Presentation on theme: ""We who believe in freedom cannot rest," — Ella Baker."— Presentation transcript:
"We who believe in freedom cannot rest," — Ella Baker
Challenging the Paradigm Lets discuss the origins of the tradition of black protest Between , what were the conditions under which former slaves remade themselves as a free people? What aspirations did they articulate?
Black visions of freedom: Family Life Reconstitution of the black family Mississippi Black Code html html
Key features of Black Codes 1. Civil Rights: The Southern Black Codes defined the rights of freedmen. had the right ‘to acquire, own and dispose of property; to make contracts; to enjoy the fruits of their labor; to sue and be sued; and to receive protection under the law in their persons and property.” Also, for the first time, the law recognized the marriages of black persons and the legitimacy of their children. 2. Labor Contracts: 3. Vagrancy: 4. Apprenticeship:
Black Codes Project
Black visions of freedom: Labor To have control over their labor The definition of work Conflicts over the meaning of work Labor organization Growers wanted gang-labor Blacks wanted to organize in kin groups (squad system) “The Compromise”: intermediate stage b/w slave gang labor and family-based tenancy and sharecropping
Resistance Guiding question: In what ways did African Americans resist the (political, economic, and social) oppressive structures of the post-war south?
“ A bridge of bent backs and laboring muscle ” : The African American Family Nuclear family or “flexible household” A sharecropper’s wife Domestic tasks Cotton cultivation Withdrawal of black female wage-labor immediately after emancipation “playing the lady” Withdrew from “full time” labor A sharecropper’s children A daughter’s aspirations Two key developments in the late 19th century black southern society Increasing literacy rates Urban in-migration
Migration to the Urban South 1870s-1890s - the migration to southern cities was gradual A gendered migration Laboring women After the civil war, living out (vs. living in) came to predominate but laden with the trappings of slavery. Enforced deference “Betty May” phenomenon Resistance Controlling their “time” “service pan” vs “theft” “informal power”
Subaltern resistance Women (more than male counterparts) relied on verbal abuse, defiant language, ritualized shaming
Collective organization: Community Associations “Associations” and “Companies” of black laborers who met, marched, and drilled (beg. 1865). Members adopted military titles, carried arms, and were under the command of “captains.” Their existence challenged their status as a marginalized and dependent community without civil and political power. Used the organizations to express “organized politics.”
Collective Organization: The Black Church Even before the war ended, the black Methodist and Baptist churches provided space for political meetings (in union occupied cites) The rural “church” Lacked visible structure and denominational orientation They were the heart of the black community The “community center” They were political institutions Newspapers/proclamation read out loud No clear distinction between the secular and the sacred -- the spiritual and the political Prominent place of black ministers in the community
Collective Organization: The School Sites of black initiative and empowerment Unlike churches, sites of interracial cooperation Education was a family affair The school not just a place to learn the three R’s; but, a place to learn about their rights and the importance of voting.
Collective Organization: The Union League Est. in 1862/63 in the Northern states to rally support for the Lincoln administration and war effort Committed “to protect, strengthen, and defend all loyal men without regard to sect, condition, or race.” Embraced grassroots politics Once war ended continued educational projects (at first among white Unionists) Began to attract blacks in larger cities (Richmond, Norfolk, Savannah, Nashville) Establishment of Union League required at least 9 loyal men--and they gained public speaking experience and lessons in political organization Union Leagues spread rapidly (because of assoc. with Rep. party and support for expansion of African American civil/political rights) Local orientation--key
Organizing in Virginia The Lynchburg Virginian of last Friday says:The propriety of holding a public meeting in regard to the subject of labor is discussed on the streets. Some persons are in favor of cutting loose at once and unconditionally from the negroes, since they have leagued themselves together against the whites: …[they]… wish first to lay down the terms on which the whites will continue to give them employment, viz: That they withdraw themselves in hostility against the Southern people; and others are anxious to inaugurate prompt measures for the introduction of labor from Europe. These are the subjects which it is proposed to discuss and determine in a public meeting. They are important and deserve grave consideration. [Nov. 1867] (see
Collective Organization: Black Emigrationism Emigrationism arose as one of several strategies designed to create stable black communites. Henry Adams est the Colonization Council American Colonization Society, 1816 Between , 2232 blacks emigrated Local organizations created (Liberia Exodus Association of Pinesville Florida) peak of emigrationism The “movement” helped to sustain political activism and offered another form of collective struggle needed to fend off oppression and to create social/political spaces for African American community life. Contested within black community (F. Douglass)
[Republican Vindicator, Nov ] Eleven hundred and sixty-five people of color have applied to the American Colonization Society for passage to Liberia this fall. They consist of families of men, women, and children, "some mechanics, some farmers, most of them the better class of freedmen, who can read and write, and are intelligent and religious." Here then is the opportunity for the true friends of the colored people in this country to show their faith by their works. The American Colonization Society offers to send these people to the home of their fathers, to civilize and christianize Africa, and to secure their own future peace and happiness.To furnish a comfortable passage and the customary support, house-room, land, &c., to these people for the first six months after landing in Liberia, sixty dollars per capita, or a total of forty thousand dollars are wanted. Who will help to provide for bearing these people to Africa? There is a voice of Providence in the cry of the descendants of Africa for help to reach their ancestral land which the friends of the colored man, to whom God commits property, will not turn away without the best of reasons. He can hope for but little, if anything, from those who would keep him here, for purposes of discord and mischief --but to his best and truest friends --he may turn with the hope that they will do all for him that they can. If the Southern people were able they would be liberal in their aid to the American Colonization Society. [see
