Why was the Birmingham March of 1963 so important?
- Aim: to achieve maximum publicity and end segregation in public facilities.
- Birmingham chosen as large majority of population were black Americans.
- Demonstrations began on 3 April 1963.
- Peaceful demonstration met with horrific violence by the police, led by Eugene 'Bull' Connor (police dogs, fire hoses).
- Almost 2000 demonstrators in jail.
- TV witnessed the events and showed the violence of the authorities.
- JFK gets involved and tries to mediate violence between the two parties - desegregation was eventually introduced in the city
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Why was the March on Washington so important?
- Aim: for jobs and freedom (passing of Civil Rights Bill).
- All key groups took part in organisation - NAACP, CORE, SNCC and SCLC.
- Authorities very worried - recalled 3000 police officers on leave and 1000 police officers from neighbouring locations.
- 2000 members of National Guard on stand by.
- 250000 demonstrators were involved, 80000 of which were white.
- Maximum publicity - Bob Dylan, John Lewis and Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech.
- Malcolm X called it a 'farce on Washington'.
- It was televised across USA - brought together different sections of US society and put further pressure on JFK to move on civil rights.
- MLK's hopes seemed illusory when, in September 1963, four black girls were killed in a bomb attack.
- Movement stalled in late 1963 by assassination of JFK.
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What role did President Kennedy play in civil righ
- Instrumental in securing release of MLK from jail in Atlanta.
- Had to be careful about approach because he faced opposition from white supremacists.
- Appointed five black federal judges.
- Appointed his brother as Attorney General.
- Appointed other black Americans to his administration.
- Threatened legal action against state of Louisiana for refusing to fund schools that were not segregated.
- Sent 23000 government troops to ensure that James Meredith (black student) could attend University of Mississippi.
- Threatened to evict Washington Redskins unless they hired black players.
- Introduced Civil Rights Bill to Congress in February 1963.
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What was the 'Freedom Summer'?
- CORE, SNCC and NAACP worked together with aim of increasing number of registered black voters in Mississippi (lowest in USA).
- Led to formation of Mississippi Freedom Party:
- 80000 joined.
- 30 freedom schools were established.
- Schools became targets of white racists:
- Bombings and assaults (police involved).
- 30 churches bombed.
- Murder of project volunteers - James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.
- Nevertheless, most saw protests as success when Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.
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Why was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 important?
The Civil Rights Act, 1964:
- Segregation in hotels, motels, restaurants, lunch counters and theatres was banned.
- The Act placed the responsibility on the federal government to bring cases to court where discrimination still occured.
- Any businessed engaged in transactions with the government would be monitored to ensure there was no discrimination.
- The Fair Employment Practices Committee was established on a permanent basis.
- The Act created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to implement the law.
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Why did voting rights become an issue in 1965?
- Civil Rights Act did not mean that black Americans could vote.
- Selma March was organised:
- Met with fierce resistance.
- Media showed police brutality.
- Public opinion firmly behind King and the CRM
- President Johnson put forward a bill that would enfranchise black Americans:
- Ended literacy tests.
- Federal agents able to monitor registration.
- By 1965 250000 black Americans had registered.
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What was the impact of King's assassination?
- MLK killed on 4 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee while campaigning for equal rights for black refuse collectors.
- White racist, James Earl May, was arrested and jailed for the crime.
- Outburst of violence across the country.
- 46 killed, 3000 injured.
- Demonstration in more than 100 cities.
- 1968 - Vietnam War takes precident over civil rights.
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What role did Malcolm X play in civil rights?
- Most famous member of Nation of Islam.
- Travelled across the USA gathering support.
- Helped set educational and social programmes aimed at black youth in the ghettoes.
- Re-connected black American with their African heritage.
- Influenced other leaders like Carmichael.
- Spread Islam into the black community.
- Superb organiser.
- Brilliant oratory skills helped increase membership of Nation of Islam to 100000 in the year 1952-64.
- Helped raise the self-esteem of black Americans.
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What was Black Power?
- Originally a political slogan.
- Late 1960s - covered a range of activities that aimed to increase the power of blacks.
- Associated with Stokely Carmichael and other SNCC members.
- Rejected white help.
- Separatism or change corrupt power structure.
- Create own political force.
- Have pride in African Heritage.
- Slogan - 'Black is beautiful'.
- 1968 Olympics:
- Athletes wore part of movements uniform.
- Smith and Carlos wore and showed symbols of black pride and poverty.
- They were banned from athlete's village and sent back to the USA.
- World became aware of the Black Power movement.
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What was the Black Panther movement?
- Founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in October 1966 in Oakland, California.
- Heavily influenced by Malcolm X.
- Soul on Ice (1967) set out aims of the Panthers in a ten-point programme.
- Prepared to use revolutionary means to achieve goals..
- Would form alliances with radical whites if it bought down 'establishment'.
- Advocated an end to capitalism and the establishment of a socialist society.
- Constantly targeted by the FBI and by 1982 the black Panthers had disbanded.
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