Civil Rights


African Americans in WW2

.About 1 million African Americans fought in WW2

.The army was segregated - served in separate miliatary units 

.Because of racism,African Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor

.Fought for freedom abroad, but returned home to a society in which they were oppressed 

.Courage of African American soldiers attitude of many white soldiers

.During WW2 - white people treated some black soldiers as heroes 

.1941 - Roosevelt ordered companies not to discriminate 

.BUT in 1942, 3,000 white workers walked out when 3 black workers were employed

.The horror of the extermination camps convinced many people that racism should be opposed

.1948 - President Truman ended segregation in the armed forces

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Brown vs. Board of education (1954)

.Overturned the Plessy vs Ferguson case (1896) - allowed for 'separate but equal' in public facilities

. Followed campaigns by the NAACP

.Linda Brown - had to walk 7 blocks to go to school, had to walk over train tracks and her parents and 12 other people took this to the NAACP

.Thurgood Marshall - First black man to carry out a Supreme court case and took Brown case to the Supreme court 

.Earl Warren (Chief Justice) - wanted desegregation in schools and  persuaded with the results of the 'doll test' 

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Impacts of the Brown case


.Many of the boader states did desegregate their schools quickly 

.Plessy vs. Ferguson had been exposed - Jim Crow under threat

.Supreme court clearly sympathetic to civil rights


.Had no time limit - 750 out of 6300 southern schools desegregated

.KKK revival 

.Eisenhower did not support the decision - South thought they could safely ignore the ruling

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Little Rock (1957)

.Nine Black students enrolled at an all-white school - enrolled due to good grades

.Orval Faubus ordered the state National Guard to bar the black students' entry into the school

.September 6th - 8 of the 9 students were turned away by the National Guard 

.Elizabeth Eckford - walked through the protest (shouting racist comments) and woman helped her escape

.NAACP went to court and other black schools refused to let black children in

. People blamed Ike (Eisenhower) due to lack of leadership - exposed by media

.Faubus removed National Guard - troops replaced them and went to school without a crowd*

.However, they were still bullied

*Ike persuaded Faubus to desegregate

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Effects of Little Rock


.The events show the scale of the problem to other Amerian states

.enrolled 9 black students - BUT mob refused to let the students into the school


.1957 - desegregation had made little effect

.4 parents of the students lost their jobs

.only 3 percent of the Little Rock's students were black

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Montgomery bus boycott

.December 5th 1955 to December 20th 1956

.December 1st 1955 - Rosa Parks arrested for refusing give up her seat to a white man on a bus 

.Began on the day of Park's court hearing and lasted 381 days 

.Black ministers, led by Martin Luther King, organised a bus boycott protest 

.Supported the boycott by walking to work or sharing cars for over a year 

.Lasted until the Supreme court finally ruled that Alabama's bus segregation laws were unconstitutional 

.Lead to desegregation of buses

.Mass involvement and non-violence

.MLK emerges as a leader

.Raise morale

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Freedom rides (1961)

1960 - US Supreme court ruled that racial segregation on buses moving from one state to another was illegal

.Organised by MLK who was incharge of the Black power movement 

.Journey from Washington DC through to the Deep South 

Aim - to desegregate all interstate buses

.Group of 13 African American and white civil rights activists launched the Freedom rides

.Riders recruited by CORE and attempted to integrate facilities at bus terminals 

.African Americans tried to use 'White only' bathrooms and lunch counters e.c.t 

.Group encountered tremendous violence from white protestors along the route

.Drew media attention- CORE wanted to show the importance of desegregation 

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Birmingham (1963)

.April 1963

.Organised by King and the SCLC

.Kennedy gave limited support for Civil Rights (before Birmingham)

.Target area - King described it as 'America's worst city for racism' 

.Police was run by Eugene 'Bull' Connor 

.Police attacked 1000 school children and other marchers (the day of Birmingham)

.Images shocked America

.King was arrested, but bailed out by Pritchett 

.Kennedy sent a Civil Rights Bill to Congress (after Birmingham) 

.KKK bombed the 16th street Baptist 

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March on Washington (August 1963)

.1963 - 900 demonstrations in more than 100 cities

.250,000 people took part, including 75,000 whites 

.'I have a dream speech' - spirited call for racial justice and equality 

.Marched for jobs and freedom

.Organised by SCLC, SNCC, CORE and NAACP

.Ended in a rally at the Lincolm Memorial 

.Helped pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) - key event leading up to full desegregation

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King's win of the Nobel Peace prize

Role as leader - 

.King allowed himself to be arrested in Birmingham - increased media attention (vital for the sucsess of the campaign)

.Inspirational leader - key reason for people of Montgomery to carry on boycott for over a year 

Role as organiser -

.Crucial to the Civil Rights Movement sucsess - MLK organised meetings in churches

.Able to convince Civil Rights organisations to work together - made them more effective

Non-violence - 

.People found his non-violence most impressive and never moved away from non-violence

.King inspired by Ghandi - sucsess to campaign for Indian independance 

.Civil Rights Act (1964) outlawed segregation in public places

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Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964)