Frederick Douglass and Richard T. Greener on the Negro Exodus, 1879 [As a strategy, however] it is a surrender, a premature, disheartening surrender, since it would make freedom and free institutions depend upon migration rather than protection; by flight, rather than right... It leaves the whole question of equal rights on the soil of the South open and still to be settled... it is a confession of the utter unpracticability of equal rights and equal protection in any State, where those rights may be struck down by violence... The dissemination of this doctrine by the agents of emigration, cannot but do the cause of equal rights much harm. It lets the public mind down from the high ground of a great national duty, to a miserable compromise, in which wrong surrenders nothing and right everything... Does not one exodus invite another, and in advocating one do we not sustain the demand for another?
In Response to Douglass: Richard T. Greener:While time has modified his [Douglass'] extreme views, and more recent events have blunted the edge of his sarcasm, and while most of his objections are of the negative rather than the positive order, against the methods and men who seek to help the movement, rather than against the Exodus itself, still the morale of his influence is in opposition... it may be said, no favorer of migration claims it as the sole, proper or only permanent remedy for the aggravated relation of landlord and tenant at the South. It is approved as one remedy, thus far the most salutary, in stopping lawlessness and exactions....We must organize societies, contribute our dimes, and form a network of communication. between the South and every principal point North and West. … working through our churches and benevolent societies, would do more to develop our race than all the philanthropic measures designed to aid us since the war.
Creating Jim Crow: The Southern Way of Life Why race relations worsened in the late 1880s and 1890s is a hotly contested question. Two key factors - 1 -- related to a fear among many southern whites that a new generation of African Americans which had been born after the Civil War and not been subjected to slavery would not defer to white authority. 2 -- a reaction against the increasing economic independence of southern blacks. From 1880 to 1900, black farm ownership increased from 19.6 to 25.4 percent, while sharecropping, declined from to 37.9 percent. The evolution of the southern paradox: Public segregation and private integration De jure segregation designed to limit political power of blacks as a group, rather than to curtail personal contact between the races.
A System of Racial Domination Economics Politics Social
Jim Crow Must help students understand that Jim Crow was more than a series of strict anti- black laws. It was a way of life. List of typical Jim Crow laws Barbers. No colored barber shall serve as a barber (to) white girls or women (Georgia). Blind Wards. The board of trustees shall...maintain a separate building...on separate ground for the admission, care, instruction, and support of all blind persons of the colored or black race (Louisiana). Burial. The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons (Georgia). See “What Was Jim Crow?” by Dr. David Pilgrim at
Jim Crow etiquette A black male could not offer his hand (to shake hands) with a white male because it implied being socially equal. Blacks and whites were not supposed to eat together. If they did eat together, whites were to be served first, and some sort of partition was to be placed between them. Whites did not use courtesy titles of respect when referring to blacks, for example, Mr., Mrs., Miss., Sir, or Ma'am. Instead, blacks were called by their first names. Blacks had to use courtesy titles when referring to whites, and were not allowed to call them by their first names. If a black person rode in a car driven by a white person, the black person sat in the back seat or the back of a truck. White motorists had the right-of-way at all intersections.
Race and Place
"The Tripartite System of Racial Domination” (Aldon Morris, Author of The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement) 1) Economics Job Discrimination Lack of Legal Protection Sharecropping and Debt Peonage 2) Politics Disfranchisement and Political Intimidation 2.shtml LA Literacy Test 2.shtml 3) Segregation
Sharecropping System – the dominate form of labor relations What did black farmers want? What did white planters want? Cycle of debt “fixing the books” “settlin’ time” Debt peonage Credit system Vagrancy laws Convict lease system Involuntary servitude
Sharecropper Contract, 1882 To every one applying to rent land upon shares, the following conditions must be read, and agreed to. To every 30 and 35 acres, I agree to furnish the team, plow, and farming implements... The croppers are to have half of the cotton, corn, and fodder (and peas and pumpkins and potatoes if any are planted) if the following conditions are complied with, but-if not-they are to have only two-fifths (2/5)... All must work under my direction.... No cropper is to work off the plantation when there is any work to be done on the land he has rented, or when his work is needed by me or other croppers.... Every cropper must feed or have fed, the team he works, Saturday nights, Sundays, and every morning before going to work, beginning to feed his team (morning, noon, and night every day in the week) on the day he rents and feeding it to including the 31st day of December....for every time he so fails he must pay me five cents. The sale of every cropper's part of the cotton to be made by me when and where I choose to sell, and after deducting all they owe me and all sums that I may be responsible for on their accounts, to pay them their half of the net proceeds. Work of every description, particularly the work on fences and ditches, to be done to my satisfaction, and must be done over until I am satisfied that it is done as it should be. SOURCE: Grimes Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in Robert D. Marcus and David Burner, eds., America Firsthand (1992), pp. 306—308.
