The Civil Rights Movement (violent)




  • The CRM changed due to the viloence towards the freedom riders & it was also believed that integration was too slow, MLK's direct action wasn't working
  • People began to think that they would be better off seperate but equal & that violence should be used in the face of violence
  • Malcolm X and the black muslims views: integration andnon-violence had failed, should live seperately with the aim of returning to Africa, they refused to work with black politicians calling them the enemy
  • X= rejection of slave surname
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Peace Marches

  • Birmingham, Alabama, 1963 (Bombingham)
  • Bull Connor gave the KKK 15 minutes to beat up freedom riders before moving the police in
  • April 3rd- first march, large scale, so many adults arrested and jailed that James Bevel began to train young children
  • May 2nd- first children's demonstartion, 956 arrested
  • May 3rd- more kids marched, Bull Connors police force ysed tear gas and dogs to stop them= bad press for America
  • May 10th - the mayor and some of the leaders met to discuss how to implement integration but the governor of Alabama sent in state troops to disrupt the agreement process
  • May 12th- JFK sent federal troops to calm the situation & the mayor passed a desegregation law
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  • Washington
  • Causes- the success in Birmingham, JFK promised to urge congress to act, NAACP leader killed by the KKK, black people felt threatened and let down by the government
  • Events- JFK advised against the march as he felt that it wouldn't help the discussions regarding the Civil Rights Bill, however when the leaders said they would continue anyway JFK supported them (but he tried to control who spoke & the route).
  • 250,000-500,000 marchers and 3000 reporters, MLK gave his famous 'I have a dream speech'
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JFK wasn't the first to try and improve  the civil rights situation however he faced great opposition from senators & voters in the south.

He was a dissapointment to the CRM as he didn't enfore any of the law, he was weak & indesisive as he has to keep the senate happy.

However he did help in some ways: he admired and supported MLK, he gave black people key roles in government, he set up commitees to work out how to improve education, housing and healthcare, he made pro- civil rights speeches and promised to push throught the civil rights bill.

However the bill faced a lot of opposition and only 2 weeks after the march 4 young black girls were killed when a church in Birmingham was bombed.

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Freedom Summer 1964

  • Mississippi= most racist despite the fact that 45% of its population were black
  • 1962- only 6.7% of black people were registered to vote- people wouldn't vot as they would be attacked if they tried, also they had to pass a literacy test which was made very hard for them
  • 1964- CORE & SNCC- new plan- gathered 1000 white, northern college students from respectable students (as they would be taken notice of) and got them to train black people to pass the literacy tests. They aslo set up freedom schools to teach black history.
  • Murders of Chaney,Goodman & Schwerner- CORE workers
    20th June 1964 the three went to investigate one of their churches (a freedom school) that had been burned down, whilst there they were arrested. The Sherriff released the three in the middle of thenight as he knew that a mob was awaiting them.
  • Their bodies were found on 4th August- they had all been shot in the head & Chaney had been severley beaten( as he was black)
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  • Consequences- black homes, business and churches bombed, 60 killed, 80 beaten, 35 shooting, 1000's arrested. 17,000 tried to register to vote (1600 succeeded). However it did put focus on the voting system, and a film was made 'Mississippi burning'. Furthermore President Johnson pushed through the Civil Rights Act July 1964
  • CRA- no discrimination in education, work or public places, Equal Opportunities Commission set up to investigate any discrimination, voter registration laws enforced
  • However it was not enforced so was ignored by some states, black people needed federal help to ensure the registration tests were fair and to protect them, the number of black voters didnt really increase
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Selma, Alabama 1965

7th March 1965- March from Selma towashington, marchers stopped by state troops on the Edmund Pettus bridge. Troops fired tear gas, used clubs & electric cattle prods & mounted troops attacked anyone in the black areas of town

Johnson ashamed and sent federal troops to allow the marchers to continue

Voting Rights Act August 1965- set literacy test to education equivalent to our year 6, bought in federal examiners who would visit to check the tests were fair, stopped states imposing own laws regarding the literacy tests e.g. voters must own land.

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The Black Power Movement

  • VRA= more black people registered to vote but it was hard for them to find a party to vote for.
  • 1965- Stokeley Carmichael & other SNCC workers in Alabama set up the Lowndes County Organisation which focused on black rights.
    Their symbol was a black panther and their slogan was 'vote for the panther & then go home'
  • June 1966- Meredith led a march against fear through Mississippi, on the second day he was shot and so MLK and carmichael took over( they gave two very different speeches.
  • Aims and Tactics of the Black Panther Party set up 1966- they had a ten point plan which included- full employment for black people, free healthcare, for all black prisoners to be released, decent housing and education. These demands were more than what whote people recieved & so they had no chance.
  • They were seen as a real threat by the Governemnt
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Inner- city riots 1965-1968 & the assassination of

  • Set off by police brutality & the fact that black people were fed up of how they had been treated
  • Riots occured all over the USA, all were very violent

Effect of the assassination of MLK

  • 4th April 1968
  • Worst violence in Washington & Cleveland
  • Riots in over 100 towns and cities
  • over 55,000 soldiers brought in to restore calm
  • $45 million worth of damage
  • 46 deaths (41 black)
  • Image of oppressed, non-violent black people lost
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Poor People's Campaign

Key Assassinations-

  • JFK November 1968
  • Malcolm X February 1965
  • MLK April 1968

Ralph Abernathy took over from MLK and continued his Poor People's Campaign

  • Aimed to set  up a camp at the Lincoln Memorial to show the politicians how poor the black community was
  • Resurrection city lasted for 2 months but was broken up by the national guard with tear gas
  • It rained solidly for the two months, there was an atmosphere of despair not unity and so the wrong kind of attention was drawn

People stopped supporting the CRM due to the death of MLK, the new image of black people & the unwillingness of the black people to acept the help of the white community

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