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civil rights and social movements in the americas

African Americans and the civil rights movementrole of dr. martin Luther king, black panthers, black Muslims, black power, and Malcolm xrole of governments in civil rights movements in the Americasyouth culture and counterculturefeminist movements in the AmericasNative Americans and civil rights

Civil rights and social movements in the Americas

roosevelt after wwii
Roosevelt – After WWII
  • Did nothing substantial
  • To do so would have angered powerful white southern lawmakers
    • Needed their support to achieve larger New Deal programs and foreign policy objectives to help the Allies
  • Executive Order 8802
    • also known as the Fair Employment Act was signed to prohibit racial discrimination in the national defense industry.
    • The order required all federal agencies and departments involved with defense production to ensure that vocational and training programs were administered without discrimination as to "race, creed, color, or national origin.”
motive for social reform
Motive for Social Reform
  • Cold War years forced American leaders to introduce key social reforms because they were embarrassed on the world stage by oppressive race relations at home
  • As the ‘presumptive leader of the free world’ how could American democracy be a beacon during the Cold War, and a model for those struggling against soviet oppression, if the US itself practiced brutal discrimination against minorities within its own borders?
  • Thus a need for improved race relations in the U.S. in order to uphold the principle of democracy abroad, was a major reason for the enactment of various civil rights initiatives during the presidencies of Truman, JFK, and Johnson
the sources of a mass movement
The Sources of a Mass Movement
  • Black urbanization
    • Rural blacks moved to cities, saw power to challenge
  • Religious faith
    • All people are equal before God
  • Constitutional rights
    • Constitution guaranteed their basic civil rights
  • Media coverage
    • Shocked, viewers supported civil rights push
  • African independence
    • African countries had gained independence
to secure these rights
To Secure These Rights
  • President Truman created a Committee on Civil Rights in 1946, assigning them responsibility for evaluating the place and condition of civil rights in the US and for recommending legislation necessary to enable the Federal government to carry out its duty to act when these Constitutional rights were endangered. 
  • 1947, this committees paper loudly proclaimed the opening round to the federal government’s campaign for civil rights
  • Truman made this committee instead of legislation that never would have made it through the Senate
  • Offered three main reasons why civil rights should be redressed
    • Moral, Economic, and International
  • This accomplished a number of things:
    • Satisfied civil rights advocates
    • Took political pressure off himself and onto the committee
    • Avoided direct confrontation with southern Democrats
    • Established a forum to begin educating the public on the need to extend quality under the law
to secure these rights1
To Secure These Rights
  • The text of the report spells out in detail the liberal vision for expansion of civil rights in the years after WWII
    • Also reflected the liberal belief that bolstering civil rights stemmed from moral, diplomatic, and economic considerations
    • “the greatest hope for the future is the increasing awareness by more and more Americans of the gulf between our civil rights principles and our practices.”
    • Furthermore, the economy lost millions of dollars from racial disturbances
to secure these rights2
To Secure These Rights
  • The 34 recommendations that appear in the report established the agenda for civil rights reforms for a generation to come.
    • Attacked disenfranchisement
    • Strengthen federal law enforcement machinery against racial crimes such as lynching
    • Dismantle segregation throughout American society
    • Condemned racial segregation in housing, interstate transportation, public accommodations, the military, and employment
    • Most remarkable of all was the stand it took against school segregation…challenged Jim Crow aiming at the ideology of white supremacy itself.
to secure these rights3
To Secure These Rights
  • The Cold War heightened this awareness
    • African Americans deserved no less, but it was also essential to the country’s cold war struggle with the Soviet Union “that we have been able to put our own house in order.”
    • In the struggle against the Soviet Union, the United States could not afford to tolerate racial discrimination within its borders and expect the rest of the world to believe its political and economic systems were superior to those of its Communist adversary
to secure these rights4
To Secure These Rights
  • So why is this document and committee so important?
  • Reports as forward looking and eloquent as To Secure These Rights could not by themselves produce social change.