Sharecropping: Continuity or Change?
Sharecropping in Virginia pTN.pdf pTN.pdf
The Politics of Jim Crow Disfranchisement, Violence, and Political Intimidation
Disfranchisement Disfranchisement was a two part process
Disfranchisement I: Literacy Requirements Poll Taxes, Grandfather Clauses, and All- White Primaries. Disfanchisment Laws had to be carefully crafted to avoid 15th amendment, they could not explicitly use race as a barrier to voting
Escape clauses designed so that poor and illiterate whites could still qualify to vote. (1) Understanding clause Literacy and educational requirements LA Literacy Test Grandfather clause Could not vote if grandfather could not have voted prior to 1867
Disfranchisement II: The KKK and the Politics and Culture of Lynching KKK and other related groups using violence to suppress black political action Violence justified by the threat of miscegenation. “'Without Sanctuary': Artifacts of Lynching in America” see
The Culture of Violence and Intimidation Chain Gangs Convict Lease System
Taken from the third chapter of "The Reason why the colored American is not in the World's Columbian Exposition," published in 1893 … the convicts are leased out to work for railway contractors, mining companies and those who farm large plantations. These companies assume charge of the convicts, work them as cheap labor and pay the states a handsome revenue for their labor… ..[The] reason our race furnishes so large a share of the convicts is that the judges, juries and other officials of the courts are white men who share these prejudices. They also make the laws. It is wholly in their power to extend clemency to white criminals and mete severe punishment to black criminals for the same or lesser crimes. The Negro criminals are mostly ignorant, poor and friendless. Possessing neither money to employ lawyers nor influential friends, they are sentenced in large numbers to long terms of imprisonment for petty crimes. …Every Negro so sentenced not only means able-bodied men to swell the state's number of slaves, but every Negro so convicted is thereby disfranchised.
"We found [in the hospital section] twenty-six inmates, all of whom have been lately brought there off the farms and railroads, many of them with consumption and other incurable diseases, and all bearing on their persons marks of the most inhuman and brutal treatment. Most of them have their backs cut in great wales, scars and blisters, some with the skin pealing off in pieces as the result of severe beatings. Their feet and hands in some instances show signs of frostbite, and all of them with the stamp of manhood almost blotted out of their faces.... They are lying there dying, some of them on bare boards, so poor and emaciated that their bones almost come through their skin, many complaining for the want of food.... We actually saw live vermin crawling over their faces, and the little bedding and clothing they have is in tatters and stiff with filth. As a fair sample of this system, on January 6, 1887, 204 convicts were leased to McDonald up to June 6, 1887, and during this six months 20 died, and 19 were discharged and escaped and 23 were returned to the walls disabled and sick, many of whom have since died." Jackson Weekly Clarion, printed in 1887 the inspection report of the state prison in Mississippi:
Why the convict lease system? no black crime spree Southern governments wanted to control the black population. The system used by the planter class and industrialist to intimidate black sharecroppers and provide workers for the South’s growing industry. The system reaffirmed white feelings of racial superiority Helped maintained racial hierarchy of southern society.
Other Helpful Websites: Especially see sections on “Jim Crow Laws,” “Lynching and Riots,” and “Jim Crow Stories.” The lesson plans and activities are also useful.
THE ULTIMATE ACT -- LYNCHING Billie Holiday's Song "Strange Fruit“ Lesson Plan “Strange Fruit” Site includes review of film “Strange Fruit” and history of the song. Audio clip of song also available online. Lyrics: Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant south, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burning flesh. Here is fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Other Helpful Websites: Especially see sections on “Jim Crow Laws,” “Lynching and Riots,” and “Jim Crow Stories.” The lesson plans and activities are also useful. html html “From Jim Crow To Linda Brown: A Retrospective of the African- American Experience from 1897 to 1953” A mini-unit that allows students to explore to what extent the African American experience was "separate but equal." ml ml “Jackie Steals Home” Students read two documents relating to Jackie Robinson's breaking of the racial barrier in professional baseball and through the readings explore racism in the United States, both in and out of sports.
