Chapter 1: Slavery and Reconstruction
- Barack Obama described slavery as America's 'orginial sin'
- The first black slaves were brought to America in the 17th Century where most of them were used to work on farms in South growing crops such as cotten and tobacco.
- American Revlountion created an indepent country in which all citizens enjoyed legally protected rights, not blacks though.
- By 19th Century slavery abolished thorugh Northern states but continued through south.
- In 18th and 19thc entury these states had considerable independence.
- Slavery was one of the central reasons for the break out of the civil war in 1861-1865 between the 'slave states' of the south and the 'free states' of the north.
- American President Abraham Lincoln, who led the northern states, declared freedom to all American slaves in his 1862 Emnacipation Proclmation.
- North victory in civil war slavery was finally abolished across all of the US. this was achieved by passing the Thirteenth Amendement 1865 to the AMerican Consitituion whivh made slavery illegal.
- In 25 years follwowing the civil war attemptes were made to make America farier and rebuild southern states. During this period two consitiounal adementments passed in an attempt to give African Americans the rights they had been denied for so long.
- Fourteenth Amendemnt (1868): Citizenship guaranteed for all people born in the US and was an attempt to to gurantee the rights of people who had been slaves.
- Fifteenth Amendment (1870): Gave voting rights to all regardless of races.
However, these legal rights were never fully enforces, although some progress was made towards racial equality, even in the south.
Chapter 1: Segregation and Voting Rights
Segregation: Jim Crow Laws:
- Between 1890 and 1910 southern states introduced legal segregation. Achieved by passing local laws which denied black Americans access to facilities used by whites.
- For example, education, healthcare, transport and public facilities more generally were segregated.
- Segregation was alos an attitude of mind which governed smallest aspect, including how people sate, ate walked and made eye contact. Sarah Patton Boyle, who grew up in Virginia in 1910 describe this as 'racial etiquette.' She meant there were unspoken rules in the way the races acted.
- She said that as a young white women she learned to talk down to blacks, for example whites never called black men 'mr' or black women 'mrs'.
- Equally black people were never invited into a white family dining room, but could eat in the kitchen together or on the back porch.
- By time the children were 3 or 4 already learned how to relate to each other so that whiter superiority and black inferiority was consistently asserted. Boyle described this as 'segregation of the heart'
- Under 15th Amendment black people had the legal right to vote throughout America. Nonetheless, the southern states found ways to disenfranchise the local black community.
- For example, some states introduced a 'grandfather' clause which meant that people could only vote if their grandfathers had been able to vote. Other states introuced literacy tests as criteria for voting. Literacy tests were not applied fairly and therefore even educated black people were disenfranchised.
Chapter 1: Stereotypes and the KKK
The 'good, old-time *****':
- Whites often relied on blacks for domestic help. Blacks were hired to bring up white kids, to cook clean and provide nursing care for rich white people.
- As a result, black and whites often had an intimate relationship, and white people were dependent o the skills of their black employer.
- This caused issues as they saw them as an 'inferior' race that should keep their distance but they needed them in their family lives.
- In order to make the situation easier they invented a stereotype of the 'good old-time *****'
- This presented black people as happy to serve white people and entirely satisfied with their role in a segregated society.
- Whites encouraged their black employers to behave in this way by employing black people who seemed to fit in with the stereotype and deigning employment to those with higher aspirations.
The Klu Klux Klan:- Most radical expression of white supremacy was the KKK. Saw themselves as the defender of the white supremacist traditions in the south.
- The Klan targeted people who showed signs of 'disrespect' towards whites. This included blacks who were romantically involved with whites, blacks who were growing prosperous, and blacks who were challenging the injustices of segregation.
- Did this by lynching their victims. In 1900 there were 115 cases of lynching across the US. Notably, in the same year the total number of murders across the US was only 230.
- Between 1915-29 the KKK were extremely powerful. Senior politicians in the SOuth were often members of the Klan ad were judges, policemen, and other local officials. As a result there was little justice for the african americans in the south.
- For many in the south those in the Klan were heroes, the klan was prompted in the 1915 film 'Birth of a nation' which KKK men were portrayed as protecting vulnerable women from local black men. Most popular film of the year and grossed $10 million (the equivalent of $220 million today)
Chapter 1: Challenging segregation in the south
Plessy vs Ferguson 1896.
- Plessy claimed that segregation was unlawful because all citizens were guaranteed equal rights under the 14th amendment. He claimed the state of Lousiana had acted illegally when they had arrested him for sitting in a white only area of a railway train. Took it to the supreme court.
- The judges decided that segregation was lawful as long as white and blacks had access to facilities that were equally good.
- The case was highly influential as because it laid the legal foundation for segregation.
- Prior to the supreme court's decision segregation had been spreading rather slowly.
- However once they announced it was legal to treat people in a way that was 'separate but equal', 'Jim Crow' laws were enforced across the whole of the south.
Conditions in north:
- Little legally informed segregation.
- in south majority of blacks worked in agriculture, in the north blacks were predominately industrial workers. During the first world war 1914-18 there was a period known as 'great migration' during which thousands of black americans moved to great industrial cities of Chicago and detroit in order to work in the war industries. The economic boom of the 1920's also attracted blacks to the north, in this period about 500,000 migrated.
- Pay was better in the north, although black workers earned an average of only 50% of white workers.
- Black workers were better organised in the north in the mid-20's black activist A.Philip Randolph organised Americas first successful black union: the brotherhood of sleeping car porters.
- Finally, it was easier for blacks to note in north.
-However, still faced enormous discrimination in north. Black people paid less and were forced to live in undesirable neighbourhoods. These areas were often exclusively occupied by blake and had poorer facilities. So economic deprivation and ghettoisation were substial problems.
Chapter 2: Black solders in EU and World War
Black solders in Europe:
- Over 1.2 million black men joined the US army during WW2. Experience radicalised them. Northern blacks were often trained in rural military camps in the southern states. First experience of formal radical segregation.They appalled as the thought fighting for the country, yet their country saw them as second class citizens.
- Segregation continued during war, black solders had different canteens and were taken in different vehicles. Many employed as cooks and cleaners and denied the right to fight.
- Blacks who did make it too front line had less training and worse equipment, some cases sent to the most dangerous parts the battlefield. Some cases there were riots in protest.
- Blacks experienced European society during their stays in UK and France. No segregation in them. In Europe, whites treated black solders as heroes.
World War - race war:
- President Roosevelt argued that America was fighting so that everyone in the world could enjoy four basic basic freedoms: freedom of speech, religion, from want, from fear.
- Although Roosevelt never say so explicitly, implication was that the four basic freedoms applied to all people equally regardless of race.
- Black solders were struck by contradiction of fighting for the four freedoms abroad when they could enjoy it at home. They used the 'Double V' sign meaning they were fighting two victories oversea and over racism at home.
- Hitler and the nazi's believed that the 'master race' and that they had the right to enslave and exterminate 'lesser' races. When solders liberation extermination camps. In past KKK presented racism as noble and natural. Extermination of over 6 million jews and other racist things the Nazis did showed the dangers inherent in racism and in so doing convinced many people that racism should be opposed in all circumstances.
Chapter 2: Black heroes and WW2 on economy
- Courage of black solders fighting in WW2 changed the attitudes of many white solders. Fighting in the war boosted the self-esteem of many AA.
- For example, Woodrow Crockett, and US airman, was one of the first black pilots in US air force. In last year of war he flew 149 missions, protecting the European harbours from attack. Not a single plane in the black squadron was ever shot down.
- Following the war black heroes who had risked their life for their country expected recognition for their achievements. They returned deterred to challenge racial injustice.
- In south $4.5 billion was spent creating factories that produced war goods. However, at first not allowed to get jobs in booming war industry due to racism on the part of those hiring.
- Black activist A. Philip Randolph was appalled at this 'colour bar'. He threaded to lead a march to washington. In response Roosevelt issued an executive order creating the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) In 1941. Forced industries employed in the war effort not to discriminate on the grounds of 'race, creed, colour or national origin' when deciding to hire. As a result lots of people working in farms in south moved to southern cities in order to get jobs in the new war industry. Showed putting pressure on gov could force the politicians to act in favour of radical equality.
- Northern industry also boomed, another wave of black migration from South to North. In 1940, approx 1/4 Americans lived in North, Concentrated in industrial cities, forming significant mionorities of the population in Chicago and New York. Wartime boom increased migration, by 1950 almost a 1/3 of blacks lived in North.
- Economic changes during the world were significant for Blacks become they allowed them to play a major role in the countries war effort. Changed the way in which black Americans lived. By end of war, 48% of black population was urban. Jobs in cities paid more.
Chapter 2: Politics and Economy
- Before war 2% of black population in south could note, by 1945 approx 15% of black population had been registered to vote.
- In their campaigns to register black voters, civil rights organisation into south explicitly reminded voter of the fight for freedom and justice in WW2 and the sacrifices made by black solders.
- Notably efforts of black campaigners and black ex-soilders was greeted with hosiitility by white racists and there was an increase in lynchings straight after war.
- By 1945 sixteen northern states had black population that were between 5 and 13% of the population. In these states black voters held the balance of power - if the black community voted as a block they could determine the outcome of elections.
- For example, in North election of William L. Dawson (1943) and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr (1945) to congress. They were the on AA to be elected to congress between 43-55.
- IN recognition of northern blacks growing political power of no American presidents began appointing AA to positions the federal gov. For example, William Haist was appointed a federal judge in 1949.
- In southern states, AA's were still predominatly employed in poorly paid agriculture jobs. During WW2 approx 500,000 AA's migrated to the North in search of better conditions and found work in industrial cities such as Chicago, San Francisco.
- Threefold rise in the black college population of the northern states. Result of the war boom, number of unemployed AA's fell sharply from 937,000 in 1940 in 151,00 in 1945.
- Even in north black industrial workers were unlike to be paid the same as their white colleagues. White workers objected when AA's were promoted. The Detroit riots of 1943 were highly destructive. Finally unemployment had fallen among AA's they were still more likely to be unemployed than white americans. For example, while only 6% of NY white men were unemployed, the figure was 10% for black men.
Chapter 2: Social conditions, Harry Truman and Col
- End of WW2 segregation remained throughout the southern states. In Washington DC for example, AA's were barred from all restaurants, cinemas and hotels in the central district of the city.
- Turning to housing, 40% housing available to black people in Washinton D.C. was found to be sub-standard, whereas only 12% of white housing fell into this category.
- Situation was considerably different in northern states, where eating, transport and educational facilities were not segregated.
- Absence of segregation meant racial etiquette was not as rigid and therefore it was more likely for people of different races to mix.
- The fact that AA's were poor than whited meant they were often forced to live in word accommodation and in the undesirable parts of the city.
- Born in border state of Missouri and as a result experienced segregation first hand. He was undoubtly a racist youth. Deeply moved by stories of black war veterans who were victims of racist attacks after fighting bravely in the WW2.
- Truman aware of the growing importance of the black vote to the democratic party. for both of these reasons Truman become committed to challenging southern racists.
- Traditionally AAs had supported the Republican Party, because slavery ended during the presidency of the Republican Abraham Lincoln. Because of popularity of Roosevelt black voters had supported democrats in large numbers in 30s & 40s.Truman hoped that this trend would continue if the democrats backs CR.
Impact of the cold war:
- Truman believed that US had a moral duty to fight communism and promote freedom against the world.He recognised that US could not fight for freedom abroad while segregation oppressed blacks in south.
- Truman was also motived by the efforts of black campaigners. For example, A. Philip Randolph encouraged blacks to refuse to join the American Army because it remained segregated.
Chapter 3: Harry Truman 'To secure these rights'
'To secure these rights' (1947):
- In 1946 Truman established The Presidents Committee on Civil Rights. Commissioned them to produce a report examining the experience of radical minorities in US. Highlighted the enormous problems facing AA's and proposed radical changes to make US a more just society.
- Groundbreaking gov report. It both detailed the scale of racial inequalities in American and mapped out a radical reform programme for addressing these inequalities. (In equalities included, police brutality, voting rights e.g in 1944 only 18% of black people in southern states had been able to vote, inequalities in the army for example, in the army only 1 in 70 black soldiers were promoted to the rank of officer whereas 1 in 7 white solders received a promotion, in navy 1 white officer for every 7 white sailors, whereas of the 10,000 black sailors only 2 has been promoted. Lack of employment and education, of for example 62% working black men were employed in low wage businesses compared to 28% of working white men. On average white workers received 48 cent an hour whereas whites received 62 cent an hour. Education: In Mississippi the average salary of whit teacher was $1,107 whereas a black teacher received only $342. Health: in 1940 1 black doctor for 3,337 black patients while 1 white doctor for 750 white patents. Many blacks refused access to medical school. Report claimed not separate but equal)
Recommendations from the report:
- Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) created by Roosevelt in 41 was now made permanent.
- Many of the recommendations of report were unworkable, e.g. the report recommended that local police portent that black community and that local governments in south should bring about desegregation.
- Suggestions unrealistic for simple reason that local police forces and local gov were overwhelmingly racist and therefore had no intention of aiding black people.
- In general terms the report suggested many essential reforms, such as desegregation of the south.
- In practice Truman was not able to achieve everything that the report recommended, due to a lack of support in congress.
Chapter 3: Truman Sucesses
- Truman used power as President to appoint AA's to important gov roles. E.g. Ralph Bunche, who was appointed American Ambassador to the United Nations. Bunche mediated between Israelis and Palestinians winning Nobel Peace Prize for his work in 1950. In 1949, Truman appointed William Hastie as the first black federal judge.
