Power, Protest, and the Public Schools: Jewish and African American Struggles in New York City

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Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist and leader of the Pan-Africanism movement, which sought to unify and connect people of African descent worldwide. In the United States, he was a noted civil rights activist who founded the Negro World newspaper, a shipping company called Black Star Line and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, a fraternal organization of black nationalists. Garvey was born in in St. His father was a stonemason and his mother was a household servant. One the 11 children born to the couple, only Marcus and one sibling survived into adulthood.

Garvey attended school in Jamaica until he was 14, when he left St. He later said he first experienced racism in grade school in Jamaica, primarily from white teachers. While working in the print shop, Garvey became involved in the labor union for print tradesmen in Kingston. This work would set the stage for his activism later in life. Garvey spent time in Central America, where he had relatives, before moving to London in After two years in London — where he received an education that would likely have been unavailable to him in the Americas because of the color of his skin — Garvey returned to Jamaica.

It was during this time that he started the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Garvey also began corresponding with Booker T. Washington , the African-American leader, author and activist who had been born into slavery. In , Garvey boarded a ship bound for the United States, where — as a dramatic and invigorating public speaker — he intended to go on a lecture tour.

He ended up settling in New York City, where he first spoke at the famous St. He also took on work in a print shop to make ends meet. And then when we are finished, if we have any charity to bestow, we may die for the white man. But as for me, I think I have stopped dying for him. If you must be free, you must become so through your own effort … Until you produce what the white man has produced you will not be his equal.

Garvey established the first U. Soon, his speaking engagements took on an angry tone, in which he questioned how the United States could call itself a democracy when across the country people of color were still oppressed. By , he and his associates set up the shipping company Black Star Line, under the auspices of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, which by then had grown to include more than four million members. Not long after the Black Star Line had purchased its first ship, the S. Yarmouth , and rechristened it the S. Garvey was married twice: His first marriage to Amy Ashwood, who was a fellow activist in the Universal Negro Improvement Association, ended in divorce in Six members of the Hollywood Ten were Jewish.

Two-thirds of those questioned in the McCarthy hearings were Jewish, despite Jews accounting for under 2 percent of the American population.

Civil rights movement - Wikipedia

My point is not that anti-Semitism is a transcendent force in U. If Jews are simply other white people, we might imagine anti-Semitism would have gone the way of anti-Polish and anti-Italian racism—still alive in corners, but no longer a political force. How, then, are we to understand a term that on the right has come to mean any criticism of the state of Israel, and on the left complicated by Ashkenazi Jewish whiteness? And perhaps more importantly, how do we understand its reemergence into public life, from the European far right to Trump?

After all, anti-Semitism often expresses itself in charges not of inferiority, but of superiority: Jews are portrayed as clever and powerful. Unlike other racial ideologies that focus on the seizure of bodies and the maintenance of a hierarchy based on physical appearance, anti-Semitism is a theory of society, how it is constructed and for what ends. The eruption of anti-Semitism into public life today troubles the neat and orderly narrative of Jewish progress in the United States. Indeed, anti-Semitism may not even need actual Jews to function, as we are learning from the rebirth of radical right in Poland —a land so thoroughly ethnically cleansed, old Jewish gravestones have been used to pave streets.

For the right, Jews are understood as a uniquely political threat. Thus the Soviet Union did not appear to the far-right governments from Spain to Hungary to Germany as merely an ideological enemy, but a state in which the Judeo-Bolsheviks took power and could bend the inferior Slavic masses to their will. During the Spanish Civil War, fascist generals and their Catholic allies framed the conflict as a continuation of the reconquista , the military expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain. The racial coordinates of that trope were made clear by a Polish anti-communist poster : Leon Trotsky, the Jewish leader of the Red Army, appears as a naked devil atop a pile of skulls, while Asiatic Red Army troops club a body lying beneath them.

Contemporary far-right movements in the United States, whether white nationalist or Christian supremacist, reformulate the language of Jewish power for their distinctive cultural context. Perhaps the most influential single text for white nationalists is the Turner Diaries , published under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald—a book Timothy McVeigh carried during his arrest after the Oklahoma City bombing. A dystopian fictional account of an uprising by white terrorist cells as they battle African American government agents, the novel features a sinister network of Jewish intelligence agencies and financiers that run the world from the shadows.