African-American Responses I: Uplifting the race through education Between 1892 and 1894 black women’s clubs were established throughout the country Dedicated to instilling racial pride improving the social and moral conditions in the African American community. founded settlement houses for migrant women, orphanages, day nurseries, kindergartens, evening schools for adults, clinics, and homes for the aged. “Negro women should be trained to teach in order to uplift the masses” Created schools: Nannie Helen Burroughs (National Training School for Girls in DC) Mary McLeod Bethune The emphasis on “industrial education” fell in line with Booker T. Washington’s Philosophy Club women believed in his philosophy of self help, mutual aid and racial pride and industrial education Club women disagreed with him on issues of equal political and social rights. advocated the abolition of sexism and racism, actively supported voting rights for all including women, and promoted the anti-lynching crusade. Booker T. Washington The Atlanta Compromise Speech of 1895 (see for document)http://historymatters.gmu.edu The Washington-DuBois Debate “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others” published within The Souls of Black Folk (1903) (see for document)
Education 1880s, Tennessee College Glee Club 1900s, Women students
Excerpt of “The Niagara Movement Declaration of Principles” (1905) Protest: We refuse to allow the impression to remain that the Negro-American assents to inferiority, is submissive under oppression and apologetic before insults. Through helplessness we may submit, but the voice of protest of ten million Americans must never cease to assail the ears of their fellows, so long as America is unjust. Color-Line: Any discrimination based simply on race or color is barbarous, we care not how hallowed it be by custom, expediency or prejudice. Differences made on account of ignorance, immorality, or disease are legitimate methods of fighting evil, and against them we have no word of protest; but discriminations based simply and solely on physical peculiarities, place of birth, color of skin, are relics of that unreasoning human savagery of which the world is and ought to be thoroughly ashamed. "Jim Crow" Cars: We protest against the "Jim Crow" car, since its effect is and must be to make us pay first-class fare for third-class accommodations, render us open to insults and discomfort and to crucify wantonly our manhood, womanhood and self-respect. Soldiers: We regret that this nation has never seen fit adequately to reward the black soldiers who, in its five wars, have defended their country with their blood, and yet have been systematically denied the promotions which their abilities deserve. And we regard as unjust, the exclusion of black boys from the military and naval training schools.
African-American Responses II: The Culture of Resistance Wearing the Mask of Segregation Paul Laurence Dunbar's ( ) poem "We Wear the Mask" (1896) WE wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, And mouth with myriad subtleties. Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries To thee from tortured souls arise. We sing, but oh the clay is vile Beneath our feet, and long the mile; But let the world dream otherwise, We wear the mask! “Behind the veil” (Du Bois) “Politics of Respectability” (Higginbotham)
African American Responses III: Collective Protest Complex factor: WWI W.E. B. Dubois “Returning Soldiers” May 1919 “We are returning from war! The Crisis and tens of thousands of black men were drafted into a great struggle. For bleeding France and what she means and has meant and will mean to us and humanity and against the threat of German race arrogance, we fought gladly and to the last drop of blood; for America and her highest ideals, we fought in far-off hope; for the dominant southern oligarchy entrenched in Washington, we fought in bitter resignation. For the America that represents and gloats in lynching, disfranchisement, caste, brutality and devilish insult—for this, in the hateful upturning and mixing of things, we were forced by vindictive fate to fight also. But today we return! We return from the slavery of uniform which the world's madness demanded us to don to the freedom of civil garb. We stand again to look America squarely in the face and call a spade a spade. We sing: This country of ours, despite all its better souls have done and dreamed, is yet a shameful land.”
Red Summer “If We Must Die” (1919) Claude McKay If we must die, let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot. If we must die, O let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! O kinsmen we must meet the common foe! Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
African American Responses IV: Migration Albert Alex Smith, "They Have Ears But They Hear Not," The Crisis, XXI (November, 1920), p. 17.
The Great Migration
For more sources about Migration North see nding.cfm nding.cfm Great Migration lesson plan -- center.org/content/2247 center.org/content/2247
The Music of the Great Migration migration.html migration.html Harlem Music lesson Plan-- center.org/content/2258 Harlem childrens games lesson plan - center.org/content/2249
The Great Migration The migration stimulated a national movement for civil rights Many Americans began to realize that segregation and discrimination were no longer uniquely Southern problems. The rise of black ghettos in northern and western cities compounded the problems of segregation and discrimination and Allowed for the flowering of African-American cultural movements such as the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. (Langston Hughes and J. W. Johnson)
CHICAGO DEFENDER NEGRO WOMAN FROZEN TO DEATH MONDAY Harriet Tolbert, an aged Negro woman, was frozen to death in her home at 18 Garibaldi Street early Monday morning during the severe cold [Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution, dated Feb. 6). If you can freeze to death in the North and be free, why freeze to death in the South and be a slave, where your mother, sister, and daughter are raped and burned at stake, where your father, brother and son are treated with contempt and hung to a pole, riddled with bullets at the least mention that he does not like the way he has been treated? Come North then, all of you folks, both good and bad. If you don't behave yourself up here, the jails will certainly make you wish you had. For the hard working man there is plenty of work—if you really want it. The Defender says come. QUESTION: What reasons are given by the Defender to support the statement that the black southerners were better off in the North?