Use of federal Power:
- Truman signed Executive Order 9980 guaranteeing fair employment practices in the civil service.
- Also used gov power to ensure that lucrative gov defence contracts would not go to company that discriminated against black people. To end this signed Executive Order 10307 establishing the Committee on Government Contract Compliance (CGCC).
- He prevented the Federal Housing Administration from lending money to building projects which would result in segregated housing.
- As part of his 'Fair Deal' Programme he committed gov to building houses in deprived urban areas in order to address some of the economic problems faced by AA's.
Desegregation:- Truman used presidential power to desegregate the armed forces. Important symbolic step as the army was held in high esteem across the nation.
- In June 1948, Truman signed Executive Order 9981, guaranteeing 'equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard of race, colour, religion or national origin.'
- His commitment to desegregation was also evident at his inauguration ceremony in 1949. Traditionally the president had been inaugurated in front of a segregated crowd. Truman allowed black and white guests to sit alongside each other. - At Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. in 1950 Truman tried to desegregate the airport, failed but managed to desegregate the airports restaurants. Truman saw it as big step as Dulles Airport was the first experience many foreign dignitaries had of US and therefore Truman wanted it to reflect a truly democratic culture. ehensive enough to deal with racism that existed at all levels of American society.
Chapter 3: 1948 Presidential election and How succ
1948 Presidential election:
- Truman was vice president under Roosevelt and become President on Roosevelt's death in 1945. So his first attempt to be elected Americans President.
- From beginning of the campaign he looked beaten his commitment to civil rights had split his party. Democrats in North parsed Truman's anti-segregation polices. Southern democrats also know as Dixiecrats, refused to support Truman and out forward own candidate for president J. Storm Thurmond. Split in party made it look like failure but he did win.
- Groundbreaking becuase american people elected someone who was committed to challenging segregation.
- Between 1945-47 black americans had not been convinced by truman. Many believed his words not backed up by action. But when Truman stood firm rather than adopting racist polices to win over Dixiecrats, black voters began to believe Truman meant what he said.
- Truman proved that you could lose the voters of southern racists and still become President of the US. Black americans vote for truman proved to be significant. How successful was Truman?:
- Truman was the first American President since Lincoln to publicly commit himself to civil rights. To secure these rights was groundbreaking report. It detailed the scale of radical inequalities in US and mapped out change. E.g. Truman's decision to desegreate the armed forces and promote equality of employment in the civil services fulfilled some of the recommendations of the report and showed that he was committed to bring change. - Achievements limited: The FEPC was underfunded and lacked support from senior civil servants. The Committee on Government Contact Compliance found could not force defences companies to adopt fair employment practices. Truman's Fair Deal Housing programme was poorly conceived, demolished houses to make new houses but fewer housed were built than originally anticipated and therefore amount of housing available to AAs actually decreased as a result of the programme. His initiates were simply not comprehensive enough to deal with racism that existed at all levels of American society.
Chapter 4: NACP's Court cases
NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People)
- 1909 founded by a multi-racial group of civil rights campaigners headed by W.E.B. DuBois. Between 1939 and 1942, the membership of the NAACP grew from 50,000 to 450,000.
- The decided after WW2 had been described as the 'Golden years of the NAACP. During this period they operated a three fold strategy to challenge segregation in the South.
- First they took 'Jim Crow' laws to court by appealing to the fourteenth amendment, which states everyone born in the US has full citizenship rights and fifteenth amendment which states that all citizens have the right to vote, regardless of colour.. Second put pressure on politicians in Washington. Third along with other organisation organised popular resistance to racism in the south.
- Smith vs Allwright concerned the voting rights of black people in Texas. Many black people in texas could vote in congressional elections they were excluded from primary elections. This was highly significant because Texas was a significant stronghold, so whoever won the Democrats primary would win the congressional election. In this sense the primary is more important because it effectively chose the wining candidate. In 1944, Lonnie E Smith a black texan challenged this and with the backing of the NAACP he took his case all the way to supreme court. The resulting court case ruled that the Texan white primary was illegal because all citizens had right to vote according to fifteenth amendment. Very Very important because the Supreme Court because applied to all US so outlawed all white primaries throughout the US.
- Morgan vs Virginia 1946, challenged segregation on interstate bus services. In 1944 Irene Morgan was fined $100 for refusing to give up her seat on an interstate bus to a white man. Morgan argued that segregation on interstate transport violate her constitutional rights. She took her case again with the backing go the NAACP's chief Lawyer Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. in 1946, the supreme court ruled that segregation on interstate buses was illegal.
Chapter 4: Non-violent Resistance and CORE
Non-violent Resisitance 1945-55:
- AA's developed tactics of direct action that they would use so successfully in the late 50's & early 60's.
- Between 45 and 55 the NAACP organised a series of protests in the southern state of Louisiana. For example, in 1947 the NAACP and its supporters picketed New Orlean's four biggest department stores for refusing to allow black costumers to try on hats.
- In 1951 NAACP tried the same tactic in the down of Alexandra in protest at the fact that the local black school would close during the cotton harvest so that black children could work in the fields.
- In 1953 NAACP organised a boycott of a newly built school in Lafayette, protesting its facilities were obviously inferior to those enjoyed at the local white school.
- The United Defence League (UDL) organised a week long bus boycott in Louisiana's capital Baton Rouge in June 1953. Boycott was accompanied by 'Operation Free Life', a car pooling scheme which transported blacks around city in over 100 private cars.
- Between 1940 and 1957 the CNO (Committee on Negro Organisation) organised a voter registration campaign in the southern state of Arkansas.
CORE's Journey of Reconciliation (1947)
- Morgan vs Virginia meant segregating interstate transport was now illegal. However de jure change did not lead to de facto segregation that the campaigners sought.
- In 1957 a team of 16 CORE activists (8 black, 8 white) planned to travel by bus from the Northern states to the southern states. Objective was to draw public attention to the fact that many bus companies in South ignoring M v V ruling.
- Journey of Reconciliation started on 9 April 1947 and lasted for 2 weeks. Black team members sat in the white areas of bus and whites sat in the areas designated for blacks. Showed the southern states were ignoring the supreme court ruling.
- Journey of Reconciliation resulted in arrest of 12 CORE members. Failed to force southern states such as North Carolina to desegregate its interstate bus service.
Chapter 4: How successful was direct action betwee
- CNO's Arkansas-based voter registration campaign, for example, increased the proportion of black voters in the state from 1.5% of black population in 1940 to 17.3% in 1947.
- In 1946 NAACP set up special unit of lawyers and investigators who would visit lynching scenes, collect evidence and mount court cases to bring the prepertators to justice, Very successful and was part of the reason that lynching, which was commonplace in the 40's was on the decline by 1950.
- CORE's Journey of Reconciliation failed to force bus companies in southern states to desegregate their interstate services.
- UDL's bus boycott was unsuccessful, and Baton Rouge's buses remained segregated. Even failure had positive effect. Failed because the boycott was too short to attract media attention or hurt the bus company's finances. Late campaigns would learn from UDL's exe prince and organise more effectively as a result.
- Also, The boycott involved the black community of an entire city in protest. Equally CORE's Journey of Reconciliation was ground breaking because it linked a legal campaign with non violent protest.
- Experience of protest, like the NAACP's campaigns across the south, increases the confidence of African Americans and showed that it was possible to stand up to segregation.
Chapter 5: NACCP Education and Sweatt vs Painter (
Why the NAACP targeted education:
- Targeted education because it was easy to show that while children were being educated separately it was not equal. NAACP could highlight the fact that segregated education was illegal in terms of the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling on 1896. For example, in 1949 the state of South Carolina spent an average of $179 a year educating a white child whereas black children were educated for an average of $43 a year.
- Also, a second reason for challenging racism in education was the belief that improving the education of AA's was a vital step towards improving the lives of AA's generally. A good education was seen as a prerequisite to getting a good job and a secure income.
Sweatt vs Painter (1950):
- Heman Sweatt was a black student hoping to study law in the southern state of Texas. The texas education system was segregated and therefore was refused entry to the Uni of Texas Law School.
- NAACP challenged this arguing Sweatt was entitled to an education equal to that of whites as the law school. Courts in Texas decided that the state had no duty to integrate the law school rather ordered the creation of a new law school specifically for blacks.
- NAACp rejected this ruling and took it to the supreme court. They argues that the new law school was inferior to the white law school. An example of this they demonstrated that the black school had fewer students, teaches and books.
- Supreme court agreed with the NAACP and ordered the University of Texas Law to accept Sweatt as a student,
- Sweatt registered as a student at the law school on the 19th September 1950.
Chapter 5: Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka
Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka 1954:
- Oliver Brown took the state of Kansas to court for failing to provide adequate education of this daughter. Linda Brown was forced to go to an all-black school 20 blacks away from her home. Her farther argues that she would be better served attending the local white school which was most closer to school.
- The NAACP took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. After 3 years of legal battles, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that segregation was illegal in American schools.
- Supreme Courts decision was a turning point in the civil rights struggle. Essentially the court argued 'separate but equal' - established in Plessy v. Ferguson - was a contradiction in terms. Case significant because marked an end to the doctrine of separate but equal.
Supreme courts decision:
Made decision for 5 main reasons:
- Argued segregation had a negative effect on black children.
- SC recognised that America was changing. Between 1945 and 1954 been a considerable growth in the black middle class, due in part to the migration in the earlier part of the century. Middle class AA's were more assertive and had a better understanding of Americas legal system and were therefore more likely to challenge racial inequality in the courts.So SC felt under pressure to rule in their favour.
- SC felt that for over 60 years southern states had failed to provide education that was genuinely equal. Court recognised that southern states lacked the economic resources to raise the standards of black schools.Only way to ensure equal provision in education was to integrate the school system.
- SC recognised that a racist education system did not reflect the ideals that America was fighting for in the cold war. At least one SC judge stated that segregated education undermined Americas ability to champion democracy.
- The decision was reached because of a change in leadership of the SC. Chief Judge Fredrick Moore Vinson died in 1953 and was replaced by Earl Warren. Warren was more sympathetic to civil rights issues and used his authority to persuade the other members.
Chapter 5: Immediate reaction to the brown case
Immediate reaction to the brown case:
Black American Reaction:
Many saw it as the beginning of the end of segregation. For this reason black campaigners believed that Supreme Court would back legal challenges to segregation in other areas of American Life. Following this case, there was an increase in local activism in groups such as the NAACP and CORE, who organised new voter registration campaigns and local pore tests against different aspects of segregation.
WCC: Middle class whites set up White Citizens' Council to demand that segregation continued in local schools. They also raised money to help support white state schools that decided to become private in order to avoid desegregating. The council campaigned for the election of local politicians who were strongly opposed to desegregation. By 1956 250,000 has joined the WCC.
Revival in activity of the KKK: Less than a year after the brown case Emmett Till, a 14 year old black boy from Chicago who travelled to Money, Mississippi to vista his uncle was accused of flirting with a white women and was consequently lynched. His murderers were found not guilty by an all white jury in spite of intensive campaigns by the NAACP.
Sustained attack on the NAACP: Alabama's state court officially outlaws the NAACP ad banned all of its activities. In Louisiana, the police persecution of the NAACP led to the closure of 48/50 branches.
Senator Harry F. Byrd: Called on white southerners to put up 'massive resistance' meaning whites from south she defend segregation with all their strength. In 1956, Byrd led the 101 southern congressmen who signed the 'Southern Manifesto', M argued that the SC decision in the Brown Case was unconstitutional because the constitution didn't mention education. Asserted that Southern states should continue to implement segregation in accordance with 'separate but equal'. Lastly, the Manifesto called on all AMericans to resist desegregation 'by all lawful means'
Chapter 5: Immediate reaction to the brown case, B
The president: Eisenhower, who had succeeded Truman in '53 refused to comment on Brown decision. In private, he criticised that ruling arguing that the legal change would do nothing to the hearts and minds of southern white racists. Eisenhower believed that the de jure change was incapable of producing de facto change. He believes that the Brown ruling was counter-productive. Rather than producing a desegregated education system, all it did was infuriate white citizens and whip us tremendous opposition to black civil rights. In private Eisenhower claimed his decision to make Earl Warren Chief Justice was the 'biggest damned-fool mistake I ever made.'
Brown II (1955): Brown case highly significant but in first year the de jure victory resulted in little de facto change.Consequently, the NAACP asked the Supreme Court to establish a timetable for desegregating southern schools. In response, the SC produced the Brown II ruling, stating that the desegregation of education would occur 'with all deliberate speed'. The decision pleased no one. NAACP believed ruling too vague to force any change and southern racists saw this as a further attack on segregation.
Significance of Brown case:
Highly symbolic. NAACP had won case that struck at the heart of segregation. The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren had clearly signalled that it was sympathetic to the civil rights cause.Brown case failed to bring about the wholesale desegregation of the southern educational system. For example, by 1957 only 750 of 6,300 southern school districts had desegregated. Only 3% of black students in the South were educated in mixed schools. As late as 1968, 58% of southern black school children remained in segregated schools. Brown case showed that de jure change was of little use without a clear time frame. Also significant because it stimulated 'massive resistance' the KKK, White Citizens Councils, southern white politicians, white policemen and judges in local courts united to oppose desegregation. Brown Case demonstrated that Eisenhower was unwilling to use his presidential power to help black people. Indeed, his refusal even to welcome the decision showed that he had no intention of getting involved in civil rights issues.