The language of modern Jewish power has long found its way into mainstream right-wing politics. But in the last few years there has been a dramatic rise in both anti-Semitic statements and anti-Semitic hate crimes reported to police, rising at twice the rate of hate crimes against other racialized groups.

The trope of the liberal cosmopolitan in New York and Hollywood has been refashioned into—in fact, as Hanebrink shows, rediscovered as—a sinister figure controlling vast armies of surrogate colonial subjects in a plot to topple the West. George Soros is only the most visible target of this resurgent Judeo-Bolshevism. The question is, why now? By framing both Nazism and Communism as threats to the liberal, Christian order of the West, Jews in the United States often became willing conscripts in the democratic fight against third-world revolution and Communist conspiracy.

While Hanebrink does not address the question of Zionism other than to note that most left-wing, secular Jews opposed it prior to World War II, Israel has played a major role in normalizing Jewish identity among Western governments and elites. While U. Closer to home, the postwar liberal order, with its ideology of colorblind democracy and equal opportunity for all, is not so much under threat as collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. The profit squeeze of the s meant that capitalism could no longer afford both an ample welfare state and an expanding share of the profits for the ruling elite, so it ditched the former while doubling down on the latter.

In many powerful U. The rise of Trump, as with the rise of illiberal governments from Hungary to Russia to India, should be understood as a response to the crisis of liberalism. Does all this mean that anti-Semitism is structural? On this point, it is useful to draw a distinction between structural and institutional forms of oppression.

Ashkenazi Jews in the United States are, by and large, educated and middle-class, and most European-descended Jews experience the United States as white people, with all the racial privilege—and racism—that go along with it. They do not suffer from mass incarceration and residential segregation. Nevertheless anti-Semitism is institutional: in many powerful U. Anti-Semitism is not an aberration for these groups, but part of their foundational ideology.

We cannot oppose the right without also opposing—and understanding—the right-wing origins of anti-Semitic thought. There is no ideological framework in which anti-Semitism explains or informs a socialist internationalist practice. They caused an enormous, 2-hour long riot which resulted in 22 injuries, five of whom were hospitalized. Mob violence in Anniston and Birmingham temporarily halted the rides. In Montgomery, Alabama , at the Greyhound Bus Station , a mob charged another bus load of riders, knocking John Lewis unconscious with a crate and smashing Life photographer Don Urbrock in the face with his own camera.

A dozen men surrounded James Zwerg , a white student from Fisk University , and beat him in the face with a suitcase, knocking out his teeth. On May 24, , the freedom riders continued their rides into Jackson, Mississippi , where they were arrested for "breaching the peace" by using "white only" facilities. New Freedom Rides were organized by many different organizations and continued to flow into the South. As riders arrived in Jackson, they were arrested. By the end of summer, more than had been jailed in Mississippi. When the weary Riders arrive in Jackson and attempt to use "white only" restrooms and lunch counters they are immediately arrested for Breach of Peace and Refusal to Obey an Officer.

Says Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett in defense of segregation: "The Negro is different because God made him different to punish him. Each prisoner will remain in jail for 39 days, the maximum time they can serve without loosing [ sic ] their right to appeal the unconstitutionality of their arrests, trials, and convictions.

After 39 days, they file an appeal and post bond The jailed freedom riders were treated harshly, crammed into tiny, filthy cells and sporadically beaten. Others were transferred to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, where they were treated to harsh conditions. Sometimes the men were suspended by "wrist breakers" from the walls. Typically, the windows of their cells were shut tight on hot days, making it hard for them to breathe. Public sympathy and support for the freedom riders led John F.

When the new ICC rule took effect on November 1, , passengers were permitted to sit wherever they chose on the bus; "white" and "colored" signs came down in the terminals; separate drinking fountains, toilets, and waiting rooms were consolidated; and lunch counters began serving people regardless of skin color. The student movement involved such celebrated figures as John Lewis, a single-minded activist; James Lawson , the revered "guru" of nonviolent theory and tactics; Diane Nash , an articulate and intrepid public champion of justice; Bob Moses , pioneer of voting registration in Mississippi; and James Bevel , a fiery preacher and charismatic organizer, strategist, and facilitator.

