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Taking on Segregation. Chapter 21, Section 1 Notes. Objectives. Explain how legalized segregation deprived African Americans of their rights as citizens Summarize civil rights legal activity and the response to the Plessy and Brown cases

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Taking on segregation

Taking on Segregation

Chapter 21, Section 1 Notes


  • Explain how legalized segregation deprived African Americans of their rights as citizens

  • Summarize civil rights legal activity and the response to the Plessy and Brown cases

  • Trace MLK, Jr’s civil rights activities, beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • Describe the expansion of the civil rights movement

Main idea and terms names

Activism and a series of Supreme Court decisions advanced equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

Thurgood Marshall

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Rosa Parks

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)


Main Idea and Terms/Names

The segregation system
The Segregation System equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • Civil Rights Act of 1875

    • Outlawed segregation

    • Supreme Court overturned it in 1883

  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    • “separate but equal” did not violate the 14th amendment (equal treatment)

    • Allowed Southern states to pass Jim Crow laws (separating the races)

    • Allowed restrictions on inter-race contact

Civil rights movement
Civil Rights Movement equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • WW2 set the stage for the civil rights movement

    • Opened new job opportunities

    • One million African Americans served

      • Came home and fought to end discrimination

    • During the war, civil rights organizations fought for voting rights and challenged Jim Crow laws

Challenging segregation in court
Challenging Segregation in Court equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • Campaign led by the NAACP

    • Focused on inequality between separate schools that states provided

  • Thurgood Marshall argued many of these cases

  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

    • Marshall’s most stunning victory

    • Supreme Court struck down segregation in public schools as a violation of 14th amendment

    • To be implemented “with all deliberate speed”

Reaction to brown
Reaction to equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960sBrown

  • Official reaction was mixed

  • Within a year, 500 school districts had desegregated

  • Some areas resisted

    • Reappearance of KKK

    • Governor of Georgia – “Georgia will not comply”!

Crisis in little rock
Crisis in Little Rock equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • State had been planning for desegregation

  • Governor Faubus ordered the National Guard to turn away the “Little Rock Nine”

    • the 9 African American students who would integrate Little Rock Central High

  • A Federal judge ordered Faubus to let the students attend the school

  • Eisenhower placed the National Guard under federal control to watch the 9 attend school

  • A year later, Faubus shut down the high school

Montgomery bus boycott
Montgomery Bus Boycott equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • African Americans were impatient with the slow speed of change

    • Took direct action

  • 1955 – Rosa Parks refused to

    give up her seat and was arrested

  • JoAnn Robinson suggested a boycott of the buses

  • Leaders of the African American community formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA)

    • Elected 26 yr old Martin Luther King to lead

Montgomery bus boycott1
Montgomery Bus Boycott equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • Dr. King made a passionate speech and filled the audience with a sense of mission

  • African Americans boycotted the buses for 381 days and filed a lawsuit

    • Organized car pools

    • Walked long distances

  • 1956 – Supreme Court outlawed

    bus segregation

Martin luther king jr
Martin Luther King, Jr. equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • MLK called his nonviolent resistance “soul force”

  • Influences

    • Jesus – love one’s enemies

    • Henry David Thoreau – concept of civil disobedience (refusal to obey an unjust law)

    • A. Philip Randolph – massive demonstrations

    • Gandhi – non violent resistance

Southern christian leadership conference sclc
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • SCLC founded in 1957 by MLK and other civil rights leaders

  • Purpose – carry on nonviolent crusades against discrimination

  • Used protests and demonstrations

  • Helped organize a student protest group (SNCC) – Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

    • Challenge the system!

Movement spreads
Movement Spreads equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) staged the first sit-in in 1942

    • African Americans would sit at segregated lunch counters and refuse to leave until they were served

  • 1960 – students in North Carolina staged a sit-in at a lunch counter

    • Television crews covered the protest

    • African Americans were non-violent, but white resistance was not

  • Movement spread across nation (sit-ins in 48 cities)

21 2 objectives
21.2 Objectives equal rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s

  • Identify the goal of the freedom riders

  • Explain how civil rights activism forced President Kennedy to act against segregation

  • State the motives of the 1963 March on Washington

  • Describe the tactics tried by civil rights organizations to secure the passage of the Voting Rights Act

Main idea and terms names1

Civil Rights activists broke through racial barriers. Their activism prompted landmark legislation.