Chapter 5: Brown case sum up
In the period 1945 to 1955 campaigning methods changed and developed in several ways. Initially campaigners had most success with court cases such as Morgan v Virginia, Sweatt v Painter and Brown v Board of Education. Which showed that segregation was unconstitutional. These de jure victories were slow to produce de facto desegregation. As a result groups such as CORE and NAACP organised popular campaigns to tests the implementation of Supreme Court rulings and challenge segregation at a grassroots level. The Brown case highlighted the reluctance of white authorties to put SC rulings into action. The NAACP demanded a time frame to force the southern authorities to comply.
Despite the efforts of groups such as the NAACP and CORE, progress towards desegregation was slow. There were 5 main reasons for the continuation of segregation in the first decade after WW2.
1. Many within the US congress were opposed to racial integration. Almost a 1/5 of Congressmen signed the racist Southern manifesto of 1956. Those who were not openly racist were reluctant to support Trumans civil rights reform.
2. Eisenhower believed that desegregation could not be forced upon the South. That change would happen over time, but that it was not the Presidents job to dictate change,
3. Southern state gov, southern judges and the southern police resisted change and used their power to imitate campaigners fighting for an end to segregation.
4. White racist organised quickly and effectively ensure that courts ruling were ignored.
5. Finally civil rights organisation such as CORE and NAACP had not yet perfected there methods. Nonetheless, this would soon change and the late 1950's saw a new dawn for the civil rights movement.
Chapter 6: Montgomery bus boycott (1955-1956)
Montgomery bus boycott (1955-1956)
Segregation in Alabama: Buses segregated. Whites at front, blacks at the back. If more whites got on blacks had to give up seats. In 1955, Claudette Colvin demonstrated there was widespread support in Montgomery for challenging bus segregation. NAACP turned to Rosa Parks, a long standing member in order to challenge segregation. On 1 December 1955, Parks refused to leave her seat to allow a women to take her place. As a result she was arrested and fined $14. Led to a two pronged attack on segregation in Alabama. First the NAACP mounted a legal case to challenge the segregation laws. Second, black people of Montgomery began a campaign of direct action targeting local bus companies.
MIA And the Boycott: NAACP leader E.D. Nixon was quick to call a meeting of Montgomery leaders. As a result the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was established under leadership of MLK in order to co-ordinate a boycott of local buses until segregation abolished. MIA worked mainly through black churches, its Christian basis meant that it was committed to non-violent methods.
King's Philosopher: Based on Jesus and Ghandi, Well educated, middle class Christian. Believed that Christians should love their enemies and never retaliate. Taught Christians should stand up for injustice. Advocated Civil disobedience and direct action.
Progress of Boycott: Boycott began the day after Parks was fined thanks to Nixon's swift action. Campaign lasted over a year, during which 85% of Montgomery's black community boycotted the buses. In order to sustain it the MIA organised initiatives such as car pooling. Hit bus companies hard. Majority of company's passangers were black and so lost 65% of their revenue. Montgomery authorities soon realised the significance of the boycott, following a march they arrested King with 156 other prominent black protesters. King fined $500 and sentenced to a year in jail. Arrest backfired and and drew media attention to the campaign. King said proud of his crime and served just 2 weeks of his sentence.
Chapter 6: Browder v. Gayle and significance of bu
Browder v. Gayle (1956): Montgomery bus boycott didn't actually change the segregation laws. NAACP court case. Ended in the US SC ruling that made segregation of buses illegal. Case started in April 1955 when Aurelia Browder was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person. Browder appealed against her conviction with NAACP support, went all the way to the SC. On 20 December 1956 the court outlawed segregation of buses.
Desegregation on the buses: On 21 December 1956 Montgomery Bus Company desegregated their buses allowing black passengers to sit wherever they want.
Highly significant because:
- Showed the economic strength of black community, boycott finically crippled the bus company highlighting the importance of black customers.
- Demonstrated the power of uniting popular direct action with an NAACP Legal campaign.
- It highlights the significance of media involvement - television reports had portrayed the injustice of segregation to a national and international audience.
- It demonstrated MLK's leader ship qualities and brought him to national attention.
- Showed the lengths to which the white authorities would go to defend segregation.
- Indicated that the Supreme Court willing to over turn Plessy vs Ferguson.
- The success of Montgomery bus boycott led to the establishment go the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). King hopes that the SCLC would keep the spirt of the Montgomery protest alive.
Chapter 6: The little Rock Campaign
The Little Rock Campaign (1957):
De facto segregation of education in the southern states had made little progress. This Little Rock Campaign attempted to speed up school desegregation by enrolling 9 black students into Little Rock's all-white Central High School. Local Governor Orval Faubus opposed the enrolment and order National Guard to prevent the nine black students entering the school.On 3rd September 1957 the national guard backed by a white mob, refused to let the students into school. Eisenhower ordered Governor Faubus to withdraw the National guard. Same time, US Department of Justice gained a court injection forcing the governor to withdraw the National Guard. Faubus complies but students still prevented from enrolling due to the presence of the crowd of white racist. Unrest prompted Eisenhower to take the National Guard under presidential control, ordering them to protect the black students. As a result, on 25 September the students, escorted by the National Guard, enrolled at Little Rock Central high school. Faubus backed by racists in the Arkansas legislature he passed a laws giving him the power to close local schools in order to avoid desegregation. Fabus used his power to to close the schools in Little rock. A s a result, 4000 students, black and white were forced to seek education elsewhere. Again NAACP went to court with Cooper v. Aaron (1958). As a result the supreme court ruled that it was illegal to prevent desegregation for any reason. In june 1959, the schools in Little Rock reopened and had to except whites and blacks.
Significane of little rock:
- Demonstrated the effectiveness of testing supreme court rulings - ensuring that de jure change led to de facto change.
- Campaign forces Eisenhower to intervene to support desegregation - in this way the campaign gained the authority of the US president.
- Opposition of the State Governor the Arkansas legislature and the protesters showed the extent to which Southerners opposed intergeneration.
Chapter 6: Greensboro sit-ins (1960) and SNCC and
Greensboro sit-ins (1960):
Shifted the focus of the civil rights movement towards public places such as restaurants, swimming pools and libraries. February 1960 4 local students entered Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina and sat at a whites only seats at counter refusing to leave until served. Protest escalated. 27 students by day 2. 300 by fourth. End of week the store had to be closed temporarily in order to halt the sit-ins. Hugely influential. Within a week similar protests had occurred in six towns in North Carolina, within a month sit ins were taking place in six more states. Activists had 'wade-ins' at segregated pools, 'read-ins' at segregated libraries, 'watch-ins' in segregated cinemas and 'kneel-ins' at white only churches. By the begging of 1961 over 70,000 people, black and white, had taken part in the demonstrations against the segregation of places.
SNCC and the significance of the sit ins:
Kings SCLC became invalid in organising and co-ordinating action in sit ins. Same time a new civil rights organisation was formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Significant for following reasons:
- Increases the number of civil rights organisation and showed they could cooperage effectively.
- Demonstrated that civil rights could spread quickly and affect whole of south,
- Media coverage allowed whole of US to witness level of persecution faces by protestors which in turn brought more supporters to civil rights movement.
- The Sit In's attacked all aspects of segregation in the south - Woolworths profit decreased by a 1/3 during the campaign.
- By the end of 1961, 810 towns had desegregated their public places. Six months after the campaign had started, black people were finally served at the lunch counter of the Greensboro Woolworth's store.
Chapter 6: The freedom Rides 1961
The freedom rides 1961:
Designed to turn de jure victories of Morgan v Virginia and Boyton V Virgina (case in '60 which established that the segregation of interstate buses was illegal) into de facto desegregation of interstate transport facilities. Freedom Rides sought to test these rulings by travelling from Washington DC to New Orleans on interstate transport. Campaign organised by CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) A group of 7 black and 6 whites from CORE and SNCC set out on Greyhound and Trail-ways buses on 4 May 1961. They expected violent opposition and planned to use it for media attention. In Anniston, local police officers, working hand-in-hand with the KKK, refused to intervene when a white mob fire-bombed the bus. In Birmingham, the Police Chief Eugene 'Bull' Conner refused to protect the Freedom Riders. Even granted the local police the day off, giving green light to local racists. In Montgomery the police and medics refused to intervene even after a white crowd beat the riders with baseball bats. Following this outrage, King, who had previously refused to get involved, gave a speech at a rally in support of the Freedom Riders. Forced Attorney Robert Kennedy to enforce desegregation of the interstate bus services.
Significance of the Freedom Rides:
- Marked a new high point of the co-operation within the civil rights movement as they involved CORE, SNCC and SCLC.
- Showed that the new Kennedy administration was sympathetic to civil rights.
- Forced Attorney Robert Kennedy to enforce desegregation of the interstate bus services.
Chapter 6: Albany Movement and James Meredith
The Albany Movement (1961-1962):
SNCC targeted Albany, Georgia and organised protests to end segregation. Local police chief Laurie Pritchett had studies the approach of protesters and adopted new approach designed to deny them media attention. For example, he ordered local police to treat protesters with respect in public and to prevent racist violence. King was arrested during campaign and there is evidence Pritchett arranged to have him realises in order to prevent his incarnation gaining publicity. Finally, Pritchett made general promises that conditions would improve which led to little concrete action.
Significance of the Albany Movement:
- Showed that peaceful protest did not always bring about change.
- Led towards divisions within the civil rights movement. Radicals in SNCC began to talk about using violence to challenge segregation as peaceful protest was proving less effective.
- King acknowledged that his tactics had not worked and states that further campaigns needed to be more focused on specific issue and target police chiefs who were more likely to respond with violence.
James Meredith and the University of Mississippi (1962)
His personal campaign took civil rights struggle back to education. In '62 Meredith attempted to become the first black student and the university of Mississippi. Ross Barnett, the Governor of Mississippi, refused to allow meredith to enrol. The SC however backed Meredith and President Kennedy put pressure on Barnett to back down and ensure that Meredith took his place at the Uni. Barnett refused to provide Meredith with protection, as a result, when arrived on campus he faced a mob of violent white protestors who prevented him from enrolling. Following the violence Kennedy sent federal troops to defend Meredith. Once again the white protesters reacted violent and a riot broke out and two people died. However, Meredith did successfully enrol. Many white students shunned him, he graduated with a degree in political science in 1963.Sum up: The campaigns from 55-62 demonstrated the power of the civil rights movement. However,the federal and state authorities remained reactive, responding to demands on case-by-case basis without committing themselves to ending segregation once and for all.
Chapter 7: The Birmingham Campaign (1963):
As the momentum grew campaigners adopted a new slogan 'free by 63' indicating the campaign was shifting a national quest for freedom now.
Why Birmingham, Alabama?
Following failure of the Albany Campaign MLK knew he had to plan next one more carefully. Freedom rides had shown that the local police chief Eugenie 'Bull' Conner would react violently to protest. As a result, widespread violence had broken out and the Federal Gov had been forced to act. King hopes that a new campaign in Birmingham would provoke him. Also city one of the worst examples of segregation in the South. Had no black firemen, bus drivers, police officers and bank workers. Only 10% of cities black population registered to vote. City banned NAACP which showed how committed they were to maintaining segregation.
Goals for Birmingham:
Organised by the SCLC. King set clear goals for the Birmingham Campaign in order to avoid the apparent aimlessness of the Albany Campaign. Focused on the desegregation of the city's major shopping areas, administrative buildings, schools, and public parks, as well as demanding an end to racial discrimination in employment.
Progress of the Birmingham Campaign:
Connor changed his tactics. For example, used legal methods, such as obtaining a court injunction against demonstrations in certain precincts, in order to weaken the protests. Also, released high-profile campaigners such as jazz musician Al Hibbler in order to prevent negative media headlines. King was arrested and jailed for taking part in an illegal march. While in prison wrote in he wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail defending civil disobedience against those who said that black campaigners should work through the courts. Argues that he had the right to protest on the streets and break law because a purely legal battle would never secure rights of black people in the US. Kings letter wrote in April but published in June.
Chapter 7: The Birmingham campaign Continued.
April the first month of the campaign, was relatively calm. In May the SCLC changed their tactics. James Bevel, a leading member of the SCLC, advocated recruiting students and young people to take part in the campaign. Argued that their imprisonment would not seriously affect the income of black families as they were not wage earners. He believed that the city authorities would be embarrassed if their jails were full of young people. Subsequently, recruited student marchers taunted the police and so on 3rd May, the police attacked demonstrators with high pressure fire hoses and arrested and imprisoned 1300 black children. This caused a media frenzy. JFK said he was 'sickened' by the images of police violence. Soviet media devoted 1/5 of their radio time to the protest. Soviet authorities thought the violence was clear evidence of American corruption an Soviet superiority. JFK forced to act. He announced his support for the Bill that would end segregation once and for all.
Significance of the Birmingham Campaign: Chief Connor's violent police tactics were the turning point in the campaign. Two days later, on 5th May, negotiations began between the SCLC and the city authorities. JFK sent the assistant Attorney General to mediate. The negations led to the following reforms:
- Civil rights protestors were released from jail without jail.
- Large department stores were desegregated.
- Racial discrimination in employment was to be ended.
Significant victories, but schools and most public places remained segregated. There was also much public opposition to desegregation in Birmingham. Four months after the end of the protest, members of the KKK bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing 4 young girls and sparking demonstrations across Birmingham. Nonetheless, the media coverage of the police violence had created greater sympathy for the civil rights movement among northern whites. More important still was JFK's public commitment to support Civil Rights Bill.