Great Migration – The birth of a cultural revolution eblues/classroom/def migration.html THE BLUES eblues/classroom/def migration.html Migration Series (Jacob Lawrence) See (section “Art and Poetry) for complete the poem, images, and other resources.
The Rise of the “New Negro” “Enter the New Negro” by Alain Locke
MASS PROTEST The Silent Protest parade organized by Harlem religious and civic leaders and the NAACP, 1917 The New York Age reported on the march: They marched without uttering one word or making a single gesticulation and protested in respectful silence against the reign of mob law, segregation, "Jim Crowism" and many other indignities to which the race is unnecessarily subjected in the United States.
Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World, 1920 We complain: I. That nowhere in the world, with few exceptions, are black men accorded equal treatment with white men, although in the same situation and circumstances, but, on the contrary, are discriminated against and denied the common rights due to human beings for no other reason than their race and color. We are not willingly accepted as guests in the public hotels and inns of the world for no other reason than our race and color. II. In certain parts of the United States of America our race is denied the right of public trial accorded to other races when accused of crime, but are lynched and burned by mobs, and such brutal and inhuman treatment is even practiced upon our women. III. That European nations have parcelled out among themselves and taken possession of nearly all of the continent of Africa, and the natives are compelled to surrender their lands to aliens and are treated in most instances like slaves. IV. In the southern portion of the United States of America, although citizens under the Federal Constitution, and in some states almost equal to the whites in population and are qualified land owners and taxpayers, we are, nevertheless, denied all voice in the making and administration of the laws and are taxed without representation by the state governments, and at the same time compelled to do military service in defense of the country. V. On the public conveyances and common carriers in the Southern portion of the United States we are jim-crowed and compelled to accept separate and inferior accommodations and made to pay the same fare charged for first-class accommodations, and our families are often humiliated and insulted by drunken white men who habitually pass through the jim-crow cars going to the smoking car. VI. The physicians of our race are denied the right to attend their patients while in the public hospitals of the cities and states where they reside in certain parts of the United States. Our children are forced to attend inferior separate schools for shorter terms than white children, and the public school funds are unequally divided between the white and colored schools. VII. We are discriminated against and denied an equal chance to earn wages for the support of our families, and in many instances are refused admission into labor unions, and nearly everywhere are paid smaller wages than white men….
Between the Wars “Direct Action during the Depression contrasted sharply both quantitatively and qualitatively with the history of such tactics during the entire preceding century” A. Meier and E. Rudwick Increase in Black Political Awareness Newspaper circulation doubled NAACP membership increased Increased militancy Marcus Garvey – UNIA “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” ( ) Harlem Riot- 1935
Madam C. J. Walker: Philanthropy and Civil Rights
Advocate for Racial Uplift Chief among the recipients of Walker’s philanthropy were the NAACP, the YWCA and African- American schools. May 10, Mme. C. J. Walker 108 West 136th Street, New York City. Dear Madame Walker: All of us have been deeply concerned over your illness. We missed you at the National Conference on Lynching, knowing how much pleasure you would take in what proved to be a splendid Conference. The announcement by Mrs. Talbert at Carnegie Hall on Monday night of your most generous gift, the largest the Association has ever received, produced a tremendous effect upon the whole audience and was received with great applause. Immediately another gift of $1,000 was made, which I feel sure we would not have received had not yours preceded it. This came from Mr. Scott Bond of Arkansas. At the meeting at Ethical Culture Hall on Tuesday night it was my privilege to make announcements at the close. The first announcement I made was of your gift, then of Mr. Bond's, after which from the audience an additional $3,400 was pledged, the greater part of it coming from colored people. I know our branches and individuals subscribing and pledging were inspired to do so as much by your contribution as by the inspiration of the gathering itself. Mr. Storey asked me to express to you his personal gratification that the work we are doing appealed to you so much as to compel you to contribute as you have done. I hereby acknowledge the receipt of your check for $1,000. Mrs. Talbert informed us that the $4,000 additional would be payable on demand up to January 1, Sincerely yours. Secretary. [NAACP] Source: Document 2: Mr. Storey's Secretary to Mrs. C. J. Walker, 10 May 1919, NAACP Papers, Part 7: The Anti- Lynching Campaign, , Series B: Anti-Lynching Legislative and Publicity Files, , Library of Congress (Microfilm, Reel 1, Frame 284).
