From Civil Rights to Black Power. Aims of Civil Right Movement. Civil Rights = Rights of the citizen of a country CRM was a ‘reformist’ movement. It wanted black people to be treated equally, to have full citizenship rights and be integrated into the power structures of US society.
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Litigation (ietrying to change the laws)
- 1909: National Association for the advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded. Challenged the legality of segregation – unsuccessfully until 1930s.
- “a lawyer’s either a social engineer, or he’s a parasite on society” Charles Houston 1935.
- Expensive and slow to bring court cases + in southern white segregationists controlled legal system.
Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat, Montgomery Bus Boycott started (1955-1956). Results: Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to segregate seating on any bus in the USA on the basis of colour + Martin Luther King emerged as CRM leader + established SCLC
‘sit-ins’ in segregated restaurants and public facilities were started by students at Greenboro in 1960. Their success led to mass movement of ‘Kneel ins’ in segregated churches, ‘read-ins’ in segregated public libraries, ‘play-ins’ in segregated public parks, ‘wade-ins’ in segregated beaches. Action co-ordinated by SNCC (founded 1960).
“It ought to be possible …for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race for color…We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American constitution”
JFK introduced a Civil Rights Bill into congress.
- 250,000 people, non-racial, non-violent.
Martin Luther King gave his ‘I have a Dream’ Speech.
‘…I have a dream that my four little 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…’
- banned segregation and discrimination in all workplaces and public facilities on the basis of race (or gender).
- no one could be prevented from voting because of the colour of their skin.
BUT legal and legislative victories did not immediately translate into social and economic transformation(ie The majority of black people remained poorly educated and in low paying jobs)
1964: Riots in Harlem, Bedford-Styvesant
1965: Riots in Watts, L.A.
Malcolm X assassinated in NYC
1967: Riots in Newark and Detroit
1968: MLK assassinated.
Countrywide riots erupted
President Johnson ordered a commission to investigate the cause of this violence. Its key finding was that the country was divided, along racial and socio-economic lines, into two societies:
NB: 40% blacks lived below the poverty line.
‘Chronic poverty is the breeder of chronic chaos’
(Stokley Carmichael, Student non-violent co-ordinating Committee SNCC)
‘be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts a hand on you, send him to the cemetery’
‘One thing that the white man can never give the black man is self-respect. ..The black man needs to start his own program to get rid of drunkenness, drug addiction, prostitution. The black man in America has to lift up his own sense of values’
1) We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community. 2) We want full employment for our people.4) We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.5) We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.6) We want all black men to be exempt from military service.7) We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of black people.8) We want freedom for all black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.10) We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.
- Hipster culture emerges
NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. It was founded in 1909 by W E DuBois, among others. Its strategy was to use
the courts and law making bodies to advance the rights of African Americans.
SCLC: Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1957. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was the first president. Their strategy was direct action and mass mobilisation.
CORE: The Congress of Racial Equality was founded in 1942 by a group of students in Chicago. CORE organised student sit-ins during 1961. Within six months these sit-ins had ended restaurant and lunch-counter segregation in twenty-six southern cities. Student sit-ins were also successful against segregation in public parks, swimming pools, theatres, churches, libraries, museums and beaches.
SNCC: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was founded in October, 1960 by students involved in the sit-ins. The committee followed the policy of non- violent direct action. In 1966 Stokely Carmichael became President and advocated a shift from ‘Freedom Now’ to ‘Black Power’. Many people left the organisation in protest at this more radical approach. The SNCC stopped functioning in 1970.