  • Rhetoric and good intentions were not enough; it took power wielded by a determined mass movement and applied on sympathetic but cautious national officials to topple Jim Crow
  • In some 176 pages, To Secure These Rights provided a detailed inventory of the civil wrongs done to African Americans and offered a road map for the country to follow to remedy them
youth culture and counterculture
Youth Culture and Counterculture
  • 1950’s
    • Young were growing restless, especially in the suburbs
    • Many connected with what the young movie stars of the time were portraying “a brooding nobody with something silent inside just seething to get out”
    • Beatniks, writers and poets, appalled by the world, especially the Cold War (Ginsberg, Kerouac)
    • Opted out of contemporary society
    • Youth slowly turned to radios where they heard rock n roll which demonstrated a type of rebellion
    • Introduced many white youth to black musicians, eventually promoting integration
youth culture and counterculture1
Youth Culture and Counterculture
  • 1960’s
  • Youthful activism was a mainstay
  • Turned 18 between 1960 and 1972, 45 million
    • Enormous size of the generation would lead to juvenile problems; delinquency, crime, violence, unwed mothers
    • More disruption on campus, some due to overcrowding
    • Explaining, exploiting, or catering to youth became a national obsession
      • Ford came out with a ‘car for kids’ the Mustang, ‘Pepsi Generation’, Associate press declared 1964 the year of the kids, Time named 1966 “Man of the Year” the ‘man and woman of 25 and under.’
    • They were more idealistic and tolerant and less concerned with money, security, and Communism
counterculture 1968 and beyond
Counterculture 1968 and beyond
  • Composed of activists, students, feminists, and hippies
    • Never organized, created a great vocal minority promoting liberation, challenged the majority, confronting and shocking mainstream culture
    • Revolted from the norms, values, and morals of the established society, changing society and fundamentally altering America
    • By the early ‘70’s 3 million felt part of the counterculture
  • Difficult too define and measure
    • No hippie organizations, member cards, no meetings, age limits or leaders
    • Individualistic journey, the hippie movement was ‘a philosophy, a way of life’
    • Perhaps the only constant was that they rejected some of the values of the culture and then developed and practiced different lifestyles
    • Began to doubt the government and distrust the establishment
    • Alienations also increased as students asked for their rights on campuses
  • Music and underground newspapers were carriers of the culture and their values
  • The slow demise of the counter culture
    • Ritualistic Slayings!
      • ‘the family’ led by Manson, hippie with long hair
      • TV and papers turned it into a spectacle
    • Woodstock of West
      • Turned violent, Hell’s Angels guarded stage, grabbed a young black man, stabbed him repeatedly and kicked in his face, dying in a pool of blood
      • Crowd of hippies horrified and stunned did nothing
    • The greatest internal conflict was “the people with long hair and the people with short hair”
  • Critics blamed hippies for decline of the American family, to drug and venereal disease epidemics, even for AIDS
  • They were the scapegoat
  • The counterculture subverted and then significantly altered cold war culture
  • This culture challenged values, encouraged experimentation, and different value system resulted surviving with the baby boomers
  • Many younger Americans felt the war against Vietnamese Communism was illegal, inhumane, and immoral
  • ‘a whole generation is starting to say to its parents, ‘you can no longer get us to kill and be killed for your uptight archaic beliefs’’
  • Kids felt the establishment was hypocritical and contradictory
    • Old enough to fight, 18, but not old enough to vote for their commander in chief, 21
    • Doctors wrote 150 million prescriptions a year for tranquilizers and amphetamines while condemning youth for using drugs
    • Federal government subsidized growing tobacco and at the same time paid for advertisements proclaiming that cigarettes were harmful to health
  • Many youth believed that the nation had become a cruel society that made war on peasants abroad and at home beat up on minorities, dissidents, students, and hippies
  • The behavior of the mainstream culture only boosted the counterculture
    • Rejected the values of mainstream culture
    • ‘why is free hate socially acceptable while free love is socially acceptable’
    • Rejected the continual feast of consumerism
    • Valued honesty, tolerance, personal freedom, and fun
warren court
Warren Court
  • Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren
    • Declared landmark case of Brown v. Board
  • Court usually follows national norms, but during the conservative 1950’s the Warren Court decisions led America toward liberalism
  • Warren Court brought about a “right revolution”
  • Changed status quo; rulings that brought legal equality of races, rural and urban citizens, wealthy and poor, and the results “the most profound and pervasive revolution ever achieved by substantially peaceful means”
warren court1
Warren Court
  • Three Major Themes
    • Civil Rights
      • Integration of public facilities, interstate travel, right to peaceful protest
    • Libertarianism: increasing citizens political and personal liberty