World War II and the Rise of African- American Protest Politics Double V Campaign “Regarding the Double V Campaign see Regional “direct action” campaigns (strikes, demonstrations, boycotts) “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” ( ) Sit-ins by Howard Univ. students ( A. Philip Randolph The president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a primarily black union. March 1941, Randolph proposed a new civil rights strategy: a massive march on Washington D. C. Three demands: The immediate end to segregation and discrimination in federal government hiring. An end to segregation of the armed forces. Government support for an end to discrimination and segregation in all American employment.
Randolph on MASS PROTEST “Power and pressure are at the foundation of the march of social justice and reform…power and pressure do not reside in the few…they lie in and flow from the masses…Hence, Negro America must bring its power and pressure to bear upon the…Federal Government to exact their rights in National Defense employment and the armed forces of the country.”
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) on MASS PROTEST Est on the University of Chicago campus. The creation of CORE marked the beginning of a mass movement for civil rights. CORE PHILOSOPHY Interracial founders committed to Gandian techniques of “nonviolent direct action” Their tactics provided an important example for later civil rights activists.
Brown and Beyond: Rising Expectations, Harry T. Moore 2.Emmett Till 3.Montgomery Bus Boycott
Harry T. Moore Murdered in their FLA. home when a bomb was exploded under their bedroom on Christmas evening, 1951, their 25th wedding anniversary. It was the first killing of a prominent civil rights leader. Harry T. Moore, fought to equalize educational opportunities for blacks in the 1930s and 1940s (http://www.pbs.org/harrymoore/) Excerpt from: EBONY (April 1952) “THE BOMB HEARD AROUND THE WORLD” Repercussions from Florida blast make it most explosive since Hiroshima atom bomb. The world quickly took note. In Asia and Africa, Moore's slaying in a nation that called itself the world's greatest democracy became front page news. Newspapars in France and Brazil, in Israel and the Philippines editorialized about the death of Moore. In the world forum of the United Nations, Russia's Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky was quick to throw the Moore murder in the faces of American delegates - including one Negro delegate, Channing Tobias. Behind the iron curtain, the Communists had a field day with dispatches from the Russian Tass news agency with details of the Moore slaying. America's foremost delegate to the UN, Eleanor Roosevelt, admitted: "That kind of violent incident will be spread all over every country in the world and the harm it will do us among the people of the world is untold." Over decent America a pall of shame settled. More sermons were preached, more resolutions adopted and more protest telegrams and letters sent about the Moore killing than about any other racial event in the decade.
Emmett Till ( ) “Emmett Till and the Impact of Images” see Site contains various relevant web resources, including Jet Magazine photos. Great site for documents and images regarding Emmett Till’s murder. See “Reactions in Writing.” See also for interview with Mamie Mobley.
Who are these Women? March 2, 1955December 1, 1955
Montgomery Bus Boycott Challenging Segregation on the Buses (pre-Montgomery) Buses as “Contested Terrain” Black Voices Ringing the bell Mary Louis Smith, Claudette Colvin – Who were they? Montgomery Bus Boycott—Organizing Strategies and Challenges Activity at Jo Ann Robinson – Who was she? Women's Political Council (WPC) of Montgomery, Alabama May 1954 precursor INTERVIEW: JO%20ANN.pdf JO%20ANN.pdf
Student Activism and the Emergence of a Mass Movement, Focus: College students developed new strategies and revitalized old ones that help to escalate the civil rights struggle and broaden its base. Their tactics included sit-ins, freedom rides, jail-ins, boycotts, voter registration drives, and marches. Goal: To help students understand how/why the involvement of college students brought transformed the movement.
Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement Websites Sweet Chariot: The Story of the Spirituals MUSIC OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Search for “Sing For Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Its Songs” and “Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs ” There are audio clips for both CDs available online.
Sit-ins Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-in (1960) “Bigger Than a Hamburger” and “A Conference on the Sit- ins” [see handout] Consider the following statement by journalist Louis Lomax, "They [the sit-ins] were proof that the Negro leadership class, epitomized by the NAACP, was no longer the prime mover in the Negro's social revolt. The demonstrations have shifted the desegregation battles from the courtroom to the marketplace.“ See “Greensboro Sit-ins: Launch of a Civil Rights Movement” at Site contains photographs, documents, and audio clips from Greensboro participants and civil rights leaders.http://www.sitins.com/index.shtml
Ella J. Baker (June, 1960) “Bigger than a Hamburger” The Student Leadership Conference made it crystal clear that current sit-ins and other demonstrations are concerned with something much bigger than a hamburger or even a giant-sized Coke. Whatever may be the difference in approach to their goal, the Negro and white students, North and South, are seeking to rid America of the scourge of racial segregation and discrimination - not only at lunch counters, but in every aspect of life…. By and large, this feeling that they have a destined date with freedom, was not limited to a drive for personal freedom, or even freedom for the Negro in the South. Repeatedly it was emphasized that the movement was concerned with the moral implications of racial discrimination for the "whole world" and the "Human Race." This universality of approach was linked with a perceptive recognition that "it is important to keep the movement democratic and to avoid struggles for personal leadership." It was further evident that desire for supportive cooperation from adult leaders and the adult community was also tempered by apprehension that adults might try to "capture" the student movement. The students showed willingness to be met on the basis of equality, but were intolerant of anything that smacked of manipulation or domination. This inclination toward group-centered leadership, rather than toward a leader-centered group pattern of organization, was refreshing indeed to those of the older group who bear the scars of the battle, the frustrations and the disillusionment that come when the prophetic leader turns out to have heavy feet of clay….
