Civil Rights Movement (1960-1970) Flashcards Preview

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1

What fundamentally changed in the 1960s

- The Civil Rights Movement took off dramatically

- Black students who were no longer prepared to accept
segregation.

- The geographical range of activity widened, and many people who
were previously uninvolved became loyal, dedicated and very
brave supporters.

- This included many white people and many students, both black
and white. In particular, there was a major attack on the old ‘Jim
Crowe’ system of segregation in the south.

2

What were the significance of the sit ins in the 1960s

- In Greensboro, North Carolina, four students from the local college
entered a branch of Woolworth and ordered food and drink from the
‘white only’ counter – the students remained all day – and kept on
returning with more students each day

- The sit ins such as the one at Greensboro spread rapidly and very
widely; by April 78 different places were involved – 100 cities
affected and nearly 50,000 people actively involved

- Influenced the Birmingham demonstration in 1963 where police chief
‘Bull’ Connor ordered fire hoses to be used against protestors and
police dogs to be set on them

- The tactic was to create crisis and establish a tension out of which
the southern white community who had done nothing and ignored
the issue, would now be forced to confront it.

- There were over 2000 arrests by the police, they frequently arrested
the protestors, yet ignored the white people who attacked them

- Television cameras showed the rest of the USA the well-dressed and
peaceful black students and the violent and loud-mouthed white
citizens unjustly attacking them

- It allowed US citizens to draw their own conclusions – it became hard
for the media to manipulate the issue in favour of whites

3

What was the significance of the March on Washington (1963)

- The Civil Rights organisations now looked to stage a large united
demonstration - largest in the Civil Rights history with 200-300
thousand demonstrators
- The event was significant for a number of reasons

 It was for ‘jobs and freedom’, indicating concern for black economic
conditions as well as issues concerning segregation
 It was to involve a very wide range of civil rights groups, including the
NAACP
 It would include white people as well black people, who would march
together in a thoroughly desegregated show of unity

4

John F Kennedy (1961-1963) impacts on the civil rights movement

- Kennedys attitude towards civil rights was complex – one the one hand
he had personally had no objection to black equality and integration –
but he was not committed to it heart and soul – his main worry was
losing the support of southern democrats if he followed a vigorous civil
rights policy

- The crucial factor was law and order; if Southern states could maintain
order, Kennedy would not interfere too much – if they could not, then
intervention could be justified

- In order to make favour with the south, Kennedy’s first appointments
were pro-segregationists – it meant less was done on a number of
issues such as voter registration than would have occurred with more
sympathetic appointments

-In July 1962, J. Robertson Elliot, a US district judge, issued an injunction
to prevent civil disobedience protests by King. – Elliot was
a devout segregationist and had been appointed by Kennedy

However, King did commit to a number of successful projections forward for civil rights

- When Martin Luther King was sentenced to four months of hard
labour – Kennedy ensured his release
- Kennedy had a positive attitude towards civil rights – in outrage of police
chief ‘Bull’ Connors treatment of African American children – he sent
Burke Marshall to negotiate a possible settlement


5

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)

- There is no doubt that the greatest presidential contribution to civil
rights came from the early years of the Johnson presidency

- Johnsons commitment to civil rights began as soon as he became
president

- Johnson used his experience and connections to pass through
legislation at a far more effective rate

- Johnson pushed the 1964 Civil Rights Act though with a vigour and
skill lacking in previous times - this was the most fundamental piece
of legislation since the 13th Amendment in 1865


6

Civil Rights Act (1964)

 There was a ban on exclusions from restaurants, stores and other public places
 The Attorney-General could file law suits to speed up desegregation, mixed education and voting rights
 The Fair Employment Practices Commission was now set up on permanent legal basis
 There was to be no discrimination on any federally aided programmes


Effectively ended the 'separate but equal' clause

7

Voting Rights Act (1965)

Abolished literacy tests and made illegal the kind of manoeuvres that had prevented black people from voting in large numbers in Selma

8

SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee)

- Was one of the major Civil Rights Movement organisations of the
1960s – emerged from the first wave of student sit ins in May 1960

- After its involvement in the Voter Education Project, SNCC grew into
a large organisation with many supporters in the North who helped
raise funds to support its work in the South

