The Civil Rights Movement: The Black Power Movement
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Blacks had left white churches and the Southern Baptist Convention to set up their own churches free of white supervision immediately during and after the American Civil War. With the help of northern associations, they quickly began to set up state conventions and, by , joined several associations into the black National Baptist Convention , the first of that denomination among blacks. The churches were centers of community activity, especially organizing for education. Martin Luther King Jr. Vivian are among the many notable minister-activists. Continuing to see education as the primary route of advancement and critical for the race, many talented blacks went into teaching, which had high respect as a profession. Segregated schools for blacks were underfunded in the South and ran on shortened schedules in rural areas.
Despite segregation, in Washington, DC by contrast, as Federal employees, black and white teachers were paid on the same scale. Outstanding black teachers in the North received advanced degrees and taught in highly regarded schools, which trained the next generation of leaders in cities such as Chicago, Washington, and New York, whose black populations had increased in the 20th century due to the Great Migration. Education was one of the major achievements of the black community in the 19th century. Blacks in Reconstruction governments had supported the establishment of public education in every Southern state. Despite the difficulties, with the enormous eagerness of freedmen for education, by the African-American community had trained and put to work 30, African-American teachers in the South.
In addition, a majority of the black population had achieved literacy. African-American teachers got many children and adults started on education. Northern alliances had helped fund normal schools and colleges to teach African-American teachers, as well as create other professional classes. The American Missionary Association , supported largely by the Congregational and Presbyterian churches, had helped fund and staff numerous private schools and colleges in the South, who collaborated with black communities to train generations of teachers and other leaders.
Major 20th-century industrialists , such as George Eastman of Rochester, New York , acted as philanthropists and made substantial donations to black educational institutions such as Tuskegee Institute. In , the U. Congress passed the Morrill Act , which established federal funding of a land grant college in each state, but 17 states refused to admit black students to their land grant colleges. In response, Congress enacted the second Morrill Act of , which required states that excluded blacks from their existing land grant colleges to open separate institutions and to equitably divide the funds between the schools.
The colleges founded in response to the second Morill Act became today's public historically black colleges and universities HBCUs and, together with the private HBCUs and the unsegregated colleges in the North and West, provided higher educational opportunities to African Americans. Federally funded extension agents from the land grant colleges spread knowledge about scientific agriculture and home economics to rural communities with agents from the HBCUs focusing on black farmers and families. In the 19th century, blacks formed fraternal organizations across the South and the North, including an increasing number of women's clubs. They created and supported institutions that increased education, health and welfare for black communities.
After the turn of the 20th century, black men and women also began to found their own college fraternities and sororities to create additional networks for lifelong service and collaboration. For example, Alpha Phi Alpha the first black intercollegiate fraternity was founded at Cornell University in Tuskegee took the lead in spreading industrial education to Africa, typically in cooperation with church missionary efforts. Development of library services for blacks, particularly in the South, was slow moving and lackluster. At the turn of the 20th century there were only a few available and they were largely housed on private grounds. Western Colored Branch established in , the first public library in the South for African Americans, was the first of its kind to be funded by a Carnegie grant.
Following the Brown v. Board of Education decision effort was made to desegregate public libraries along with other facilities. A primary example of those who worked to achieve such is The Tougaloo Nine. They chose to stay despite harassment and were arrested. There were several similar incidents during the Civil Rights Movement, including the St. Helena Four who, on March 7, , sought to enter the St. Wayne and Shirley A. Wiegand have written the history of the desegregation of public libraries in the Jim Crow South.
At the turn of the 20th century, Booker T. Washington was regarded, particularly by the white community, as the foremost spokesman for African Americans in the US. Washington, who led the Tuskegee Institute , preached a message of self-reliance. He urged blacks to concentrate on improving their economic position rather than demanding social equality until they had proved that they "deserved" it.
Publicly, he accepted the continuation of Jim Crow and segregation in the short term, but privately helped to fund national court cases that challenged the laws. Du Bois and others in the black community rejected Washington's apology for segregation. One of his close associates, William Monroe Trotter , was arrested after challenging Washington when he came to deliver a speech in Boston in They issued a manifesto calling for universal manhood suffrage, elimination of all forms of racial segregation and extension of education—not limited to the vocational education that Washington emphasized—on a nondiscriminatory basis.
