Firstly, quick recap Brown vs Board of Education Montgomery Bus Boycott Sit-ins Freedom rides Women’s involvement What is the common protest theme here?
Before Birmingham Albany, Georgia MLK spearheads mass marches, boycotts, and prayer vigils against segregation. Police Chief Laurie Pritchett, knowing about MLK’s non-violence strategies, plans carefully. Pritchett plans and executes… Avoiding over-reaction towards protesters by the police Ensuring enough space in jail cells, to the point of using other cities to imprison protestors.
Before Birmingham Problem No publicity gained so no changes Solution Plan protests to ensure maximum publicity and maximum black support.
So Why Birmingham? A city ruled by fear and hatred Blacks restricted to low paying jobs Total segregation Violence against blacks and ‘nigger lovers’ was common Businesses closed down instead of desegregating Remember the Freedom Riders
So Why Birmingham? Bull Connor The Birmingham Police Commissioner who was so bigoted that he was almost guaranteed to generate favourable publicity to the civil rights movement. Success in these conditions would radiate across the South. MLK “Success in Birmingham would radiate across the South”.
Preparation First level – Birmingham Activate the black community SCLC harass the business community with boycotts and sit-ins Mass marches The hope – fill the jail cells so full that city officials will be forced to negotiate Singer Harry Belefonte headed a fundraising committee and budgeted the protest for $500,000
Preparation Second level – National Create a lot of attention and media coverage Create conditions that force the President and Congress to outlaw segregation
Protest Non-violent A new dimension to protest was added called “Project C” which stood for ‘Confrontation’. This would be the turning point into the second phase of the Civil Rights movement. MLK reasoned that the Birmingham campaign… “would force the oppressor to commit his brutality openly in the light of day with the rest of the world looking on”
Quiz 1. Why did Albany not work as a protest? 2. Give three reasons why Birmingham was chosen as the protest site. 3. What were the two levels of preparation? 4. What key word would differentiate the Birmingham protest from other non-violent protest?