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American Civil Rights Movement 1950s


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Title: American Civil Rights Movement 1950s

American Civil Rights Movement1950s 1960s
  • US History

Who was Linda Brown?
  • Brown v. Board of Education (Topeka, Kansas) 1954
  • Facts
  • Linda Brown 8 year old African American student
  • Nearest elementary school 4 blocks from the
    Brown home (all white)
  • Linda Browns school (all black) 21 blocks from
    the Brown home
  • NAACP sues Bd of Education challenging the
    separate but equal

Brown v. Board of Ed
  • Supreme Court orders desegregation be implemented
    with all possible speed
  • Separate but equal inherently unequal

The Civil Rights MovementTrue or False?
True or False?
  1. True
  2. True
  3. True
  4. False there were more than 30 sit ins in 7
    states within a month
  5. False children as young as 6 were arrested
  6. False over 250,000 people traveled to
    Washington, D.C.
  7. False over 30 homes were firebombed, 80
    demonstrators beaten and 3 killed

Historical Background
  • Slavery
  • Property vs. Human beings
  • Slave codes
  • No education, marriage, separate church, freedom
    of movement
  • Legal and Social Segregation
  • Jim Crow laws legal separation
  • Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court upholds
    separate but equal facilities or services is
    protected by the Constitution

Historical Background
  • Legal and Social Segregation (continued)
  • Limit voting rights, property rights (Poll tax,
    literacy test, grandfather clause)
  • Limit economic opportunity
  • Maintain status quo through violence (KKK,
    lynching) or laws
  • Economic and Social Competition
  • Jobs
  • Housing
  • Education

Methods to Maintain Segregation and the Status Quo
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Early Civil Rights Actions
Early Actions
  • 1948 President Truman orders the desegregation
    of the Armed Forces
  • First large scale desegregation effort

Playing for the Dodgers
  • Branch Rickey, president and General Manager of
    the Brooklyn Dodgers, noticed Robinsons
    exceptional talent.
  • In 1946 Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson.
  • Jackie Robinson, at the age of 27, became the
    first Black Baseball player in Major League
    history. He played his first game on April 15th
    1947. (64 years ago)

Jackie and Civil Rights
  • Jackie Robinsons Actions affected the world far
    beyond Major League Baseball.
  • His courage and discipline in standing up against
    racism were a preview of the actions taken by
    many members of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • The success of the Jackie Robinson experiment was
    a testament to fact that integration could exist.

Segregated City Bus - 1956
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Events Leading Up To Rosa Parks Arrest
  • In the South, Jim Crow laws segregated African
    Americans and whites in almost every aspect of
  • This included a seating policy on buses. Whites
    sat in the front, Blacks sat in the back.
  • Buses also drove White students to school. Black
    students were forced to walk.
  • Rosa Parks was an active member of The Civil
    Rights Movement and joined the Montgomery chapter
    of NAACP (National Association for the
    Advancement of Colored People) in 1943.
  • African Americans made up 75 of the passengers
    in the Bus system but still had to deal with
    unfair rules.

The Arrest
  • On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up
    her seat to a White man on a bus.
  • Parks was arrested and charged with the violation
    of a segregation law in The Montgomery City Code.
  • 50 African American leaders in the community met
    to discuss what to do about Rosas arrest.

People always say that I didn't give up my seat
because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was
not tired physically, or no more tired than I
usually was at the end of a working day. I was
not old, although some people have an image of me
as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only
tired I was, was tired of giving in. -Rosa Parks
Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • On December 5, 1955, African Americans in
    Montgomery began to boycott the busses.
  • 40,000 Black commuters walked to work, some as
    far as twenty miles.
  • The boycott lasted 382 days.
  • The boycott ended after the Supreme Court ruled
    the law unconstitutional.

King Becomes a National Figure
  • His start as a Civil Rights leader came during
    the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
  • Civil Rights group organized by King
  • Included over 100 African-American ministers

Montgomery, Alabama
  • Studied tactics of Thoreau, Gandhi, and others
  • Preached about soul forcenon-violent resistance
  • We will not hate you, but we cannot . . . obey
    your unjust laws
  • Martin Luther King Jr.