After the Freedom Rides, local black leaders in Mississippi such as Amzie Moore , Aaron Henry , Medgar Evers , and others asked SNCC to help register black voters and to build community organizations that could win a share of political power in the state. Since Mississippi ratified its new constitution in with provisions such as poll taxes, residency requirements, and literacy tests, it made registration more complicated and stripped blacks from voter rolls and voting. Also, violence at the time of elections had earlier suppressed black voting.

By the midth century, preventing blacks from voting had become an essential part of the culture of white supremacy. At the time, there were 16, blacks in the county, yet only 17 of them had voted in the previous seven years. Within a year, some 1, blacks had registered, and the white community responded with harsh economic reprisals. Using registration rolls, the White Citizens Council circulated a blacklist of all registered black voters, allowing banks, local stores, and gas stations to conspire to deny registered black voters essential services.

What's more, sharecropping blacks who registered to vote were getting evicted from their homes. All in all, the number of evictions came to families, many of whom were forced to live in a makeshift Tent City for well over a year. Finally, in December , the Justice Department invoked its powers authorized by the Civil Rights Act of to file a suit against seventy parties accused of violating the civil rights of black Fayette County citizens.

Their efforts were met with violent repression from state and local lawmen, the White Citizens' Council , and the Ku Klux Klan. Activists were beaten, there were hundreds of arrests of local citizens, and the voting activist Herbert Lee was murdered. White opposition to black voter registration was so intense in Mississippi that Freedom Movement activists concluded that all of the state's civil rights organizations had to unite in a coordinated effort to have any chance of success.

As in McComb, their efforts were met with fierce opposition—arrests, beatings, shootings, arson, and murder. Registrars used the literacy test to keep blacks off the voting rolls by creating standards that even highly educated people could not meet. In addition, employers fired blacks who tried to register, and landlords evicted them from their rental homes. By , voter registration campaigns in the South were as integral to the Freedom Movement as desegregation efforts. After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of , [2] protecting and facilitating voter registration despite state barriers became the main effort of the movement.

It resulted in passage of the Voting Rights Act of , which had provisions to enforce the constitutional right to vote for all citizens. William David McCain , the college president, used the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission , in order to prevent his enrollment by appealing to local black leaders and the segregationist state political establishment.

The state-funded organization tried to counter the civil rights movement by positively portraying segregationist policies. More significantly, it collected data on activists, harassed them legally, and used economic boycotts against them by threatening their jobs or causing them to lose their jobs to try to suppress their work.

Kennard was twice arrested on trumped-up charges, and eventually convicted and sentenced to seven years in the state prison. Journalists had investigated his case and publicized the state's mistreatment of his colon cancer. McCain's role in Kennard's arrests and convictions is unknown. He described the blacks' seeking to desegregate Southern schools as "imports" from the North. Kennard was a native and resident of Hattiesburg.

McCain said:. We insist that educationally and socially, we maintain a segregated society In all fairness, I admit that we are not encouraging Negro voting The Negroes prefer that control of the government remain in the white man's hands. Note: Mississippi had passed a new constitution in that effectively disfranchised most blacks by changing electoral and voter registration requirements; although it deprived them of constitutional rights authorized under post-Civil War amendments, it survived U. Supreme Court challenges at the time. It was not until after passage of the Voting Rights Act that most blacks in Mississippi and other southern states gained federal protection to enforce the constitutional right of citizens to vote.

In September , James Meredith won a lawsuit to secure admission to the previously segregated University of Mississippi. He attempted to enter campus on September 20, on September 25, and again on September Johnson Jr. Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent in a force of U. On September 30, , Meredith entered the campus under their escort. Students and other whites began rioting that evening, throwing rocks and firing on the U. Marshals guarding Meredith at Lyceum Hall. Two people, including a French journalist, were killed; 28 marshals suffered gunshot wounds, and others were injured. President John F.