The Niagara Movement was actively opposed by Washington, and had effectively collapsed due to internal divisions by Du Bois also became editor of its magazine The Crisis. It successfully challenged the Louisville, Kentucky ordinance that required residential segregation in Buchanan v. Warley , U. It also gained a Supreme Court ruling striking down Oklahoma's grandfather clause that exempted most illiterate white voters from a law that disfranchised African-American citizens in Guinn v.
United States Segregation in the federal civil service began under President Theodore Roosevelt, and continued under President Taft. It was arranged for Du Bois to receive an Army commission, but he failed his physical. Boston and a few other cities refused to allow the film to open. The NAACP operated primarily at the local level, providing as forum that brought black religious, professional and business elites in most large cities. Baltimore was a pioneer in battling for issues that dominated the agendas of the post-World War II civil rights and Black Power movements.
Baltimore activists were protest pioneers during the s and s. They organized in the city to fight against housing discrimination, school segregation, prison conditions, and police brutality. The NAACP devoted much of its energy between the first and second world wars to mobilizing a crusade against the lynching of blacks. Though primarily consisting of white-on-black attacks, Red Summer saw blacks begin to fight back, in Chicago and other cities. The organization sent Walter F. White , who later became its general secretary, to Phillips County, Arkansas in October to investigate the Elaine massacres.
In that year, it was unusual for being a rural riot: more than black tenant farmers were killed for trying to organize a union. They were murdered by roving white vigilantes and federal troops after a deputy sheriff's attack on a union meeting of sharecroppers left one white man dead. The NAACP organized the appeals for twelve men sentenced to death a month later, based on their testimony having been obtained by beating and electric shocks.
Dempsey ,  significantly expanded the Federal courts' oversight of the states' criminal justice systems in the years to come. Efforts to pass an anti-lynching law foundered on the power of the Solid South ; Southern Democrats in the Senate controlled power in Congress. For instance, while Republicans achieved passage in the House of an anti-lynching law in , Southern Democratic senators filibustered the bill in the Senate and defeated it in the , and legislative sessions. Because positions were awarded by seniority and the South was a one-party region, its Democratic congressmen controlled important chairmanships in both houses of Congress.
The South defeated all anti-lynching legislative bills. They opposed him because of his opposition to black suffrage and his anti-labor rulings. This alliance and lobbying campaign were important for the NAACP, both in demonstrating their ability to mobilize widespread opposition to racism and as a first step toward building political alliances with the labor movement. Whites targeted other NAACP members, threatening them, and ran several families out of town who feared for their safety. After World War II , African-American veterans returning to the South were spurred by their sacrifices and experiences to renew demands for the protection and exercise of their constitutional rights as citizens in American society. I spent four years in the Army to free a bunch of Dutchmen and Frenchmen , and I'm hanged if I'm going to let the Alabama version of the Germans kick me around when I get home.
No sirree-bob! I went into the Army a nigger ; I'm comin' out a man. The NAACP 's legal department, headed by Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall , undertook a litigation campaign spanning several decades to bring about the reversal of the " separate but equal " doctrine established in the Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson Instead of appealing to the legislative or executive branches of government, they focused on challenges through the courts.
They knew that Congress was dominated by Southern segregationists, while the Presidency could not afford to lose the Southern vote. These were typically underfunded, with outdated textbooks and facilities. Such cases helped lay the foundation for the ultimate reversal of the doctrine in Plessy v. Marshall believed that the time had come to do away with "separate but equal". The NAACP issued a directive stating that their goal was now "obtaining education on a nonsegregated basis and that no relief other than that will be acceptable. In Topeka, Kansas , the local NAACP branch determined that Oliver Brown would be a good candidate for filing a lawsuit; he was an assistant pastor and the father of three girls.
The NAACP instructed him to apply to enroll his daughters at a local white school; after the expected rejection, Brown v. Board of Education was filed. Later, this and several other cases made their way to the Supreme Court, where they were consolidated under the title of Brown. The decision to name the case after one originating in Kansas was apparently made "so that the whole question would not smack of being a purely southern one. Vinson , who would almost certainly oppose overruling Plessy , could destroy their case. One historian stated: "There was a sense that if you do this and you lose, you're going to enshrine Plessy for a generation. In December , the Supreme Court heard the case, but could not come to a decision.
