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18.2 Challenging Segregation. I. The Role of Students. The youth of the generation, mostly college students, played a prominent role in the civil rights movement

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i the role of students
I. The Role of Students
  • The youth of the generation, mostly college students, played a prominent role in the civil rights movement
  • They established their own group called the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and played a key role in desegregating public facilities

Members of the Atlanta SNCC branch.

i the role of students1
I. The Role of Students…
  • They attended workshops where they were trained in nonviolence & participated in role-playing activities
  • Adopted the slogan “jail, not bail”
ii kennedy civil rights
II. Kennedy & Civil Rights

A. John F. Kennedy won the election of 1960

1. Lyndon Johnson, a white southerner, was his VP

Kennedy defeated Nixon by the narrowest margin of popular votes (112,754) in any presidential election.

ii kennedy civil rights1
II. Kennedy & Civil Rights…
  • Although JFK promised to support civil rights if elected, he was slow to act as President because he didn’t want to lose Southern support for other programs
  • Violence against civil rights activists finally forced JFK to support civil rights
ii kennedy civil rights2
II. Kennedy & Civil Rights…

1. He enforced the integration of bus terminals after the Freedom Riders were attacked

Freedom Riders were attacked by a group of white militants when they arrived in Birmingham, Alabama.

One of the buses was firebombed in Anniston, Alabama.

ii kennedy civil rights3
II. Kennedy & Civil Rights…

2. He sent federal marshals to escort James Meredith to the University of Mississippi (Sept. 1962)

Lt. Gov Paul Johnson blocks James Meredith from attempting to enter University of Mississippi in September 1962. Kennedy sent 500 federal marshals to escort Meredith to the campus.

ii kennedy civil rights4
II. Kennedy & Civil Rights…

3. He ordered his aides to prepare a civil rights bill after protestors in Birmingham, Alabama were attacked by police dogs & sprayed with fire hoses (April 1963)

Bull Connor, Birmingham’s Chief of Public Safety, ordered the use of fire hoses and police dogs against peaceful demonstrators, many who were kids.

civil rights address
Civil Rights Address

It ought to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his color. In short, every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated.

This is not the case. The Negro baby born in America today, regardless of the section of the nation in which he is born, has about one-half as much chance of completing high school as a white baby born in the same place on the same day; one third as much chance of completing college; one third as much chance of becoming a professional man; twice as much chance of becoming unemployed; about one-seventh as much chance of earning $10,000 a year; a life expectancy which is seven years shorter; and the prospects of earning only half as much.

We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it. And we cherish our freedom here at home. But are we to say to the world - and much more importantly to each other - that this is the land of the free, except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens, except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettos, no master race, except with respect to Negroes.

I am, therefore, asking the Congress to enact legislation fiving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public… This seems to me to be an elementary right. Its denial is an arbitrary indignity that no American in 1963 shall have to endure, but many do.

-President Kennedy, Civil Rights Address, June 11, 1963


iii the civil rights act of 1964
III. The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Civil rights activists held a March on Washington to help build momentum for the civil rights bill (Aug. 1963)

1. This is when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.


Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing

Four members of the KKK placed a bomb under the stairwell at the church which exploded as members were preparing for service. The church was targeted because it was the headquarters of the Birmingham movement where MLK launched protests against segregation.

iii the civil rights act of 19641
III. The Civil Rights Act of 1964…
  • After JFK’s assassination, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law

1. Ended segregation in public places

2. Called for equal employment opportunities for all

3. Attorney General could issue lawsuits on schools that didn’t desegregate

Civil Rights Act 1964

iv the struggle for voting rights
IV. The Struggle for Voting Rights



  • June 1964 SNCC sent volunteers into Mississippi to start a voter registration drive - Freedom Summer

1. Expand voter registration

2. Organize a political party called the “Freedom Democratic Party”

3. Start “freedom schools”

4. Open community centers

freedom summer 1964
Freedom Summer 1964
  • On June 21st, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner
  • They had been taken to jail for speeding charges but were later released.
  • The local police claimed it was all a hoax. The FBI opened their own investigation.
  • Their bodies were found on August 4th in a dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi.
iv the struggle for voting rights1
IV. The Struggle for Voting Rights…

B. African Americans held a protest in Selma, Alabama for voting rights (1965)

1. While attempting to march protestors were beaten by the police

iv the struggle for voting rights2
IV. The Struggle for Voting Rights…

C. Led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

1. Enforced their right to vote under the 15th Amendment

2. Prohibited the use of literacy tests

3. Federal examiners would assist with enrolling African Americans

Number of Black Southern Legislators, 1868-1900 and 1960-1992