18.3 New Civil Rights Issues . I. Urban Problems. Despite the passage of the civil rights laws, racism was still common in American society Many African Americans were trapped in poverty in the inner cities & didn’t feel like civil rights laws had helped their circumstances.
C. African Americans turned to violent protests & riots
1. The Watts Riot (1965) was the first of many deadly race riots
Watts raged for 6 days. In the end, there were 34 dead, almost 1,000 injured, more than 4,000 arrested, and property losses in the millions.
D. The Kerner Commission (1968) said the cause of rioting was the “racial attitude & behavior of white Americans toward black Americans”
The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, more commonly known as the Kerner Commission, concluded that “the U.S. was moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.”
1. Known as the Chicago Movement, he led a march through an all-white suburb & was met by angry white mobs
2. Little changed as a result
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ducks after being hit on the head by a rock during a housing discrimination protest in Chicago; spectators threw rocks, bottles, and firecrackers at the marchers, August 5, 1966.
“It is a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.”
– Stokely Carmichael
C. In the early 1960s, Malcolm X had become a symbol of the black power movement
King was killed by a gunshot to the throat fired by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
•Ray was a small-time thief and burglar, and had no record of committing violent crimes with a weapon.
•The weapon that Ray is believed to have used in the assassination had only two of Ray's fingerprints on it.
•According to several fellow prison inmates, Ray had never expressed any political or racial opinions of any kind, casting doubt on Ray's purported motive for committing the crime.
•The rooming-house bathroom from which Ray is said to have fired the fatal shots did not have any of his fingerprints at all.
•None of the ballistic tests conclusively proved Ray had been the killer nor that it had even been the murder weapon.
•Moreover, witnesses surrounding King at the moment of his death say the shot came from another location, from behind thick shrubbery near the rooming house.