Unusually, they pushed the case back by a year, to allow the lawyers involved to research the intention of the framers who drafted the " Equal Protection Clause " of the 14th Amendment. In September , Vinson died of a heart attack , for which Justice Felix Frankfurter remarked: "This is the first indication I have ever had that there is a God. After the case was reheard in December, Warren set about persuading his colleagues to reach a unanimous decision overruling Plessy. Five of the other eight judges were firmly on his side. He persuaded another two by saying that the decision would not touch greatly on the original question of Plessy' s legality, focusing instead on the principle of equality.
Justice Stanley Reed was swayed after Warren suggested that a Southerner's lone dissent on this issue could be more dangerous and incendiary than the court's unanimous decision. It said that "segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race" was unconstitutional because it deprived "the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities" and thus equal protection under the law. Numerous Southern leaders and their constituents strongly resisted the ruling; the Governor of Virginia , Thomas B. Stanley , insisted he would "use every legal means at my command to continue segregated schools in Virginia," and some school districts closed down rather than integrate.
Some 19 Senators and 77 members of the House of Representatives , including the entire congressional delegations of the states of Alabama , Arkansas , Georgia , Louisiana , Mississippi , South Carolina and Virginia , signed " The Southern Manifesto ", all but two of the signatories were Southern Democrats : Republicans Joel Broyhill and Richard Poff of Virginia also promised to resist the decision by "lawful means. Many from the American-Jewish community tacitly or actively supported the civil rights movement [ citation needed ].
The Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald supported the construction of thousands of primary and secondary schools for black youth in the rural South; the public school system was segregated and black facilities were historically underfunded. In partnership with Booker T. Washington and Tuskegee University , Rosenwald created a matching fund which provided seed money for building. Tuskegee Institute architects created model school plans. Black communities essentially taxed themselves twice to raise funds for such schools, which required community matching funds. Often most of the residents in rural areas were blacks.
Public funds were committed for the schools, and blacks raised additional funds by community events, donating land and labor, and sometimes by members' getting second mortgages on their homes. Hoping to encourage collaboration, Rosenwald required the white school systems to support the schools by approving them. At one time some forty percent of rural southern blacks were learning at Rosenwald elementary schools; nearly 5, were built in total. It recounted that Jewish scholars fleeing from or surviving the Holocaust of World War II came to teach at many Southern schools, where they reached out to black students: . Thus, in the s and s when Jewish refugee professors arrived at Southern Black Colleges , there was a history of overt empathy between Blacks and Jews, and the possibility of truly effective collaboration.
Professor Ernst Borinski organized dinners at which Blacks and Whites would have to sit next to each other—a simple yet revolutionary act. Black students empathized with the cruelty these scholars had endured in Europe and trusted them more than other Whites. In fact, often Black students—as well as members of the Southern White community—saw these refugees as "some kind of colored folk. The experience of fighting in World War I along with exposure to different racial attitudes in Europe influenced the black veterans by creating a widespread demand for the freedoms and equality for which they had fought. Those veterans found conditions at home as bad as ever.
Some were assaulted even while wearing their uniforms in public. Philip Randolph introduced the term the New Negro in , becoming a catchphrase to describe the new spirit of militancy and impatience of the post-war era. The leaders of the Brotherhood, many of whom joined the Communist Party in the years to come, were also inspired by the anti-imperialist program of the new Soviet Union. In addition, during the Great Migration , hundreds of thousands of African Americans moved to northern industrial cities starting prior to World War I and through They were both fleeing violence and segregation and seeking jobs, as manpower shortages in war industries promised steady work.
Continued depressed conditions in the farm economy of the South in the s made the north look more appealing. Those expanding northern communities confronted familiar problems—racism, poverty, police abuse and official hostility—but these were in a new setting, where the men could vote and women, too, after , and possibilities for political action were far broader than in the South. Garvey's program pointed in the opposite direction from mainstream civil rights organizations such as the NAACP; instead of striving for integration into white-dominated society, Garvey's program of Pan Africanism has become known as Garveyism.