Kennedy sent regular U. Army forces to the campus to quell the riot. Meredith began classes the day after the troops arrived. Kennard and other activists continued to work on public university desegregation. By that time, McCain helped ensure they had a peaceful entry. The SCLC, which had been criticized by some student activists for its failure to participate more fully in the freedom rides, committed much of its prestige and resources to a desegregation campaign in Albany, Georgia , in November King, who had been criticized personally by some SNCC activists for his distance from the dangers that local organizers faced—and given the derisive nickname "De Lawd" as a result—intervened personally to assist the campaign led by both SNCC organizers and local leaders.

The campaign was a failure because of the canny tactics of Laurie Pritchett , the local police chief, and divisions within the black community. The goals may not have been specific enough. Pritchett contained the marchers without violent attacks on demonstrators that inflamed national opinion. He also arranged for arrested demonstrators to be taken to jails in surrounding communities, allowing plenty of room to remain in his jail.

Pritchett also foresaw King's presence as a danger and forced his release to avoid King's rallying the black community. King left in without having achieved any dramatic victories. The local movement, however, continued the struggle, and it obtained significant gains in the next few years.

The Albany movement was shown to be an important education for the SCLC, however, when it undertook the Birmingham campaign in Executive Director Wyatt Tee Walker carefully planned the early strategy and tactics for the campaign. It focused on one goal—the desegregation of Birmingham's downtown merchants, rather than total desegregation, as in Albany.

The movement's efforts were helped by the brutal response of local authorities, in particular Eugene "Bull" Connor , the Commissioner of Public Safety.


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He had long held much political power but had lost a recent election for mayor to a less rabidly segregationist candidate. Refusing to accept the new mayor's authority, Connor intended to stay in office. The campaign used a variety of nonviolent methods of confrontation, including sit-ins, kneel-ins at local churches, and a march to the county building to mark the beginning of a drive to register voters.

The city, however, obtained an injunction barring all such protests. Convinced that the order was unconstitutional, the campaign defied it and prepared for mass arrests of its supporters. King elected to be among those arrested on April 12, While in jail, King wrote his famous " Letter from Birmingham Jail " [] on the margins of a newspaper, since he had not been allowed any writing paper while held in solitary confinement.

King was allowed to call his wife, who was recuperating at home after the birth of their fourth child and was released early on April The campaign, however, faltered as it ran out of demonstrators willing to risk arrest. James Bevel , SCLC's Director of Direct Action and Director of Nonviolent Education, then came up with a bold and controversial alternative: to train high school students to take part in the demonstrations.

As a result, in what would be called the Children's Crusade , more than one thousand students skipped school on May 2 to meet at the 16th Street Baptist Church to join the demonstrations. More than six hundred marched out of the church fifty at a time in an attempt to walk to City Hall to speak to Birmingham's mayor about segregation. They were arrested and put into jail.

In this first encounter, the police acted with restraint. On the next day, however, another one thousand students gathered at the church. When Bevel started them marching fifty at a time, Bull Connor finally unleashed police dogs on them and then turned the city's fire hoses water streams on the children. National television networks broadcast the scenes of the dogs attacking demonstrators and the water from the fire hoses knocking down the schoolchildren. Widespread public outrage led the Kennedy administration to intervene more forcefully in negotiations between the white business community and the SCLC.

On May 10, the parties announced an agreement to desegregate the lunch counters and other public accommodations downtown, to create a committee to eliminate discriminatory hiring practices, to arrange for the release of jailed protesters, and to establish regular means of communication between black and white leaders.

Not everyone in the black community approved of the agreement—the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was particularly critical, since he was skeptical about the good faith of Birmingham's power structure from his experience in dealing with them. Parts of the white community reacted violently. In response, thousands of blacks rioted , burning numerous buildings and one of them stabbed and wounded a police officer. Kennedy prepared to federalize the Alabama National Guard if the need arose. Birmingham was only one of over a hundred cities rocked by the chaotic protest that spring and summer, some of them in the North but mainly in the South.

During the March on Washington, Martin Luther King would refer to such protests as "the whirlwinds of revolt. Berry of the National Urban League warned of a complete breakdown in race relations: "My message from the beer gardens and the barbershops all indicate the fact that the Negro is ready for war. Millard Tawes to declare martial law. Kennedy directly intervened to negotiate a desegregation agreement. The blacks criticized Kennedy harshly for vacillating on civil rights, and said that the African-American community's thoughts were increasingly turning to violence.