Criticisms of King:
The birmingham Campaign also resulted in criticisms of King and the SCLC. Some local black leaders felt that SCLC had not worked with them and had ignored ongoing initiatives such as a boycott of segregated stores. Additionally, The SCLC was condemned for recruiting children and putting them in danger.
Chapter 7: The March on Washington (1963)
The March on Washington (1963): In 1963 representatives from the SCLC, SNCC, CORE and the NAACP organised a march on Washington to commemorate the centenary of Emancipation Proclamation. The march was designed to put pressure on the president and congress to pass a Civil Rights Bill. King organised the much under the slogan 'For Jobs and Freedom'. JFK was unsure about march. Feared it would become violent and therefore jeopardise the support for civil right legislation. King assured JFK that the march would be peaceful. A significant minority of marches, around 20% were white. Show of unity indicated the level of popular support for civil rights legislation. On 28th August '63, 250,000 people marched to the Lincoln Memorial to hear speeches from leading figures in the civil rights movement, along with those from religious and labour leaders. King delivered famous 'I have a dream' speech.
Significant of the March on Washington:
- Presented the civil rights movement as a united front, with common goals and methods.
- Despite JKF's fears the march remained peaceful; this further increased white support for the civil rights movement.
- The nature and the scale of the march attracted favourable media attention within the US and abroad. A newspaper in Ghana reported the march was among the 'creates revolutions in the annals of human history.'
- The march solidified support for new civil rights legislation which would give the gov the power to force southern states to desegregate.
Campaigning for voting rights:
Following of the 1964 Civil Rights Act attention turned to voter registration and voting rights for black people. Campaigns in Greenwood, Mississippi and Selma, Alabama, highlighted the need for further legislation to guarantee the voting rights of black people leading to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Chapter 7: Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964)
Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964): Activists from SNCC, CORE and the NAACP targeted Greenwood, Mississippi, for a voter registration campaign. Mississippi targeted because it had the lowest black voter registration of any state. In '62, only 6.2% of adult black citizens were registered voters due to state laws that required potential voters to take literacy tests. Approx 800 volunteers from north, many white, participated in campaign. Activists attempted to increase voter registration by escorting black Americans to registration offices, sometimes with special laid on bus services. Additionally, campaigners from SNCC and CORE established 30 'freedom schools' acrossMississippi. Designed to educate black citizens about civil rights issues and black history more generally, in order to encourage them to register to vote. The local KKK and state police put up tremendous resistance of the voter registration campaign. E.g. during the campaign the homes of 30 black people and 37 black churches were firebombed. Additionally, there were 80 beatings, 35 shootings and over a thousand arrests. In June, Klansman abducted and killed three civil rights workers 2 white and 1 black. Civil rights volunteers outrages. White juries in mississippi refused to convict the men and not until 2005, 41 years later that the men were found guilty.
During Mississippi freedom summer approx 17,000 black people tried to register to vote in Mis, but due to police intimidation, Klan violence and unwillingness of authorities to cooperate with black citizens meant that only 1600 succeeded in voting. Black people were also turned away from poling stations during the Democratic Primary for the presidential election of 1964. Activists set up the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Primary (MFDP), which held its own primary. Resulted in 2 primary elections the 'lily-white' Democratic Primary and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party primary. Both of these primaries elected delegated to the forthcoming Democratic Party Congress, which would nominate the Presidential candidate for the 1964 Presidential Election. President Johnson offered a compromise; the 'lily-white' delegates would be the official delegates, but the MFDP delegated would be honoured guests who could attend the conference but had no voting rights.
Chapter 7: Mississippi Freedom Summer continued:
Mississippi Freedom Summer continued:
MFDP delegates rejected the compromise. Led by Fannie Lou Hamer (member of SNCC), the Freedom Democrats arrived at the Congress in Atlanta demanding to be accepted as Mississippi's official delegates.
The controversy over the Mississippi Freedom Summer and MFDP was significant because it signalled a breakdown in the relationship between President Johnson and civil rights campaigners. Additionally, Many civil rights activists saw this as proof that the American Political System was fundamentally racist and that it was therefore necessary to use more militant methods and to stop comprising with white politicians.
Chapter 7: Selma Campaign 1963
Part of an ongoing campaign to register black people to vote, like the Mississippi Freedom summer. The SCLC focused on Selma, Alabama because only 1% of black adults were registered to vote. King also believed that the local Sheriff Jim Clark was likely to respond to civil rights campaigns with violence so another reason it was picked. SCLC and SNCC held a series of demonstrations to raise publicity for the campaign. Local police responded violently; in one case police used electric cattle prods against protesters. Police also responsible for the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26 year old black man who had been protecting his mother & grandmother from a brutal police beating. Climax of the campaign was a 50 mile march from Selma to Montgomery (Montgomery chosen as the destination in order to mark the 10th anniversary of the Montgomery Buss Boycott.) First attempt on March 7 as march ended just outside Selma when the police, armed with tear gas and bullwhips, forced them to tun back at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Second attempt two days later on March 9 was also unsuccessful. Under pressure from Johnson, King took the decision to turn back again onsfthe Edmund Pettus Bridge. Finally, on the 21st of March, 8000 people began a 5 day march from Selma to Montgomery. By the time they arrived in Montgomery, 4 days later, their numbers had increased to 25,000, indicating the extent of support for the civil rights campaign.
Significance of the 1960's campaigns for voting rights:
- Highlighted the problems faced by black people in asserting their right to vote and therefore led to the voting rights act of 1965.
- Once again the media images of opposition to civil rights increased the support for the movement.
- They initially showed a high degree of co-operation between CORE, SNCC and the SCLC.
- Led to criticisms of King for co-operating with President Johnson and ending the sec on march to Montgomery.
- They revealed growing tension within the civil rights movement over the extend to which black campaigners could trust/work with the federal gov.
Chapter 7: Sum up of Selma
More than a century after the Emancipation Proclamation which announced the freedom of slaves, American Politicians finally enacted laws that would lead to the end of formal racial inequality. This was a massive de jure victory for the civil rights campaign. Nonetheless, the civil rights act did not mark the end to the struggle and campaigners now focused their attention to bringing about de facto change.
Chapter 8: Moynihan report and King
Why did King focus move to northern states?
The 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed segregation in the southern states of US. However, it did little to address the problems faced by blacks in the northern states. These states had not imposed legal segregation but racial discrimination in social and economic forms still existed. In 1965, the Moynihan report was publishes investigating the extent of social and economic discrimination against black Americans. This influential report inspired MLK to make this form of discrimination the focus of his next campaign.
The Moynihan Report (1965):
The Negro Family: The case for National Action, also known as the Moynihan Report, was a study of the comic position of black americans by Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Senator for NY, and US Ambassador to the UN). Report drew attention to the high levels of crime within the black community and the poor living conditions of many black families. Also noted the ghettoisation in the North was leading to de facto segregation of education and housing. President Johnson who had communised the report, hopes to use it to promote economic equality. However, this Idea backfired big time. Black leaders were horrified because the repot blamed black people for their economic problems and suggested that they were incapable of helping themselves.
The Moynihan Report was significant for two reasons:
- It created further tension between well-meaning liberal politicians such as Preident Johnson and black radicals.
- It was used by some whites to argue against government help for black people.
Chapter 8: The Chicago Freedom Movement 1966
The Chicago Freedom Movement 1966:
Represented the alliance between SCLC and the Coordinating Council of Community Organisation (CCCO). The Chicago campaign was King's first initiative in the north. He aimed to use the technique of nonviolent direct action that had been so successfully employed in the South to challenge the de facto segregation of Chicago's education, housing and employment. First rally on 10 June 1966 was disappointing as only 30,000 people attended rather than the 100,000 kIng had expected. Even so, events soon escalated. A heatwave led people in black neighbourhoods to use fire hydrants to cool themselves. The authorities demanded that the fire hydrants should be shut off in order to save water in case of a fire, and when police arrived to enforce this a riot broke out. Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley, made matters worse by cutting of water to the fire hydrates in the west side ghetto. King organised a meeting to appeal for calm, but the violence intensified. Following the riots, King tried to engage Chicago's black community in peaceful protest. Targeted segregated houses, organising marches through all white areas. Chicago's whites fought back. At the Gage Park March, King was bombarded with rocks and over 1000 police officers were unable to subdue the violent white crows. King told the press 'I have never seen - even in Mississippi and Alabama - mobs as hostile and hate-filled as i've seen in Chicago.' Jesse Jackson, one of the leaders of SCLC planned more marches through white dreams known for their racism. Chicago Police Chief Richard B. Ogilvie warned that they would make 'Gage Park look like a tea party'. The threat of increased violence forced Mayor Daley to negotiate. However, he obtained a court injunction severely restricting further marches. Court order changed balance of power at negations and King forced to compromise. The Chicago Real Estate Board (responsible for overseeing Chicago's housing) promised to respect the city's fair housing laws. King presented the comprise as a victory, but local black leaders less optimistic. Following Daley's re-ecletion as Mayor in 1967, promises of fair housings were ignored.
Chapter 8: Significance of the Chicago
Kings apparent failure in Chicago was significant beacue it led to further criticisms of his leadership and tactics:
- Local CORE activists claimed that King had made tactical mistakes in the campaign, such as his decision not to break the court injunction restricting further marches.
- Many of Chicago's black citizens lost faith in the SCLC and turned to more radical black leadership.
The campaign also highlighted the extent to which King had misjudged the situation in the North:
- The campaigns had revealed a 'white backlash' against greater racial equality.
- White labour unions failed to support the campaign.
- The campaign failed to win the support of churches.
- Black church leaders in north had relatively small congregations and did not command the respect of the Chicago black community. So, King's Christian philosophy and commitment to nonviolent protest had far fewer supporters.
- President johnson refused to involve the Federal Government in the campaign because he was no longer willing to work with King following his attack on the Vietnam War.
Finally, the campaign revealed the scale of the problems faced by black people in the North:
- Chicago was 10X bigger than Birmingham and 100X bigger than Selma. Some of the black Ghettos themselves were bigger than entire southern towns.
- Segregation had been needed in the South by changing the law. In contrast, social and economic change required high levels of finical investment; authorities were reluctant to commit money to addressing these problems.
- King admitted that urban regeneration could not be solved quickly and might take at least 10 years. The problems of chicago were common of many northern cities, and forced King to rethink his strategy.
Chapter 8: The Poor People's Campaign (PPC) (1968)
The Poor People's Campaign (1968):
Marked the radicalisation of king's approach. King aimed to created a coalition big enough to tackle the social and economy problems identified during the Chicago Campaign. This coalition would include black people, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, American Indians and poor white people. Together, they would campaign for a better standard of living for the poor and an end to the ghettos. The campaigns strategy would be nationwide civil disobedience, occupying gov buildings, boycotting business and finally a March on Washington.
The campaign would demand:
- A federal budget of $30 billion a year to combat poverty
- A government commitment to full employment
- Government initiatives to build 500,000 new houses a year.
The campaign reflected the fact that King had changed his mind about American Politics. In his early campaigns he had believed that he could work within the system. The chicago campaign had taught him that more radical demands, coupled with more radical methods were needed to ensure real change. However, King's new plan faced enormous problems. President Johnson made it clear he did not support the plan. The Vietnam War had created a split between civil rights radicals and liberal politicians, including President Johnson. Additionally, it had diverted resourced from social projects designed to promote social justice. Nonetheless, by March 1968 SCLC's organisers had won the support of many Labour unions and religious groups and had began to raise the money necessary to run the campaign.
Chapter 8: The Memphis Sanitation Worker strike (1
The Memphis Sanitation Worker strike (1968):
King's attention was diverted away from plans for the PPC by the The Memphis Sanitation Worker strike. The Memphis city authorities refused to recognise the workers union and used tear case to break up their marchers. To some extent the protest was an example of the kind of campaign King wanted to organise. The Sanitation Worker's Union was largely black but also included some poor whites. Moreover, their goal was economical they aimed to increase income. Finally the protest was non-violent. As a result when King was asked to lend his support he agreed. The Memphis campaign was not successful. The peaceful march, which King helped to lead, lasted less than an hour. Marches themselves began attacking shops and looting, and the police responded with tear gas. Some papers reported that King had led a violent march, while others branded him a chicken for fleeing as soon as the march turned violent. King knew these headlines jeopardised the PPC because his reputations as crucial to winning support from the campaign. King, Jackson and over leading members of the SCLC tried to turn defeat into victory by staging another march. However, before this was possible King was assassinated. He was shot on 4th April by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of his memphis hotel rome. He died at the age of 39.
The significance of King's assassination:
Hisdeath become a symbol of the end of the CR movement, at least as it had been known in the 50s and 60s. President johnson called for a national day of mourning and the authorities in Memphis gave in to the demands of the Memphis Sanitation Workers. More than 50,000 mourners joined King's funeral procession. Black Americans reacted violently. Racial violence broke out in 130 cities across 29 states. SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael summed up the feeling behind the violence in the following words:
'When white America killed Dr King, she declared war on us... Black people have to survive, and the only way they will survive is by getting a gun'
Chapter 9: Presidents
Dwight D. Eisenhower (’53-’61), Republican
- Eisenhower believed that the position of black people would improve of its own accord over time. In this sense he did not think that it was the governments' job to improve conditions for black people.
- The general approach is evident in his reluctance to become involved in Little Rock in ’57. Nonetheless, towards the end of his presidency, Eisenhower proposed 2 Civil Rights Acts.
- Notably, both acts faced considerable opposition in Congress and the terms of the Acts were weakened as a result.
