Civil Rights Movement US History
Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) Involved Scott, a slave who had been brought by his owner to free states in the North. After his master’s death, he attempted to sue for freedom. Case eventually made it to the Supreme Court, which held in an opinion by Roger B. Taney that African Americans were not citizens and therefore had no legal standing to sue. Emancipation Proclamation (1863) An executive order issued by Lincoln following the Union Army’s victory in the Battle of Antietam Declared all slaves in the Confederacy liberated (did not apply to slave states under Union control) Prompted many slaves to escape the South to gain their freedom Historical Developments
13th Amendment (1865) Abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States Black Codes Southerners sought to undermine blacks’ newfound liberty via legislation Mississippi and South Carolina passed the first codes. Mississippi’s forced blacks to have signed a labor contract for the upcoming year by January or face imprisonment while South Carolina’s mandated that blacks could only work as farmers or servants unless they paid a fine Historical Developments
Historical Developments • 14th Amendment (1868) • Granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, assured “equal protection of the laws,” and made it illegal to deprive a person of life, liberty, and property without due process • 15th Amendment (1870) • Prevents state or federal governments from denying suffrage because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude
Historical Developments • Jim Crow Laws • Again, white southerners, who by the late 1870’s had reestablished political control, attempted to dull the effect of these laws • Mandated de jure segregation in all public facilities reconciled the laws with the 14th Amendment by claiming the facilities “separate but equal” • Disenfranchised blacks by instituting poll taxes, literacy tests, and property requirements whites were often exempt from these barriers because of grandfather clauses • Still, many poor whites were disenfranchised as well • KKK used intimidation and violence to deter blacks from voting
Historical Developments • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) • Upheld segregation laws as long as facilities were “separate but equal” • Lynchings • Extrajudicial killings carried out by mobs, most frequently against blacks • Anti-lynching laws were often discussed in Congress but failed to pass
Historical Developments • 19th Amendment (1920) • Granted women the right to vote • Brown v. Board (1954) • Overturned the “separate but equal” holding of the Plessy case, declaring segregation inherently unequal • Years would pass before the South fully implemented desegregation
Brown v. Board • At the time, nation spent 10x more on white schools than black schools • Litigated by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), an organization which advocated for civil rights through the judicial system • Thurgood Marshall argued the case before the Supreme Court later became the first African-American Supreme Court justice • Oliver Brown was the plaintiff in the case; his daughter, Linda, had to walk 6 blocks to get to the bus stop in order to commute to the nearest segregated school, 21 blocks away. The closest white school was only 7 blocks away.
Desegregation & Resistance • Brown II case (1955) ordered desegregation to be carried out with “all deliberate speed” • Many states used the ambiguous language to delay school integration • Some state officials promised absolute resistance to desegregation efforts • Texas’ governor used the Texas Rangers to stymie integration • 1963: Alabama governor's inaugural address • Within a year, however, more than 500 school districts had desegregated
Central High School Crisis • In 1957, the school district in Little Rock, AR began to desegregate • Gov. OrvalFaubus disagreed with the decision and ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the “Little Rock Nine,” the nine African-American students who had volunteered to attend integrated schools, from going to class • A federal judge ordered the governor to admit the students • Initially, Pres. Eisenhower did not support enforcing states’ compliance with the law • Crisis at Central High caused him to change his mind
Central High School Crisis • Eisenhower placed the Arkansas National Guard under federal control and sent a thousand troops to Little Rock to ensure the students’ safe passage • Still, the students faced constant harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence • Following the end of the school year, the governor closed Central High School
Civil Rights Act of 1957 • First civil rights law since Reconstruction • Gave attorney general greater power over school desegregation • Main goal of law was to ensure blacks’ voting rights • Also, allowed blacks to serve on juries • Lacked enforcement mechanisms, so it was generally ineffective • Sen. Strom Thurmond from South Carolina led the longest one-person filibuster in history (over 24 hours) in a failed attempt to block passage of the bill • Lyndon B. Johnson (D-Tex), then the Senate Majority Leader, was one of the key players in bringing the law to fruition
Discussion • Why might someone resist desegregation efforts? • Why do you think racism exists? • Does racism parallel with other “isms?” • Is it possible to eliminate racism? How?
Bus Discrimination • Blacks were forced to enter at the front of the bus to pay, exit, then re-board and sit at the rear • Mistreated by bus drivers who simultaneously greeted whites respectfully • Black nurses or maids with white children were allowed to sit in seats designated for whites • Many bus routes in the South served a predominantly black clientele. Regardless, blacks could not sit in the front of the bus; even if there were no other seats available, most bus drivers forced them to stand
Rosa Parks • Parks was a seamstress and NAACP officer • Led a life of activism • On December 1, 1955 she took a seat in the first row of the “colored” section of the bus • The bus filled up quickly and Parks, along with 3 other African-Americans, were asked to give up their seats • The others assented; Parks, however, refused • The bus driver called the cops and had Parks arrested She went to jail briefly but was released on bail • Parks had had trouble with the same bus driver previously. In 1943, she refused to exit the bus and re-board in the rear after paying her fare. The driver forced her to leave. • http://www.salon.com/2013/02/03/rosa_parks_i_had_been_pushed_as_far_as_i_could_stand/
Montgomery Bus Boycott • Following Parks’ protest, African-American leaders decided to boycott Montgomery buses to protest their mistreatment • Formed the Montgomery Improvement Association to organize the boycott MLK, a 26 year-old minister at a local church, was elected to lead the group • African-Americans took cabs, walked, and organized carpools for transportation • Many whites responded with violence: King’s home and several black churches were bombed • King pleaded with his followers to avoid violent resistance • Boycotts were extremely effective, slicing revenues • 381 day boycott ended with the 1956 Supreme Court decision outlawing bus segregation • Demonstrated the effectiveness of nonviolent protest and sparked further resistance