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The Effect of the Birmingham Campaign 1963 on Opin

  • People were appalled at the scenes of hildren, some as young as 8 having firehoses and dogs turned on them by "Bull" Connor's police. A group of clergy in Greenwich, Connecticut, were inspired to join the civil rights movement by what they saw as a simple struggle between justice and hatred. Duke University, North Carolina saw this moment to announce that it would desgregate itself (NE of USA)
  • Many citizens of Birmingham were concerned about the damage being done to the city's economy. Businessmen like Sidney Smyer, president of the local Champber of Commerce, thought it would be better to accept some desegregation than suffer the disruption a prolonged campaign would cause
  • The TV pictures of racial violence put pressure on the federal government to act in the face of both national and international outrage. At the height of the Cold War, the USA had to answer claims that the USA was "the land of the free, except for the negroes." The Soviet press carried over 1,400 stories on the Birmingham crisis in two weeks. The Soviet Communist Party paper, Pravda, showed a cartoon of white police intimidating a black child 
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The Impact of MLK's "I have a dream" Speech

  • Kennedy tried to put MLK off staging a March at Washington and making his "I have a dream" speech because he was worried about opposition from racist southern Democrats
  • Sensational success of the march and speech:
    250,000 people involved
    20% of marchers were white
    Entirely peaceful nature of the event
  • Pressured Kennedy to take action 
  • Created a situation were it was possible to get the Civil Rights Bill through Congress
  • Prompted Kennedy to describe it as a "moral issue" and quote from the Constitution
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The Passage of the Civil Rights Act 1964

November 1963: Kennedy's assassination
Lyndon B Johnson took over
May have accelerated the Civil Rights Act;

  • Johnson: more experienced than Kennedy and exceptionally skilled as a political "fixer" at getting conroversial legislation through Congress
  • Used Kennedy's assassination to increase support for the Civil Rights Bill 
  • Genuine supporter of civil rights: almost the only southern senator who had refused to sign the Southern Manifesto opposing the Brown judgement and to have voted for the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 &1960
  • Able to get Republican support by getting the Republican leader of the Senate, Everett Dickson and the former Republican presidents, Hoover and Eisenhower on his side. He knew Southern Democrats woud refuse the Bill

Johnson was rewarded for supporting civil rights by winning 96% of the black vote in the 1964 presidential election: enabled him to win despite southern white voting for his Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater, who had opposed the Civil Rights Act

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The Civil Rights Act 1964

  • Segregation in restaurants, stores and othr public places was banned. The number of black students attending intergrated schools in Texas and Tennessee trebled in a year
  • The Attorney-General could file lawsuits to speed up desegregation and voting rights
  • The Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) was now set up on a permanent basis and all racial, sexual and religious discrimination was banned
  • No discrimination would be allowed on any federally aided programmes
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