A DIVIDED UNION? THE USA 1945-1970 (key issue 3)

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  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 08-12-12 16:00

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.
  • Achievements:
      • 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.
  • Impact:
    • 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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