Civil Rights Movement- part 3

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  • Created by: Rosie
  • Created on: 20-04-13 19:25

Civil Rights Act (1960)

  • Eisenower's reaction to a violent outbreak of bombings against churches and schools in the South.
  • politicians from the South were furious over what they saw as Federal interference in state affairs
  • The bill became an act in 1960 as both parties were fighting for the ‘Black Vote’
  • introduced penalties to be levied against anybody who obstructed someone’s attempt to register to vote or someone’s attempt to actually vote.
  • A Civil Rights Commission was created.
  • act did little to impress civil rights leaders and barely touched on anything new
  • only increased black vote by 3%
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Martin Luther King- Younger years and Minister in

  • religious family and childhood
  • well educated family was relatively prosperous
  • experience racism and segregation from a young age
  • received poor quality, segregated education in southern school
  • experience further racial prejudice when he moved to north for college education- accommodation
  • attitude to whites changed when he became infatuated with white women
  • but despite this he married black student Coretta Scott
  • urged his congregation to vote and joined the NAACP
  • involvement in Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56) resulted in many threats to him and his family
  • dangers did not deter him
  • By 1957, recognised as one of black american's leading spokesmen
  • 1960 moved to Atlanta Georgia to the headquarters of his SCLC
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MLK- Protest, Publicity and Disillusionment

  • became increasingly involved in demostrations to bring awareness to problems- voting, lack of political power
  • wanted non-violent and peaceful demonstrations but was frequently arrested while participating in them
  • resultant publicity drew national attention to problems and helped obtain CR legislation
  • he then concentrated on problems of Northern ghettos- 20 speeches in 48 hours
  • workload, fear for life, slow progress, ghetto riots and increasing number of extremists made him increasingly pessimistic
  • he began to feel he had overestimated his successes 1955-65
  • was exasperated by militant black racists e.g. Stokely Carmichael
  • whites and blacks increasingly critical of him- blacks= Uncle Tom, whites =extremist
  • towards end of his life admitted that peaceful protest wasn't working and violence was needed
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Martin Luther King- Saint or Sinner

  • Glory Seeker- presumptious, self-promoting, publicity stunt?
  • Hypocrite- preached importance of monogamy
  • Betrayer of his people- anti-Vietnam stance alienated Johnson and hurt the movement
  • didn't consult often with other groups and leaders
  • wanted to represent all who had been oppresses- Mexicans, Appalachian whites
  • willing to compromise his popularity for what he believed in
  • arrests weren't publicity stunts but purposefully drawing media attention to aid campaign
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Birmingham (1963)

  • Why Birmingham?---*SCLC and SNCC quite inactive there *need to bring something dynamic *white racists held city back *Bull Connor allow attacks *show media segregation at its worse
  • Events
    • initially not enough local demonstrators= not impression of mass action
    • Bull Connor's police, dogs turned on demonstrators, used hoses, 500 arrested
    • black school children as young as 6 used by SCLC, chaos with bombs, violence on both sides, riots, stabbings,
    • King defied an injunction and marched knowing arrest meant media attention, arrested and wrote  inspirational note to Kennedy who got him released
    • a deal reached to improve black situation but KKK try to sabotage
    • 1100 students expelled for attending- court case and reinstated
  • Significance
    • use of media, little changed, show extent, Kennedy crucial, inspire other protests
    • 1st time King really led, show he can lead and force desegregation, precipitates violent reaction with non-violent protests, critics say king hypocritical (violence)
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March on Washington (1963)

  • aim to encourage passage of a civil rights bill
  • powerful message delivered at Lincoln Memorical in W. D.C.
  • representatives from SNCC, SCLC, CORE, NAACP involved
  • successful- about 250,000 predominantly middle class, 1/4 were white
  • "i have a dream" speech appeal to white america
  • King as a leader at his best
  • Significance-
    •  first time major civil rights leaders collaborated on this scale
    • impress tv audiences worldwide
    • possibly help civil rights bill
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Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964)

  • Problems in Mississippi
    • not many blacks vote, only 5.2%, white registrars set impossible questions
    • blacks politically powerless, 70% blacks illiterate, infant mortality 2x whites
  • Content
    • SNCC organised campaign establishing 30 Freedom Schools
    • activists from CORE, NAACP help SNCC create Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party which successfully politicised situation, developed new leaders, media attention
    • KKK violence increased and 3 activists killed
    • after this more attention brought with media
    • lack of federal protection
    • continued to be turned away from polling stations
  • Significance and results
    • lack of protection= SNCC + activists become militant= help cause disintegration of coalitions and cause breakdown between activists and Johnson
    • people see political system as fundamentally racist
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Selma (1965)

  • Why Selma?--- *sheriff trusted to act violently= publicity *chance for SCLC to shine *hardly any voters- part of ongoing campaign to register voters *symbol of segregation in south
  • Events
    • King led would-be voters to register,  venomous snakes, troopers shot black youth trying to protect mother from beating
    • King held people back trying to protect woman from clubbing -media see brutality but not as explosive as he hoped 
    • organise 50m march Selma to Montgomery = climax troopers use clubs, tear gas on marchers, including whites, "bloody sunday"
    • Johnson ask King to call off next march,SNCC accuse him of cowardice, felt betrayed, uninformed
  • Significance
    • bigger gap between SNCC and SCLC, King lose supporters-  'leader worship'
    • SCLC create lots of  money but leave and spend it in North, leave behind a stirred, bitter city
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Why did King moved focus to North?