Non-Violent Tactics
  • Boycott
  • Sit-in
  • March
  • Refusing to buy a good or service
  • Sitting in segregated areas and refusing to move
  • Marching with a large group to draw attention to
    a cause

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Civil Disobedience
  • In 1957 King helped found the Southern Christian
    Leadership Conference (SCLC).
  • A group that used the authority and power of
    Black churches to organize non-violent protest to
    support the Civil Rights Movement.
  • The civil disobedience led to media coverage of
    the daily inequalities suffered by Southern
  • The televised violence led to mass public
    sympathy. The Civil Rights Movement became the
    most important political topic during the early

Important Court Victories
  • Desegregated interstate buses
  • Desegregated law schools
  • Desegregated graduate schools

Little Rock High School 1957
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Little Rock, Arkansas1957
  • Nine African-American students were to integrate
    Central High School
  • Governor ordered Arkansas National Guard to turn
    the students away
  • Federal judge ordered the governor to allow the
    students entry
  • Governor refusedAfrican-American students were
    turned away

Little Rock, Arkansas1957
  • Eisenhower responds
  • Put 1,000 paratroopers in Little Rock
  • Stationed in the High Schoolescorted students to
    class, maintained order

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U-46 Schools
  • Try to guess the by race / group for the five
    U-46 high schools
  • White
  • Hispanic
  • Black
  • Asian

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The Movement Grows
  • Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
  • Group of African-American college students in
    North Carolina

In the summers and over school-holidays
volunteers came south to join the fight for
freedom and justice. Most  but certainly not
all  were college students or recent grads.
Most  but certainly not all  were from the
North. Most  but certainly not all  were
white. Most returned to their campuses and jobs,
but some stayed on as full time freedom fighters.
Greensboro, North Carolina
  • SNCC used sit-ins to protest segregated lunch
  • Media coverage showed racism to the entire country

Separate Everything
Colored Fountain
Lunch Counter Sit-in 1960
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Notice the arm band?
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  • By 1960, 48 cities had desegregated lunch counters

Freedom Riders
  • Wanted to test enforcement of Supreme Courts
    decision to desegregate interstate buses.
  • Blacks and Whites rode through the South

Freedom Riders
  • Peck (a civil rights activist) rode on Bus One.
    At the Alabama state line, a half dozen white
    racists got on the bus, carrying chains, brass
    knuckles, and pistols. They yanked the young
    African-American riders from their seats and
    shoved them into the aisle. Peck and a
    60-year-old white freedom rider tried to
    intervene. The thugs knocked Peck unconscious
    and kicked the old man repeatedly in the head
    until his brain hemorrhaged.

Freedom Riders
  • When Bus One got to Birmingham, Alabama, a mob
    was waiting at the bus terminal, many holding
    iron bars and pipes. As they entered the white
    waiting room, they were dragged into the alley
    and beaten with the pipes. Peck was again
    knocked unconscious, this time he needed 53
    stitches in his head and face.

Getting Ready to Meet the Bus!!
Name the gender?
Freedom Riders
  • In Anniston, Alabama, 200 whites attacked Bus Two
    and slashed its tires. Six miles out of town,
    the bus was crippled. The mob barricaded the
    door, smashed a window, and tossed a fire bomb
    into the bus. The freedom riders were barely
    able to force the door open and escape before the
    bus exploded.

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Freedom Riders
  • Another group of freedom riders rode from
    Tennessee into Alabama. When they reached
    Birmingham, the Police Chief had them pulled off
    the bus, beaten and driven back to Tennessee.
    The freedom riders returned to Birmingham. When
    they proceeded to Montgomery, a white mob had
    formed and no police were present. The freedom
    riders were again beaten. John F. Kennedy
    finally sent 400 U. S. Marshals to protect the
    riders as they continued to Mississippi

Ole Miss
  • James Meredith won a court case that would make
    him the first African-American student at the
    University of Mississippi.