Civil Rights Act of 1957:
- This act focused on the voting rights of AAs. The act proposed the establishment of a Commission on Civil Rights - a bi-partisan committee designed to monitor the voting rights of America’s black citizens.
-However, individuals found guilty of preventing AAs from registering as voters would face a fine of only $1000 or a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail.
These penalties were relatively small and did not act as a deterrent.
Civil Rights Act of 1960:
- This Act narrowly extended the powers of the Commission on Civil Rights by requiring local authorities to keep records of voter registration.
- This allowed the Commission to monitor black voter registration more accurately. By ’60, Eisenhower’s two Acts had only increased the proportion of black voters by 3%.
Chapter 9: Presidents
John F. Kennedy (’61-’63), Democrat:
-During his election campaign, Kennedy claimed that he was sympathetic to the plight of black Americans.
- For example, he made a highly publicized telephone call to Coretta King while her husband was in prison during the sit-in protests of ’60.
- He also promised a civil rights act to end segregation. Despite his promised, Kennedy was slow to use his power to help black people.
- Initially, Kennedy did little to advance racial equality because needed the support of southern white politicians in congress. His early moves were largely symbolic.
- For example, he appointed 5 black judges to the federal courts, including the NAACP’s chief counsel Thurgood Marshall.
- In addition, he created the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity (CEEO), which was designed to ensure equal employment opportunities for everyone who worked for the federal government.
- However, very few black people were employed by the federal government and therefore the measure had little impact.
- The Birmingham Campaign of March ’63 forced Kennedy to show decisive leadership and fulfill his promise of a civil rights act. But it was not until the March on Washington in August ’63 that he threw his weight behind the Civil Rights Bill.
Chapter 9: Presidents
Lyndon B. Johnson (’63-’69), Democrat:
- Following JFK’s assignation in November ’63, his Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson became America’s new President.
- Johnson saw the Civil Rights Act as part of a range of measures collectively known at the ‘Great Society’, which were designed to make America a fairer place.
- Prior to becoming President, Johnson had a mixed record on civil rights. For example, although he had used his position as an American senator to support both of Eisenhower's Civil Rights Act, he also played a key role in watering them down.
Civil Rights of ’64:
- Act explicitly outlawed the segregation of any facility or public place. It gave the Commission on Civil Rights the power to enforce desegregation and it made the Fair Employment Practices Commission permanent.
- In general terms, the Act spelled the end of legal segregation across the South.
Voting Rights Act of ’65:
- The Act explicitly outlawed all ‘tests’ that prevented any American citizen from voting. Additionally, the Act gave the federal government the power to oversee voting registration across US.
- Consequently, it ended the ability of local governments to deny black citizens their right to vote. Again his was far more effective than previous legislation.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (’65) and Higher Education Act (’65)
- These acts increased the funding given to education. Money was targeted to help the poorest states, the poorest schools and the poorest students.
- Consequently, the Acts helped southern states, schools with a high proportion of black students and individual black students at college or university.
Chapter 9: Presidents and congress
Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act)
- This Act outlawed discrimination of any form in the sale or rental of housing. In this sense, i attempted to address the issue of ghettoization.
- However, the Act gave the government no new powers to enforce the law and consequently the Act’s impact was limited.
- Johnson’s early measures on civil rights were highly effective. However, the Vietnam War dominated Johnson’s attention and claimed a growing proportion of government resources.
- Additionally, King’s public criticisms of the war drove a wedge between the SCLC and the Johnson’s government. As a result, civil rights were less of a priority in the second half of Johnson’s period in office.
Chapter 11: The Achievements of Peaceful Protest
By 1968, full racial equality hadn't been achieved. Significant progress had been made in terms of education, transport, desegregation of public places, voting rights, employment and public opinion. Housing, however, remained a significant problem which successive government initiatives had failed to solve.
Civil rights campaign in 50's and 60's achieved some major legal victories in the field of education. The 1950 case of Sweatt v Painter established that black and white people were entitled to equal educational resources. The 1954 case Brown v Board of Education of Topeka went further establishing that a segregated education could never be an equal education. In the 1955 Brown II and Cooper Aaron in 1958 attempted to speed up integration. However, in spite of these legal victories, progress towards desegregation was slow.
In 1957, two years after Brown II, only 750/6300 school districts in the South had desegregated. Consequently, 97% of black students remained in segregated schools. Indeed the situation had not improved by 1964. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the government power to force integration of education, by 1968 58% of black school children in southern states remained in segregated schools. Nonetheless, President Lyndon B. Johnson's Higher Education Act of 1965 led to fourfold increase in the number of black students attending college ad university during the late 1960's and early 70's.
The NAACP's case Morgan v Virginia in 1946 had successfully established that the segregation of interstate transport was illegal. However, CORE's 1961 Freedom Rides were necessary before the gov enforces the desegregation by interstate transport. By Sep 1961, all of the signs enforcing segregation were removed from interstate buses and bus terminals.
Chapter 11: The Achievements of Peaceful Protest (
The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956 and the related court case Browder V Gayle led to the desegregation of transport in Montgomery. Browder V Gayle also established that the segregation of transport was illegal. However, de facto change across the South was slow to follow. Once again the Civil Rights Act 1964 was necessary to give the federal gov power to enforce desegregation of transport in South.
The sit-ins that began in Greensboro in 1960 proved to be an effective method for challenging the segregation of public places. By the end of 1963, sit-ins had occurred in 200 cities, as a result of which 161 had desegregated restaurant and canteens. However, local authorities often took measure to avoid rather than enforce desegregation. For example, the authorities in Albany closed public parks and even removed chairs from libraries rather than desegregate. Similarly, even after the Birmingham Campaign of 1963 the protestors did not achiever general desegregation of public places within the city. In the year 1964-65 the Civil Rights Act was used to force a further 53 cities to desegregate. As a result, a total of 214 southern cities had desegregated by the end of 1965.
Voting rights:Eisenhower's Civil Rights Act of '67 and '60 were largely ineffective in guaranteeing black voting rights. Consequently, as late as '63, only 800,000 of the South's 20 million black citizens were registered to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was more effective in increasing voter registration. Between 1965 and 1966 a further 230,000 black people registered to vote across the South. Nonetheless, by '66 4 of the southern states still had fewer than 50% of their black citizens registered to vote. the voting act rights was more effective in the north. In total, the number of black voters in the US jumped from 4 million in 1960 to 6 million in 1965. Indeed, voter registration led to an increase in the number of black people elected to government positions in the North. For example, Robert C. Henry became the first AA to be elected mayor of Springfield, Ohio, in 1966. In '67, Richard G. Hatcher was elected mayor of Gary, Indiana and Carl B Stokes was elected mayor of Cleveland, ohio.
Chapter 11: Achievements of peaceful protest (3)
Employment and income:
Definite improvement during the 60's but full equality with whites was not achieved. Popular pressure on state gov resulted in 25/31 states with the highest proportion of black people introducing Fair Employment Practice Laws. The Federal gov under JFK attempted to ensure fair employment practices for gov jobs and for jobs with companies working for the gov. However, during 50's and early 60's black unemployment was approx twice the national average. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly outlawed racial discrimination in the job market. The 1965 Moynihan Report highlighted the fact that the income of black workers was only 53% of the national average income. Things improved by '68; although black unemployment was 7% and white unemployment was 5%m clearly the gap had closed. Finally, while the average income of black workers had risen by 1968 it was still only 61% of the income of white workers.
The US census of 1960 reported that 46%of Americas black population was living in 'unsound' accommodation. Also revealed that 73% of America's black population lived in urban areas were stock was old and where the amount of suitable housing available was decreasing. it also showed that 25% of US's black population lived in inner-city areas in the USA's ten largest cities. These people were living in almost exclusively black areas due to the phenomenon of 'white flight'. Black campaigners put pressure of US politicians to solve these problems. BY '67 22 states and 8 cities had some form of fair housing law. NY state and Massachusetts had comprehensive enforcement agencies dedicated to challenging discrimination in the housing market. However, the majority of these fair housing laws were largely symbolic. The '69 Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination in 80% of Americas housing market. However, Congress had toned down the Act and refused to set up an enforcement agency. Additonally, the maximum fine for racial discrimination in the housing market was a mere $1000. Consequently the Act was an ineffective deterrent to racism in the housing market.
Chapter 11: Achievements of peaceful protest (4)
Public support for civil rights:
The civil rights campaigns of the early 60's were highly effective in winning public support. E.g. in 1954 55% of this surveyed supported the SC's decision to make segregation in education illegal. By 1964, 80% of the public supported the desegregation of education. However, while white opinion was moving in favour of black rights in theory, many whites still didn't want to live near blacks. Opinion polls from '63 show that while 80% of people supported equal rights in terms of employment and voting, only 50% supported equal rights in housing.
The CR movement transformed US; by 1968 there had been a legal revolution. Segregation, where it still remains, was no longer backed by the law. What is more, the federal gov had new powers to challenge racial injustice. However, de facto change was not so comprehensive. Undoubtedly, the USA was a fairer society but there was still a long way to go before all Americans could be considered 'equal'.
Chapter 12: Reasons for change
The presidents: Played a role in advancing racial justice. For Eisenhower, and to some extent JFK, it was a role they played reluctantly. The Little Rock Campaign and the Freedom Rides show that both men needed to be pushed to by civil rights activists. Jonson was much more proactive. He used his influence in the senate to ensure that the Civil Rights Act of '57 and the '60s became law. Nonetheless, he too followed the campaigners. The impetus behind the '65 Voting Rights Act, for example, came from the voter registration campaigns, such as the Mississippi Freedom Summer, organised by SNCC and CORE in 64. In general the presidents played an important role in convincing Congress to act, but it was the civil rights campaigns and not the presidents that kept the issue of radical injustice on the political agenda.
Martin Luther King: Played a major role. Kings great strength was his ability to inspire. He was highly charismatic and gifted orator who could convey the injustices of segregation to a national audience .In this sense he was an ideal spokesperson for black Christians in the southern states. As a result he was good leader for the television age. His campaigns and speeches were responsible for swinging public support behind the civil rights legislations of the mid-1960s. He was also a diverse figure. Conservatives criticised him for taking protests to the streets. In a democracy, they argued, campaigners should work through courts and through congress. Also criticised for using children in his campaign. Radicals thought he was too cautious. Criticised him for being too close to white politicians. E.g. he was criticised for rerouting a march during the Albany campaign of '61 at President Johnson's request. Young activists were worried King was truing to dominate the campaign. SNCC leaders, for example, felt he wanted to make SNCC a subsection of the SCLC. King also criticised following the Chicago campaign for 1966 for misunderstanding the situation in North. local leaders clamied that he had not appreciated the scale of the problem more proposed a workable solution to the problems in chicago. Many, even within the SCLC, believed the Poor Peoples Campaign of '68 was impractical and poorly focused. MLK unable to unite northern black working class, may of whom did not share his Christian faith.
Chapter 12: Reasons for change
Finally, following '65, MLK's charms and oratory failed to persuade the public of the need to tackle poverty or the problems of ghettoisation.
Peaceful protest and Mass Activism:
Behind leaders of CR stood countless activists, campaigners and ordinary blacks who put their safety on the line to campaign for freedom. MLK and James Farmer were important because they spoke for these people. Without a mass following the movements leaders would have less authority when speaking to media and less authority when bargaining with politicians.Scale of protest in 50s and 60s is staggering. During the Montgomery Bus Boycott 85% of Montgomery's black people boycotted the buses. Similarly, 70,000 people took part in the sit in's movement of the early 60s. Notably the sit-ins were initially spontaneous and not linked to a specific organisation or leader. Scale of march on washington also demonstrates the popular force behind the campaign. Around 250,000 marchers, 80% of whom were black came together under the slogan 'free by '63' demonstrating the popular desire for justice. Peaceful protest also highly effective in the late 50's and early 60's due to the fact that it attracted media attention. TV pictures of police brutality against unarmed peaceful protestors did much to persuade the American Public that segregation should end. However, the campaign in Albany and chicago showed that the method did not guarantee
Combination of mass action and skilful leadership kept radical justice on the political agenda, forcing reluctant politicians to deliver legal change. The presidents too had a role to play in managing congress and persuading its members to embrace the change.
Chapter 13: Malcolm X (1)
Malcolm X rose to prominence one of the leading lights of the Nation of Islam, an organisation that had been established in the 30s and was led by Elijah Muhammad. During this time Malcolm preached a political message that he described as 'black nationalism'. Malcolm X's idea were distinctive and clearly opposed to those of MLK and led to the rise of Black Power. In the mid 60s, Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam and redefined his position, establishing the Organisation of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). In the final phase of his campaign he began to talk about co-operation with other black civil rights leaders, although he continued to argue that AA's could only to be free if they controlled their own communities.
The Nation of Islam: Foundation and beliefs:
Founded by Wallace Fard Muhammad in 1930. Between '30 and '34 Fard outlined a distinctive teaching which become the basis of the organisation. According to Fard, God, whose name in Islam in Allah, created man. The first humans were black but 6000 years ago the evil scientist Yacub starting selective breeding in order to create white people.White people were morally weak and unable to do good. However, in the centuries that followed they enslaved all people who were not white. The doctrine, which asserts the superiority of black people, has been called black supremacism. Following, Fard's mysterious disappearance in '34, Elijah Muhammad led the Nation of Islam and gave Fard's original teachings a practical and political edge. Muhammed taught that black and white people could not live together in peace. Consequently, he advocated separatism - that people should choose to live apart from white people. In practical terms this meant creating a self-governing all-black state in the territory of North America. Finally, Muhammad's practical message to black people was to stay pure and work hard. Black people could be seduced in northern cities by drugs, sex, alcohol and cigarettes. He taught that these - along with coffee, pork, jazz, blues, gambling and the cinema - were another way of enslaving black people. Purity and hard work were believed to be the only way in which black people could guarantee self-improvement.
