining voting rights3
Gaining Voting Rights
  • Explain – What was Freedom Summer?
  • Make Inferences – Why do you think that many of the Freedom Summer volunteers were mainly upper middle class?
political organizing
Political Organizing

Fannie Lou Hamer told the convention’s credentials committee why the MFDP group should represent Mississippi.

President Johnson offered a compromise—two members of the MFDP delegation would be seated and the rest would be non-seated “guests” of the convention.

The NAACP and SCLC supported the compromise. SNCC and the MFDP rejected the compromise.

The MFDP’s challenge failed in the end. It also helped widen a split that was developing in the civil rights movement.

fannie lou hamer
Fannie Lou Hamer
  • Fannie Lou Hamer, known as the lady who was "sick and tired of being sick and tired."
  • Hamer co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP).
  • In 1964, the MDFP challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation to the Democratic National Convention.
  • Hamer spoke in front of the Credentials Committee in a televised proceeding that reached millions of viewers. She told the committee how African-Americans in many states across the country were prevented from voting through illegal tests, taxes and intimidation.
mississippi freedom democratic party
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
  • It was organized by black and white Mississippians, with assistance from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to win seats at the 1964 Democratic National Convention for a slate of delegates elected by disenfranchised black Mississippians and white sympathizers.
  • It ultimately failed, but was said to succeed in dramatizing the violence and injustice by which they claimed the white power structure governed Mississippi.
political organizing1
Political Organizing
  • How did African American political organizing become a national issue?
  • Identify – Who was Fannie Lou Hamer?
  • Summarize – How was the matter of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party settled?
  • Draw Conclusions – In what way was the MFDP successful and in what way was it unsuccessful?
political organizing2
Political Organizing
  • Recall – How did Fannie Lou Hamer’s speech affect President Johnson?
  • Analyze – What did Fannie Lou Mamer mean when she said that African Americans should stop playing the game of token recognition?
the voting rights act
The Voting Rights Act
  • Selma Campaign
  • King organized marches in Selma, Alabama, to gain voting rights for African Americans.
  • King and many other marchers were jailed.
  • Police attacked a march in Marion.
  • King announced a four-day march from Selma to Montgomery.
  • Selma March
  • 600 African Americans began the 54-mile march.
  • City and state police blocked their way out of Selma.
  • TV cameras captured the police using clubs, chains, and electric cattle prods on the marchers.
  • Voting Rights Act
  • President Johnson asked for and received a tough voting rights law.
  • The Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed in Congress with large majorities.
  • Proved to be one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed.
the voting rights act1
The Voting Rights Act
  • What events led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act?
  • Recall – What issue replaced the issue of public accommodations in the civil rights movement?
  • Describe – What was the purpose of the Selma campaign?
  • Draw Conclusions – Do you think the Selma campaign helped or hurt the civil rights movement?