Ole Miss
  • Federal Marshals escorted Meredith to register
  • Riots ensued 2 dead, 200 arrested, 5000
    soldiers needed to stop the rioters
  • 1966 Meredith was shot during a freedom march in
    Mississippi he survived

Ole Miss
  • Mascot Rebels
  • Symbol Confederate Flag

No Segregation!!
Police escorting swimmers from a white only
Hotel owner pouring muratic acid in his pool
Jackson, Mississippi 1963
  • Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers was killed in
    his driveway
  • The killer, Byron de la Beckwith was released
    after two trials (hung jury)

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Birmingham, Alabama 1963
  • Demonstrations to protest segregation
  • King was arrested released
  • Childrens March- 959 were arrested
  • 2nd Childrens March police used fire hoses,
    attack dogs against the marchers
  • Finally, negative media attention, boycotts, and
    protests led to desegregation

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March on Washington 1963
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Washington, D. C. 1963
  • March organized to persuade Congress to pass
    Civil Rights Bill
  • 250,000 met to hear speeches, music
  • I Have a Dream speech Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • After Kennedy was shot, Civil Rights Act of 1964
    passed ending segregation in Public places
    (schools, restaurants, etc.)

March On Washington
  • More than 200,000 Black and White Americans
    celebrated in a joyous day of song, prayer and
  • The march was lead by a group of important
    clergy, civil rights leaders, and politicians.
  • Martin Luther Kings I Have A Dream speech was
    the climax of the day.

I Have A Dream Speech
  • In a powerful speech, Martin Luther King Jr.
    stated eloquently that he desired a world where
    Black and Whites could coexist equally.
  • Kings speech was a rhetoric example of the Black
    Baptist sermon style.
  • The speech used The Bible, The Declaration of
    Independence, The United States Constitution and
    The Emancipation Proclamation as sources.

I Have A Dream Speech
  • The powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • I have a dream that one day this nation will
    rise up and live out the true meaning of its
    creed - 'We hold these truths to be
    self-evident, that all men are created equal.
  • I have a dream that one day even the state of
    Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of
    injustice, 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 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.
  • Black men and White men, Jews and Gentiles,
    Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join
    hands and sing in the words of the old Negro
    spiritual "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God
    Almighty, we are free at last!"

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Mississippi 1964
  • Freedom Summer 1000 college students went to
    Mississippi to register African-Americans voters
  • Met violent resistance4 dead many wounded,
    churches and businesses burned

Mississippi Burning
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Selma, Alabama 1965
  • Voter registration drive 2,000
    African-Americans arrested, police beatings
  • Police killed a demonstrator
  • King announced a protest March from Selma to
  • State police beat marchers, used tear gas
  • Federal government stepped in protected marchers
  • 25,000 marchers reached Selma

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Selma, Alabama 1965
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 passedeliminated the
    literacy test
  • Allowed federal government to enroll voters who
    were denied suffrage
  • Twenty-Fourth Amendmenteliminated the poll tax

Waiting to Vote 1966
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Changes in Philosophy
What was the goal?
What was the strategy?
Changes in Philosophy
What was the goal? What was the strategy?
Black Power
  • Slogan coined by Stokely Carmichael (SNCC)
  • African-Americans should separate from whites,
    define their own goals, and lead their own
  • Signaled a shift away from non-violent

Black Power
Mexico City, 1968
Black Panther Party
  • U.S. African American Militant group.
  • Founded in 1966 in Oakland.
  • Led by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.
  • Believed violent revolution was the only way to
    receive freedom.
  • Urged African Americans to arm themselves.

Black Panthers
  • Sold copies of Mao Zedongs Little Red Book to
    raise money so they could purchase shotguns
  • Attended protests and rallies with shotguns and
    law books!

Black Panthers
  • Black Power
  • Black Militancysuggested armed revolt
  • Power flows out of the barrel of a gun
  • Communist
  • Got into shootouts with police

Black Panthers
  • Started free daycare and free breakfast program
    in urban ghetto
  • Made them popular in Northern cities

Black Panthers
Black Panthers
Black Panthers
  • J. Edgar Hoover (head of the F. B. I.) declares
    that the Black Panthers were the "greatest threat
    to the internal security of the country."