Chapter 13: Malcolm X (2)
Malcolm X's early life:
Whereas MLK, had a relatively privileged middle-class upbringing, Malcolm X early life was extremely disadvantaged. His family was no stranger to racist violence; his farther was active in Negro organisation and his mother was of mixed race. Indeed, 3 of Malcolm uncles were murdered by whites. The Black Legion, white supremacist organisation similar to the KKK, torched his farther's home. There is also evidence that the Black Legion murdered his farther - although the Milwaukee police claimed that the death was an accident. Earl Little, Malcolm's farther died when Malcolm was only 6, plunging the family into poverty. Shortly after his father's death his mother, Louise Little, suffered from a nervous breakdown and her children were sent to foster homes. In spite of these turbulent early experiences, Malcolm X proved to be an excellent student. However, he dropped out of school after a teacher told him that his desire to become a lawyer was 'no realistic goal for a ******'. As a young man Malcolm X moved to New York. After a series of low-paid jobs, he become involved in New York's criminal underworld. In 1946, as a result of his criminal activities, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Chapter 13: Malcom X (3)
Conversion and the Nation of Islam: Malcolm X used his time in prison to further his education. Also during this time he came into contact with the NOI. The NOI message deeply affect Malcolm X. His lifestyle and behaviour changed dramatically; he became highly self-disciplined and gave up smoking. The NOI focus on the shared American heritage of black Americans also inspired Malcolm X to change his name from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X. He rejected 'Little' as it was the name given to his family by a white slave owner he adopted X as a symbol that his real African name had been lost. Following his release from prison in '52 Malcolm X gained significant influence within the NOI. His ability to relate to working class black men and his powerful oratory attracted many new converts. Indeed, between '52 and '53, thanks largely to Malcolm X, membership of the Detroit Temple tripled. As a result, Muhammed gave him more responsibility, and between '57 and '59 the number of temples shot up from 27 to 49. White reporters in the US media were shocked by the growth of the NOI. In '59 CBS journalist, Mike Wallace made a documentary entitled 'The hate that hate produced'. This documentary was intended to portray the NOI as a sinister organisation. However, an extended interview with Malcolm X convinced many urban blacks that NOI represented their wants and desires. In the 2 months after the documentary was broadcast, national membership of the NOI doubled.
Malcolm X's beliefs:
Criticisms of the civil rights movement: Highly critical of MLK called him the 20th century 'Uncle Tom' - and the CR movement more generally. He argued organisations like SCLC and NAACP were taken in by US myths like the american dream. They trusted the american system and therefore they would never be able to set blacks free. Malcolm X openly claimed that MLK was being paid by the gov to preach Christian love and forgiveness, and in doing so he was preventing black people effectively fighting of their rights. Malcolm X's criticism of the March on washington (Aug '63) are a good example, he described it as 'nothing but a circus with clowns and all' organised by a bunch of 'Uncle Toms' who were slavishly serving their white masters.
Chapter 13: Malcolm X (3)
New forms of slavery: Integration he argued would bring a new form of slavery. His view was that integration in the North had led to the creation of an underclass of black people who were addicted to drugs and wasted their money on gambling, alcohol and prostitution. He claimed these vices were deliberately introduced to trap black people and prevent them from improving their lives.
Black Nationalism: Whereas MLK pointed to US's national tradition of democracy and respect for individual rights and demanded that this be fully extended to AA's, Malcolm X described himself as a 'Black Nationalist Freedom Fighter'. He argues that the American nation had been founded on the principles of white supremacy. As a result he rejected american values and refused to call himself an american. Malcolm X's alternatives to American Nationalism was Black Nationalism. by this he meant 2 things.
- Political Black Nationalism meant self-determination, that is to say black people should govern themselves.
- Economic Black Nationalism meant that black people should control the economy within there country.
Self defence: Clear contrast to MLK. Malcolm X beloved that MLK strategy reemphasised the stereotype of the weak and defenceless black person. He argues white racists (included gov) - did not respect private protest. He claimed that in this way peaceful protests could not bring about substantial change. He argued that it was impossible for any sane person to love people who have ***** or beaten them, or had killed one of their friends. He believed that self defences was a more powerful weapon then love and forgiveness. Advocated gun ownership on the part of black americans, and claimed that using violence in self-defence was a natural and empowering response to hatred. Famously, he said that AA's should liberate themselves 'by all means necessary'.
Chapter 13: Malcolm X (4)
Break with Nation of Islam: His fame soured his relationship with Elijah Muhammad. Muhammed was jealous of the attention X received. What's more, on occassions X's statements embarrassed the NOI. e.g.in '63 X described JFK's assassination as 'chickens coming home to roost' implying JFK got what he deserved. As a result of tension in March '64 X left NOI.
Organisation of Afro-American Unity (OAAU): Following break from NOI X set up OAAU. OAAU drew a link between the struggle against white oppression in the US and the anti-colonial struggle in Africa. Aimed to organise and re-educate AA's across the world. In US, the OAAU organised:
- voter registation
- school boycotts in areas were education for blacks was unsatisfactory
- rent stikes were hosting was inadequate
- social programmes to help drug addicts
In addition, the OAAU encouraged re-ecuatioon through publishing new textbooks and developing new teaching methods, including home schooling to emphasis self reliance, black pride and solidarity with black Africans struggling against colonialism.
Integration: In his final year,X also began to rethink the possibility of integration. In his '64 speech 'The Ballot or the Bullet' he advocated working with american political system. First, Argued that black people could use their voting power to elect black politicians. Second, he announced his willingness to work with organisations such as the CORE and SNCC in oder to improve conditioned for blacks. There was even discussion of co-operation between X and King. Finally, after his Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) he began to reconsider the possibility of a society in which blacks and whites could live side by side as equals. Whilst in Mecca he witnessed true harmony between black and white muslims. Similarly, during his visit to Africa he saw white students who were genuinely helping to improve conditions for blacks. Both of these experinced led him to embrace the possibility that racial harmony could exist in America.
Chapter 13: Malcolm X (5)
Assignation: Following X's break with NOI the FBI received reports that Muhammad had ordered his assignation. Indeed, there were numerous attempts on his life throughout '64, including a firebomb that destroyed his family home. In Feb '65 Malcolm X was shot 15 times at close range. The 3 men convicted of his murder were all members of the NOI.
Conclusion:Malcolm X significance was his ability to express the feelings of US's working class. Following X's assignation, the OAAU collapsed, but many of its aimed became central to other radical groups, particularly SNCC and the Black Panthers Party.
Chapter 14: Divisions in civil rights movement
Tensions at the heart of the civil rights movement: From the very beginning there were divisions in the CRM. These divisions arose from disagreements over methods and the goals for which black Americans were fighting. Also personality clashes, jealously and rivalry between leaders who were competing for media attention and public recognition. During the '60s US media presented some groups as radical and others as moderate. NAACP, NUL for example were presented as moderate due to there commitment to work through the courts and their willingness to work with US's white population. From the mid 60's CORE, SNCC were called radicals because the advocated self defence. MLK and SCLC were criticised by moderates for being too radical and criticised by the radicals of being to moderate. Labels such as moderate and radical were not fixed. Methods and aims changed over time, so did the labels applied to them. SNCC, CORE and SCLC all become more radical in 60s.
Source of tension:
- Use of violence in the right for black civil rights
- The extent to which black and white people should collaborate in the campaign for racial equality.
- How far de jure change could bring about de facto change
- The extent to which blacks should seek intergration
Peaceful methods or violent protest? In 50's and early 60s MLK and SCLC proved the effectiveness of peaceful direct at ion as a weapon for challenging segregation. SNCC and CORE organised campaigns using peaceful protest - there commitment to this was pragmatic rather than ideological like King. Used methods because worked. Some SNCCs in South willing to accept protection from black farmers armed with guns. Radicals critical of non-violent protest disagreed with the principle on which it based. E.g. Malcolm X argued that black people should be prepared to use any means to fight. In the '66 James Meredith was shot and injured on his March Against Fear, a march through Mississippi to encourage voter registration there.
Chapter 14: Collaboration and using the law in CRM
Stokely Carmichael argued that Meredith's shooting underlined the need for black people to use violence to protect themselves. SNCC became even more radical in '68 as Carmichael proposed using revolutionary violence against the US gov. CORE also moved away from non violence during the late 60s, promoting the resignation of CORE's leader James Farmer in 1966.
Collaboration? The NAACP and SCLC for example welcomed black and white members arguing that co-operation would make the movement stronger. Radicals saw dangers in collaborative working. Black people they argued should liberate themselves. Others suggested that white people simply could not understand the experience of black people of the problems that they faced. As a result they rejected biracial co-operation. SNCC and CORE moved away from mixed membership in late 60s. in '66 SNCC expelled all white members. In 65 CORE decided that black people most form majority of organisation and in '68 they officially excluded whites from membership.
Using the law? The NAACP, NUL and SCLC all fought for legal change. In this sense they were committed to working within the American Legal System. However, the absence of legal segregation in Northern states meant that the northern blacks gained little from their legal victories. Consequntly, SNCC, CORE began to focus on the economic and political issue faced by black citizens in northern ghettos.
Chapter 14: Goals of CRM and Personalities
Goals of the civil rights movement:
Integration: Heart of NAACP and SCLC. The case Brown v Board of Education in 54, for example, aimed to force white schools to accept black students. Initially SNCC and CORE fought for for the same causes in campaigns such as the Greensboro sit ins and the freedom rides. However, in mid 60s SNCC’s Stokely Carmichael began to stress the importance of black control over public services rather than integration. Carmichael’s argument was two fold; first he states that the traditional integrationist campaigns such as the Brown case only changed education for a handful of black students while the majority stayed in underfunded colleges. To address this problem, he argued that blacks should campaign for control over local schools in order to ensure a high standard of education for blacks.
Segregation: NOI went further still. During the 50’s X agued thank whites would never stop trying to enslave blacks. Black freedom was only possible in an all black society. For this reason X rejected the idea of integration in favor of separatism - black people living and working in exclusive black communities that they controlled.
Personalities: King became the focus of a great deal of criticism from other groups who believed that he dominated the movement; that he was essentially a glory seeker who used the campaigns to make a name for himself and that he was controlled by white gov. SNCC and CORE also critical of king. Accused him as treating them as junior partners in the CRM. E.g. King suggests that SNCC should become the ‘student wing’ of SCLC. SNCC however was keen to remain independent. CORE felt King unsupportive of their campaigns. E.g. they criticized him for not playing a more prominent role in the Freedom Rides of 61. There were criticisms that King dominated media attention. CORE’S James Farmer was determined to use Freedom Rides to gain attention for CORE and SNCC used their Freedom Summer campaign in a similar way. Competition was fierce because all of the leaders knew that the media attention was essential to raise funds and increase the membership of their organizations. Similarly, SNCC and CORE activists were concerned that King was working too closely with JFK and Johnson.
Chapter 14: Vietnam and Effects of tension
Vietnam: Leaders of NACCP supported war, believed any criticism of war would drive a wedge between CR campaigners and gov, and therefore slow down progress towards racial justice. Radicals in SNCC believed the Vietnam War was a racial war between the white us gov and the asian people of Vietnam. Therefore, highly critical of the war. King initially refused to criticise the campaign. As a result, SNCC and other radical groups publicly criticized him. As time went on King felt a moral obligation to speak out against war as it violated his commitment to peace. His public rejection of war heightened tensions between NAACP and King.
Effects of tension:
Creative tensions: Tension between different CR groups had some positive effects. For example, Whitney Young of NUL, claimed that it was possible for experienced campaigners to use the tension to their advantage. Young argued every time Malcolm X or Carmichael criticized the NUL it became easier to work with white politicians and business leaders. These criticisms persuaded the white leaders that the NUL was a respectable organization because the criticisms implied that the NUL was moderate and that were significant differences between NUL and groups like SNCC, whose radicalism increasingly frightened the white establishment. Equally, Young claimed that in spite of their differences he had a good relationship with Malcolm X. Whenever the NUL was having difficult negotiations, Young would ask X to telephone the obstinate employers. One call from Malcolm X was usually enough to scare the employers into talking to NUL.
Chapter 15: Origins and aimed of BPP
Destructive tensions: Damaged Kings reputation and showed that he was not really the spokesman for every black person in US. King’s weakness was obvious during the Watts riots when the crowds ignored King’s plea for an end to the violence. Following 1966 groups such as SNCC and CORE were no longer prepared to work with NACCP, NUL or SCLC, and the fragmentation of the movement meant that it was difficult to organize national campaigns.
Conclusion: The apparent unity of the CRM in the early 60s was a facade concealing personal rivalries and political disagreements. Breakdown of the CRs coalition was due to the radicalism of CORE, SNCC, the growing influence of Malcolm X, the culture of the northern ghettos, the fact thatgov authorities were becoming increasingly adept at dealing with nonviolent protest.
Origins and Aims of Black Panthers Party:
Founded on 15 October '66 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The party was one of the most radical organisations formed during the struggle for black rights in the 60's. Its membership was all black, and it was prepared to use violence and its aim was the revolutionary transformation of the US. Seale and Newton had been involved in campaigns for black rights since the early 60s. Both looked to Malcolm X as a role model. Admired his ability to communicate with the black working class who lived in the ghettos of the north. Newton publicly stated that 'the BPP exists in the spirt of Malcolm'. Like X, Newton and Seale were critical of the CR leadership who chose to work with whites for being too cautious and failing to understand the needs of the black working class. Newton and Seale founded the BPP to organise black working class.
