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SIT INS AND FREEDOM RIDES . BY CHERYL SURLES JANUARY, 2012. IMPORTANT DATES OF THE STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY. 1819 First route of Underground Railroad 1865 13 th Amendment abolishes slavery in the United States

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sit ins and freedom rides





important dates of the struggle for equality
  • 1819 First route of Underground Railroad
  • 1865 13th Amendment abolishes slavery in the United States
  • 1868 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause requires states to provide equal protection under the law to all people.
  • 1870 15th Amendment guarantees that the right to vote could not be denied based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
  • 1909 First meeting of the NAACP is held in New York.
  • 1942 Congress of Racial Equality, an interracial American organization, is established.
  • 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan., is decided. The Supreme Court declares segregated schools are inherently unequal and therefore unconstitutional.
  • 1955 Rosa Parks refuses to change seats on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, sparking a yearlong bus boycott spearheaded by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and also send US troops to Little Rock to enforce desegregation of public schools.
  • 1960 Sit-ins spread across the South forcing integration of lunch counters and diners.
  • 1960 Freedom Riders travel across the Deep South and one bus is fire-bombed in Anniston, Alabama. Fortunately all passengers escaped from the bus.
  • 1963 Martin Luther King makes “I have a dream” speech in Washington, D.C.
miss ella baker
Miss Ella Baker

“Strong people don’t need leaders."

  • Studied at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • She graduated in 1927 as class valedictorian
  • In 1930, she joined the Young Negroes Cooperative League
  • In 1940-1946 NAACP
  • In 1957, Baker moved to Atlanta to organize Martin Luther King's new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
  • Formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced "snick") to lead the sit-in effort.
why sit ins
Why sit-ins?
  • After holding the non-violence workshops, the Nashville Christian Leadership Council (NCLC) and the Nashville college students needed a cause. There was plenty of discrimination in everyday life. The question was where to start?
do s and don ts during sit ins
“Do’s” and “Don’ts” during sit-ins
  • Do sit straight and always face the counter.
  • Do show yourself friendly on the counter at all times.
  • Don't strike back, or curse back if attacked.
  • Don't laugh out. Don't hold conversations.
  • Don't block entrances.
sit in february 1 1960 greensboro north carolina
Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, David Richmond, and Ezell Blair, Jr.Sit-in February 1, 1960 Greensboro, North Carolina

"We believe, since we buy books and papers in the other part of the store, we should get served in this part."

as a result of the sit ins
As a Result of the sit-ins
  • The sit-ins, however, were not over. By August 1961, they had attracted over 70,000 participants and generated over 3,000 arrests.
  • They continued in some areas of the South until and even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 declared segregation at lunch counters unlawful.
  • In addition, the technique of the sit-ins was used to integrate other public facilities, such as movie theaters, and SNCC, the student group that rose out of the sit-ins, continued to be involved in the civil rights movement for many years.
  • Perhaps most importantly, the sit-ins marked a change in the civil rights movement.
  • In the words of journalist Louis Lomax, "They were proof that the Negro leadership class, epitomized by the NAACP, was no longer the prime mover in the Negro's social revolt. The demonstrations have shifted the desegregation battles from the courtroom to the marketplace." They showed that nonviolent direct action and youth could be very useful weapons in the war against segregation.
freedom riders

The Freedom Riders of the early 1960s organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) rode through the South seeking integration of the bus, rail, and airport terminals. This map shows their routes, location of violent events, and numbers of Freedom Riders arrested.

freedom riders1
Freedom Riders

The Freedom Riders bus burning at Anniston,

Alabama ( above) and James Peck, Rider beaten

at Anniston (right).

montgomery alabama
Montgomery, Alabama

From Anniston the remaining bus traveled

to Montgomery with all kinds of protection

until they reached the city limits where it

all disappeared. As the bus pulled into the

bus station, it was attacked by a large mob

with baseball bats and lead pipes unrestrained by police who did not show up for 20 minutes.

montgomery alabama1
Montgomery, Alabama
  • George Lincoln Rockwell, center, self-styled leader of the American Nazi Party, and his “hate bus” with several young men wearing swastika arm bands, stops for gas in Montgomery, Alabama, on May 23, 1961, en route to Mobile, Alabama. (AP Photo)
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Insby Carole Boston Weatherford, paintings by Jerome Lagarrigue
freedom riders 2 pbs 2011