History-A Divided Union, Part 2.

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  • Created on: 27-01-13 16:49

Section 3 - Changes in the Civil Rights Movement.
In the 1960's, non-violent protests, and the pubicity surrounding them, increased. One of the ways that non-violent direct action was supposed to work was to put pressure on segregationists to change by getting them to show themselves in a bad light in the media - shaming them into obeying anti-segregation laws. This in turn produced an increasingly violent response, causing the federal government to act.
During the 1960's, a growing number of black people began to agree with black muslims who argued that integration was too slow in coming in and, when it did come, did not produce equality. They said black people would be better off living seperately, even returning back to Africa, rather than in an integrated society where they always had the worst living and working conditions.
Other civil rights protestors such as Malcom X and the Black Panthers argued that non-violence was not getting results. They urged meeting violence with violence.

Birmingham, Alabama, had not carried out a single piece of desegragation, and had the nickname "Bombingham" due to the regular bombings of black houses, businesses and churches. In 1963, civil rights campaigners targeted Birmingham for a full scale non-violent desegregation campaign.
The campaign began on 3rd of April, and the police made many arrests. In fact, so many adults were arrested that children had to be trained in protest tactics so that the marches could continue. The day of the first big childrens march, over 900 were arrested. The next day, the police used dogs and firehoses on the protestors.
The stories and photos of Birmingham were published worldwide, Kennedy admitted "I felt ashamed". By 9th May some protestors were breaking down under the pressure, and violence broke out. The next day the mayor met protest leaders to work out how to break down segregation in the city. However, the govenor of Alabama sent in state troops to deliberately disrupt the process. So, Kennedy sent in federal troops and calm was restored. The mayor passed many desegregation laws. The campaign had worked.

The success of the Birmingham campaign led to a wave of similar civil rights actions all over America. Black people felt increasingly threatened by violence and ignored by the government, there were riots in many towns and cities. Civil rights leaders met up to organise a march on Washington. A civil rights bill was under discussion but making little progress. The march was to be the biggest yet.
At first, President Kenny advised against the march, saying it would give those against the bill the opportunity to say they wouldnt be forced to vote for it by public pressure. When civil rights leaders refused to cancel, Kennedy gave his support, although still tried to control the route and who spoke. Estimates of the number of marchers range from 250,000 to 500,000. There were around 3000 reporters and the event was one of the first to be broadcast live around the world. The audience listened

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