.Mississppi was targeted - lowest black black voter regristration of any state 

.6.2 percent of black people were regristered voters (1962) 

.800 volunteers from the North came to help

.3 civil rights workers were killed - by the KKK

.Tried to regrister 17,000 - only 1600 were sucsessful

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Selma (1965)

.Goal = Voting Rights Bill

.Only 335 black Americans were allowed to vote in Selma 

.The town was known for his brutally racist sherrif - Jim Clark 

.The authorities banned the march 

.Planned march from Selma to Montgomery 

.Sunday - attacked by the police 'Bloody Sunday', attacked with tear gas and clubs 

.Tuesday - 'Turn around Tuesday' - MLK turned the march around to keep President Johnson on side

.August 6th 1965 - Johnson signed Voting Rights act 

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Race Riots

.1965 to 1967

.In cities in the North and West where there were a large black population

.Cause of riots - poor relations between the police and black people, division of race lines, black people did not feel the same protection from crime as whites 

.North still had the De-facto segregation - not improved by Civil Rights Act (1964) or Voting Rights Act (1965) 

.Many black rioters were influences by the racial black nationalists 

.Joined riots as an expression of their frustration about the way they were treated in the USA

.Most serious riot were in the Watts area of LA in August 1965 and Detroit in July 1967

.Watts - 64 people killed in 6 days and 4,000 arrested 

. President Johnson asked the Governor of Illinois to investigate the riots 

.Conclusion - racism was the cause 

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Changes in King's views after 1965

.Suggested 'temporary segregation'

.Realised that the Civil Rights Acts had nothing to do with Northern black people

.Became more negative

.Said that his 'dream' was being turned into a nightmare - 'we live in a confused,sick,neurotic nation'

.Became more radical 

.Only solution was to completely restructure the whole of American society 

.Wanted to promote black self-esteem and self-determination

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Chicago (1966)

.America's second largest city 

.70,000 black people

.Poor housing, employement and education

.30,000 people attended the rally

.King rented an appartment in ghetto

.BUT it was much more difficult to change De Facto segregation

.King was not as respected in the North - black people didnt want him

.Result - Failure 

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Poor people's campaign (1968)

. Aim = full employement and decent housing

.MLK said that the government had broken its promises

.Focused on economic inequality 

.King's assasination overshadowed protest (4th April 1968)

.Left with a clean-up bill of 71,000 dollars

. Result - Failure 

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Why was King less successful after 1965?

.Vietnam war - loss of media attention

.Difficult to change De Facto segregation in the North 

.Goals are too broad

.King became more negative - less influencial,'Dream' turning into a nightmare

.King lost confidence 

.Not as respected in the North 

.Needed money - government not willing to give money and Vietnam war

.More support for violence 

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Assassination of Martin Luther King (4th April 196

Positve Impact-

.Bobby Kennedy informed the public of his death and made a speech calling for peace and unity

.Jane Elliot - attempted to ensure that white people understood the impact discrimination could have 

.President Johnson passed the Fair Housing Act (1968) - outlawed discrimination in housing on the housing on the basis of colour 

Negative Impact-

.The Civil Rights Movement had lost its key supporters of non-violence - no more major non-violence protests 

.The Poor People's Campaign was overshadowed by his death and ended in failure

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Malcolm X

.Member of the Nation of Islam 

.Wants to use violence if necessary - violence in self-defence

.Separation not intergration - taking control of their lives (e.g. black businesses) and black nationalism (independance) 

.Rejected non-violence and intergration

.Not interested in working with white people, especially the government 

.Assaniated before King (1965)

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Influence of Black power

.Phrase first used by Stokeley Carmichael - leader of SNCC

.Aim = to give black people control over their own destiny

.Appeals to young,poor,Northern,ghetto dwellers and male

.SNCC expelled all white members - funding became a problem 

Mexico Olympics 1968- 

.Tommie Smith - Black glove on left hand = power

.John  Carlos - Black glove on right hand = unity

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Black Panther Party

.Formed in 1966

.Led by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale

.Local community 

.Founded in Oakland, California 

.Increase in Black pride 

.10 point programme 

.Aim - full employment - boycotted shops

.Aim - end police brutality - 'patrol the pigs campaign' and trained in self defence

.Aim- improve education - educating them about the Black Panthers, spoke in schools, free breakfast programmes and set up freedom schools 

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Life in the South for black Americans

.Jim Crow Law-

.Segregation of public facilities, e.g. white sink and coloured sink


.Education was segregated

.White universities refused to accept black students

.Schools for African Americans had a quarter of the budget that white schools had


.Targeted African Americans who showed any kind of 'disrespect' towards white people

.African Americans were terrorised by the Klan 

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Life in the North for African Americans

Great immigration-

.WW1 - period of 'great immigration' when thousands of African Americans moved from the South to the North 

.Looked for job opportunities in the great cities

Living conditions-

.Paid less than white peopel so they were forced to live in undesirable neighbourhoods 

.90 percent of people who lived in ghettos were black

Working conditions- 

.They earned 50 percent of the pay of white workers

Voting Rights- 

.Easier for African American people to vote in the North 

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