Freedom riders

James Meredith

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Freedom Summer

Fannie Lou Hamer

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Main Idea and Terms/Names

Freedom riders
Freedom Riders activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • Civil Rights activists would ride busses to test the Supreme Court decision that banned segregation on buses and in bus terminals

  • Provoking a violent reaction to force the JFK administration to enforce the law

  • Riders were tormented and beaten

Freedom riders1
Freedom Riders activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • Newspaper coverage and the violence provoked JFK to send federal marshals to protect the riders

  • Segregation in all interstate travel facilities was banned

Integrating ole miss
Integrating Ole Miss activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • Air Force Veteran James Meredith

    won a federal court case that allowed him to enroll in the all-white University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)

  • Governor Ross Barnett refused to let him register

  • Kennedy ordered federal marshals to escort Meredith

  • Riots broke out and resulted in 2 deaths

  • Federal officials accompanied Meredith to class to protect him

Birmingham activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • Strictly enforced its segregation

  • Reputation for racial violence

  • Reverend Shuttlesworth, MLK, and the SCLC tested their non-violence

  • MLK and others were arrested during a nonviolent demonstration

    • MLK wrote Letters from a Birmingham Jail

Birmingham activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • With MLK out of jail, the SCLC planned a children’s march in Birmingham

    • Police Commissioner “Bull” Connor arrested them

    • Later, the police met the marchers with high pressure fire hoses and attack dogs

    • TV cameras captured the scene

  • Birmingham officials finally ended segregation

  • Convinced JFK to write a civil rights act

Kennedy takes a stand
Kennedy Takes a Stand activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • June 11, 1963 – JFK sends troops to force Gov. Wallace to desegregate the U of Alabama

  • He demanded that Congress pass a civil rights bill

  • Hours later Medgar Evers, an NAACP secretary was murdered

  • A new militancy developed – “Freedom Now!”

March on washington
March on Washington activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • To show support for JFK’s civil rights bill, a march on Washington was formed

  • Aug. 28, 1963, 250,000 people assembled in Washington

  • MLK gave his “I have a Dream” speech

    • Appeals for peace and harmony

Violence persists
Violence Persists activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • Two weeks after the I have a Dream speech, four girls were killed in a Birmingham church

  • Two months later, JFK is assassinated

  • LBJ pledges to carry out JFK’s work

    • Passes Civil Rights Act of 1964

    • Prohibited discrimination

    • Gave equal access to public accommodations

Fighting for voting rights
Fighting for Voting Rights activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • CORE and SNCC worked to register as many African-American voters as possible

    • Project is known as Freedom Summer

    • Attempt to influence Congress to pass as voting rights bill

  • College Students were trained to help the project

  • Met with resistance and violence

A new political party
A New Political Party activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • African Americans needed a political voice

  • SNCC organized the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

  • Fannie Lou Hamer spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 1964

    • Support poured in for the MFDP

    • Civil Rights leaders compromised with the Democratic Party (MFDP got two seats in Congress)

Selma campaign
Selma Campaign activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • SNCC led a voting rights campaign in Selma, Alabama

  • After a demonstrator was shot, MLK organized a 50 mile march to Montgomery

  • Mayhem broke out and TV crews caught police beating and gassing marchers

  • Johnson presented a voting rights act and gave marchers federal protection

Voting rights act of 1965
Voting Rights Act of 1965 activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • Eliminated literacy tests

  • Local officials could not deny suffrage

  • The percentage of African American voters tripled in the south

21 3 overview
21.3 Overview activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • Disagreements among civil rights groups and the rise of black nationalism created a violent period in the fight for civil rights.

  • New Leaders Voice Discontent:

    • Malcolm X

    • Stokely Carmichael

    • Black Panthers


      Malcolm X assassinated February 1965 in Harlem

      MLK assassinated April 1968 in Memphis

Taking on segregation

About Malcolm X activism prompted landmark legislation."…I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and the root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems we face as a race." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a telegram to Betty Shabazz after the murder of Malcolm X.

Malcolm x
Malcolm X activism prompted landmark legislation.

  • Malcolm X (1925-1965)- controversial leader of the Nation of Islam.

  • Malcolm’s childhood was horrific. Father Earl murdered by White supremacists, mother Louise suffered mental breakdown; Malcolm left on his own.

  • Malcolm was a bright student, wanted to be lawyer.

  • Dropped out, led to period of crime.

  • "My High school was a black ghetto in Roxbury, right here in Boston. I've got my College education on the streets of Harlem in New York City and I took my Masters Degree in prison." -Malcolm X

Taking on segregation

  • While in prison, Malcolm joins Nation of Islam, preached Blacks should separate from Whites.

  • Follower of Elijah Muhammad (Leader of Nation of Islam).

  • Malcolm’s views frighten Whites and moderate Blacks because he called for armed self-defense.

  • Eventually split with Muhammad.

  • Pilgrimage to Mecca changes Malcolm’s views.

    • No longer a racial separatist.

    • Favored ballots over bullets.

Mlk malcolm x
MLK Malcolm X Blacks should separate from Whites.


  • Both wanted a better life for African Americans.

  • King preached racial equality and nonviolence.

  • Initially, Malcolm X preached black separatism and armed self-defense.

  • MLK was understood, Malcolm X was misunderstood.

  • Both promoted pride in African American culture and education.