Chapter 28. The Civil Rights Movement, 1945 —1966.
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The Civil Rights Movement, 1945 —1966
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain
"When we are really honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us to be men!" Cesar Chavez [From Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa by Jacques E. Levy, 1975
"My father wasn't very special. He was an ordinary person who did extraordinary things. We both knew that." Anthony Chavez [son of Cesar Chavez]
1941 Ex Order 8802 forbids racial discrimination in defense industries & government
1946 Morgan v. Virginia, U.S. Sp. CT. rules segregation on interstate buses unconstitutional
Pres. Truman creates Committee on Civil Rights
1947 Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American on a major league baseball team
1948 Truman ex. order desegregates armed forces
1954 Brown v. Board of Education, SP CT rules segregated schools inherently unequal
1955 Supreme Court rules that school desegregation must proceed "with all deliberate speed"
Montgomery bus boycott begins
1956 Montgomery bus boycott ends in victory as the Supreme Court affirms a district court
Segregation on buses is unconstitutional
President Dwight Eisenhower sends in federal troops to protect African American students Integrating Little Rock, Arkansas, high school
1960 things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Sit-in movement begins as four college students sit a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and ask to be served
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) founded
1961 Freedom Rides begin
1962 James Meredith integrates the Un. of Mississippi
Albany movement fails to end GA segregation
1963 SCLC initiates campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama
Medgar Evers, leader of the Mississippi NAACP is assassinated March on Washington; Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream"
1964 Miss. Freedom Summer project brings students to Miss. to teach and register voters
President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman are found buried in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Miss. Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) denied seats at 1964 Dem. Pres. Convention
1965SCLC and SNCC begin voter registration campaign in Selma, Alabama
Malcolm X is assassinated
Civil rights marchers walk Selma to Montgomery
Voting Rights Act of 1965 is signed into law
ONLY A PAWN IN THEIR GAME things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Words and Music by Bob Dylan 1963, 1964 Warner Bros. Inc;
A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers' blood. A finger fired the trigger to his name. A hand hid out in the dark.
A hand set the spark, Two eyes took the aim. Behind a man's brain.
But he can't be blamed.
He's only a pawn in their game.
A South politician preaches to the poor white man,
"You got more than the blacks, don't complain.
You're better than them, you been born with white skin,"
they explain. And the Negro's name. Is used it is plain. For the politician's gain. As he rises to fame. And the poor white remains. On the caboose of the train. But it ain't him to blame.
He's only a pawn in their game.
The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid, things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
And the marshals and cops get the same, But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool. He's taught in his school. From the start by the rule. That the laws are with him. To protect his white skin. To keep up his hate. So he never thinks straight. Bout the shape that he's in. But it ain't him to blame.
He's only a pawn in their game.
From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks, And the hoof beats pound in his brain. .And he's taught how to walk in a pack. Shoot in the back. With his fist in a clinch. To hang and to lynch. To hide 'neath the hood. To kill with no pain. Like a dog on a chain. He ain't got no name. But it ain't him to blame. He's only a pawn in their game.
Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught. They lowered him down as a king. But when the shadowy sun sets on the one. That fired the gun. He'll see by his grave. On the stone that remains. Carved next to his name. His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.
This chapter covers the mass movements for civil rights beginning in the black community and then extending to the Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Asian, and American Indian communities as well.
This era, often called the “Second Reconstruction,” saw advances against segregation through federal court decisions and more direct activism as black leaders forced the larger community to face segregation issues.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 reinforced political equality but economic and social equality did not automatically follow. The persistence of poverty, entrenched racism and ghetto slums brought a split in the black consensus over goals for their movement.
The civil rights movement overall and the Great Society created new pride and expectation as well as anger and a more militant movement.
Origins of the Movement
No Easy Road to Freedom
The Movement at High Tide