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Non Violent Protest 1950’s and 1960’s. Brown v Topeka Board of Education, Kansas, 1954 Landmark decision of US Supreme Court that declared state laws.

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Presentation on theme: "Non Violent Protest 1950’s and 1960’s. Brown v Topeka Board of Education, Kansas, 1954 Landmark decision of US Supreme Court that declared state laws."— Presentation transcript:

1 Non Violent Protest 1950’s and 1960’s

2 Brown v Topeka Board of Education, Kansas, 1954 Landmark decision of US Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students was unfair. Black schools almost always worse than white schools Black children therefore denied same opportunities as white children Campaign involved 8 year old girl, Linda Brown and her father With help of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People), Linda’s father took Topeka School Board to court Case got to Supreme Court who decided ‘separate but equal’ was wrong – 19 th May, 1954 First victory for civil rights campaigners? Segregated schools should be desegregated as fast as possible By end of 1956 not one black child attended a white school in south

3 Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957 Individual states argued against Supreme Court Decision – no segregation in schools Arkansas decided would segregate slowly – Central High School to be the first Governor – Orville Faubus – who was against integration sent state soldiers to surround the school He was ordered to remove these soldiers and when he did they white mobs surrounded the school instead First black student to attend Central High School was Elizabeth Eckford Eventually President sent over 1000 soldiers to Little Rock to make sure children were safe. They stayed in Little Rock for a year Attracted much media attention

4 Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955 About segregation on buses, produced MLK 1 st Dec Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person She was arrested under segregation laws Rosa was an active member of the NAACP, her refusal to give up her seat had been planned by leaders Fifty black leader held a meeting after her arrest to plan a boycott of the city bus system Boycott lasterd for more than 1 year as Black peoples car shared or walked to work which the police tried to stop The boycott would gain publicity for the civil rights movement Black Americans made up 60%-70% of all bus riders – bus company had a choice: desegregate or got out of business! Black population had shown their economic power. Legal victory Showed what could be achieved through organised protest However, did not end all segregation

5 Creation of SCLC MLK was born in He was church minister in 1954 in Montgomery, Alabama MLK was a Christian and a pacifist which meant he was against the use of violence, influence by Gandhi He was convinced that non violent civil disobedience was the best way to gain to civil rights in America SCLC = Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded in 1957 Supported non violent protest, campaigned for desegregation in the South in early 1960’s Organised by MLK, Ralph Abernathy and other Civil Rights leaders Important protest organisation

6 Civil Rights Act, 1957 Introduced by US President First civil rights act since 1875 Created new federal agency which would investigate and bring to trial any white officials who tried to stop black people having their rights as US citizens eg. By trying to stop black people voting Effective to an extent? Showed that the federal government was no longer willing to allow southern states to as they pleased as far as race relations were concerned Some politicians in South found ways of avoiding its regulations By 1959, new Civil Rights Act had not added a single southern black vote to the voting register

7 Creation of SNCC – part 1 Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee was founded in the United States in 1960 with help of MLK to work for Civil Rights in the deep South It was also called ‘Snick’ Movement grew out of a sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina In addition to coordinating sit-ins in the South, the SNCC organised voter-registration campaigns

8 Sit-ins, 1960 On 1 st Feb, students ordered sodas, coffee and doughnuts but their order was refused. The students were sitting at a ‘whites-only’ lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro four refused to leave and ‘sat-in’ all day despite insults and attacks They returned the next day with a further 80 black and white students The idea caught on and ‘sit-ins’ spread quickly across the South in all sorts of facilities eg swimming pools and theatres. By the end of 1960, 70,000 protesters had taken part in sit-ins Met with white violence. TV viewers saw peaceful students beaten and dragged off to jail ‘Fill the Jails’ was a popular slogan among black protesters

9 How successful? By July 1960, segregated lunch counters had disappeared from 100 cities across America – non violent direct action and TV coverage was forcing change Sit-ins showed students could take action themselves Unity: Black people were joining together to demand civil rights National news coverage, forcing many whites to take note of the ‘race issue’ Sit-ins provided a way for active participation not just spectators Much more needed to be done! Sit-ins would not achieve full Civil Rights across America

10 Freedom Rides, 1961 Group of white and black members from a non-violent protest group called CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) wanted to see if segregation had really ended Intention was to gain publicity May 1961, 13 member of CORE roda from Washington to New Orleans in Mississippi They would try to use ‘Whites only’ wash rooms at stopping points along route Students became known as ‘Freedom Riders’, their bus journey called ‘Freedom Rides’ Met with heave resistance from southern whites – when buses arrived in Alabama, Klan was waiting for them Freedom buses were stopped and burned, passengers who tried to get off were beaten with sticks and chains President’s advisor – when sent to investigate – was beaten unconscious

11 Freedom Rides continued Eventually police escorts sent to accompany riders FBI sent to investigate MLK tried to get students to stop – students refused Both CORE and SNCC (Students Non-violent Coordinating Committee) agreed to continue rides Finally in late 1961 US government ordered end of segregation in airports, rail and bus stations Tactics used increased support for civil rights movement – “drove a nail into the coffin of Jim Crow” (CORE publicity leaflet) Successful in making Northern white Americans more sympathetic towards Civil Rights cause – attacks by Klan picture in national newspapers and on TV Others argue Freedom Rides did little to change real problem which was that Black Americans had little power themselves to change was country was run – “freedom rides won concessions not changes” (J. Lawson, journalist for Southern Patriot newspaper, 1961)