      • Freedom of speech and association, loyalty pledges unconstitutional, citizen still was innocent until proven guilty, separation of church and state, allow individuals to decide what is obscene, laws prohibiting white and black cohabitation and interracial marriages unconstitutional
    • Egalitarianism: equal justice under the law
      • Equal at the ballot box, police behavior, rights of suspects, right to legal defense, obtain evidence legally, suspects in custody gave right to an attorney, must inform suspects of constitutional rights
brown v board of educ 1952 54
Brown v. Board of Educ. 1952-54
  • Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund brought the matter before the Supreme Court
  • Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled on 17 May 1954 that separating white and colored children in public schools had ‘a detrimental effect upon the colored children”
    • Unequal and therefore unconstitutional
  • Desegregate all public school systems throughout the nation ‘with all deliberate speed’
  • Within a year of ‘45 decision over 500 school districts in the North and upper South had quietly desegregated, but in the deep South open and complete defiance began as soon as the outcome was announced
lynching of emmet till
Lynching of Emmet Till
  • 1955, 14 year old Emmet Till from Chicago was in Mississippi on vacation
  • Outside a country store, on a dare, called out to a white woman in the store
  • Husband and brother-in-law tracked down Emmet, beat him and three days later found his body in a river
  • Came to trial, all white jury, found innocent
  • Later admitted killing him
little rock 1957
Little Rock 1957
  • Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas blocked a federal court order to admit 9 qualified African American students
  • Called out the National Guard to monitor school and prevented them from entering
  • 10 days later Guard was dismissed and students were exposed to mob
  • By noon local police had to evacuate the students
  • Eisenhower dispatched 1000 101st airborne
  • School was surrounded and students were escorted in and completed the school year
  • Next year Faubus ordered 3 schools closed for the year
  • Next year Federal Court ordered that was unconstitutional
montgomery bus boycott
Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Mrs. Rosa Parks sat in the front row of seats in the black section of the bus
  • E.D. Nixon local leader of the NAACP decided black citizens might demonstrate their disapproval of the city’s segregated bus system, bus boycott
  • Began on 5th of Dec. and was immediate success
  • Continued for a year
  • Bus company lost about 65% of business, had to cut services, layoff drivers, and raise fares
  • ‘conflict was between justice and injustice’
  • Segregation violated the US constitution
  • Incident produced the most important leader of the movement and proved non-violent demonstration
student sit ins
Student Sit-ins
  • 1st of February 1960 4 black college students staged a successful sit-in at a Woolworths lunch counter, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Received extensive news coverage especially on TV
  • Caused a domino effect with black colleges throughout the South
    • Frequently resulting in violence, thereby producing more TV coverage
  • By January 1961 70,000 black and white youngsters had participated in a sit-in
civil rights acts 1957 1960
Civil Rights Acts 1957-1960
  • Eisenhower’s second term in office saw the passage of these two acts
  • Felt publicly obliged to support the Brown decision because of ongoing concerns about America’s standing on the international scene
  • 1st civil rights legislation in 82 years
  • 1957 – voting rights and a commission to investigate violations of the law
  • 1960 - introduced penalties to be levied against anybody who obstructed someone’s attempt to register to vote or someone’s attempt to actually vote
birmingham protests april 1963
Birmingham Protests April 1963
  • Worst segregation record in the South
  • King was imprisoned for his involvement in a sit-in, wrote his ‘letter from a Birmingham jai’ in response to a public statement of ‘concern and caution’ by white religious leaders
  • Went on with protest intending to fill prisons with black youth, embarrassing city officials
  • Televised, fire hoses, police dogs, beaten, and arrested had profound impact on America
  • Concerned with international image, within 90 days integrated large department stores, re-addressed employment discrimination and released demonstrators
march on washington aug 63
March on Washington Aug. ‘63
  • 250,000 people peacefully marched to the Lincoln Memorial in DC to demand equal justice for all citizens under the law
  • Demanded passage of a meaningful Civil Rights Act, enactment of a fair employment practices bill, plus job training and placement
  • Theme of the march became racial harmony and unity
  • King delivered ‘I have a dream speech’
  • Worldwide media coverage
  • No major disturbances
  • Millions of Americans witnessed for the first time black and white people united in the cause of freedom and civil rights for all
  • Short lived, followed
    • In September by a church bomb on Alabama
    • In November by the assassination of President Kennedy
freedom summer 1964
Freedom Summer 1964
  • Volunteers went down to Mississippi to bring an end to political disenfranchisement, where only 6.2% of blacks were registered to vote in 1962
  • 100’s of college students flocked to help with registration
  • 30 ‘freedom schools’ in towns throughout Miss.
