The Civil Rights Movement Keep your Eye on the Prize
Background • Jim Crow Laws and Black Codes that began after the Civil War had been interfering with black Civil Rights • Blacks were not allowed to exercise their rights to vote • Black and whites were segregated at all public places including bathrooms, busses, restaurants, parks, schools, etc…
Post-Reconstruction Race Relations Howard University NAACP Office window Read Lynching Story
Post-Reconstruction Race Relations • Jim Crow Laws: a system of laws and customs that enforced racial segregation and discrimination throughout the United States, especially the South, from the late 19th century through the 1960s.
The Civil Rights Movement prior to 1954 • Pre-1900 • Opposition to slavery in colonial days • Abolition movement and Civil War • Legalized racism after Reconstruction • 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson allowed the segregation of African Americans and whites. • To 1930 • Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois • Founding of the NAACP in 1909 • African Americans suffered worse than others during the Great Depression. • Roosevelt unwilling to push too hard for greater African American rights. • To 1940 • A. Philip Randolph forced a federal ban against discrimination in defense work. • 1940s founding of CORE • President Truman desegregated the armed forces. • Brooklyn Dodgers put an African American—Jackie Robinson—on its roster.
Seeking Change in the Courts The NAACP attacked racism through the courts. In the 1930s Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall began a campaign to attack the concept of “separate but equal.” The NAACP began to chip away at the 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson—the legal basis for segregation.
Plessy v. Ferguson • On June 7, 1892, a 30-year-old black man named Homer Plessy was jailed for sitting in the "White" car of the East Louisiana Railroad. • Plessy was only 1/8th black and 7/8th white, but under Louisiana law, he was considered black and therefore required to sit in the "Colored" car. • Case went all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled that “Separate facilities are constitutional as long as they are equal” • This was a win for segregation laws because they were now backed by the Supreme Court
Jackie Robinson 42 • Born in Cairo, Georgia, in 1919. • Robinson’s family moved to California after his father deserted the family. • At the University of California in Los Angeles, Robinson starred in football, track, basketball and baseball. • In 1944, Robinson played in the Negro leagues on a team called the Kansas City Monarchs.
Playing for the Dodgers • Branch Rickey, president and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, noticed Robinson’s exceptional talent. • In 1946 Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson. • Jackie Robinson, at the age of 27, became the first Black Baseball player in Major League history.
A Strange Choice • Jackie Robinson was not exactly a logical choice to become the first African American ball player. • He was not a prospect. Robinson was already 27 when he entered the league. • He had a somewhat inflammatory temper. • Rickey believed that Robinson’s outspoken mentality would benefit the cause in the long run. • However, Rickey did urge Robinson to maintain a level head in his first few years. Knowing the importance of his actions, Robinson listened.
Jackie’s Courage • Jackie Robinson faced virulent racism. • Members of his own team refused to play with him. • Opposing pictures tried to beam his head, while base runners tried to spike him. • He received hate mail and death threats daily. • Fans shouted Racist remarks at him in every ball park. • Hotels and restaurants refused to serve him
Teammates • One game in Cincinnati the crowd was especially insulting. They were yelling unimaginable insults at Jackie Robinson. • Jackie’s teammate Pee Wee Reese recognized that the crowd was getting to Jackie. • Pee Wee Reese walked across the field and put his arm around Jackie. The two smiled at each other. Their compassion silenced the crowd.
Jackie and Civil Rights • Jackie Robinson’s Actions effected the world far beyond Major League Baseball. • His courage and discipline in standing up against racism were a preview of the actions taken by many members of The Civil Rights Movement. • The success of the Jackie Robinson experiment was a testament to fact that integration could exist.
School Segregation • In the 1950’s, school segregation was widely accepted throughout the nation. • In fact, law in most Southern states required it.
Thurgood Marshall began to focus on desegregating the nation’s elementary and high schools in the 1950s. He found a case in Linda Brown of Topeka, Kansas. The Supreme Court combined several school segregation cases from around the country into a single case: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The Supreme Court was aware of this case’s great significance. Key Issues in the Supreme Court’s ruling on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
1954 – Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas • In Topeka, Kansas, a black third-grader named Linda Brown had to walk one mile through a railroad switchyard to get to her black elementary school, even though a white elementary school was only seven blocks away. • Linda's father, Oliver Brown, tried to enroll her in the white elementary school, but the principal of the school refused. • Brown went to the NAACP for help and they agreed to take the case. • Thurgood Marshall was assigned the Brown’s lawyer.
· With help from the NAACP, the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka reached the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of Plessy v. Ferguson.
· Brown’s lawyer, Thurgood Marshall, argued that “separate” could never be “equal” and that segregated schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee to provide “equal protection” to all citizens.
Brown v. Board of Education The Supreme Court heard arguments over a two-year period. The Court also considered research about segregation’s effects on African American children. In 1954 Chief Justice Earl Warren issued the Supreme Court’s decision. All nine justices agreed that separate schools for African Americans and whites violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the law.
* In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Brown family, and schools nationwide were ordered to be desegregated. George E.C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall, and James M. Nabrit, following Supreme Court decision ending segregation.
Thurgood Marshall(1908-1993) Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court.
Mississippi and the Emmett Till Case - 1955 • The Supreme Courts order to desegregate schools began a backlash in the South • White gangs committed beatings, burnings, and lynchings since all-white juries refused to convict whites for killing blacks • The case that drew national attention was the killing of 14 year old Emmett Till, a teenager from Chicago, who was visiting relatives that summer.
