Free at last! Free at last! America’s Civil Rights Movement
After WWII • After Hitler, America viewed racism as evil • Black soldiers fought for America in the war but were denied basic freedoms at home • Having moved to cities, more blacks were making money and contacts. This led to discussion and movements for change.
Jim Crow • The term was generally identified with those racist laws and actions that deprived African Americans of their civil rights by defining blacks as inferior to whites. These laws kept blacks from voting, from mixing with white people in public facilities and, in some states, from interracial marriage and home ownership.
Court Cases • Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 established segregation as acceptable under the Constitution. • Thurgood Marshall and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People challenged this doctrine in front of the Supreme Court.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topekamakes segregation unconstitutional in public education. • Schools are told to integrate “with all deliberate speed”
Montgomery Bus Boycott • Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on the bus to a white person and is arrested
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encourages the black population to walk, car pool or ride bikes to financially effect the bus lines.
Violent reaction of whites to this nonviolent protest gains the attention of the nation. • The bus lines become desegregated • The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is formed to continue the “fight”.
Little Rock 9 • 1957 - 9 black students set to attend Central High, an all white school, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
OrvalFaubus, the governor, resists and sends in the National Guard • The 9 are turned away, causing President Eisenhower to reluctantly become involved.
The students return to the school 3 weeks later escorted by the 101st Airborne (fully armed).
Other forms of protest • Sit ins – Black people peacefully sit at a lunch counter and wait to be served while whites abuse them in a variety of ways.
Freedom Rides • Black people board interstate buses and sit in the front, while white people sit in the back. They try to use “whites only” facilities at the stops.
Riders were often attacked. Pressure on the President led Kennedy to integrate interstate bus facilities
Children’s March • 1963 - Birmingham, Alabama • Civil Rights leaders want to embarrass city officials by filling the jails with children and teens.
While they expect violence to increase support for their cause, they did not anticipate the level of violence that the kids would receive – attacks by dogs, being sprayed by high pressure hoses, being beaten by policemen with billy clubs.
Over 900 children are arrested on the first day, but even more children showed up to march on the next! Video: The Children’s March
Freedom Summer • 1964 – Northern college students come to Mississippi to register the black population to vote • They endure beatings, harassment, bombings, arrest, and murder but add about 1200 registered voters to the state numbers.
Marches • 1963 – March on Washington – 250,000 people demonstrate to support civil rights legislation. The size of the march led many groups to call for federal laws. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his “I Have a Dream” speech.
“BLOODY SUNDAY” • 1965 – King organizes a protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Crossing a bridge, they are attacked by state troopers. President Johnson is fed up with the violence and sends troops to protect the marchers. He uses the violence to push for voting rights legislation.
Legislation • 1964 – Using Kennedy’s assassination to get the public to support it, Lyndon Johnson pushes through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banning segregation in public places and creating the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to prevent job discrimination. • 1965 – Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act banning literacy tests and other laws meant to keep blacks from voting.
Johnson’s Great Society • A series of programs aimed helping minorities, the poor, the elderly, and women. It includes legislation to promote education, end discrimination and protect the environment. • Many programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, are still in place
Assassinations • 1963 – Dallas, TX. President Kennedy is assassinated while riding in the presidential motorcade. The nation is shocked and mourns for its youngest, most dynamic President.
1967 – Memphis, TN. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated leading black communities around the nation to explode in anger. The peaceful leader of the Civil Rights Movement is mourned… Video Review of Civil Rights
Mexican Americans • 1962 – Cesar Chavez, a migrant farm worker, decides to start a union for farm workers. Owners ignore it, so workers strike. They don’t buy produce harvested by nonunion workers. The tactics work.
La Raza Unida, “the united people” fight for better jobs, education, pay and housing. • 1968 – Students in L.A. walk out of class, protesting for better facilities and more relevant courses.
Native Americans • 1961 – 400 Native Americans from many tribes draft the Declaration of Indian Purpose demanding the “right to choose our own way of life” and the “responsibility of preserving our precious heritage.”
1969 – American Indian Movement (AIM) is founded and demands rights for people on reservations and recognition of tribal laws. • 1975 – The Self Determination Act of 1975 gives greater tribal control over social programs, education, and law enforcement.
Women’s Rights • Women had limited rights and little control of their own lives. They couldn’t sign contracts, sell property, or get credit. • 1963 – Betty Friedan writes The Feminine Mystique which leads to organization of the National Organization for Women (NOW) which aims to get women better jobs and pay.