    • Taught black history and philosophy of civil rights
    • Often targets of mob violence
  • 30 black homes and 37 black churches were firebombed and more than 80 volunteers attacked
  • Murder of three activist two which were white provoked an outpouring of international support for the movement
    • Whites murdered attracted far more attention than previous attacks made black resentment grow
civil rights act of 1964
Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Specifically prohibited racial discrimination in restaurants, snack bars, hotels, motels, swimming pools, and all other places of public accommodation
  • Funds could be withheld form any US government-supported school and/or education program found practicing racial discrimination
  • Established an equal opportunities commission to combat employment discrimination based on sex, religion, or race
voting rights act of 1965
Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Alabama march was attacked by state troopers (Selma March)
  • In response 1000’s gathered on the White House
  • Johnson declared ‘there is no negro problem, there is only an American problem’
  • Abolished literacy tests, poll taxes, and all other devices used to discriminate against minority voters
  • Any change in election law must be pre-cleared or officially approved beforehand through the federal district court
watts race riots 1965
Watts Race Riots - 1965
  • Long story short: White policeman pulls over young black driver, arrests him for speeding and possible intoxication. Crowd assembles, calls for reinforcements, crowd pelts police with rocks and bottles. 2 hours angry mob is attacking white drivers and setting cars aflame.
  • After 15,000 troops and police and 6 days order is restored.
    • 4000 arrested and 1000 injured and 34 dead
  • Incalculable harm to the civil rights movement
    • White backlash
watts race riots 19651
Watts Race Riots - 1965
  • Johnson Administration Response
    • Sent officials to discover reasons for the riot, which revealed the plight of urban blacks
      • Educational facilities remained segregated
      • 1950 to 1965 segregation in 15 large northern cities actually rose sharply
      • Black unemployment was double that of whites
      • Black unemployment was at 30 percent
      • 40 percent below poverty line
      • Majority of blacks were underemployed in unskilled and service jobs
      • 80 percent of northern blacks lived in segregated ghettos
      • Urban minorities had little to no political clout
      • City officials were racist
      • Almost all policemen were white who called their billy clubs ‘nigger knockers’
watts race riots 19652
Watts Race Riots - 1965
  • Racial attitudes became vivid to committee
    • Two members arrived in Watts, one black (assistant attorney general) and one white
    • Two white cops immediately stopped them
    • One cop asked the white man questions and for ID
    • One cop pulled the black member from the car, frisked him roughly, drew his pistol jammed the barrel into his stomach and began asking him questions to find out “why a nigger was riding with a white?”
watts race riots 19653
Watts Race Riots - 1965
  • Report said “the poor people, the voiceless people, the invisible people, had been ignored, and they were enraged.”
  • Life noted it as “a time bomb of black rage exploded in the ghettos”
  • Decades of segregation had led to two perspectives:
    • Blacks saw an America filled with discrimination
    • Whites saw an America finally trying to live up to its dream by passing social programs aimed at helping minorities
black power 1966
Black Power 1966
  • James Meredith, first black to graduate from Univ. of Miss.
    • “Walk against Fear” 225 mile trek from Memphis to Jackson as a demonstration that a black man could walk unharmed on the highways
    • Aimed to encourage black citizens to take advantage of the Voting Rights Act and register
    • 10 miles into Mississippi, white man stepped out of the bushes, fired his shotgun 3 times
      • Rushed to hospital, extracted 100’s of pellets from back, leg, and head
black power 19661
Black Power 1966
  • Activists rushed to Memphis, discussions on continuing March against Fear
    • New young leadership reflected militant attitudes
    • March would mark the emergence of Black Power
    • Activists had become disillusioned with white liberals
    • Resentful Johnson administration had become more interested in Vietnam than racial justice in America
  • Few months later Sammy Younge demanded to use an illegal “white only” rest room in Alabama and he was shot in the head
  • That Year two civil rights groups, SNCC and CORE expelled all white members
black power 19662
Black Power 1966
  • During the march Stokely Carmichael violated a police order and pitched a tent on the grounds of a black high school and was arrested by state troopers
  • He was released and held a large rally, jumped on a platform, shot his arm in the air with a clenched fist and shouted, “…we have been saying freedom for six years and we ain’t got nothin’. What we gonna start saying now is Black Power!”
