Why did the Civil Rights Movement become fragmented after 1966

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  • Created on: 06-05-15 14:53
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  • Why did the Civil Rights Movement become fragmented after 1966?
    • Methods
      • The SNCC and CORE only stuck with non-violent protest as it was working. Once this stopped in the north they believed violence in self-defense to be justified.
      • SNCC believed that non-violent protests could be done with self defense and the 1966 shooting of James Meredith supported this view.
        • Stokely Carmichael said that the shooting was evidence that self-defense needed to be used.
        • The SNCC became even more radical in 1968 when Carmichael proposed using violence against the US government.
      • CORE also moved away from non-violent protests in the 60's following the resignation of their leader James Farmer.
    • Collaboration
      • The increased amounts of white opposition in the Northern Protests led different movements to question whether Black Americans were being misunderstood
      • The movement was split over whether black people should collaborate with white people in fighting racism.
        • NAACP and the SCLC welcomed White Americans in the fight against racism as they thought it  would make the movement stronger
        • Radicals on the other hand argued that black people should liberate themselves. Others went further and argued that white people would never be able to understand black people and their struggles.
      • SNCC and CORE moved away from mixed membership in the late 1960's
        • SNCC expelled all white members in 1966
        • In 1965 CORE decided that black people should make up the majority of the organisation.
          • In 1968 white members were officially expelled from CORE
    • Effectiveness of legal change
      • Legal change justified the southern campaigns however many argued that this wouldn't face the de facto segregation of ghetto's in the north.
      • The NAACP, NUL and the SCLC all fought for legal change however this had little impact on the north as there was no legal segregation in place.
        • SNCC and CORE focused on political and economic factors in the northern ghetto's instead as legal victories were insignificant in the north,
    • Integration
      • Campaigners in the North fought for integration into white society however with the huge amount of white opposition, blacks often thought that integration wasn't the solution.
      • Racial integration was at the heart of the NAACP's and the SCLC's campaigns with CORE and with the SNCC in campaigns such as the sit-ins.
        • In the mid 1960's the SNCC started to stress the importance of black control over public services rather than integration.
        • Traditional integration campaigns often only affected a small amount of black Americans (Brown's Case)
      • The Nation of Islam argued that white people would never stop at trying to enslave black people.
        • Consequently argued that freedom would only be possible in an all black society. Thus Malcolm X favored separatism over Integration
    • Personalities
      • King was seen as an ‘Uncle Tom’ and the dominator of media attention; many felt that he was not the spokesman for them
      • The SNCC and CORE were critical of King for treating them as junior partners; for example King suggested that the SNCC should become the student wing of the SCLC. CORE felt that he was not supportive of their campaigns; for example he did not play a dominant role in the Freedom Rides
      • There were criticisms that King dominated media attention. In fact leaders and organisations competed for the media spotlight. Farmer wanted to use the Freedom Rides to gain attention for CORE and the SNCC used the Freedom Summer in a similar way. Competition was fierce as media attention was crucial to raise funds
      • SNCC and CORE were concerned that King was working too closely with the white government. Radicals objected to working with the government because they felt that it had failed to protect protesters during the civil rights campaigns.
      • Personal relationships reached a low point in 1966 during negotiations over a protest march following the shooting of James Meredith. Carmichael argued that he would no longer work with the NAACP due to their conservatism and willingness to work with white lawyers and politicians.
    • Vietnam War
      • This divided the movement as speaking out against it would alienate a government that had been so helpful in the south 
      • Leaders of the NAACP supported the war as they believed that any criticism would drive a wedge between campaigners and the government and thus slow down progress
      •  The SNCC, however, believed that the war was a racial war between the white American government and the Asian people of Vietnam
      • King initially refused to criticise the war and thus the SNCC were critical of him. As time went on King felt a moral obligation to speak out against the war as it violated his commitment to peace. This heightened tensions between King and the NAACP.


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