- Played roles in the freedom rides, the 1963 march on Washington,
the Selma campaigns and the march against fear

9

SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference)

- Had a large role in the Civil Rights Movement

- Governed by an elected board, and established as an organization of
affiliates, most of which were either individual churches or community
organizations

- SCLC advocated boycotts and other forms of nonviolent protests

- Were central to the co-ordination of movements such as the
Birmingham campaign – which focused on the desegregation of
Birmingham’s downtown merchants – and were central in
establishing the mass protests in Washington

10

Black Panthers

- Huey Newton and Bobby Seale extended previous ideas of armed
black groups to found the Black Panther movement in Oakland,
California
- They developed a 10-point programme, which was clearly influenced
by black power ideas and in particular: Malcolm X.
- These demands had gone considerably beyond those of the mid-60s
mainstream movement and included:

o Economic equality
o An end to capitalist exploitation
o Compensation in the form of land and housing
o Separate juries for black people and the protection from police
intimidation

- The Black Panthers developed the distinctive idea of armed patrols
of black people to keep an eye on the white police – firearm training
was given and a uniform developed
- It brought with it the sense of black pride, that white values could be
challenged rather than accepted
- Reached its peak of 20000 members in the late 1960s
- Shoot out in 1969, led to the death of 27 panthers and the group
disbanded in 1970

11

Evaluate Kings role in the civil rights movement compared to other prominent African American individuals

- King brought together many of the previous trends from past Civil
Rights progressors such as Philip Randolph

- Like Randolph, King also saw the moral power of Gandhi-like non-
violence and visited India in 1959

- However, King was doing this in an era when society was more eager
for change – thus his voice was a great deal more powerful

- He faced the same criticism that Washington did in seeking to work
with white supporters

- King, unlike other leaders, took a major role in the marches and
demonstrations – however he did see the power of mass
demonstrations like Garvey and Randolph

- Without the work of all his predecessors, King could not have made
the impact he did, however he brought many distinctive leadership
qualities

12

Explain the impact of Malcolm X on the civil rights movement

- Malcolm X had significant influence on causing the emergence of
Black Power

- Was responsible for the rapid growth in membership of the Nation of
Islam (NOI), from around 400 in 1952 to possibly 60,000 in 1960

- Preached violent revolution, urging African Americans not to reject
any means for change

- In the 1950s, he made a considerable reputation in two main
directions
o As a successful minister for the Nation of Islam
o As a prominent speaker, putting forward ideas about black pride and
black power

13

What was Black Power

- Black Power was an alternative philosophy to non-violent protest that
civil rights activists could embrace
- It included a number of different, loosely defined ideas, but some
central tenets could be identified in the mid to late 1960s

 Rejection of non-violence
 Martin Luther King being regarded as the ‘tool of the white man’
 White people not being wanted in the Civil Rights Movement
 Black Supremacy – the idea that black people should be in complete
control of their own destiny
 Demands for more effective and fairer implementation of law

- Many of these ideas had been outlined by Malcolm X during the
1950s

14

What impact did Black Power have on the civi rights movement

 Black power gave the black community a greater sense of pride and
confidence in their race its culture
 Black literature, music, theatre, fashion and food flourished during
the 1970s

However,…

 By accepting violence, the supporters of Black Power undermined
Kings policy of maintaining the moral high ground and lost much of
the white sympathy he had fought so hard to gain
 It was never clear what the political aims of Black Power were – it
created division rather than unity

15

What positive changes had been made by the end of the 1960s

 Desegregation: disappeared in most placed by 1968 – racial
integration of schools was now proceeding in states

 justice (1963, seven white men found guilty of murdering an African-
American in Mississippi – just a few years before such a verdict
would have been deemed impossible)

 Employment: by 1963, 25 of the 31 states with a substantial African-
American population had formally introduced Fair Employment
Practices. Blacks now held 39 percent of upper-level federal jobs.

16

What fundamental issues still remained by the end of the 1960s

 Black voter registration was still lower than white
 Some parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina maintained segregation in public areas, such as bus terminals
 Major economic and social problems remained for black people in both the north and south