Ella Baker SNCC Ella Baker 1940s (NAACP);1950s (SCLC); 1960s (SNCC) “Baker left the SCLC after the Greensboro sit-ins. She wanted to help the new student activists and organized a meeting at Shaw University for the student leaders of the sit-ins in April From that meeting SNCC was born.” Different leadership style than MLK Baker believed in “group centered leadership” vs “leadership-centered group”
A Movement in Transition: SNCC SNCC went through three stages. First: 1960 to 1963 (Sit-ins and Freedom Rides) Second: 1963 to 1964 (Freedom Summer) A time of transition which sparked a reconsideration of nonviolence Nearly 1,000 volunteers worked in Mississippi that summer. During those months, 6 people, were killed, 80 beaten, 35 churches burned, and 30 other buildings bombed. Third: 1965 to A trip to Africa by several SNCC leaders, discussions with and about Malcolm X, and growing alienation between blacks and whites inside SNCC was capped by the Watts riot in August, The following June, "Black Power" became SNCC's battle cry in a march led by James Meredith in Mississippi.
Freedom Rides Define: The Freedom Riders left Washington DC on May 4, They were scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17, the seventh anniversary of the Brown decision. The Freedom Riders never made it to New Orleans. Significance: They forced the Kennedy administration to take a stand on civil rights, which was the intent of the Freedom Ride in the first place. In addition, the Interstate Commerce Commission, at the request of Robert Kennedy, outlawed segregation in interstate bus travel in a ruling, more specific than the original Supreme Court mandate, that took effect in September Website: African American Odyssey-Library of Congress See especially the “Civil Rights Era” section.
Birmingham: “Project C” ('Confrontation Birmingham' ) New campaign in Birmingham. Goal: to activate the black community and to force complete desegregation of all the city's facilities. “Birmingham Manifesto’ King issued the 'Birmingham Manifesto' stating that all facilities in downtown department stores must desegregated, that blacks must be hired in local business and industry, and that a bi racial committee must be set up to implement further desegregation. “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” Written in response to a letter in the local paper, the Birmingham News by eight white Alabama clergymen. The clergymen stated that the demonstrations by "impatient" "outsiders" was "unwise and untimely". They thought that the civil rights movement should wait and give Birmingham citizens a chance to reform their city on their own. MLK “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” …comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience For more information about the letter, listen to the following NPR radio report:
ALABAMA CENTENNIAL, by Naomi Long Madgett They said, "Wait." Well, I waited. For a hundred years I waited In cotton fields, kitchens, balconies, In bread lines, at back doors, on chain gangs, In stinking "colored" toilets And crowded ghettos, Outside of schools and voting booths. And some said, "Later." And some said, "Never!" Then a new wind blew, and a new voice Rode its wings with quiet urgency, Strong, determined, sure. "No," it said. "Not 'never,' not 'later." Not even 'soon.' Now. Walk!" And other voices echoed the freedom words, "Walk together, children, don't get weary," Whispered them, sang them, prayed them, shouted them. "Walk!" And I walked the streets of Montgomery Until a link in the chain of patient acquiescence broke. Then again: Sit down! And I sat down at the counters of Greensboro. Ride! And I rode the bus for freedom. Kneel! And I went down on my knees in prayer and faith. March! And I'll march until the last chain falls Singing, "We shall overcome." Not all the dogs and hoses in Birmingham Nor all the clubs and guns in Selma Can turn this tide. Not all the jails can hold these young black faces From their destiny of manhood, Of equality, of dignity, Of the American Dream A hundred years past due. Now!
