The civil rights movement
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THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. CAUSES. millions of blacks served in World War II new militancy and restlessness after 1945 was generated by the war a large and strong black middle class had developed by that time television had allowed many blacks to see what racism was depriving them of.

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  • millions of blacks served in World War II

    • new militancy and restlessness after 1945 was generated by the war

  • a large and strong black middle class had developed by that time

  • television had allowed many blacks to see what racism was depriving them of



Support for Civil Rights

  • Eisenhower

    • had criticized President Truman’s call for establishing a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission

    • attitude toward racial justice = notinclinedtoward promoting integration


  • most governmental advances in civil rights came from the judicial branch & the Supreme Court

  • Congress had abdicated its responsibilities by refusing to deal with the issue


1954: Brown v. Topeka Board of Ed.

  • declared that the concept of “separate but equal” facilities for blacks and whites was unconstitutional

  • ruled racially segregated school systems were “inherently unequal” was

  • overturned its earlier decision in Plessy v. Ferguson

  • ordered desegregation “with all deliberate speed” (no timetable)


1955: Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • Trigger : the arrest of Rosa Parks

  • Results : the bus line was desegregated

    • Supreme Court (1956) declared segregation on public transportation illegal

  • most significant accomplishment:

    • led to Martin Luther King , Jr., as aprominent civil rights leader

“massive resistance”

  • Slogan associated with Arkansas Governor, Orval Faubus and southern opposition to the Brown decision


1956: Southern Manifesto

  • written by southern members of Congress in response to the Brown decision

  • Two southern congressmen who did not sign this :

    • Al Gore Sr. (TN)

    • LBJ (TX)


1957: Little Rock

  • Resistance to integration of Little Rock High School (Arkansas)

    • Governor Orval Faubus refused to stop the resistance

    • Forced Eisenhower to send in federal troops

  • Little Rock Nine

    • African American Students escorted to school with federal troops


The “sit-in” movement

  • early 1960s

  • 1960 – North Carolina

    • First “sit-in”

      • launched by young southern blacks

  • resulted in the integration of some public eating facilities

  • SNCC (pronounced snick)

    • Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

    • outgrowth of the “sit-in” movement

    • Stokely Carmicheal

      • SNCC leader



Support for Civil Rights

  • JFK

    • moved very slowly at first

      • needed the support of southern legislators to pass economic and social legislation

    • By mid-1963 , committed

      • to finding a solution to this moral issue


1961: Freedom Riders

  • aimed at the desegregation of bus stations

  • Kennedy sent federal marshals to protect the Freedom Riders


1962: James Meredith

  • Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett refused to enforce federal court order to enroll James Meredith ( first black student) in the University of Mississippi (“Old Miss”)

  • Kennedy ordered use of federal troops to force the racial integration of University of Mississippi


  • Voter registration drives in deep south

  • Jackie Robinson inducted into baseball Hall of fame



  • (April- May)Birmingham, Alabama

    • “bombingham”

    • Eugene “Bull” Connor

    • Children’s March

    • SCLC

    • MLK

      • Letter from a Birmingham Jail

  • (June)Medger Evers murdered

    • NAACP leader

  • (August)March on Washington

August 28 1963: March on Washington, D.C.

  • high-water mark of peaceful interracial civil rights demonstrations

  • MLK delivers his “I have a Dream” speech

  • Following the racial violence in Alabama and Mississippi in 1962 and 1963, President Kennedy introduced legislation to end segregation in public accommodations

  • At the time of his death, President John Kennedy’s civil rights bill was making little headway




1964: Twenty-fourth Amendment

  • The common use of poll taxes to inhibit black voters in the South was outlawed

Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • landmark legislation

    • creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    • banning racial discrimination in most private facilities open to the public

    • banning sexual as well as racial discrimination

      • prohibiting discrimination based on gender

1964: Freedom Summer

  • the chief goal

    • secure the right to vote

    • voter registration in the deep south

  • “Mississippi Burning”

    • Three Civil Rights workers murderedby KKK

      • Andrew Goodman

      • James Earl Cheney

      • Michael Henry Schwerner

    • Resulted in FBI investigation

1964: Selma to Montgomery March

  • Protest march in Alabama

  • After marchers violently stopped (“bloody Sunday”)

    • completed w/ protection of federal troops


Voting Rights Act of 1965

  • designed to enfranchise black voters

    • ensure the voting rights of blacks

  • Results: white southerners began to court black votes

1965: Watts Riot

  • Los Angeles

  • symbolized the more militant and confrontational phase of the civil rights movement


March ,1968: Kerner Commission

“This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black , one white –separate and unequal.”