The meeting ended with ill will on all sides. That evening, President Kennedy addressed the nation on TV and radio with his historic civil rights speech , where he lamented "a rising tide of discontent that threatens the public safety. Philip Randolph had planned a march on Washington, D. Randolph and Bayard Rustin were the chief planners of the second march, which they proposed in In , the Kennedy administration initially opposed the march out of concern it would negatively impact the drive for passage of civil rights legislation. However, Randolph and King were firm that the march would proceed.

Concerned about the turnout, President Kennedy enlisted the aid of white church leaders and Walter Reuther , president of the UAW , to help mobilize white supporters for the march. The march was held on August 28, Unlike the planned march, for which Randolph included only black-led organizations in the planning, the march was a collaborative effort of all of the major civil rights organizations, the more progressive wing of the labor movement, and other liberal organizations. The march had six official goals:. Of these, the march's major focus was on passage of the civil rights law that the Kennedy administration had proposed after the upheavals in Birmingham.

National media attention also greatly contributed to the march's national exposure and probable impact. In the essay "The March on Washington and Television News," [] historian William Thomas notes: "Over five hundred cameramen, technicians, and correspondents from the major networks were set to cover the event. More cameras would be set up than had filmed the last presidential inauguration. One camera was positioned high in the Washington Monument, to give dramatic vistas of the marchers". By carrying the organizers' speeches and offering their own commentary, television stations framed the way their local audiences saw and understood the event.

The march was a success, although not without controversy. An estimated , to , demonstrators gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial , where King delivered his famous " I Have a Dream " speech. While many speakers applauded the Kennedy administration for the efforts it had made toward obtaining new, more effective civil rights legislation protecting the right to vote and outlawing segregation, John Lewis of SNCC took the administration to task for not doing more to protect southern blacks and civil rights workers under attack in the Deep South.

While the Kennedy administration appeared sincerely committed to passing the bill, it was not clear that it had enough votes in Congress to do so. However, when President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, , [] the new President Lyndon Johnson decided to use his influence in Congress to bring about much of Kennedy's legislative agenda. In March , Malcolm X el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz , national representative of the Nation of Islam , formally broke with that organization, and made a public offer to collaborate with any civil rights organization that accepted the right to self-defense and the philosophy of Black nationalism which Malcolm said no longer required Black separatism.

Richardson, "the nation's most prominent woman [civil rights] leader," [] told The Baltimore Afro-American that "Malcolm is being very practical The federal government has moved into conflict situations only when matters approach the level of insurrection. Self-defense may force Washington to intervene sooner. Malcolm articulates for Negroes, their suffering Malcolm had tried to begin a dialog with Dr.

King as early as , but King had rebuffed him. Malcolm had responded by calling King an " Uncle Tom ", saying he had turned his back on black militancy in order to appease the white power structure. But the two men were on good terms at their face-to-face meeting. Civil rights activists became increasingly combative in the to period, seeking to defy such events as the thwarting of the Albany campaign, police repression and Ku Klux Klan terrorism in Birmingham , and the assassination of Medgar Evers.

In his landmark April speech " The Ballot or the Bullet ", Malcolm presented an ultimatum to white America: "There's new strategy coming in. It'll be Molotov cocktails this month, hand grenades next month, and something else next month. It'll be ballots, or it'll be bullets. In the South, there had been a long tradition of self reliance. Malcolm X's ideas now touched that tradition". When Fannie Lou Hamer spoke to Harlemites about the Jim Crow violence that she'd suffered in Mississippi, she linked it directly to the Northern police brutality against blacks that Malcolm protested against; [] When Malcolm asserted that African Americans should emulate the Mau Mau army of Kenya in efforts to gain their independence, many in SNCC applauded.

Power, Protest, and the Public Schools: Jewish and African American Struggles in New York City

During the Selma campaign for voting rights in , Malcolm made it known that he'd heard reports of increased threats of lynching around Selma. On the day of Malcolm's appearance, President Johnson made his first public statement in support of the Selma campaign. Haygood noted that "shortly after Malcolm's visit to Selma, a federal judge, responding to a suit brought by the Department of Justice , required Dallas County, Alabama , registrars to process at least Black applications each day their offices were open.