It encourages economic independence within the system of racial segregation in the United States, an African Orthodox Church with a black Jesus and black Virgin Mother that offered an alternative to the white Jesus of the black church, and a campaign that urged African Americans to " return to Africa ," if not physically, at least in spirit. Garvey attracted thousands of supporters, both in the United States and in the African diaspora in the Caribbean , and claimed eleven million members for the UNIA, which was broadly popular in Northern black communities. Garvey's movement was a contradictory mix of defeatism , accommodation and separatism : he married themes of self-reliance that Booker T. Washington could have endorsed and the " gospel of success " so popular in white America in the s with a rejection of colonialism worldwide and rejection of racial inferiority.
The movement collapsed nearly as quickly as it blossomed, as the federal government convicted Garvey for mail fraud in in connection with the movement's financially troubled " Black Star Line ". The government commuted Garvey's sentence and deported Garvey to his native Jamaica in While the movement floundered without him, it inspired other self-help and separatist movements that followed, including Father Divine and the Nation of Islam. The labor movement, with some exceptions, had historically excluded African Americans. While the radical labor organizers who led organizing drives among packinghouse workers in Chicago and Kansas City during World War I and the steel industry in made determined efforts to appeal to black workers, they were not able to overcome the widespread distrust of the labor movement among black workers in the North.
With the ultimate defeat of both of those organizing drives, the black community and the labor movement largely returned to their traditional mutual mistrust. Left-wing political activists in the labor movement made some progress in the s and s, however, in bridging that gap. Randolph and the union faced opposition not only from the Pullman Company , but from the press and churches within the black community, many of whom were the beneficiaries of financial support from the company. The union eventually won over many of its critics in the black community by wedding its organizing program with the larger goal of black empowerment.
The union won recognition from the Pullman Company in after a ten-year campaign, and a union contract in The CIO was much more committed to organizing African-American workers and made strenuous efforts to persuade the BSCP to join it, but Randolph believed more could be done to advance black workers' rights, particularly in the railway industry, by remaining in the AFL, to which the other railway brotherhoods belonged. Randolph remained the voice for black workers within the labor movement, raising demands for elimination of Jim Crow unions within the AFL at every opportunity. BSCP members such as Edgar Nixon played a significant role in the civil rights struggles of the following decades. Many of the CIO unions, in particular the Packinghouse Workers, the United Auto Workers and the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers made advocacy of civil rights part of their organizing strategy and bargaining priorities: they gained improvements for workers in meatpacking in Chicago and Omaha, and in the steel and related industries throughout the Midwest.
The CIO was particularly vocal in calling for elimination of racial discrimination by defense industries during World War II ; they were also forced to combat racism within their own membership, putting down strikes by white workers who refused to work with black co-workers. While many of these "hate strikes" were short-lived: a wildcat strike launched in Philadelphia in when the federal government ordered the private transit company to desegregate its workforce lasted two weeks and was ended only when the Roosevelt administration sent troops to guard the system and arrested the strike's ringleaders.
Randolph and the BSCP took the battle against employment discrimination even further, threatening a March on Washington in if the government did not take steps to outlaw racial discrimination by defense contractors. Randolph limited the March on Washington Movement to black organizations to maintain black leadership; he endured harsh criticism from others on the left for his insistence on black workers' rights in the middle of a war.
Randolph only dropped the plan to march after winning substantial concessions from the Roosevelt administration. In , the NAACP and the Communist Party USA also organized support for the " Scottsboro Boys ", nine black men arrested after a fight with some white men also riding the rails, then convicted and sentenced to death for allegedly raping two white women dressed in men's clothes later found on the same train. Alabama and Norris v. Alabama extending the rights of defendants; its political campaign saved all the defendants from the death sentence and ultimately led to freedom for most of them.
The Scottsboro defense was only one of the ILD's many cases in the South; for a period in the early and mids, the ILD was the most active defender of blacks' civil rights, and the Communist Party attracted many members among activist African Americans. Its campaigns for black defendants' rights did much to focus national attention on the extreme conditions which black defendants faced in the criminal justice system throughout the South. Its treatment of African Americans compromised the United States' role as a would-be world leader and champion of democracy. The world challenge from Communism —not to be confused with the actions of the U.
