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Chapter 29. Civil Rights Era. Segregation. Plessy v. Ferguson – Supreme Court rule “separate but equal” was okay Jim Crow laws – MAINLY in the south, laws that separated the races Civil Rights movement begins to gain steam during WWII

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chapter 29

Chapter 29

Civil Rights Era

  • Plessy v. Ferguson – Supreme Court rule “separate but equal” was okay
    • Jim Crow laws – MAINLY in the south, laws that separated the races
  • Civil Rights movement begins to gain steam during WWII
    • Minorities fill job vacancies, fight in the war – desegregation begins out of necessity
    • FDR moves to prohibit race discrimination in federal agencies and all war production
challenging segregation
Challenging Segregation
  • NAACP challenges segregation in court – win many rulings
    • Brown v. Board  major landmark case – desegregated schools – separate by nature not equal
  • Little Rock Central High – Eventually Eisenhower had to use federal soldiers to forcibly allow integration
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott – After Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up seat, African Americans refuse to ride the buses – 381 day boycott
mlk jr
MLK, Jr.
  • “Soul Force” – non-violent resistance to unjust laws
  • SCLC – Southern Christian Leadership Conference – organized the nonviolent protests
  • SNCC – Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee – college students who organized to challenge systemic discrimination
    • A bit more confrontational (while still nonviolent) – e.g. sit-ins to force desegregating lunch counters
more civil rights actions
More Civil Rights Actions
  • Freedom Riders – challenging court’s desegregation of interstate bus lines by riding bus trip across the South
    • Stopped at Alabama state line, many riders beaten, bus managed to continue
    • Met by angry mob at Birmingham terminal
    • Second bus was firebombed
    • Link – start at 19:36 (language: n-word warning)
  • Eventually received national attention and assistance – all travel facilities were ordered integrated
actions cont d
Actions cont’d
  • SCLC decided to focus on Birmingham – historically STRONG segregation, personified by police commissioner “Bull” Connor
  • Many marchers arrested , but repeated protests, economic boycotts, and a flood of negative media eventually led to desegregation
march on washington
March on Washington
  • Kennedy was begins to take up cause of Civil Rights
  • 250,000 + people (including ~75,000 whites) march on DC to try to convince Congress to pass Civil Rights bill Kennedy was pushing
  • Kennedy wouldn’t survive to see it, but eventually Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed
    • Prohibited discrimination due to race, religion, national origin, and gender in any public accommodation (libraries, parks, restaurants, etc.)
freedom summer
Freedom Summer
  • Effort to register as many African Americans as possible in the South
    • Attempting to persuade Congress to pass voting rights protections
  • Secured in the Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • Eliminated literacy tests for voter registration
    • Allowed federal registrars to register voters if local officials wouldn’t
    • Forced areas with history of discrimination to clear voting changes with federal gov (challenged and overturned June 2013)
challenges and changes
Challenges and Changes
  • De facto (by practice and custom) v. de jure (by law) segregation
    • De facto – tough to fight – common in the North
  • As black populations move into northern cities, we see “white flight” to the suburbs
    • Urban areas decay, schools suffer, violence erupts, etc.
other important leaders
Other Important Leaders
  • Malcolm X – much more confrontational – black population should fight back in self defense
  • Stokely Carmichael – pushed message of Black Power - “call for black people to begin to define their own goals…to lead their own organizations.”
  • Black Panthers – political organization – more radicalized
king s death
King’s Death
  • MLK argues against violent resistance, confrontation inherent in Black Power movement
  • King assassinated in April of 1968
  • Bobby Kennedy pushes for calm, but to no avail
    • Worst urban rioting in American history – over 100 cities affected
lasting impacts unfinished business
Lasting Impacts/Unfinished Business
  • Pretty much ended de jure segregation
  • Greater racial pride
  • Political gains
  • Difficult to change public opinion and race relations
  • Still plenty of de facto segregation
  • Affirmative action – programs to give preference to minority/discriminated-against groups