1968: MLK Assassinated

  • By James Earl Ray

  • massive racial unrest and rioting erupted in more than sixty American cities as a result of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

April,1968: Eulogy for MLK by RFK

“For those of you who are black – considering the evidence … that there were white people who were responsible – you can be filled with bitterness , with hatred, and a desire for revenge . We can move in that direction as a country , in great polarization – black people amongst black , white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort as, Martin Luther King did , to understand and comprehend , and to replace that violence , that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land ,with and effort to understand with compassion and love.” …

George Wallace

  • 1968 third party presidential candidate who promoted:

    • fewer social welfare programs

    • a halt to the forced bussing of students

Race Riots

  • erupted in

    • New York

    • Los Angeles

    • Detroit

  • 1968 : The Commission on Civil Disorders issued a report that recommended massive spending to improve conditions in the ghettos

Civil Rights Leaders

  • Medger Evers

    • NAACP leader

  • Martin Luther King , Jr.

    • SCLC leader

      • advocate of peaceable resistance

  • Stokely Carmichael

    • SNCC leader

      • advocate of “Black Power.”

  • Malcolm X

    • Black Muslims Leader

      • favored black separatism

Black Power

  • In late 1960s, Black Power advocates in the North focused on economic demands

  • Some advocates of Black Power insisted slogan stood for

    • emphasizing African – American distinctiveness

      • pride in black identity and culture

    • exercising their political and economic rights

    • black control of black communities

    • the attempt to exclude sympathetic whites from the movement

1968: Stokely Carmichael

“This is the twenty-seventh time I have been arrested – and I ain’t going to jail no more !… We been saying freedom for six years – and we ain’t got nothin’. What we’re gonna start saying now is BLACK POWER.”

1964 :Malcolm X

“Concerning nonviolence: It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks . It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law…The time has come for the American Negro to fight back in self-defense whenever and wherever he is being unjustly and unlawfully attacked.”

1965 :Malcolm X

“Well, if you and I don’t use the ballot , we’re going to be forced to use the bullet. So let us try the ballot.”

  • Ballots or Bullets Speech

Malcolm X : 1925-1965

Gunned down three months before his 40th birthday, Malcolm X's life was cut short just when his thinking had reached a critical juncture.

1966:Black Panthers

  • Emerged from the Black Power movement

  • Influenced by the ideas of

    • Malcolm X

  • Founders included

    • Huey Newton

    • Bobby Seale

Black Panther Leader: Bobby Seale

Black Panther Party

national chairman Bobby Seale (left)


defense minister Huey Newton

Eldridge CleaverBlack Panther leader



  • By 1972, integrated classrooms were most common in the South

  • most explosive racial controversy = busing

  • 1974: Milliken v. Bradley

    • Supreme Court ruling that integrations did not have to take place across school district lines Effect:

      • reinforced the division between poorer , minority inner city schools and nearly all white suburbs

  • De facto segregation resulted from residential housing patterns


Affirmative Action

  • 1965- LBJ through executive order required all federal contractors to take “affirmative action” against discrimination

    • Emphasized protection of individuals


  • 1971 : Nixon transformed & escalated

    • Emphasized privileges for groups

  • 1971 : Griggs v. Duke Power Co

    • Ruling suggested hire minority workers or admit minority student s in proportion to their presence in the population

Affirmative Action

  • best defined as the legal requirement that employers take positive measures to recruit minorities in order to compensate for past injustices

  • Critics = “reverse discrimination”

Affirmative Action

  • Carter

  • 1978: Bakke Case

    • case of reverse discrimination

    • Supreme Court held that racial quotas were unconstitutional but race could be taken into account as one factor in college admissions

      • Court ordered Bakke to be admitted to med school at UCDavis

Affirmative Action

  • 1984 – Reagan repudiated affirmative action

    • Conservative Supreme Court

      • Seniority over affirmative Action

      • Subsequent cases made it easier to prove “reverse discrimination”

Maya Angelou - 1993

“Lift up your faces ,you have a piercing need

For this bright morning dawning on you .

History , despite its wrenching pain, Cannot be unlived,but if faced with courage need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes

Upon this day breaking for you.

Give birth again

To the dream.”

-On the Pulse of Morning


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