Focused on two aspects of black liberation that had been highlighted by Malcolm X: Self defences and economic improvement. Black people needed an organised defence, the BPP argues, because they could not trust police or the American justice system. According to Newton the police 'occupied' the black ghettos in the same way the US army occupied areas of Vietnam,. As a result, the BPP organised its own militia who patrolled black neighbourhoods, wearing a uniform including a black beret, blue shirt and black leather jackets. The rejection of police was summed up in the party slogan: 'Off the pigs!' The BPP's second goal was to improve the conditions in Northern ghettos. As a result the party also organised welfare schemes to help improve the lives of African Americans in northern cities.
Chapter 9: Congress
- Congress is the body empowered by the American Constitution to create nationwide laws.
- Consequently, Congress’s support was essential for progress in terms of civil rights legislation.
- However, the southern states had a significant voice in Congress as a result southern senators and congressmen obstructed civil rights legislation from ’45 to ’60.
- However, in ’64, 73/100 American senators and 289/435 members of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act.
Congress’s attitude to civil rights legislation changed for 5 reason:
- Grass-roots campaigns such as the Birmingham Campaign of ’63, exposed the horrors of segregation and radical violence.
- The civil rights campaigns had won over public support to such an extent that Congress could no longer oppose the Civil Rights Bill.
- Johnson was an experienced politician and knew how to exploit Congress to ensure that the Bill passed. For example, he persuaded important members of Congress, such as the Republican Leader in the Senate, Everett Dirksen, to support the Bill.
- Following the ’64 Congressional elections, some conservative Democrats were replaced by more Liberal Democrats who were sympathetic to civil rights.
- Johnson persuaded Congress that the Act would be a fitting legacy for Kennedy.
Chapter 9: Supreme court
The Supreme Court:
- During the ‘50s, the Supreme Court showed considerable leadership on civil rights issues. Eisenhower’s ’53 decision to appoint Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was extremely important.Supreme Court decisions in cases such as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (54), Brown II (55), and Browder v. Gayle (56) picked apart the legal basis of legalization. Civil rights activists were then able to use these rulings to force change in campaigns such as the sit-ins across the Southern states of America.
- During the ‘50s the Supreme Court used its power to support desegregation. Nonetheless, without the support of the President or Congress it could not guarantee that de jure change resulted in de facto change.
- The support of Congress and the Presidents in mid-60s was necessary to ensure the final destruction of segregation.
Chapter 16: Achievements of black power
Political and Economic achievements of blacks:
Did not solve social and economic problems facing northern blacks. It was unrealistic to expect it to provide a solution to such a huge issue in such as a short period. But it did offer practical help to black people living in ghettos as well as ensuring that the problems remained on the political agenda.
Organizing Northern blacks: MLK’s SCLC proved to be highly effective in mobilizing the southern blacks. However, MLK’s Christian message did not have the same appeal to blacks living in the northern ghettos who had deserted the church. Equally, King’s approach appealed much more to middle class than working class. SNCC and BP with their stress of self-defense and their commitment to addressing the economic problems of the ghettos, was much more attractive to northern working class blacks. Consequently, both groups were able to organize high-profile campaigns in order to address the issues facing northern black communities.
Freedom Cites - Organizing black people for Black Power: Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael and the black panthers shared a vision of black people controlling their communities. SNCC Free D.C. movement, headed by Marion Barry, was one highly successful example. It aimed to bring ‘home rule’ to the black community of D.C. Project started in ’66 with demonstrations against the way local schools were administered. By the end of ’66 black citizens of the D.C. had won the right to elect own school boards. Barry was also involved in the setting up a ‘Model Police Precinct’ controlled by a police board partly elected by the local black community. SNCC’s work gained $3 million worth of government funding to improve community policing.
Black Power initiatives: Black panthers educational initiative helped tens of thousands of people in the late 1960s. One of their best known campaigns concerned sickle cell anemia, a medical condition which predominately effects blacks. By the end of the decade there were 49 Black Panther clinics across America. The Illinois People’s Free Medical Care centre set up by the BPP, treated 2000 people in its first 2 months alone.
Chapter 16: Achievements of black power
Black Power initiatives continued.... Prior to the Panther’s campaign, little was known about the condition and the US gov had no strategy for dealing with the disease. Panthers campaign brought the illness to the nations attention and in 1972 the gov passed the National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act, committing gov money the research and treatment of the disease.
Black identity: One of their biggest triumphs. Slavery and segregation had taken a terrible toll on AA. Slavery uprooted Africans from their homeland and also separated them from their history. Enslavement stripped black people of their independence and their pride and robbed them of their identity. Radicals, practically in SNCC and BP, recognized the need for black people to understand themselves differently - to forge a new independent identity. Consequently, Stokely Carmichael and Huey P Newton emphasized the study of black history in order to connect AA to their past and provide them with examples of powerful black figures. SNCC, BP, Malcolm X also stressed the need for black Americans to recognize their African heritage. Moreover, AA history was full of examples radical black groups overthrowing oppressors and gaining independence for themselves. Recovering the past and recognizing that they were part of a global struggle wit Africa at its heart was crucial to the development of self-esteem, self-respect, independence and pride for many young AAs. New identities took many forms. X, for example, adopted the surname X in recognition that his original African name was lost. While Stokley Carmicheal took on the African name Kwame Ture out of respect for the Ghanaian revolutionary leader and first head of state of independent Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. The afro hairstyle also become a popular symbol of black identity. The style was associated with black radical Angela Davis. The change in identify fundamentally altered the American vocabulary. For generations black people were known as ‘negroes’ or as ‘colored’ - terms that were associated with slavery and segregation. Activists in the black power movement rejected these terms and referred to themselves as ‘black’.This positive control of language was highly influential and by the end of the 1960’s the terms ‘Negro’ and ‘colored’ had fallen into disuse.
Chapter 16: The cultural Impact of the Black Power
Black music: Black power had a profound effect on black music. Jazz composer & musician Miles Davis is an excellent example of the cultural changes caused by Black Power. At around the same time SNCC and CORE excluded white members, Davis formed an all black band. Similarly, at the same time SNCC and BP were emphasizing black history and African culture, Davis’s album began to use more none-western instruments and incorporate ideas from traditional African music as well as modern black styles pioneered by black artists James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. Davis also fought with his record company to have pictures of black women on his album covers. Traditionally, record companies had chosen images of white women, but albums such as the E.S.P in 1965 changed this. Bitches Brew at the end of the 60s went further, the cover being based on imagery from traditional African art.
Media portrayal of black Americans: BP also changed the way in which black people were portrayed in the media. TV: For example, NBC star trek broke new fround by including a highly trained and technically competent black character, Lieutenant Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols. The fictional chacter cleary releflected the emphasis on black idenity as she came from Africa, spoke Swahili and her name derives from the Swahili word uhuru, meaning freedom. Stark Trek featured an inter racial kiss between Uhura and Captain Kirk. This kiss caused a political storm and way only the second inter-racial kill in US TV history. Eartha Kitt’s Catwomen - a character in the ABC TV series Batman - was even more striking an example of powerful, assertive black character. Kitt, who had risen to fame as a singer and actor in the 1950s, was a well-known advocate of black rights. Bill Cosby’s role in the series ‘I Spy’, which ran on American TV from 1965-68. Cosby, a black actor, comedian, writer and CR activist, played a highly educated Pentagon spy.
Chapter 16: The cultural Impact of the Black Powe
Sweetback’s Baadasssss song (71), dramatized the story of PB and graphically depicted the racist violence of the LA police. Newton, praised the film and organized screenings for new members of the BP. The film was a box office hit and as a result more main stream movies were made reflecting the new powerful black identity. Shaft (71) is the best known example. Film tells the story of a black private detective who teams up with the BP to defeat the New York mafia and save the city from a race riot. Film was a mainstream success. Sport: Black athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos kept black power in the news. Men gave a ‘power to the people’ salute during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics while receiving their medals for the 200 meter race. The athletes used the event to make a series of symbolic points. Gold medalist Smith wore a black scarf around his neck representing black pride. Bronze medalist, Carlos ware a necklace of beads symbolizing the black Americans who had been lynched and killed in race crimes. Both athletes wore no shoes as a symbol of the solidarity with those in poverty in Africa. The Olympics Committee was outrages and demanded that the American team suspend both athletes.
Conclusion: Black Power movement had an enormous impact on American Culture and society. Activists such as Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Huey P Newton, Bobby Seale helped to forge a radical new identity for black people and changed race relations forever. The emphasis on pride and self help led to ground breaking democratic experiments such as the Free D.C. Movement and the sickle cell campaign. However, the high profile campaigns of SNCC and the PB also drew the attention of racist opponents such as Senator Stennis, who used their influence to stop community projects that involved activists. Nonetheless, the radicalism and courage of black activists became a model for protestors from all backgrounds. Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and women all adopted their methods to return power to the people.
‘Populuxe’: From 1945 to 1960 the USA enjoyed continual economic growth. The 50s was a period of low inflation and negligible unemployment. America’s gross national grew from $300,000 in 1950 to $500 million a decade later. By 1956, 60% of US worked in white collar occupations. During the 50’s 60% of US worked in white collar occupations (non manual, professional occupation). During the 50s and 60s the number of Americans who owned their own homes increased significantly, in 1940 43.6% of homes were owner occupied, by 1960 61.9% did. Many working class Americans also prospered during this period. Labour unions were able to use their power to negotiate excellent deals for their members and as a result the wages for production workers leapt by 70% between 1950 and 1970. The new wealth created a consumer boom. Number of car owners rose dramatically: in 1940 1 in 5 Americans owned a car, by 1970 the figure was 1 in 2. By 1960 some commentators believed american had entered an age of populuxe - that is, a time when everyone could afford to live in some measure of luxury.
The politics of affluence: The great depression had reduced many Americans to poverty. As a result, Americans had been cautious during this period, holding on to the wealth that they had while fearing that depression could strike again. Many Americans had believed that in order for others to benefit, they would have to lose. In this atmosphere it is not surprising that many white Americans were suspicious of anything that would make the lives of black citizens better. However, the affluence of the period made the middle class more secure and therefore less anxious about greater opportunity for black people. Young people were also affected by the prolonged period of affluence. Baby Boomers had never known poverty or economic depression. And the young people of the 1960s were better educated than any generation before them. They were born less materialistic and more interested in political issues. Therefore, while they consumed more, they were more willing to contemplate making sacrifices for a good cause. Youthful idealism was sometimes expressed in the counterculture and the liberal politics and idealism of Kennedy’s presidency.
Chapter 17: Liberal Politics:
Kennedy’s ‘New Frontier’:
At 43, JFK was the youngest man ever to elected President. Politically, JFX was an inspirational figure. He launched a number of ground breaking initiatives that appealed to the ambition and optimism of young people. First in 1961, JKF established the Peace Corps, an organization which sent volunteers to work in developing world. He also committed the Gov to a multi-billion dollar space programme with the aim of landing the man on the moon by the end of the 60s. Both of these projects appealed to the ideals of self-sacrifice and ambition, as well as showing that the new President was looking towards the challenge of the future. Both programmes were highly successful. By 1966 over 15,000 volunteers were working overseas as part of the Peace Corps and in 1969 the Apollo programme successfully landed 2 men on the moon. However, JFK’s domestic polices were not as spectacular. He described his vision for America as the ‘new frontier’ and aimed to introduce better healthcare and funding for education. However, Kennedy was forced to work with a Congress that was dominated by Republicans and conservative southern Democrats. Congress blocked many of JFK’s polices, such as his Medical Health Bill.
Johnson’s ‘Great Society’:
Lyndon B Johnson was much less glamourous than JFK but he too had a vision of a more equal society. He wanted the US to be a ‘great society’ as well as a rich one. He believed that the gov should use some of America’s new-found wealth to improve the lives of Americas poor. From 64 to 66 Johnson worked with congress to pass 435 bills which committed $1.5 billion to improve schools and $2.9 billion to regenerate America’s inner cities. In addition, his 65 Social Security guaranteed free healthcare to all people 65 and over.
The failure of liberalism: JFK and Johnson both spoke of fairer societies. However, neither president was able to deliver the reform that idealistic young Americans wanted. JFK was slow to act on civil rights. Johnson had more success but the Vietnam war distracted his attention and diverted gov money from his ‘Great Society’ programme. Additionally, the Vietnam War alienated many young idealists who had initially supported JFK and Johnson.
Chapter 17: Mass culture:
Media culture: The 50s and 60s witnessed the emergence of a mass American culture in which books, newspapers, films and TV programmes were mass produced and consumed by much of the US society. Number of TVs in US homes jumped from 10.3 million in 51 to 34.9 million in 1956. By 1960 90% of Americans owned a TV and watched news. programmes and adverts. Americans original diverse culture became dominated by a new media culture. This phenomenon was analyzed in Bernard Rosenberg and David Manning White’s book. Rosenberg and White argues that modern mass culture deliberately filled the minds of US will worthless ideas and in doing so distracted them from real issues, such as poverty.
Corporate culture: Following WW2 the american economy became dominated by large companies. In 1940, the USA’s biggest hundred companied were responsible for 30% of the countries manufacture but by the end on WW2 this figure had increased to 70%. The dominance of these large companies significantly changed Americans culture.Traditionally, US culture stressed independence and individualism. However, big businesses valued loyalty and conformity. Conformity was deeply unattractive to American youth and one of the reasons why they turned to protest.