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Augustine was famous as the "Nation's Oldest City", founded by the Spanish in It became the stage for a great drama leading up to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of A local movement, led by Dr. Robert B. In the fall of , Hayling and three companions were brutally beaten at a Ku Klux Klan rally. Augustine Four" sat in at a local Woolworth's lunch counter, seeking to get served.

They were arrested and convicted of trespassing, and sentenced to six months in jail and reform school. It took a special act of the governor and cabinet of Florida to release them after national protests by the Pittsburgh Courier , Jackie Robinson , and others. In response to the repression, the St. Augustine movement practiced armed self-defense in addition to nonviolent direct action.

In June , Dr. Hayling publicly stated that "I and the others have armed. We will shoot first and answer questions later. We are not going to die like Medgar Evers. In October , a Klansman was killed. The arrest of Mrs. Peabody, the year-old mother of the governor of Massachusetts, for attempting to eat at the segregated Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge in an integrated group, made front-page news across the country and brought the movement in St.

Augustine to the attention of the world. Widely publicized activities continued in the ensuing months. When Dr. King was arrested, he sent a "Letter from the St. Augustine Jail" to a northern supporter, Rabbi Israel Dresner. A week later, in the largest mass arrest of rabbis in American history took place, while they were conducting a pray-in at the segregated Monson Motel. A well-known photograph taken in St. Augustine shows the manager of the Monson Motel pouring muriatic acid in the swimming pool while blacks and whites are swimming in it. The horrifying photograph was run on the front page of a Washington newspaper the day the Senate were to vote on passing the Civil Rights Act of Although the school was built to house students, it had become overcrowded with 1, students.

The school's average class-size was 39, twice the number of nearby all-white schools. Only two bathrooms were available for the entire school. Emboldened by the success of the Franklin Elementary school demonstrations, the CFFN recruited new members, sponsored voter registration drives and planned a citywide boycott of Chester schools.

Branche built close ties with students at nearby Swarthmore College , Pennsylvania Military College and Cheyney State College in order to ensure large turnouts at demonstrations and protests. In , a series of almost nightly protests brought chaos to Chester as protestors argued that the Chester School Board had de facto segregation of schools. The city deputized firemen and trash collectors to help handle demonstrators.


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  6. All protests were discontinued while the commission held hearings during the summer of The city appealed the ruling, which delayed implementation. Many of Mississippi's white residents deeply resented the outsiders and attempts to change their society. State and local governments, police, the White Citizens' Council and the Ku Klux Klan used arrests, beatings, arson, murder, spying, firing, evictions, and other forms of intimidation and harassment to oppose the project and prevent blacks from registering to vote or achieving social equality.

    They were found weeks later, murdered by conspirators who turned out to be local members of the Klan, some of them members of the Neshoba County sheriff's department. This outraged the public, leading the U. Justice Department along with the FBI the latter which had previously avoided dealing with the issue of segregation and persecution of blacks to take action. The outrage over these murders helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of and the Voting Rights Act of From June to August, Freedom Summer activists worked in 38 local projects scattered across the state, with the largest number concentrated in the Mississippi Delta region.

    At least 30 Freedom Schools, with close to 3, students, were established, and 28 community centers set up. But more than 80, joined the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party MFDP , founded as an alternative political organization, showing their desire to vote and participate in politics.

    Marcus Garvey’s Early Years

    Though Freedom Summer failed to register many voters, it had a significant effect on the course of the civil rights movement. It helped break down the decades of people's isolation and repression that were the foundation of the Jim Crow system. Before Freedom Summer, the national news media had paid little attention to the persecution of black voters in the Deep South and the dangers endured by black civil rights workers.

    The progression of events throughout the South increased media attention to Mississippi. The deaths of affluent northern white students and threats to non-Southerners attracted the full attention of the media spotlight to the state. Many black activists became embittered, believing the media valued lives of whites and blacks differently. Perhaps the most significant effect of Freedom Summer was on the volunteers, almost all of whom—black and white—still consider it to have been one of the defining periods of their lives. Although President Kennedy had proposed civil rights legislation and it had support from Northern Congressmen and Senators of both parties, Southern Senators blocked the bill by threatening filibusters.