black power 19663
Black Power 1966
  • Everything that happened afterward was a response to that moment
  • March against Fear would go down in history as one of the major turning points in the black liberation struggle
  • Black power is the coming together of black people in the struggle for their liberation
  • Last day a leader stood up and said, “we left our imposed status as Negroes and became Black Men…1966 is the year of the concept of Black Power
black muslims
Black Muslims
  • Malcolm X – vocal through the 1960’s felt Christianity was hypocritical, converted to Islam, and became the leader of the Black Muslims in Harlem
    • Felt the black man had no future in the United States
    • Enraged whites by labeling them “blue eyed devils”
    • Believed creating black states the only way they could obtain racial justice
    • Angered moderate blacks who worked hard for integration
    • Said King’s tactics of non-violence were absurd, declared blacks to “stand tall”
black muslims1
Black Muslims
  • 1st of a new phenomenon – a bold, black man demanding self-determination and if necessary self-defense
    • Shocked White America
  • Assassinated, bibliography was released soon after and became more famous in his death, a hero and martyr of sorts
  • Muhammad Ali
    • Heavyweight champion that converted to Islam, stripped of his belt for not going to war when drafted, and challenged society to believe “black is beautiful”
black panthers
Black Panthers
  • Summer of ‘67 led by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton
  • Growing militancy among young African Americans
  • Black leather, saluted with right hand above head, black glove, black berets because Army elites wore green
  • Result of assassination of Malcolm X
  • Ten point program
    • Re-educate with true history, black juries, exempt from military history
  • Called on UN to intervene, set up self defense groups to combat police brutality, neighborhood watch
  • Attracted TV cameras and scared white people
white backlash
White Backlash
  • Nonviolent protest won many whites over
  • Black power, black separatism, and rioting, increased opposition to the demands of black Americans called white backlash
  • Affirmative action required business and schools to recruit minorities and women
  • This was said to be reverse discrimination, no better than earlier forms of discrimination
new feminism
New Feminism
  • August 1970 women nationwide participated in the first major feminist demonstration in a half century – the women’s strike for equality
  • NYC was biggest demonstration
  • To many women the most important issue was discrimination
  • Merged to themes of liberation and empowerment
  • Between ’70 and ‘72 no issue received as much national attention as women’s liberation
    • More coverage than ever before about discrimination, opportunity, sexism, and abortion
new feminism1
New Feminism
  • Prompted males to wonder about liberating themselves from traditional roles
  • Women’s groups filed class action suits against all public schools on the grounds that they discriminated in salaries, promotion, and maternity benefits
  • Complaints against 1300 major companies demanding goals and timetables for equal employment and sued numerous other companies
  • Wanted better treatment in armed forces, better representation in labor unions, challenged state laws concerning abortion and rape
  • “The whole point of the female movement is that each and every woman shall recognize that the burden and the glory of here feminism lie with defining herself honestly in terms she shall choose.”
  • Even nuns organized challenging the idea that sin is based on Eve
    • Priests walked by and said ‘God Bless’ sisters responded, “thank you She will”
new feminism2
New Feminism
  • Dad is breadwinner and wife is mother and homemaker
    • 1950 70% fit this, in 1990 only 15% fit this
  • Divorce rates have doubled since 1970
  • Women now have become mayors, governors, reporters, liberating all professions
  • From 1970 – 1990 percentage of female attorneys, professors, physicians, and business managers have increased from 5% to over 33%
new feminism3
New Feminism
  • Exposed long suppressed private matters—abortion, harassment, incest, lesbianism, rape, wife and child beating—resulting in a more open society
  • Women’s liberation was the most successful social movement of the sixties era
the hispanic movement
The Hispanic Movement
  • Fastest growing minority group
  • Attaining civil rights played an indirect role
    • Goals emphasized the lack of economic justice for a generic farm-worker class—although all Chicanos would benefit
    • Focused on election, jobs, pay, and housing
  • Cesar Chavez organized farm workers in California, United Farm Workers
    • Relied on meager resources at hand, living simply, and playing on the sympathy of the American public
    • Used strikes, a 250 mile march to Sacramento, and a boycott of all grapes
american indian movement
American Indian Movement
  • Most deprived and troubled minority
  • Unemployment, suicide, slashed federal aid (little to no Government support)
  • American Indian Movement, demanded federal Indian policy
    • 1975 Congress passed Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act
      • Expanded tribal control over tribal governments and education, authorized federal funds to build needed public shoos
    • Possibly the most important piece of legislation passed
    • 1978 passed the Religious Freedom Act
      • Recognizing, protecting, and preserving the inherit right of American Indians to express and exercise their traditions and beliefs
american indian movement1
American Indian Movement
  • Protested and eventually some of the land was returned
    • Occupation of Mount Rushmore ‘70
    • 19 month occupation of Alcatraz Island form ’69 to ’71
    • “Trail of Broken Treaties” caravan from California to D.C. in ’72, with a 7 day occupation of Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs
    • 71 day militant occupation of Wounded Knee in ’73
civil rights and social movements in the americas1
Civil rights and social movements in the Americas
  • “Important to examine and understand because it was another defining period in U.S. history. Activists confronted issues central to this Republic: equality or inequality, war or peace, national interest versus individual rights, personal behavior versus Community standards. By raising these issues, the sixties legacy was to question the very nature and meaning of America”