The other America: Not everyone gained during this boom period. Poverty was still present in America and that certain groups, such as black people and the elderly, were largely excluded from the consumer boom. American society had become richer but it had nor become more equal. Indeed, in 1970 the poorest fifth of Americas population received only 5% of national national wealth, whereas the richest fifth enjoyed 40% of the countries wealth.
Chapter 17: Counterculture (1)
Counterculture ideology: American counterculture was not a coherent movement. It was made up of hippies, BP, feminists and peaceniks. As a result there was no single set of ideals that all of these different groups shared. Nonetheless, in general, countercultural groups agreed on two thing. First they believed that America was corrupt. They though that the ideals politicians claimed to believe in, like peace, justice and freedom, were just empty words. Believed that in reality America was an unfree and unjust society and that the people with power wanted to keep it that way. Second they believed that traditional political institutions such as political parties and elections could not deliver radical change. Consequently, they followed the lead of black activists and took their protest to the streets.
Disney and the origins of America’s counterculture: The American counterculture of the 1960s has it origins in the youth culture of the 40s and 50s. At the end of WW2 a new social group emerged: teenagers. Teenagers were targeted by TV stations film companies. Disney films and TC programmes, part of the new mass culture, were particularly popular during this period. Disney films contained many counterculture values. First, Disney films popularised rock music. The Mickey Mouse Club, a TV show that ran from 1955 to 1959 on US ABC network, featured rock n roll music every week. Second, Disney cartoons often contained dance scenes derived from Latin or African dance. For example, The The Caballeros, a Disney film from 1944, contains an extended scene in which Donal Duck learns to ‘loosen up’ and take part in a Hispanic street party. Third, disney films often contained psychedelic sequenced that influenced the ‘trippy‘ art and culture that came out of the Sixties drug culture. Counterculture hero, Dr Timothy Leary, who popularised the use of hallucinogenic drugs, claims that he was inspired to experiment with drugs after watching Disney’s psychedelic Fantasia (1940) particularly the celebrated magic mushroom sequence. Fantasia was re-realized in 1969 and marketed as the ‘ultimate trip’. Finally. Disney’s heroes are often young rebels who stand up to mainstream culture. Disney’s The story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (52) is a classic example of this.
Chapter 17: Counter-culture (2)
Robin Hood steals from the rich to give to the poor and stands up to the corrupt government in the form of Sheriff on Nottingham. Walt Disney himself commented that Robin Hood ‘remains an inspiration to all who love freedom’. The rock music, the carnival dancing, the trippy psychedelia and the young rebels who stood up to authority were all features of the US counterculture.
Youth Culture: Sex, drugs and rock n roll: By the end of the 1950s it was estimated that America teenagers spent $10 billion a year. Consequently, businesses rushed to get a piece of the teenage market by producing clothes, magazines, films, tv programmes, cosmetics and music deliberately designed to appeal to young people. During the late 1950s and the 60s there were increasingly polarisation between the experiment culture of young people and the conservative mainstream culture of the older generation.
Influence of rock and roll: Rock music was the big news of sixties youth culture. The rock n roll craze got going with Elvis Presley, the best known pop idol of the 50s and 60s Presley’s style mixed black gospel and blues music with white-southern country music. His performance shocked conservatives opinion who described his dace style as ‘sexhibitionist’. White Citizens Council horrified by rock music. Boston Church leader Rev John Carroll claimed that rock n roll inflames and excites youth like jungle tom-toms readying warriors for battle’. By 1958, 70% of all records sold were bought by teenagers. The beetles dominates the music scene in 1960s, viewed by conservatives as even more worrying that Elvis Presley because of their rebelliousness and due to the fact that there 67 album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Ban was clearly influenced by hallucinogenic drugs.
Outsiders: Films and novels that appealed to young people often focused on a mismatch between the heroes and the society they found themselves in. Stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando specialized in playing attractive outsider. In the 1955 film Rebel Without Cause, James Dean played a teenager who rejects the authority of his parents and teachers.
Chapter 17: Hippies
Hippies: Let’s get together
By the mid 1960s, hippies were the most prominent feature of Americas counterculture. Hippie communities provided a refuge for young people who had run away from home. Also rejected traditional ideas of ownership in favor of co-operatives or communes in which goods were shared. The Diggers in San Francisco, for example, set up a money-free community in which goods and services were traded or given away for free. The Diggers anarchist commune lasted from 1966 to 1968. By 67 they had a free food store in Golden Gate Park, a free transport network, free healthcare and even put on free rock concerts and even put on free rock concerts featuring bands such as the communal experience. The Diggers so called underground chemist, Owsley Stanley, produced large quantities of free LSD for hippies in the city. Hippies rejected the artificial mass-produced mainstream culture in favor of a more natural culture. This was reflected in the hippy look which used natural fabrics, handmade clothes and long hair. The hippies, like the beatniks, were predominantly from middle class backgrounds. According to the organizers of Woodstock, the biggest not a dingle cheque for festival tickets bounced. Clearly, the hippies who went to Woodstock were not short of cash.
Americas involvement in Vietnam, 1945-1975:
The USA had been involved in Vietnam, In south east Asia in one way or another since 1945. Vietnam was divided in two politically. In the North the Viet Cong, Vietnam’s communists, were in control, while in the South a pro-western government ruled. By 63 it looks like the Communists were on the brink of winning control of South Vietnam. This presented a problem for the US gov, because the Presidents advisers believed it might create a ‘domino effect’. Thought neighboring countries would follow if Vietnam fell to Communism. In 1965 President Johnson sent 186,000 US troops to fight the Viet Cong. However, the Americans Military was unable to beat the communists. As a result, President Johnson committed more soldiers and more money. By ’68 550,000 Americans were fighting in Vietnam and there was still no sign of victory.
Chapter 17: Vietnam
The Anti War Movement:
Why did the Vietnam war become such an unpopular one?
- Deaths: American public horrified at the number of US soldiers who died. More than 11,00 died in ‘67 a further 16,500 died in ’68.
- The draft: Once a month young men aged 18-25 who were not part of the military were ‘called up’ and required to join the US army. Many young men didn’t want to fight and resistance mounted as the death toll rose during the war.
- An unfair draft: wealthy white Americans could easily avoid being drafted into the army by enrolling in colleges and Uni’s. Working class whites and black Americans found it harder to manipulate the system and didn’t have the same access to education. As a result, disproportionate number of those called up were blacks or working class - roughly 80% of soldiers came from poor/working class families.
- Low morale: the war was unpopular with troops. Evident from the number of deserters; approx 20% of new soldiers went absent without leave during the initial training. Low morale is also evident from the amount of drugs used by Americans soldiers. Around 1/4 US troops used hard drugs such as heroine and a greater proportion used soft drugs such as marijuana.
- A racist war: Many believed that the Vietnam war was a racial war in which the White americans gov sought to conquer an Asian country.
- Tactics: starting in February ’65, President Johnson ordered heavy air force bombing rods which led to the deaths of thousands of Vietnamese civilians including women and children.
Anti War Movement: SDS radicals believed that the Vietnam War was clear evidence that the US was corrupt and that it cared more about money and power than it did people. War was very personal issue for students. The majority of the soldiers fighting in Vietnam were uni aged students between 19 and 22. As a result almost all students knew someone who had been killed or injured in the war. Also, male Uni students lived in fear of being drafted into the armed forces in order to fight in Vietnam.
Chapter 17: Vietnam
In April ‘65 SDS organized the first mass anti war wally in Washington DC. Protest attracted 20,000 people. SDS also encouraged students to speak out against the war in their Uni’s and colleges. For example, in 65 SDS organized a ‘teach-in’ at the uni of Michigan during which lectures were cancelled and staff & students met to debate the war. The teach-in protest spread to campuses across America. Within weeks lectures were suspended at Uni of Chicago, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, and Columbia (in NY). Many prominent academics participated in the teach-ins. As a result, the anti war movement gained a decree of respectability.Following the success of the teach ins, various anti war groups came together at the Vietnam Day Committee (VDC) to organize further protests. For example, in Nov ‘65 40,000 descended on Washington, marching from the White House to the Lincoln Memorial demanding an end to the war. The San Francisco Diggers also organized an important anti-war protest known as the ‘human be-in’ which attracted 30,000 people. The ‘be-in’ was a joint protests against Vietnam War and the banning of LSD. Protesters listened to to countercultural bands and enjoyed free LSD.
Black campaigners played an important part in the anti war movement. SNCC, for example, were involved in the teach-ins. MLK also spoke out against the vietnam war and lead a march of 5000 anti-war protesters through Chicago in ’67. The champion boxer, and NOI member Muhammad Ali, refused to fight in the war. Famously said ‘I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong... They never called me ******.’ Another from of protest was the burning of draft cards. Between 64 and 68 300,000 men a year between the ages of 18 and 25 years were drafted. Indeed, by 69 1/3 of 20 year old men had been called to fight in vietnam. Draft created enormous resentment among young men who did not want to fight in vietnam. Burning draft cards became a symbolic act of resistance against the war. The Gov responded by criminalizing the act. The protestors, took the gov to court arguing the new law violated their right to free speech as part of a case known as United States V O’Brien. The SC ruled that the new law did not take away the right to free speech due to the fact that burning a draft card was not in fact an act of speaking.The draft served to radicalize many young men. Consequently, SDS’s membership rose from 1500 in ’65 to 30,000 by the spring of ’67.
Final group who opposed the war were the Youth International Party, or Yippies. The group are a good example of the overlap between counterculture and political activism. Their organization reflected their rejection of the authority, as they had no leader and no hierarchy. Their flag struck a chord with many the counterculture as it featured a green cannabis leaf. The Yippies helped to organize the anti-war march on the Pentagon in ’67 and put forward a pig as a candidate for the ’68 Presidential election.
Impact of the anti-war movement: Failed to persuade the American people that the vietnam war was unjust. As late as ’68, 56% of Americans described themselves as ‘hawks’ while only 28% admitted to being ‘doves’. What is more, a significant number of those who did not consider themselves hawks believed that the anti-war protest were unpatriotic and that all protest undermined the efforts of American troops who were fighting and dying in Vietnam. The US gov was also unmoved by the anti-war protests. Rather than withdrawing troops, President Johnson strategy was to commit ever greater numbers of troops to the war. Finally, the anti-war movement failed to persuade the media to criticise the war, at least priori to ’69. Generally, the TV networks supported the war effort and refused to broadcast upsetting footage. Between ’65 and ’70 it estimated that only 76/2300 TV news programmes featured footage of dead or wounded soldiers. Rather the media criticized the anti-war protestors and tended to label label all protestors as radical hippies.
Conclusion: The counterculture that has flowered in the 60s had largely disappeared by ’70. Some hippie communes were infiltrated by criminals such as Charles Manson, who took advantage of the ‘anything goes’ atmosphere or the ‘crash pads’. Equally, hippie communes could not cope with the needs of the young people who turned to communes in order to escape abuse and problems at home. Sexual liberation also lost its appeal for many women who discovered that sexual liberation often meant sexual exploitation.
Chapter 17: Counter culture (3)
Beatniks: A group of writers who questioned traditional American morality and encouraged their readers to experiment with drugs and sex in new ways. William S Burroughs Naked Lunch (59) for example, described the journey of a drug addict across America. Beatniks rejected the ‘populuxe’ lifestyle of material plenty and focused on non-material things such as hallucinogenic experiences, sex, philosophy and poetry. They also rejected the ‘square’ American work ethic in favor of leisure in which to read, think and experiment with art and life. The beatnik philosophy was reflected in they way in which they dressed. Media stereotype in 60s was men with goatees, sunglasses, black tops, berets and shoulder length hair who used phrases such as ‘like cool man’. Female beatniks often had short hair and wore short skirts or trouser. The fashion for male beatniks to have long hair and female beatniks to have short indicated their rejection of traditional gender roles. The number of beatniks was never very large, but their ideas and their style influenced the hippies.
Chapter 17: Student rebels
Student Rebels: The New Left
The New Left were more political. Mainstream American politicians were highly critical of socialism and communism. However, during the 60s many students began to question this traditional attitude. What is more, radicals were also critical of the huge inequalities in wealth that existed in American society. Communism and socialism stressed economic equality and therefore became highly attractive to young radicals. The first prominent New Left group was Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a student group that formed at the University of Michigan in 1960. Many SDS members had been part of radical civil rights groups such as SNCC. SDS set out their aims in the Port Huron Statement of 1963. The statement committed SDS to fight for a genuine democratic society, in which each ‘individual shares in those decisions which determine the quality and direction of his life’. It is also advocated economic equality. Indeed, SDS argued that the economy should aim to provide a good life for all people rather than making profit. A second New Left student group was based at the University of California, Berkley. Students at the Uni had a reputation for being involved in radical politics; approx 10% of the students had taken part in the civil right protests between 1960 and 1964. On 1 October the the uni authorities declares that handing out political leaflets on campus was forbidden. As a result the students established the FSM (Free Speech Movement) to fight the Uni’s decision. However, the FSM campaigned for more than free speech. The leader of FSM, Mario Savio, was critical of American Society as a whole: he said it was like a machine which trapped Americans; the time had come to destroy the machine. In general terms, New Left had little support pitot to 65. New left activists tended to come from wealthy backgrounds and only had a noticeable presence in the elite universities. By October ’63 only 6 American Uni’s had SDS groups on campus and the total membership was 610 people. However, the New Left became more influential due to the campaign against the Vietnam War.