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The Civil Rights Movement
Founded in 1909
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Organized, well-led group
sought to bring an end to legalized segregation
– Founded in 1957
– Southern Christian Leadership Conference
– Formed by clergymen to protest racial
– Founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
• Non-violence
– No matter what happened to you, do NOT react to your aggressor;
– This technique showed the hatefulness and aggression of the
– provided powerful images that were published in newspapers &
magazines, nation-wide
• Sit-ins and Boycotts:
– both were very effective forms of nonviolent protest
– used by the SCLC and others.
Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education
• 1954
• Led by the NAACP
• Sought to overturn Plessey v.
Ferguson, which established
“separate but equal”
– a.k.a. “du jure segregation
• Fight was to desegregate
elementary schools in Topeka,
• Went all the way to the Supreme Court
• NAACP lawyer was Thurgood Marshall
• Plaintiffs (Brown) won
• All schools in the U.S. must now integrate
Montgomery Bus Boycott
Led by the NAACP
– looking for someone who was of spotless
= Rosa Parks
– Parks had trouble with the same driver before
• Boycott lasted 382 days (13 months)
– Black Churches raised money for
• new shoes
• cab fare
• car pools
– 1st we see MLK in a large-scale
leadership role
• This job puts him in forefront of the
Civil Rights Moment
Montgomery Bus Boycott cont.
• City tried to break the strike
– Cab fines
– Revoke insurance
– violence
• Bus Companies refused to change policies
• the case went to the Supreme Court
– Ruled in favor of plaintiffs
• Ended segregation in all public facilities
“The Little Rock 9”
• Little Rock Central HS, 1957
• Arkansas Governor barred the
door of school
– used the Arkansas National
– Refused the entry of the black
• President Eisenhower
– places Arkansas National guard
under federal command
– ordered the students to be
allowed to attend
– Provided personal security for the
Freedom Rides
• 1961
• Designed to test Supreme Court’s
desegregation ruling in busses and
– Organized bus rides from Washington D.C.
throughout the South to New Orleans.
• Freedom Rides faltered
around Jackson, MS
– all of the remaining riders were
Freedom Rides, cont.
• “Freedom Riders” were
routinely met with violence
– Americans were alarmed at
images from the rides
– Images continued to change
national opinion
Integration at Ole Miss
• Fall 1962
• James Meredith wanted to transfer from Jackson State to Ole Miss
– was denied admission
• The case went to the Supreme Court
– Plaintiffs won
– Jackson was admitted.
• Governor of Mississippi personally barred the schoolhouse door
• Brief riots followed: 2 deaths, 100’s injured, many arrests
• JFK called out 31,000 troops to restore order and enforce ruling
Birmingham Protest
• 1963
• MLK called Birmingham “the most
segregated city in America”.
– Police Commissioner Bull Connor was
completely against integration
• King and the SCLC called
for a series of marches
and sit-ins
– “…to bring attention to the
integration efforts…in
Birmingham Protest, cont.
• King and others were arrested for conducting a
“parade” without a permit.
– King was criticized by local ministers for his civil disobedience.
– King Responds with “Letter from A Birmingham Jail”.
• As the marches continued,
– Connor had firemen blast protestors with water hoses,
– had police use police dogs to break up the protest
• Nation was shocked to see images of widespread violence
• The protest worked!!
– Mounting pressure from all over the U.S. forced city and state officials to change
– the city of Birmingham was desegregated.
March on Washington - 1963
• “March for Jobs and Freedom”
• Opposed by Kennedy, who didn’t want to
alienate southern congressmen
– Banned different voting standards
– Banned discriminations in public places
– Banned discrimination on the base of race, sex,
age, religion or nation of origin
• Protest led by MLK
• Violence against protestors
• Led to important legislation:
• Voting Rights Act of 1965
– Federal officials could register voters
• 24th Amendment
– Banned Poll taxes
Black Panthers
• Most influential Black Nationalist group
– Originally created to monitor police in California
• Members sought to
– Lead communities
– Set up “Survival Programs”