12 Birmingham, Alabama, 1963 Most racist, most segregated city in USA – nicknamed Bombingham because violence was common here MLK announced SCLC would try and stop segregation there Governor of Alabama – George Wallace – was against civil rights Birmingham chosen as if fight could be won here it could be won anywhere in South Chief of Police was Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor – supported Klan Demonstration led by MLK & Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth Aimed to desegregate public facilities and department stores Even before march Shuttlesworth and MLK arrested for planning to march While in prison MLK write his famous reply to those who thought Black Americans should wait for slow changes. It was called the ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ On April 20 th both men were released from prison – march was ready to begin

13 Birmingham, Alabama continued School children would lead march – TV footage of children being arrested would embarrass city and gain sympathy May 2 nd march began – Connor ordered arrests immediately Over 900 children from age 6 – 18 were jailed Following day, Connor called out water cannons, dogs, bats, clubs and electric prods – America watched in horror, nation was outraged! Next day, firemen refused to use hoses, police would not attack, only arrests continued By fourth day, businessmen of town offered deal – agreed rest rooms, lunch counters, fitting rooms, drinking fountains would be desegregated within 90 days – in fear of losing businesses Increased public sympathy and support for movement All across America, public wanted change Federal authority once again prepared to force state governments to obey federal law – President Kennedy spoke on TV in support of desegregation Campaign was costly in human lives, injuries This damaged support for MLK Volunteers who’d rushed to help from North were badly beaten Three students murdered in Mississippi Missisissippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers murdered in front of his house Doubt among some Black Americans that non-violence was best policy On a local level, many Black Americans in Birmingham opposed to tactics used by civil rights workers – when TV cameras left, they still had to live with hostility from Whites

14 March on Washington, August 1963 Approx 250,000 men, women and children gathered beside Lincoln Memorial Four national TV stations aired the event ‘live’ Famous ‘I have a dream’ speech by MLK given to thousands of marchers and worldwide TV audience Raised worldwide awareness for civil rights cause Many saw firsthand the passion and dignity in MLK for civil rights movement Sixteenth Street Church Bombing: Two weeks after demonstration a bomber through 15 sticks of dynamite into a church’s basement – 4 young black girls were killed, 20 injured and building destroyed. Robert Chambliss, a member of the KKK was responsible Bombing turned many against MLK’s non-violents methods, many wanted revenge, threat of Black violence would protect Black community

15 Civil Rights Act, 1964 By 1963, President Kennedy seemed to wholeheartedly support the Civil Rights Movement However, in November 1963, he was assassinated New President, Lyndon B Johnson, made sure civil rights act became law Discrimination on basis of race in any or all public places in US was banned; equal opportunities in the work place – now against the law for any business employing more than 25 people to discriminate on the basis of race, nationality, sex or religion; Justice Department was allowed to take any state government to court that still discriminated against Black people As far as many politicians were concerned Civil Rights Act had gone as far as law could to help Black Americans The Civil Rights act was a big move toward achieving full Civil Rights Gave federal government greater powers to enforce desegregation As far as many Black Americans were concerned it was not the end of the road – the new law did nothing to solve discrimination in housing, or give Black people a fair and free vote The act was ignored in some places The act did not end fear – the Klan, often helped by the police, still used terror

16 Selma, Alabama and the right to vote In 1964, MLK was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his Civil Rights work, this made him world famous The problem of Voting = impossible for Black Americans to register for the vote. In many Southern areas, rules made this hard eg. Misspelling words or incorrect answers on voter registration forms could stop a Black person from voting For MLK, getting Black people the vote was huge – it would White power in South eg Black politicians could be elected MLK chose to launch his voting campaign in Selma, Alabama Selma had 15,000 Black adults who should have the vote Civil Rights leaders decided to hold protest march from Selma to Montgomery on Sunday March 7 th, 1965 (Bloody Sunday) MLK arrested a month before march began – publicity stunt to get more news coverage. A prepared speech was sent to newspapers Marchers once again attacked and forced to return to Selma TV coverage of march caused national anger at how Black protesters were being treated

17 Selma continued MLK went to court and won legal permission to march from Selma to Birmingham and on March 21 st the demonstration began again This time US troops protected the marchers Four days later when march ended MLK spoke to 25,000 supporters and reinforced the purpose of the Civil Rights campaign Within hours of speech 4 KKK members had killed Viola Liuzzo, a white civil rights volunteer from Detroit, Michigan TV news once again turned public opinion against white racists In Aug, 1965 Congress passed Voting Rights Act which removed various barriers to registration such as the ability to read and write

18 How successful was the Voting Rights Act, 1965 In Mississippi in 1960 there were 22,000 Black Americans registered to vote, by 1966 there were 175,000 Black American registered to vote In Alabama in 1960 there were 66,000 Black Americans registered to vote, by 1966 there were 250,000 registered In South Carolina in 1960, there were 58,000 Black Americans registered to vote, by 1966 there were 191,000 registered Within 3 years of the Act being passed most of the Black population of the South were registered to vote This also helped improve living and working conditions since White politicians now realised they needed Black voters if they wanted to stay in power Many Black Americans now saw an opportunity to become politicans themselves


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