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HST210 – Civil Rights Movement.docx

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HST 210
Jenny Carson

HST210 – US History 1877 to Present Lecture #15 – Civil Rights Movement Origins of the Civil Rights Movement - The persistence of segregation and disenfranchisement in the South o segregation was still the law o AAs cannot vote o by 1940s, only 5% of AAs in the south were registered to vote - Experiences of Black WWII veterans o 1M AAs serve in WWII to make the world safe for democracy o they were fighting the world's most racist (Hitler) from one of the world's more segregated armies (US) o hence they launched double V campaign o double V campaign continued after the war o AA veterans discriminated against after the war o during the war, AAs at home enjoy some occupational mobility, but are told to go back home after the war o many AAs fought to preserve the economic gains from the war - The activities of civil rights organizations such as the NAACP (court challenges) and CORE (direct action) and the Black church. o National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People  founded in 1909 by whites and blacks >interracial  NAACP focuses on using legal system/courts to fight discrimination/segregation - Congress of Racial Equality o founded in 1942 in Chicago o interracial group of pacifists o uses direct action to confront discrimination - The support of white liberals o became concerned with dichotomy between US desire to make world safe for democracy and the treatment of AAs at home o white Americans join civil rights organizations and provide money - Mass media, esp. the television - The CRM was the product of large-scale political and social forces that had been percolating for a long time. - CRM was a community-based mass movement Brown Vs the Board of Education of Topeka, Texas (1954) - in 1940s and 50s, black parents began to file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of separate schools - Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “separate educational facilities were inherently unequal“ b/c they deprived African Americans of equal protection of the law th (14 Amend.). - Oliver Brown's 8 year old daughter was forced to take a bus across town to the coloured school even though there was a white school down the street o he filed a lawsuit demanding that his daughter be allowed to attend the white school - Brown II (1955) ruled that local school boards had to desegregate with all “deliberate speed.” o second law issues bc the first ruling was ignored o ruling too vague - Many southern states ignore the Brown ruling Little Rock, Arkansas School Crisis - nine black children try to attend the all-white central high school in 1957 - Governor Orval Faubus (white supremacist) sends in the Arkansas National Guard to prevent integration - Angry Whites Mob the Arkansas Nine - Eisenhower Places the Arkansas National Guard Under Federal Control and Orders the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock to Force Integration - Eisenhower wasn't a civil rights warrior o he was sympathetic to white southerners o integration should not be forced, it should come from a change in people's harts and minds o doesn't use moral authority to advance civil rights - Eisenhower disliked that there was a Governor ignoring federal law - Eisenhower not willing to allow a state government to ignore federal authority o nationalizes Arkansas National Guard and sends in 101st Airborne Division - 9 student spent the rest of the year going to the all white school protected by soldiers - Governor closes down the high school to avoid integration the following year Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott - 75% of people who ride busses in Montgomery were African American - Rosa Parks was part of the NAACP o NAACP had ben planning to launch a test case to test the constitutionality of segregation on busses - Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on the bus to a white man and is arrested o thrown in jail, NAACP bail her out and start working on her case - AAs launch a one-year boycott of Montgomery’s buses, organized by the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association (headed by Martin Luther King) o bus company makes changes after the boycott because they had lost lost of money o desegregates and hires AA drivers - Mass local pressure is supplemented by a federal lawsuit, Browder v. Gayle, that challenges segregation in public transportation o test case o segregation on busses is not constitutional o Brown vs Board of Education said segregation in schools is unconstitutional so it should also be unconstitutional in transportation o Supreme court agreed - Nov. 13, 1956, Supreme Court rules that racial segregation on buses is unconstitutional o slow dismantling of segregation in school/transportation - revealed importance of both local protests and intervention form federal government Martin Luther King - Advocates the use of nonviolent civil disobedience (Gandhi) o if the black are violent, whites would have a reason to arrest them - king realized minority of diehard southern racists could be counted on to respond violently to black peaceful protests o helped civil rights activists win the sympathy of the nation - Emerges as leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott - Founds the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to coordinate the protest movements that are emerging throughout the South - The SCLC will use direct action tactics such as boycotts and sit-ins Sit-ins: Greensboro - North Carolina - feb 1, 1960, 4 black students decided to try and desegregate a white only restaurant by sitting at the white only table - they were refused service, but they refused to leave - came back the next day and were joined by 24 more supporters - by the third day, hundred of students crowded into the restaurant demanding to be served - was often enough to get the stores to change policies - by the end of 1960, over 200 cities had sit-ins, mostly launched by students - focused on lunch counters/restaurants, libraries, theatres, museum, stores, etc Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee - Founded in 1960 by students as a decentralized, non-hierarchical organization - Used direct confrontation, mass action and civil disobedience. - SNCC believes in the need for increased militancy. Freedom Rides - White and Blacks ride buses together to integrate interstate travel (buses that cross state lines). o segregation on interstate busses had been banned since 1955 o busses physically desegregated by freedom riders - Organized by James Farmer of CORE. - Creates a crisis situation (when the buses are attacked) which forces the federal government to intervene and enforce desegregation of buses. o smart strategy o by creating the conditions for the whites to attack, the freedom riders are forcing the Kennedy government to intervene Black and White Freedom Riders Try to Integrate BusesHeaded for the Deep South Freedom Riders are Attacked - when first bus enters Aniston Alabama, the bus is mobbed - bomb thrown at the bus - when riders emerge, they are savagely beaten - despite the attack, a second group of freedom riders embark on a bus trip, they are also attacked Freedom Rides - The attacks on the buses and media attention compels the federal government (JFK) to intervene and force the Interstate Commerce Commission to uphold the laws desegregating interstate buses. Birmingham, Alabama Campaign (1963) - King and the SCLC decide to try to desegregate Birmingham, one of the most segregated cities in the South. - Public safety commissioner”and rabid racist Bull Connor attacks the civil rights activists
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