Communist Party in support of ending discrimination—forced:. Incidents in the United States involving Negro discrimination…are given a much bigger play in the neutralist Asian press than they are in America itself. In addition, the victory over Nazis and Fascists in World War II did much to lay the groundwork for the civil rights movement. On December 28, , T. Howard , an entrepreneur, surgeon, fraternal leader and planter in Mississippi, founded the Regional Council of Negro Leadership RCNL together with other key blacks in the state. At first the RCNL, which was based in the all-black town of Mound Bayou , did not directly challenge "separate but equal" policy, but worked to guarantee the "equal.
It called for equal school terms for both races, as black schools were historically underfunded. From the beginning, the RCNL also pledged an "all-out fight for unrestricted voting rights. Evers soon became the RCNL's program director and helped to organize a boycott of service stations that failed to provide restrooms for blacks. They featured speeches by Rep. William L. Dawson of Chicago, Rep. Each of these events, in the words of Myrlie Evers, later Myrlie Evers-Williams , wife of Medgar, constituted "a huge all-day camp meeting: a combination of pep rally, old-time revival, and Sunday church picnic.
Attendance was a life-transforming experience for many future civil black leaders who became prominent in the s, such as Fannie Lou Hamer , Amzie Moore , Aaron Henry , and George W. The host for this event was a then relatively unknown Rev. Parks later said that she was thinking of Till when she refused to give up her seat four days later. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Civil rights movement disambiguation. Social movement in the United States. Main article: Timeline of the civil rights movement. See also: List of 14th amendment cases.
Main article: Lily-white movement. Main article: Disenfranchisement after the Reconstruction era. Violence in the Atlanta race riot. Historical background. Bush Stephen Williams Frazier B. Massacres and riots. Related topics. Black genocide Civil rights movement — Civil rights movement — Mass racial violence in the United States. Further information: National Negro Business League. Main article: Black church. Main article: Tougaloo Nine.
Main articles: New Negro and the New Negro movement. Civil rights movement portal United States portal Society portal. America: A Narrative History Tenth ed. ISBN Hopkins , U. Kentucky , U. An American dilemma: the Negro problem and modern democracy. Transaction Publishers. Republicans and the Black Vote. Lynne Rienner Publishers. JSTOR Voting, Campaigns, and Elections. University of Texas: Texas Politics. Archived from the original on April 2, Athens: University of Georgia Press.
West Virginia , U. The Ku Klux Klan in the City, — Chicago: Elephant Paperback. Annual Report of the Hampton Negro Conference. Hampton, Virginia : Hampton Institute Press. Work Projects Administration. I will make it too,'". The United States of America is a federation of 50 states. Each state can make laws for its own state, but the national federal government can make laws that over-ride state laws. In other words, National law is superior to State Law. The Federal Executive branch is headed by the President. A presidential election is held every four years. The President may serve two 4-year terms, totalling 8 years. The President lives in the White House. The Federal capital city is Washington, D. The legislative branch makes laws.
The legislative branch is made up of Congress. Congress is divided into two "houses" - the House of Representatives and the Senate. You can read more about the structure of the American government on this external link: wikipedia. The judicial branch interprets what the law means. The judicial branch is made up of the Supreme Court and many lower courts. Throughout the world, the misuse of the term 'race' to classify people has gone hand in hand with disregard for human rights.
This has resulted in cruel behaviour towards those regarded as 'inferior'. Racism is the false idea that certain groups of people are better than others, and racists believe that it is acceptable to exclude or dominate certain of groups on the grounds of their 'race'. Most people take it for granted that all humankind can be divided into 'races'. But 'human races' is not a scientific concept. Physical features like skin colour, hair texture and facial shape do not relate in any way to how people think or behave. Melanin is a pigment in the skin that absorbs ultraviolet radiation and limits its penetration into body tissue.
Pigmentation probably developed to protect sweat glands from UV radiation damage from the sun. People of dark complexion have more melanin pigment, and so experience the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation to a lesser degree. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between increased pigmentation and increased UV exposure, if the population has lived in the geographic region for at least 10 years.
From the 17th century, millions of Africans were captured, packed into ships, and taken to the USA to be sold as slaves. The term 'Negro' was used to refer to dark-skinned people of African origin and was accepted as a normal formal term. Negro means black in Spanish and Portuguese. The word 'coloured' was also used to refer to Americans of African origin. However, these terms today are considered offensive, and black Americans refer to themselves as African Americans. Hip Hop music and black rappers have caused a great deal of controversy by using the word 'nigga' in a self-referential way, and the word is sometimes used in casual conversation.