    After considerable parliamentary maneuvering and 54 days of filibuster on the floor of the United States Senate, President Johnson got a bill through the Congress. On July 2, , Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of , [2] which banned discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex or national origin" in employment practices and public accommodations. The bill authorized the Attorney General to file lawsuits to enforce the new law. The law also nullified state and local laws that required such discrimination. When police shot an unarmed black teenager in Harlem in July , tensions escalated out of control.

    Residents were frustrated with racial inequalities. Rioting broke out, and Bedford-Stuyvesant , a major black neighborhood in Brooklyn erupted next. That summer, rioting also broke out in Philadelphia , for similar reasons. The riots were on a much smaller scale than what would occur in and later.

    Washington responded with a pilot program called Project Uplift. Thousands of young people in Harlem were given jobs during the summer of Blacks in Mississippi had been disfranchised by statutory and constitutional changes since the late 19th century. More than 80, people registered and voted in the mock election, which pitted an integrated slate of candidates from the "Freedom Party" against the official state Democratic Party candidates. When Mississippi voting registrars refused to recognize their candidates, they held their own primary. They had planned a triumphant celebration of the Johnson administration's achievements in civil rights, rather than a fight over racism within the Democratic Party.

    All-white delegations from other Southern states threatened to walk out if the official slate from Mississippi was not seated. Johnson was worried about the inroads that Republican Barry Goldwater 's campaign was making in what previously had been the white Democratic stronghold of the "Solid South", as well as support that George Wallace had received in the North during the Democratic primaries.

    There Fannie Lou Hamer testified eloquently about the beatings that she and others endured and the threats they faced for trying to register to vote. Turning to the television cameras, Hamer asked, "Is this America? Johnson offered the MFDP a "compromise" under which it would receive two non-voting, at-large seats, while the white delegation sent by the official Democratic Party would retain its seats.

    The MFDP angrily rejected the "compromise. The MFDP kept up its agitation at the convention after it was denied official recognition. When all but three of the "regular" Mississippi delegates left because they refused to pledge allegiance to the party, the MFDP delegates borrowed passes from sympathetic delegates and took the seats vacated by the official Mississippi delegates. National party organizers removed them. When they returned the next day, they found convention organizers had removed the empty seats that had been there the day before.

    They stayed and sang "freedom songs". It invited Malcolm X to speak at one of its conventions and opposed the war in Vietnam. SNCC had undertaken an ambitious voter registration program in Selma, Alabama , in , but by little headway had been made in the face of opposition from Selma's sheriff, Jim Clark.

    After local residents asked the SCLC for assistance, King came to Selma to lead several marches, at which he was arrested along with other demonstrators. The marchers continued to meet violent resistance from police. Jimmie Lee Jackson , a resident of nearby Marion, was killed by police at a later march in February 17, Jackson's death prompted James Bevel , director of the Selma Movement, to initiate and organize a plan to march from Selma to Montgomery , the state capital.

    Six blocks into the march, at the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the marchers left the city and moved into the county, state troopers and local county law enforcement, some mounted on horseback, attacked the peaceful demonstrators with billy clubs, tear gas , rubber tubes wrapped in barbed wire, and bull whips. They drove the marchers back into Selma. Lewis was knocked unconscious and dragged to safety. At least 16 other marchers were hospitalized. Among those gassed and beaten was Amelia Boynton Robinson , who was at the center of civil rights activity at the time.

    The national broadcast of the news footage of lawmen attacking unresisting marchers' seeking to exercise their constitutional right to vote provoked a national response, and hundreds of people from all over the country came for a second march. These marchers were turned around by Dr. King at the last minute so as not to violate a federal injunction. The marchers were able to lift the injunction and obtain protection from federal troops, permitting them to make the march across Alabama without incident two weeks later.