Birmingham: cont… On Sept. 15, 1963, the all-Black Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed. Sunday school was in session. Handout: “Ballad of Birmingham” Websites: 5/02/church.bombing/ Includes Lesson Plan 5/02/church.bombing/
Ballad of Birmingham "Mother dear, may I go downtown Instead of out to play, And march the streets of Birmingham In a Freedom March today?" "No, baby, no, you may not go, For the dogs are fierce and wild, And clubs and hoses, guns and jails Aren't good for a little child." "But, mother, I won't be alone. Other children will go with me, And march the streets of Birmingham To make our country free." "No, baby, no, you may not go, For I fear those guns will fire. But you may go to church instead And sing in the children's choir." She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair, And bathed rose petal sweet, And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands, And white shoes on her feet. The mother smiled to know that her child Was in the sacred place, But that smile was the last smile To come upon her face. For when she heard the explosion, Her eyes grew wet and wild. She raced through the streets of Birmingham Calling for her child. She clawed through bits of glass and brick, Then lifted out a shoe. "O, here's the shoe my baby wore, But, baby, where are you?"
Freedom Summer Mississippi -- summer of 1964 Successes: The Mississippi project established fifty Freedom Schools to carry on community organizing. Failures: It registered only twelve hundred Afro-Americans and the Democratic National Convention refused to seat the protest slate of delegates elected through the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party. Significance: The events of Freedom Summer deepened the division between those in the civil rights movement who still believed in integration and nonviolence and others, especially young Afro-Americans, who now doubted whether racial equality was achievable by peaceful means.
The Legacy of Freedom Summer "What [the Summer Project] achieved more than anything else, I think, it exposed the system—from top to bottom," Dave Dennis, the Mississippi Director of the Congress of Racial Equality in 1964.
The Militant Years, Focus: The changing face of the civil rights movement. Goal: Help students understand why the expectations created by the civil rights movement met with frustration in the mid- 1960s and how their disappointment and frustration aroused a new urgency among black civil rights activist.
A NEW KING Have students identify the ways in which Martin Luther King, Jr. is portrayed in the mass media, and specifically, which of his ideas are communicated to the public. Have students read and discuss a range of King’s ideas almost completely unknown to most of the public today. Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Radical Vision plans/mlk2/index.html Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Radical Vision plans/mlk2/index.html
In his own words… ON NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963: The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation… …My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily…We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. THE NEXT STAGE OF NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION: MASS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE Dec. 1967, Published posthumously in King’s The Trumpet of Conscience 1968: The dispossessed of this nation – the poor, both white and Negro – live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of … their fellow citizens, but against the structures which the society is refusing to take means … to lift the load of poverty… … Nonviolent protest must now mature to a new level to correspond to heightened black impatience and stiffened white resistance. This higher level is mass civil disobedience. There must be more than a statement to the larger society, there must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key point. That interruption must not, however be clandestine or surreptitious. It must be open and, above all, conducted by large masses without violence. If the jails are filled to thwart it, its meaning will become even clearer… …The storm is rising against the privileged minority of the earth, from which there is no shelter in isolation or armament. The storm will not abate until a just distribution of the fruits of the earth enables men everywhere to live in dignity and human decency. The American Negro … may be the vanguard of a prolonged struggle that may change the shape of the world, as billions of deprived shake and transform the earth in the quest for life, freedom and justice.
Black Power June 1966 March against Fear in Mississippi. James Meredith, in 1962 became the first black to attend the University of Mississippi. S. Carmichael--June 16: "I ain't going to jail no more." …"What we gonna start saying now is `black power.'"
Stokely Carmichael “What We Want” September 22, 1966 “One of the tragedies of the struggle against racism is that up until now there has been no national organization which could speak to the growing militancy of young black people in the urban ghetto. There has been only a civil rights movement, whose tone of voice was adapted to an audience of liberal whites. It served as a sort of buffer zone between them and angry young blacks. None of its so-called leaders could go into a rioting community and be listened to... For too many years, black Americans marched and had their heads broken and got shot. They were saying to the country, ‘Look, you guys are supposed to be nice guys and we are only going to do what we are supposed to do - why do you beat us up, why don’t you give us what we ask, why don’t you straighten yourselves out?’ After years of this, we are at almost the same point - because we demonstrated from a position of weakness. We cannot be expected any longer to march and have our heads broken in order to say to whites: ‘come on, you’re nice guys.’ For you are not nice guys. We have found you out.... Black power can be clearly defined for those who do not attach the fears of white America to their questions about it. We should begin with the basic fact that black Americans have two problems: they are poor and they are black. All other problems arise from this two-sided reality: lack of education, the so-called apathy of black men. Any program to end racism must address itself to that double reality.... For racism to die, a totally different America must be born…..”
Black Panthers October 1966 (H. Newton & B. Seale) BP Ten Point Program (www.blackpanther.org).www.blackpanther.org Rethinking Schools website
Helpful Websites: This a research site devoted to information on Malcolm X. It contains a chronology of his life, and extensive bibliography site, information on his family life, a webliography, and a study guide. October 1966 Black Panther Party Platform and Program “What We Want What We Believe” Very little text, but excellent photographs.
Please note this presentation is for workshop purposes only. Please address all source inquiries to the presenter: Wendi N. Manuel-Scott