African American Civil Rights - AA Groups + Leaders

1916 - 1927: Marcus Garvey + UNIA

Wanted to create self-help movement 

Advocated ideas of separatism, including idea that AAs should migrate back to Africa

Imprisoned + deported for fraud 

UNIA fell quickly in popularity

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1909 - 1920s: NAACP early years

Some successes, but other failures

Secured win in Guinn v. US 

Inspired National Urban League: a group which campaigned against housing + employment discrimination 

Many leaders were white --> AAs questioned who should be campaigning for rights

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1895 - 1963: W.E.B. DuBois

Created Niagara Movement: sought to restore black voting rights, however never became mass movement + ended quickly

Formed the NAACP in 1908 in response to race riot in Illinois, which ended with burning of many black homes + killing of elderly black man married to white woman 

NAACP: purpose of campaigning for civil rights particularly through court system

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1884 - 1931: Ida B. Wells

Brought attention to problems of lynching

Travelled to UK + did tours

Raised international awareness

Not successful in getting any anti-lynching laws passed

However, brought attention to issue + caused many to condemn it

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1881 - 1915: Booker T. Washington

Began Tuskegee Institute - training college for AA students

Promoted accommodation: idea tha blacks should accept segregation + work towards proving economic worth

Critcs argued he gave into negative views of blacks

Trained thousands as artisans + sent best to universities 

Popular with whites

Met with President Roosevelt

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1915 - 1930: NAACP

1920: 90,000 members

1930: dropped to 50,000 members 

People concerned they were too middle class

Working class felt they weren't dealing with their issues

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1920s: Harlem Renaissance

Many AAs migrated North + settled in Harlem 

Created new awareness of AA literature + art, and populaised jazz with whites

However: jazz clubs often segregated + blacks consigned to working clubs they could not patronise

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1930s - 1940s: NAACP Education Work

Focused on cases relating to "separate but equal" in education 

Wanted to prove black educated was not equal + wanted to gain financial support

Didn't want to attempt integration too soon 

Success: incrased funding spent on AA students

Success: black teacher pay roughly equal to white teacher pay

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1955 - 1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott

Several women, including Rosa Parks, arrested + pulled off buses after refusing to give up seats

MLK appointed leader of Montgomery Improvement Association

Black community boycotted bus system for 382 days

Boycott's economic impact (blacks used buses most) + SC ruling in Browder v. Gayle (ruling that Montgomery bus segregation was unconstitutional) --> led to desegregation of buses

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1957: Little Rock Nine

Nine students blocked from Little Rock High School by State National Guard (sent by Faubus) + angry white mob 

NAACP filed suit to force integration

Eisenhower eventually sent federal troops to force desegregation

Little Rock fought back + closed its public schools down for a year

Eventually forced to desegregate by SC

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1957: SCLC Begins

Founded by MLK, Fred Shuttlesworth, + other Southern religious leaders

Based on idea of non-violent protest

Focused on boycotts + marches

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1960: Sits-ins

Led by sutdents around the South

Attempt to force restaurants to desegregate: e.g. Woolworths

Lots of confrontation with whites - some violent

Success: many restaurants desegregated

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1960: SNCC Founded

Partially result of success of sit-ins

Founded by college students

Initially focused on non-violent action, although by end of 1960s, many leaders began to advocate self-defence principles 

Tended to take direct action protests - sits ins, freedom rides, etc. 

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1961: Freedom Rides

Led by CORE + SNCC

Group of whites + blacks test effectiveness of laws against segregation on interstate transport 

In Anniston - attacked by white mob + bus was burned + many were beaten 

Waves of volunteers followed - many were arrested

Lots of international press + Kennedy was horrified

Sent federal marshalls to deal with violence

Strengthened support for desegregated interstate bus travel

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1962: James Meredith admitted to Ole Miss

James Meredith tried to gain access to Uni of Mississippi + was denied 

Contacted NAACP - got their help for legal case which forced Ole Miss to admit him

Governor of State, Ross Barnett, went on TV to oppose this

Eventually, Kennedy sent in US troops to protect Meredith + force integration 

During rioting on campus, two were killed

Meredith successfully registered but have to have 2 federal marshalls guard him in class

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1960s: Ella Baker

1930s: ran black voter's registration campaign

1940s: active in NAACP

1957: began to work with King + the SCLC 

Disagreement with MLK's leadership style + self promotion

Thought others in the movement deserved more recognition

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April 1963: Birmingham Marches

MLK + SCLC chose to march in Birmingham because they knew police chief was v. racist 

Wanted to get violent reaction + media attention

MLK arrested - wrote "Letters from a Birmingham Jail" justifying actions of civil disobedience

May: MLK arranged protest with children of nearby school 

Violent reaction of police - publicised + shocked many whites

A few concessions made in desegregation in Birmingham - wanted to quell chaois + keep from economic boycott

Made JFK realise he needed to take federal action

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August 1963: March on Washington

More than 250,000 people (varying in race + societal group) came together 

Demonstrated growth of support for civil rights

MLK's "I have a dream" speech 

Meant to highlight need for economic change

Often known for how it led to civil rights desegregation acts

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1964: Freedom Summer

Orchestrated by network of civil rights groups

Launched massive effort to register black voters (voting drive)