Read more. The majority of slaves lived and worked on large farms or plantations, in what is called the American South. The Northern States wanted to end slavery but the South did not. The Southern States tried to break away from the North. This led to the outbreak of the American Civil War. The North won the war in , and slavery was abolished. Although slavery ended in , racial segregation did not. African Americans, or black Americans, were denied basic civil rights in the South. African Americans were barred from schools, busses, restaurants, hotels and other public facilities. Black people were also not permitted to vote. These laws were known as the Jim Crow laws.
The term Jim Crow is a racial slur that comes from a minstrel show song "Jump Jim Crow" written in and performed by a white New Yorker who blackened his face and danced a ridiculous jig. This stereotypical image of black inferiority was part of the white popular culture of the day - along with 'Sambos' and 'Coons'. Acts of racial discrimination toward black people were often referred to as Jim Crow laws and practices. White resistance to desegregation was strong and organised. Dressed up in white hooded uniforms, the KKK would often drag African Americans out of their homes and hang them by their necks from nearby trees. Such hangings were known as lynching. Many whites that supported the KKK had government jobs in the southern states, and this meant that the perpetrators of racist crimes were not brought to justice.
In , a case that received a lot of public attention was the murder of 14 year old Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago who was visiting his relatives in Mississippi. On a dare from his friends, Emmett spoke flirtatiously with a white woman, saying "Bye, Baby" as he left a local shop. Several nights later the woman's husband and her brother forced Emmett into their car and drove away.
Emmett's body was found three days later in the Tallahatchie River. There was overwhelming evidence of guilt, but an all-white, all-male jury found the husband and his brother "not guilty". This incident led to demonstrations in several northern cities about the way African Americans were being treated in the Deep South. The Civil Rights Movement gained momentum in the s and helped bring about change. To help you to get a sense of the chronology, here are some of the key events in the American Civil rights history.
It is adapted from: www. The Civil War begins. The 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, is passed as law. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. A boycott follows, and bus segregation is declared unconstitutional. Following a court order, President Eisenhower sends in federal troops to allow the black students to enter the school. Student volunteers are bussed in to test new laws prohibiting segregation. Martin Luther King Jr. A church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, leaves four young black girls dead.
The 24th Amendment abolishes the poll tax, which originally had been established in the South to make it difficult for poor black people to vote. Three civil rights workers, two white and one black man, disappear in Mississippi. They are found buried six weeks later. Malcolm X is assassinated. A long-time minister of the Nation of Islam, he had rejected Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He preached black pride and economic self-reliance for black people. A new Voting Rights Act, which made it illegal to force would-be voters to pass literacy tests in order to vote, is signed.
James Earl Ray pleads guilty to the crime in March , and is sentenced to 99 years in prison. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of , which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing. Rosa Parks dies at the age of King had moved into the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement after the death of her husband in Martin Luther King was a civil rights activist and a Christian Baptist minister. While studying for the ministry, King was influenced by the passive resistance ideas of M. K Gandhi, and became convinced that the same methods could be used by African Americans to obtain their civil rights. He was particularly struck by Gandhi's words: "Through our pain we will make them see their injustice". Non-violence or passive resistance is a method of social change that uses strategies such as strikes, sit-ins, boycotts, marches and civil disobedience.
It is seen as morally justifiable to peacefully resist unjust laws. Martin Luther King believed that direct, non-violent protest action would force whites to confront segregation laws. He made it widely acceptable that people use peaceful protest to force changes to the law. Many white people supported him, and joined the protests. Protests were often met with police and public violence.
Many people died, but Dr. King did not support using violence as a form of resistance. In Montgomery, like most other towns in the Deep South, buses were segregated. One day in , a black 42 year old woman called Rosa Parks got on a bus to return home from work. She sat down near the front of the bus. Some white people got onto the bus, and she was expected to give up her seat. She decided not to move. The police were called, and she was arrested. They organised a Bus Boycott to protest against bus segregation. It was decided that black people in Montgomery would refuse to use the buses until passengers were completely integrated.