  • CRA 1964 did little to address problems faced by black's in north
  • act had not fixed social and economic discrimination
  • Moynihan Report (1965) inspire King
    • a study of economic position of blacks
    • drew attention to high crime
    • poor living conditions
    • ghettoism led to de facto segregation of housing and education
    • Johnson had commisiioned report in hope to use it to promote economic equality
    • backfired- black leaders horrified that report blamed blacks for own situation
    • Significant
      • create further tension between liberal politicians e.g Johnson and black radicals
      • used by some whites to argue against government help for blacks
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Chicago Freedom Movement (1966)

  • Events . alliance of SCLC and CCCO in King's first Northern initiative
    • King aim for non-violent direct action=successful in South, challenge de facto segregation of housing, education and employment
    • disappointing first rally only 30,000, heatwave, fire hydrants shut off to preserve water, police arrive to enforce, riots erupt, King appeal for calm but violence intensify
    • organised marches through all white areas -segregated housing, mobs fight with rocks- King see violence as worse than in Mississippi and Alabama
    • more marches planned + threat of increased violence force mayor to get court injunction restricting future marches, King forced to negotiate
    • Chicago Real Estate Board promise to respect fair housing laws- King see as win
    • local blacks less optimistic and fair housing was ignored
  • Significance
    *seen by CORE SNCC as failure in leadership and tactics- turn to more radical *highlight extent misjudged situation- size of backlash, no support from unions, churches, Johnson (Vietnam) *reveal scale of problem- chicago 10x bigger than Birmingham, need financial investment - authorities reluctant to commit money,
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Meredith March (1966)

  • why?
    • James Meredith shot on march he planned to encourage voting
    • declare walk would continue, King and 400 others march together (+Stokely Carmichael- SNCC founder member)
  • Divisions on march
    • NAACP want focus on new civil rights bill and withdrew
    • King welcome white participants, Carmichael reject them
    • SNCC CORE increasingly militant- Carmichael arrested
    • King "freedom now" v Carmichael "black power" chants
    • Meredith feels excluded after shot and organise own march
  • Results and Significance
    • King in despair over split
    • NAACP no longer want to co-operate with SNCC or CORE
    • King no longer could influence everyone
    • makes split obvious- total collapse of coalition, white seperation now an option
    • King depressed, lost old dynamic personality and effect
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Poor People's Campaign (1968)

  • in response to Chicago king plans to create coalition big enough to tackle social and economic problems identified in Chicago
  • to only include black people, Hispanics, Puerto Ricans, American indians and poor whites
  • strategy was nationwide civil disobedience, occupy gov. buildings, boycott businesses, march on washington
  • demand
    •  federal budget of $30 million per year to combat problems
    • government committment to full employment
    • government to build 500,000 houses per year
  • Significance
    • King changed his mind about American Politics- no faith in it now
    • feels he needed to radicalise and exclude whites= makes splits easier
    • Johnson show even less support- bigger split between liberals and activists, money diverted from social projects
    • SCLC won support of some unions, religious groups, begun to raise more money
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the Memphis Sanitation Worker's Strike (1968)

  • Memphis city authorities refuse to recognise their unions
  • tear gas used to break up marches
  • union goals were economic and aimed to increase income
  • King lent support- his peaceful march failed, lasted 1 hour, marchers themselves began attacking and looting shops
  • King fled as soon as violence erupted to protect his PPC's reputation- cowardice?
  • SCLC try to turn into victory by staging another march but King assassinated before was possible
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Significance of King's assassination (April 1968)

  • symbol of end of CRM
  • Johnson call for national day of mourning
  • authorities in Memphis give in to demands of Sanitation Workers
  • 50,000 mourners join funeral procession
  • violence broke out in 130 cities and 29 states
  • SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael say white america declared war and the only way to survive is to pick up a gun
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King- Success in the South

  • widespread support from blacks
  • media attention
  • co-operation between organisations
  • early days in campaigns= more committment
  • NAACP tackle de jure
  • lots of local activism
  • non-violent protests brought respect and white supporters joining them
  • boycotts spread quickly
  • (Montgomery Bus Boycott, Greensboro sit-ins, Albany Movement)- minor involvement
  • (Birmingham, March on Washington-1963) major involvement
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King- Failures in the North

  • less media attention
  • less co-operation between organisations
  • later on in campaigns= tired of it all, confused, distressed
  • lack of support from black's unions, churches
  • increased violence
  • (Chicago, Meredith March, Memphis Sanitation Workers strike)
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