Happened primarily in the South

Success: increased registration between 66% and 400%

Limitation: 3 civil rights activists murdered (2 white)

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February 1965: Malcolm X Shot

Shot to death by members of the Black Muslim faith - he had started to speak out against Muhammed

He had become part of Nation of Islam + preached that Christianity was faith of slavery + white man 

Advocated right to self-defence

Accepted that violence may have to be used to gain civil rights

MLK succeeded politically where X failed 

However, MLK failed to change attitudes - X's philosophy did

Popular with lower classes - focused on poor economic + social conditions

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1965: Freedom March (Selma to Montgomery)

Protested the 3 million Southern Blacks that still could not vote

Led to 1965 Voting Rights Act


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1965 - 1968: Watts begins race riots which spread

August: response to racial activity - police beat black man arrested for drunk driving 

14,000 troops required to restore order + 4,000 people arrested

Over next few years: hundreds of race riots occurred 

AAs believed laws were not efficient or successful enough 

Felt civil rights movement hadn't made enough progress

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June 1966: James Meredith attempts march across Mi

He is shot - does not die

March carried out by SNCC, SCLC, and CORE

Stokely Carmichael emerges as new power voice - slogan "Black power" emerges

Emphasised that blacks should not be ashamed of who they are

Said MLK's philosophy was right, but not peaceful tactics

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October 1966: Black Panthers Founded

Wanted to end white capitalist control + police brutality

Demands were economic + influenced Black Power ideas + X

Developed ten-point programme demanding all black juries

Received attention through armed parades of "self defence" + justification for carrying their own arms

Support declined when many AAs viewed them as too radical

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1966 - 1970s: Rise of "Black Power"

X's death led to increase in support for his views

Some rejected MLK as "tool of the white man"

SNCC + CORE became critical of those who supported non-violent action for lack of social + economic progress

Demanded more effective implemention of the law + more radical social change (housing and education)

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April 1968: MLK is assassinated

Considered to be national tragedy 

Hasn't been associated with anything big since 63/64 (vocal protest of Vietnam War lost him support of Johnson + lots of white politicians) 

At this point: trying to work for poverty relief + lower classes - not often credited with this 

MLK's associates ask for people not to be violent in response to death 

However, many are very violent - end of CRM as non-violent movement

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1968: Summer Olympics "Black Power" Salute

Tommie Smith + John Carlos gave Black Power Salute at 1968 Summer Olympics

Suspended by the US team + banned from Olympic village

It most poignant image of Black Power movmement 

Considered milestone of its journey in progress

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1929 - 1968: Martin Luther King

Became leader of SCLC

Focused mostly on desegregation + voting rights

Strongly committed to non-violence

Arranged Birmingham Protest (April 1963) + created the publicity the CRM needed

Organised March on Washington (1963) leading to Johnson promising the 1965 Voting Rights Act

1966: tried to highlight blacks economic issues

Reducting in support from Congress + Pres. Johnson after vocal disagreement with Vietnam War

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1925 - 1963: Medger Evers

1952: Joined NAACP

Went through home state: encouraged poor AAs to register to vote + recruited them into CRM

Instumental in getting witnesses + evidence for Emmitt Till murder case

This murder case brought national attention to plight of AAs in the South

Involved in Ole Miss case

1963: killed 

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Born 1933: James Meredith

March 1966: arranged "March Against Fear" to protest racism, particularly racism against AAs registering to vote 

Shortly into march - shot + hospitalised 

MLK + Carmichael (alongside others) joined march on Meredith's behalf

Released from hospital + able to rejoin march + reach destination (Jackson, Mississippi)

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1941 - 1998: Stokeley Carmichael

1966: became chair of SNCC

1967: co-wrote Black Power - outlined vision of role of blacks in the USA

Described "smashing everything that white civlisation had created"

1967: left SNCC to join Black Panthers

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Huey Newton + Bobby Seale

1966: formed Black Panther group

1967: Newton shot + arrested + convicted of violent offences

1971: Seale's murder charge dropped

Early 1970s: men move away from violent pasts

1981: Seale wrote "Seize of Time" - history of Black Panther movement

Seale then worked to improve social + economic conditions of number of black neighbourhoods

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1983: MLK Day declared National Holiday

Passed by Reagan

Demonstrated acceptance within widespread American community for importance of CRM and civil rights leaders

Currently observed throughout the US

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1984, 1988: Jesse Jackson runs for President

Serious attempt to gain Democratic presidency

Suggests growing acceptance by the white community of black politicans 

Ultimately unsuccessful

Rainbow Coalition idea emphasised need for all minority groups to come together

Failed to inspire + candidacy ultimately failed

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1992: Rodney King affair + LA Race Riots

Further proof that AAs had no gained full equality

Rodney King stopped for traffic violation + severely beaten by four police officers

All-white jury acquited officers of all charges, despite there being video evidence

Triggered rioting across LA - this was broadly publicised

AAs remained disproportionately more likely to go to prison than whites

Higher incarceration rates for non-violent crimes

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