Plessy v Furgeson • In 1896,the Supreme Court decided that separate but equal based on race was not in violation of the 14th Amendment.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) developed a systematic attack against the doctrine of "separate but equal." The attack culminated in five separate cases gathered together under the name of one of them--Oliver Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
The cases included: • Bolling v Sharp: Washington DC • Belton v Gebhart: Wilmington, DE • Davis v Prince Edward Cnty: Virginia • Briggs v Elliott: Clarendon Cnty, SC • Brown v Topeka Board of Ed: Topeka, KS
Gebhart v. Belton; Gebhart v. Bulah (Delaware) • In 1950 Louis Redding filed a lawsuit on behalf of Shirley Bulah to admit her daughter Shirley to a nearby white elementary school, after the Delaware Board of Education refused to allow her to board an all-white school bus that drove pass their home. • In 1951, Redding filed a second suit on behalf of Ethel Belton and nine other plaintiffs, whose children were barred from attending the all-white high school in their community. Shirley Bulah as a student at Hockessin Colored Elementary School
Louis L. Redding • graduated from Harvard Law School in 1929 • Delaware’s first African American attorney. • After the 1954 decision, continued his legal practice in Wilmington and his commitment to defending civil rights cases. • For the rest of his life, he was considered Delaware’s leading civil rights attorney.
Brown vs the Board of Education • May 17, 1954, unanimous (9-0) decision • "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." • de jureracial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, • this victory paved the way for integration and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Brown Family As the Brown family and the NAACP find success, opposition to desegregation grows
Milford, Delaware • Segregationist Bryant Bowles addresses a crowd of 1,500 in Milford in 1954 • Bowles holds his 3-year-old daughter over his head, vows she will never attend an integrated school "so long as gunpowder will burn."
Telegram civil rights lawyer Louis L. Redding wired to Gov. J. Caleb Boggs asking for police to assure safety of students
Emmitt Till • On August 20, 1955, Emmett Till, a 14 year-old, African-American boy from Chicago, left his home to visit relatives in Money, Mississippi • Till violates southern “norms” by “talking fresh” to a white woman Beaten, stabbed and shot, Till’s body is found in the river, 3 days later with a 70-pound fan tied around his neck with barbed-wire
Emmitt Till’s mother chooses to have an open casket funeral so the “world can see” what happened The all white jury returns a verdict of not guilty but months later the killers admit the murder in a magazine interview. 'Chicago boy,' I said, 'I'm tired of 'em sending your kind down here to stir up trouble. Goddam you, I'm going to make an example of you—just so everybody can know how me and my folks stand.' J. W. Milam, Look magazine, 1956 Till’s murder becomes a pivotal, motivating factor in the civil rights movement
Montgomery Bus Boycott • December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
January, 1956: Parks lost her job at department store because her boss was unhappy with her involvement with the bus boycott.
Montgomery Bus Boycott • To lead the boycott, they turned to a twenty-six year old minister. His name was Martin Luther King, jr
Montgomery Blacks carpooled, walked, and car owners became “taxi drivers” to avoid buses.
November 13, 1956: The Supreme Court decided to outlaw segregation on buses in the United States. Montgomery Bus Boycott
Little Rock, AR: 1957 • Little Rock, Arkansas, made plans to desegregate its public schools
Nine black students were selected as the first to integrate Central High School.
September 1957 • Crowds gather outside of Central High School
President Eisenhower federalizes the Arkansas National Guard; sends in the 101st airborne to protect the students
James Meredith Enrolls at Ole Miss • Brown v. Board = universities were also ordered to integrate. • 1961, James Meredith, an African American veteran of the Korean War, applied for admission to Ole Miss, a traditionally white university.
The governor of Mississippi, Ross Barnett, vowed that no black student would attend Ole Miss while he was governor, and on September 20, 1961 refused Meredith to allow Meredith to enroll. • President JFK and Attorney General RFK stepped in to secure Meredith’s Riots broke out so JFK sent federal marshals to protect Meredith so he could attend classes.
Meredith graduated from Ole Miss in the summer of 1963. James Meredith Statue at Ole Miss James Meredith 2007
Organizations: • NAACP • Challenged segregation through the legal system • Thurgood Marshall leads fight to end school segregation
Southern Christian Leadership Conference • SCLC:Founded by MLK and southern clergy in 1957. Advocated non-violent protest.
SCLC “The only way to defeat a stronger foe is thru nonviolence”
Birmingham April 1963 – “the most segregated city in America…” • A series of marches, sit-ins and boycotts to change segregationist laws • To control the protests the Birmingham Police Department, led by Eugene "Bull" Connor, used high-pressure water jets and police dogs on children and bystanders. • Media coverage • Kennedy intervenes