The Civil Rights Movement The Beginning to Present Day 1950’s and 1960’s
“Separate but Equal” • 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson – Supreme Court ruled that segregation was constitutional as long as equal facilities were provided. • Jim Crow laws segregated buses, restrooms, restaurants, parks, schools, the armed forces and other public facilities and institutions. • De facto segregation – not an official law but rather segregation as a matter of fact due to customs and traditions.
Challenging Segregation • The movement for racial equality is as old as our nation itself. • After WWII challenges to segregation and racial equality became more successful. • Executive order 9981- Truman Desegregates the army • NAACP won several court cases which struck down segregation on interstate buses (1935) and state law schools (1950). • Blacks became a key group in the Democratic party in the North.
1954 Brown v. The Board of Education • Linda Brown was told that she had to attend an all black school across town even though there was an all white public school right down the street. • Supreme Court struck down segregation in public schools as inherently unequal. • Encouraged movement to continue.
1955 Brown v. Board of Education II • The court ordered schools desegregation be done with “all deliberate speed”. • Effect of encouraging White resistance and many schools stayed segregation for years afterward.
Methods of Resistance of the Early Civil Rights movement • Litigation (court cases – i.e. Brown v. Board of Ed.) • Boycotts (Montgomery Bus boycott after the arrest of Rosa Parks). Blacks walked and carpooled to work for over a year until they reversed the segregation laws on Public Buses. • Protests (March on Washington) • Sit-ins (Woolworth’s Lunch counter)
Civil Rights Organizations • Churches were used as meeting houses • Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Led by Martin Luther King Jr. established to eliminate segregation from American Society and to encourage Blacks to register to vote. • Led such movements as the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Civil Rights Organizations • Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) • Organizes Freedom Rides 1961- asked Both black and white college students to travel into the South to draw attention to the South’s refusal to integrate bus terminals. • White mobs firebombed buses, beat occupants with chains and lead pipes.
Civil Rights Organizations MLK Jr. believed the only way to end racism was through non-violent passive resistance (Gandhi) • SNCC –Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee • Taught techniques of non-violence to AA college students • 1960-65 helped to desegregate public facilities and register blacks to vote in the South.
MLK Jr. Organizes Demonstrations 1963 • MLK began to realize that the federal government would only intervene when violence got out of hand • Birmingham Alabama- police used clubs, dogs, and high pressured fire hoses on demonstrators. • Millions of Americans watched the violence on TV • Made the Kennedy Administration actively support the civil rights movement –Prepare the Civil Rights Act.
Civil Rights Act of 1957 • Small group of Southern senators wanted to kill the bill. • Performed a filibuster – senators take turns speaking on the floor and refuse to let the debate stop and have the bill be voted on. • Strom Thurmond read the phonebook for over 24 hours in order to prevent the bill to go to vote. • Cloture- two-thirds majority (67) to stop a filibuster and resume to the vote.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 • Kennedy Assassinated in 1963 • LBJ becomes president – uses knowledge of the senate to get bill passes 71-29. • Law made segregation illegal in public places • Gave the Attorney General more power to bring lawsuits to force school desegregation. • Employers had to end discrimination in the workplace – Established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Voting Rights Act of 1965 • SNCC organized voter registration drives in the south – 1964 Became known as Freedom Summer • Demonstrations in Selma, Alabama to demand the right to vote– state troopers began beating protestors. • Left 50 AA hospitalized Became known as Bloody Sunday • Televised on TV. • LBJ furious – appeared on TV to propose a new voting rights law. • Allowed for Federal examiners to register blacks to vote
Discrimination and The Black Power Movement • Making segregation illegal and ensuring voting rights did not end social and economic inequality. • Racism- Prejudice or discrimination towards someone because of the color of his/her skin. • 1965 70% of African Americans lived in large cities. • Segregated neighborhoods – White flight. Whites would leave neighborhoods because blacks moved in • Owners refused to rent to AA and Banks refused mortgages to AA • Work discrimination – AA were not hired in well paying jobs many worked as maids, custodians. • 50% Poverty Rate- AA made half the income of whites and had twice the unemployment rate.
The Watts Riot -1965 • Race Riot broke out in Los Angeles. • Allegations of police brutality began the riots which lasted for 6 days. • Rioters burned and looted entire neighborhoods created $30 million dollars in damage. 34 people died. Federal Government sent 14,00 National Guard members to stop riot. • Race Riots began to break out all over the nation. • The promise of civil rights needed to have social and economic results. Led to a more militant form of civil rights movement.
Black Power Movement • AA leaders became critical of MLK Jr. non violence strategy. • Black Power- that AA should control the social, political and economic direction of their struggle. • Stressed cultural distinctiveness and pride for heritage (afro’s ). • Led to making groups such as CORE and SNCC push out sympathetic whites.
Malcolm X • Arrested for burglary- converted to the Nation of Islam- black nationalist group. That supported the idea of separating themselves from whites and form their own self-governing communities. • Changed name to “X” to protest the name white society gave him through slavery. • After a pilgrimage to Mecca he changed his views and believed that an integrated society was possible. • 1965 Assassinated by members of the Nation of Islam who disliked his new views.
The Black Panthers • Founded by Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver in CA. • Militant group for self-defense. • Urged AA to arm themselves and confront white society to force them to give them equal rights, good housing, bread, education. • FBI infiltrated group arrested leaders and some members were assassinated.
Civil Rights Movement Fizzles • MLK’s assassination in 1968 took away a large amount of momentum from the Civil Rights movement. • Major legislation was already passed (needed results) • Conservatives regain power (Nixon wins 1968 election) • Vietnam War becomes the central issue