King and others involved in the Bus Boycott were harassed and intimidated by the authorities, but the protest continued. For thirteen months the black people in Montgomery walked to work or got lifts from the small car-owning black population of the city. The new organisation was committed to non-violence in the struggle for civil rights. To read more about these sit- ins, the people involved and related Civil Rights Movement developments, visit: www. In , King wrote a book called 'Stride toward Freedom' which detailed the success of the Montgomery bus boycott and explained King's views on non-violence. King was not only a good writer; he was also an excellent public speaker.
To inspire people to become involved in the civil rights movement King travelled to many places in the country making speeches. In early , motivated and inspired by King, a small group of black students in Greensboro, North Carolina decided to take action. They began a student sit-in at the restaurant of a local store that had a policy of not serving black people. They took their seats and ordered coffee, but were refused service. In just two months the sit-in movement spread to 54 cities in 9 states. The students were often physically assaulted, but they followed King's strategy and did not fight back. All over the Deep South, black students began to follow King's non-violent strategy.
There were successful campaigns against segregated transport, restaurants, swimming pools, theatres, libraries, beaches and public parks. The campaign to end segregation at lunch counters in Birmingham, Alabama, was less successful. In the spring of , police turned dogs and water hoses on the demonstrators. King and a large number of his supporters, including schoolchildren, were arrested and jailed. King always stressed the importance of the vote. Although they were a minority, once the vote was organized, African Americans could determine the result of presidential and state elections.
This was illustrated by the African American support for John F. Kennedy that helped give him a narrow victory in the election. Kennedy took a long time to put forward legislation to give African Americans their rights. The Civil Rights bill was only brought before Congress in In an attempt to persuade Congress to pass Kennedy's proposed legislation, King and other civil rights leaders organized the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
A newspaper reporter wrote, " no one could ever remember an invading army quite as gentle as the two hundred thousand civil rights marchers who occupied Washington. King was the final speaker and gave his famous I Have a Dream speech. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of oppression; will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children one day will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character". Kennedy's Civil Rights Bill was still being debated by Congress when he was assassinated in November, The new president, Lyndon Baines Johnson , was able to get the legislation passed. The Civil Rights Act was passed in African Americans could no longer be excluded from restaurants, hotels and other public facilities. In , at the age of 35, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
He was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. The Peace Prize is awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. King now turned his attention to achieving a voting-rights law. This legislation proposed to remove the right States had to impose restrictions on who could vote in elections. Literacy tests and extra taxes would no longer be allowed to prevent African Americans from voting. In March , a protest march took place from Selma to the state capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama.
State trooper's attacked the marchers. King was not with the marchers when they were attacked. The Voting Rights Act was passed in It gave the national government power to register those whom the southern states refused to put on the voting list. It is interesting to note how the number of African Americans registered to vote increased as a result of this legislation:. After the passing of these two important pieces of legislation, King concentrated on helping those suffering from poverty. He also voiced his strong opposition to the Vietnam War. King linked poverty to the War - he argued that the money being spent on the war could be better spent on improving America's welfare system. The mission of the FBI is to uphold the law through the investigation of violations of federal criminal law; to protect the United States from foreign intelligence and terrorist activities.
Hoover led the FBI from to 48 years. Hoover is a very controversial figure in American history. Hoover was obsessed with the threat of Communism. Rumours were spread to discredit King. King was made out to be an instrument of the Communist Party who had a relationship with the Soviet Bloc. This posed a serious threat to the security of the USA. The city government stubbornly refused to recognize the Sanitations Workers' Union or to meet workers' demands. However, the strike served to unite the African American community of Memphis. The temperature was 61 degrees and climbing.
Downtown would soon be stifling. Yet, as strikers and their families and supporters gathered, expecting King at 10 a. This was the day they would show Mayor Henry Loeb the power of a united black community allied with unions, students and people of goodwill, white and black. Hundreds of workers carried placards reading "I Am A Man. It would be a grand march'. Source: hnn. However, the deepening divide in the civil rights movement was growing. One author describes the tensions within the Civil Rights Movement at the Memphis march as follows:.
Thus far, black sanitation workers had been the core of most marches, and their non-violent discipline remained rock solid. Not so with many of the new participants in the movement. Nobody could do anything with them," said the black City Councilman Fred Davis. Marchers were ordered to refrain from any acts of violence. However, the march turned sour when a group of students used the signs they were carrying to break shop windows, and loot their wares.