Black Panthers
  • Begin to unravel
  • Leaders are sent to jail, flee the country,
    killed by police

Malcolm X
  • His father was killed by White Supremacist in
    Michigan, in 1931.
  • After time, Malcolm moved to Harlem where he
    became involved in gambling, drug dealing and
  • Malcolm was arrested at the age of 20 for armed
    robbery. In jail he studied the teaching of
    Elijah Muhammad.

Elijah Muhammad
  • Elijah Muhammad was the leader of the mostly
    Black political and religious group, The Nation
    Of Islam.
  • His teachings, often perceived as racist,
    preached complete separation from Whites in
  • He often expressed the idea the Blacks were the
    first people to rule the world and that the
    Whites tricked them out of power and oppressed
  • Young Malcolm X developed his adept speaking
    skills and political ideas under the direction of
    Elijah Muhammad.

Nation Of Islam
  • The Nation Of Islam (NOI) was an activist group
    that believed that most African slaves were
    originally Muslim.
  • The NOI urged African Americans to reconvert to
    Islam in effort to restore the heritage that was
    stolen from them.
  • The NOI wanted to create a second Black nation
    within the United States.
  • The X in Malcolms name symbolizes the
    rejection of his slave name.

Malcolm X The Activist
  • Malcolm X made constant accusations of racism and
    demanded violent actions of self defense.
  • He constantly retold the injustices his people
    suffered in the past.
  • Malcolm X gathered wide spread admiration from
    African Americans and wide spread fear from

Malcolm X Speaks, 1965
  • Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect
    everyone but if someone puts his hand on you,
    send him to the cemetery.
  • Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you
    equality or justice or anything. If you're a man,
    you take it.
  • You can't separate peace from freedom because no
    one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

Malcolm X Quotes (On King)
  • He got the peace prize, we got the problem.... If
    I'm following a general, and he's leading me into
    a battle, and the enemy tends to give him
    rewards, or awards, I get suspicious of him.
    Especially if he gets a peace award before the
    war is over.
  • I'll say nothing against him. At one time the
    whites in the United States called him a racist,
    and extremist, and a Communist. Then the Black
    Muslims came along and the whites thanked the
    Lord for Martin Luther King.
  • I want Dr. King to know that I didn't come to
    Selma to make his job difficult. I really did
    come thinking I could make it easier. If the
    white people realize what the alternative is,
    perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr.
  • Dr. King wants the same thing I want -- freedom!

End of X
  • After a pilgrimage to Mecca X changed his
    philosophy to promote change without violence (if
    possible) and equality of races
  • Assassinated 1965 allegedly by members of the
    Nation of Islam unsolved today!

Last Testament?
  • "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've
    got some difficult days ahead. But it 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. And 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
  •   The final words from Martin Luther King's last
    speech, given in Memphis Tennessee the night
    before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968

Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Assassinated in April, 1968

James Earl Ray
Died 1998
Conspiracy Theory??
  • A racist petty criminal looking to make a name
    for himself stalks a well-protected black civil
    rights leader and finally slays him, then manages
    to make an almost-clean getaway but not before
    dropping the murder weapon (with prints) and his
    personal radio with his prison ID engraved on it.
  • Its almost too perfect because nobody would be
    that stupid. It must be a CIA-FBI-White House
    plot. Has to be. There is no way that James Earl
    Ray, the high-school dropout, Army throw-away,
    petty thief could stalk Dr. Martin Luther King
    Jr., kill the most influential civil rights
    leader of the era and evade an international
    manhunt for more than two months, only to be
    busted by Scotland Yard going through a customs
    checkpoint he wasnt supposed to be at.

Violence Erupts
  • 125 cities experience rioting

Washington, D. C.
Kerner Commission
  • Appointed by President Johnson after urban riots
  • Decides that the main cause of urban violence is
    white racism

Civil Rights Act of 1968
  • Banned segregation in housing (this wasnt
    included in the 1964 Act)

De Jure Segregation
  • Defined as segregation that is imposed by law
  • Outlawed by Civil Rights Acts, Voting Rights Act,
    and amendments
  • Different from de facto segregation imposed by
    practice or choice