Emmitt Till Murder Case • On a dare from his pals, Emmett spoke flirtatiously to a white woman, saying “Bye, Baby” as he left a store • Several nights later the woman’s husband and brother kidnapped Emmett and his body was found 3 days later in the river • There was barbed wire around his neck, a bullet in his skull, one eye gouged out, and his forehead was crushed on one side. • A jury found the husband and brother not guilty despite overwhelming evidence. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm3zk0-YUxE&feature=related
Rosa Parks • Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913. She grew up in Pine Level, Alabama, right outside of Montgomery. • In the South, Jim Crow laws segregated African American’s and whites in almost every aspect of life. • This included a seating policy on buses. White’s sat in the front, Blacks sat in the back. • Buses also drove White students to school. Black students were forced to walk everyday.
The Arrest • On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a White man on a bus. • Parks was arrested and charged with the violation of a segregation law in The Montgomery City Code. • 50 African American leaders in the community met to discuss what to do about Rosa’s arrest. “People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” -Rosa Parks Autobiography
When Rosa Parks was arrested, the NAACP called for a one-day boycott of the city bus system. Community leaders formed the Montgomery Improvement Association and selected Martin Luther King Jr. as its leader. African Americans continued to boycott the bus system for a year—which hurt the bus system and other white businesses. The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Montgomery Bus Boycott • 40,000 Black commuters walked to work, some as far as twenty miles. • The boycott lasted 382 days. • The bus companies finances struggled. Until the law that called for segregation on busses was finally lifted.
Montgomery, Alabama The Montgomery Bus Boycott • In 1955 a local NAACP member named Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to white riders. • The resulting Montgomery bus boycott led to a Supreme Court ruling that segregation on buses was unconstitutional. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference • African Americans formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, or SCLC, to protest activities taking place all across the South. • Martin Luther King Jr. was the elected leader of this group—which was committed to mass, nonviolent action.
Martin Luther King Jr. • Born in Atlanta, Georgia. • Graduated Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. • Later, at Boston University, King received a Ph.D. in systematic theology. • In 1953, at the age of 26, King became pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama. • His start as a Civil Rights leader came during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Career As A Leader • In 1955 he became involved in The Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Boycott was the start to his incredible career as the most famous leader of the Civil Rights movement. • He went on to deliver numerous powerful speeches promoting peace and desegregation. • During The March On Washington he delivered one of the most famous speeches of 20th century titled, “I Have A Dream” • Before he was assassinated in 1968, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Civil Disobedience • In 1957 King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). • A group that used the authority and power of Black churches to organize non-violent protest to support the Civil Rights Movement. • led to media coverage of the daily inequities suffered by Southern Blacks. • The televised segregation violence led to mass public sympathy.
Integration The Supreme Court’s ruling did not offer guidance about how or when desegregation should occur. Some states integrated quickly. Other states faced strong opposition. Virginia passed laws that closed schools who planned to integrate. In Little Rock, Arkansas, the governor violated a federal court order to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School. The Little Rock Crisis
Integrated schools: · In Little Rock, Arkansas, Gov. Orval Faubus opposed integration.
· In 1957, he called out the National Guard in order to prevent African Americans from attending an all-white high school. · Gov. Faubus was violating federal law.
The Little Rock Nine • The name given to the 9 black students who attend Little Rock High • Although the students were allowed to enter the school without physical injury a mob of 1,000 townspeople prevented them from remaining at school • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iH4Zx96xbY&feature=related
Bottom Row, Left to Right: Thelma Mothershed, Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Gloria Ray; Top Row, Left to Right: Jefferson Thomas, Melba Pattillo, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls, Daisy Bates(NAACP President), Ernest Green
The Government Steps in • President Eisenhower ordered 10,000 National Guardsmen to Little Rock to protect the Little Rock Nine • The Guardsmen were assigned to each student and followed them through their day • The students were still spat upon and called names by the white students but they remained and the school was desegregated
· Therefore, Pres. Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock where, under their protection, the African American students were able to enter Central High School. African American students arriving at Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas, in U.S. Army car, 1957.
Members of the 101st US-Airborne Division escorting the Little Rock Nine to school
Results of Little Rock Integration • Little Rock Nine suffered harassment and threats • Faubus closed all Little Rock schools the next year rather than integrate • Courts forced Faubus to re-open school and integrate
Civil rights workers used several direct, nonviolent methods to confront discrimination and racism in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Boycotts Sit-ins Freedom Rides Many of these non-violent tactics were based on those of Mohandas Gandhi—a leader in India’s struggle for independence from Great Britain. Non-Violent Protests during the Civil Rights Movement
1960 – Sit In Campaigns begin • After having been refused service at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's in Greensboro, North Carolina, Joseph McNeill, a Negro college student, returned the next day with three classmates to sit at the counter until they were served. They were not served • The four students returned to the lunch counter each day. • More students joined the protest • Despite beatings, being doused with ammonia, heavy court fines, arrest and imprisonment, new waves of students appeared at lunch counters to continue the movement through February and March.
Freedom Rides1961 • In 1961, campaign to try to end the segregation of bus terminals. • Their plan was to test the Supreme Court’s ruling that segregated seating on interstate buses and trains was unconstitutional. • Local segregation laws were frequently used to arrest and try the freedom riders • more than 300 Freedom Riders traveled through the deep south in an effort to integrate the bus terminals
Freedom Rides • When freedom riders were savagely beaten in Montgomery, Alabama, • one of President Kennedy’s representatives was also knocked unconscious and left lying in the street for half an hour. • Kennedy sent in 600 federal marshals • Kennedy made a deal with Democratic governors and congressmen the he would not send in federal troops as long as they made sure there was no mob violence against the riders.