Police moved into the crowds with sticks, mace, tear gas and gunfire. King was escorted from the scene. Sixty people were injured, and a sixteen-year-old boy, Larry Payne, was shot dead by the police who claimed he was a looter. An eyewitness said that Payne had his hands up when shot. These events were regarded as a turning point in the Civil Rights Struggle. King was convinced that the Memphis march violence had been caused by FBI provocateurs. A few days later, King made a speech at the Clayborn Temple in support of the striking sanitation workers referred to as the I've Been to the Mountaintop speech. It ended with the following words:. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life - longevity has its place.
But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy tonight; I'm not worried about anything; I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. After the meeting, King and his party were taken to the Lorraine Motel.
The following day, 4 April , King was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of the motel. His death was followed by rioting in cities and resulted in forty-six people being killed. Two months later, James Earl Ray , a career criminal and open racist, was arrested in London and extradited to the United States. He pleaded guilty to King's murder and was sent to jail for ninety-nine years.
He spent the remainder of his life attempting unsuccessfully to withdraw his guilty plea and secure the trial he never had. People close to King were convinced that the government was behind the assassination. You can read more about his assassination on this external link: news. You can read more about the conspiracy theories surrounding King's assassination on this external link www. In , John F. Kennedy was elected American president. Many African Americans had voted for him as they believed he was sympathetic to the civil rights movement. However, Kennedy made promises in his campaign that he was slow to keep once he was in office.
Their plan was to defy Jim Crow laws and to challenge the public's non-compliance with a US Supreme Court decision that prohibited segregation in all interstate public transportation facilities. This prohibition had been declared 3 years prior to the Riders arrival in the South. The Riders were trained in the discipline of non-violence. Blacks and whites were seated together on the bus; an act already considered a crime in most segregated states in the South. At stops along the way, the Freedom Riders whites went into blacks-only areas and blacks went into whites-only facilities. They were not disobeying the law, as the Supreme Court had already declared segregation illegal.
But, as expected, the Freedom Riders met with resistance from racists in the South. This was a test for Kennedy's government to step in and enforce the law. Along the way, Freedom Rider buses were stoned and firebombed, tires were slashed and the Riders were beaten up by white mobs. Hundreds of Freedom Riders were arrested for 'breach of peace' violations. Rather than posting bail immediately however, the Freedom Riders chose to remain in jail for forty days, the maximum amount of time one could remain in jail before losing their right of appeal. On one occasion, as the Riders entered the Montgomery bus terminal, they were met by a vicious white mob that beat up many of the riders as they got off the bus.
When news of the Montgomery attack reached Washington, Robert Kennedy sent federal marshals to the city. As night fell, a mob of several thousand whites surrounded the church. Martial law was declared and state police and the National Guard were sent in. The mob dispersed and those inside the church left safely. The Freedom Riders forced the Kennedy administration to take a stand on civil rights, which was their intent in the first place. In addition, at the request of Robert Kennedy, the Interstate Commerce. You can read extracts from Raymond Arsenault's book Freedom Riders: and the Struggle for Racial Justice and listen to him speak on the external link: www.
Commission outlawed segregation in interstate bus travel that took effect in September, The ruling was more specific than the original Supreme Court mandate. The Freedom Riders therefore made an important and lasting contribution to the civil rights movement. Five months after the first Freedom Rides left on their historic ride, the Interstate Commerce Commission ICC in conjunction with the US Attorney General Robert Kennedy issued a tough new Federal order banning segregation at all interstate public facilities based on "race, colour or creed.
Birmingham was probably the most segregated city in the US, and had one of the South's most violent Ku Klux Klan groups. Dozens of unsolved bombings and police killings had terrorised the black community for many years. The bombing came without warning. By the end of the day, riots and fires had broken out throughout Birmingham and another 2 teenagers were killed. Grief was not only felt in the African American community, but white strangers expressed their sympathy to the families of the four girls. At the funeral of three of the girls, Martin Luther King gave the eulogy, which was witnessed by 8, mourners, both white and black.
The FBI led the initial investigation into the bombing. The Birmingham FBI office recommended prosecuting the suspects.