Civil rights protests of the 60's

Civil rights protests of the 60's

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a) SCLC (1957-60) :
King set up SCLC in 1957, it aimed to improve the black situation in the South.
Early SCLC rallies were sabotaged by NAACP, as they considered them a rival. NAACP was a
national organisation, whereas SLCL solely concentrated on the South, which focused
primarily on ascertaining legal rights.
NAACP had suffered a persecution after BROWN, it was harder for Southern racists to
attack a Church dominated organisation.
SCLC offered a nonviolent approach, however a different approach to the NAACP's
literation strategy.
CORE had previously tried the litigation approach in the North, but lacked success.
The National Urban League focussed on improving life in the Northern cities.
Kings main aims were to attract attention to racial inequality; he began with a march in
Washington, in support of the Eisenhower Civil Rights Bill.
Kind demanded the right to vote for all Blacks outside the Lincoln memorial in May 1957.
The lack or organisation, and paid staff and mass support hampered progression, and their
`crusade for Citizenship.' (As it was Southern based, Northern Blacks often didn't support)
In 1959 King faced local and national black divisions, and success of SCLC was limited.
Many Historians consider organisation one of King's great weaknesses, which was proven in
SCLC's early disorganisation and lack of inspiration from King.
One campaign organised by King entailed protesting at the Democratic and Republican
conventions, however Adam Clayton Powell opposed the idea, and threatened to go public
with a rumour that King had, had a physical relationship with a man. Nevertheless the
protest went ahead, yet it failed to attract much support or attention, and was essentially
ineffectual. (Chicago and Los Angeles)
b) Sit-ins
Civil Rights exploded into life in February 1960.
In Greensboro, North Carolina, 4 black college students refused to leave the all-white
Woolworths cafeteria when asked. Other students continued to do the same, taking up the
seats, causing the cafeteria to close.
NAACP was unenthusiastic about helping the student, disgruntled SCLC employee Ella
Baker encouraged them not to let King take over their protest.
As many as 70,000 students joined these sit-ins across the South. Similar protests took
place in Oklahoma, and Kansas in 1957-8.
The press in Greensboro covered the protests extensively which helped for further mass
action of similar sit-ins.
King was contacted by a SCLC member and quickly encouraged students with their
protests, Atlanta students encouraged him to join them, as in Montgomery King was led
rather than leading.
c) The significance of the Sit ins:
The sit-ins helped erode Jim Crow (de Jurie Segregation) The loss of business made
Woolworths desegregate all its lunch counters by the end of 1961.
One hundred and fifty cities soon desegregated various public spaces.
Students further set up the SNCC (Student non-violent co-ordinating committee), causing
inter-organisational conflict to increase.
SNCC accused SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) of keeping donations
intended for SNCC.
There was also still an evident NAACP/SCLC divide. Blacks needed a leader who could
unite all activists, Kind never really fulfilled this role, and however others such as Roy
Wilkins (leader of NAACP) failed in that area too.
The sit-ins shifted the focus of black activism from litigation to mass direct action.

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SNCC was more inclusive, and more appreciative of women workers than any other black
From 1961-64 SNCC organised civil rights movements in places like Arkansas, Mississippi
Delta, Albany and Alabama. Wherever there was activism or the need for activism, SNCC
workers and volunteers were there (e.g.-freedom rides)
d) Freedom Rides (1961) :First year of JFK's presidency.
CORE's (Congress of Racial equality) 1961 freedom Ride of May 1961 entailed testing the
initial court rulings on segregation on interstate transport.…read more

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King led a march and came to an agreement with local authorities, however after he left they
rendered the agreement.
The Albany movement was made up of a series of protests; however collective support for them
was decreasing.
King recognised it as a major defeat and failure
The interstate facilities were desegregated, and more black voters were allowed to vote, but the
city closed the parks, sold swimming pool, and integrated library-only after removing all the
seats, and refused to desegregate the schools.…read more

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Bull Connor (a white police officer) turned on the black demonstrators with the attack of his
police dogs on a black protester. (attracted media towards white violence increasing sympathy,
and jeopardising position abroad, had to seem liberal, or Russian unions could spread propaganda
against them)
King walked away from the protest, defying an injunction (ban/command), knowing his arrest
would spark national attention and inspire others.
It continued to be difficult to mobilise sufficient demonstrators.…read more

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Major Civil rights groups collaborated together and it impressed the media.
O) SNCC and Mississippi (1961-4)
By 1960 only 5.2 per cent of Mississippi blacks could vote.
White voter registration officers set impossible questions, opened offices at inconvenient hours
to stop blacks registering to vote.
Although half of Mississippians are black, there had been no elected black official since 1877.
Blacks were politically powerless, and whites spent three times more on white students than on
black.…read more

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There was a lack of progression and victory, however Birmingham no longer wanted outside help
or interference.
T) ST Augustine
The SCLC moved to St Augustine, Florida, 1964. King received Klan death threats. St Augustine's
white leadership refused to negotiate.
In spring 1964 an integrated group (white and black) of 7 protesters tried a new tactic- a `swim-in'
in a motel pool. However, the motel owner poured cleaning chemicals into the pool, and they had
to be dragged out.…read more

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Whites threw venomous snakes at blacks trying to register.
Keen to gain publicity of white violence King held back blacks who tried to retaliate the violence.
King wanted to be arrested to publicise the fact that Selma blacks were not allowed to vote.
The SCLC and SNCC therefore organised a march as it was unsuccessful from Selma to Montgomery
to publicise the need for a voting rights act.
State troopers attacked them with clubs.…read more

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C) What Happened in Chicago?
King led reporters around rat-infested, unheated ghetto dwellings.
King and his supporters seized into ghetto buildings and began repairing and improving them.
There were the usual divisions between SCLC and Chicago activists, and the lack of clearly defined
issue did not help.
The July 1966 Chicago rally turnout was 30,000, disappointingly below the anticipated 100,000.
The subsequent meeting between King and Daley was unproductive.…read more

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President Johnson had turned against King After King's criticism of the Vietnam War.
The anti-Vietnam War movement detracted funds and attention away from Civil Rights.
National Press coverage of the movement was limited. Black marchers attempting to gain the vote
in Selma gained sympathy, black marchers going into white neighbourhoods did not. When CORE
defied King and lead a march into the working class white suburbs of Cicero, marchers violently
clashed with hecklers.…read more

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The sad, even outrageous, but inescapable fact seems to be that the white were not yet
acclimatized to the notion of having a Negro for a neighbour. The Bill was killed.…read more



Extremely useful. Thank you :)

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