    The evening of a second march on March 9 to the site of Bloody Sunday, local whites attacked Rev. James Reeb , a voting rights supporter. He died of his injuries in a Birmingham hospital March On March 25, four Klansmen shot and killed Detroit homemaker Viola Liuzzo as she drove marchers back to Selma at night after the successfully completed march to Montgomery. Eight days after the first march, but before the final march, President Johnson delivered a televised address to support the voting rights bill he had sent to Congress. In it he stated:.

    Their cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. On August 6, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of , which suspended literacy tests and other subjective voter registration tests. It authorized Federal supervision of voter registration in states and individual voting districts where such tests were being used and where African Americans were historically under-represented in voting rolls compared to the eligible population.

    African Americans who had been barred from registering to vote finally had an alternative to taking suits to local or state courts, which had seldom prosecuted their cases to success. If discrimination in voter registration occurred, the act authorized the Attorney General of the United States to send Federal examiners to replace local registrars.

    Within months of the bill's passage, , new black voters had been registered, one-third of them by federal examiners. Within four years, voter registration in the South had more than doubled. In , Tennessee had a Several whites who had opposed the Voting Rights Act paid a quick price.

    In Sheriff Jim Clark of Selma, Alabama, infamous for using cattle prods against civil rights marchers, was up for reelection. Although he took off the notorious "Never" pin on his uniform, he was defeated. At the election, Clark lost as blacks voted to get him out of office. Blacks' regaining the power to vote changed the political landscape of the South.

    When Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, only about African Americans held elective office, all in northern states. By , there were more than 7, African Americans in office, including more than 4, in the South. Nearly every Black Belt county where populations were majority black in Alabama had a black sheriff. Southern blacks held top positions in city, county, and state governments. Julian Bond was elected to the Georgia State Legislature in , although political reaction to his public opposition to the U.

    John Lewis was first elected in to represent Georgia's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives , where he has served since The new Voting Rights Act of had no immediate effect on living conditions for poor blacks. A few days after the act became law, a riot broke out in the South Central Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts.

    Like Harlem, Watts was a majority-black neighborhood with very high unemployment and associated poverty. Its residents confronted a largely white police department that had a history of abuse against blacks. While arresting a young man for drunk driving, police officers argued with the suspect's mother before onlookers. The spark triggered a massive destruction of property through six days of rioting. With black militancy on the rise, ghetto residents directed acts of anger at the police. Black residents growing tired of police brutality continued to riot.

    Some young people joined groups such as the Black Panthers , whose popularity was based in part on their reputation for confronting police officers. The first major blow against housing segregation in the era, the Rumford Fair Housing Act, was passed in California in It was overturned by white California voters and real estate lobbyists the following year with Proposition 14 , a move which helped precipitate the Watts Riots. Working and organizing for fair housing laws became a major project of the movement over the next two years, with Martin Luther King Jr.

    The Fair Housing Bill was the most contentious civil rights legislation of the era. Senator Walter Mondale , who advocated for the bill, noted that over successive years, it was the most filibustered legislation in U. A proposed "Civil Rights Act of " had collapsed completely because of its fair housing provision. A lot of civil rights [legislation] was about making the South behave and taking the teeth from George Wallace, [but] this came right to the neighborhoods across the country.

    This was civil rights getting personal. In riots broke out in black neighborhoods in more than U. In Detroit, a large black middle class had begun to develop among those African Americans who worked at unionized jobs in the automotive industry. These workers complained of persisting racist practices, limiting the jobs they could have and opportunities for promotion.

    The United Auto Workers channelled these complaints into bureaucratic and ineffective grievance procedures. When white Detroit Police Department DPD officers shut down an illegal bar and arrested a large group of patrons during the hot summer, furious black residents rioted. Rioters looted and destroyed property while snipers engaged in firefights from rooftops and windows, undermining the DPD's ability to curtail the disorder.

    Residents reported that police officers and National Guardsmen shot at black civilians and suspects indiscriminately. State and local governments responded to the riot with a dramatic increase in minority hiring. The laws passed both houses of the legislature. Historian Sidney Fine wrote that:. The Michigan Fair Housing Act, which took effect on November 15, , was stronger than the federal fair housing law It is probably more than a coincidence that the state that had experienced the most severe racial disorder of the s also adopted one of the strongest state fair housing acts.

    President Johnson created the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in response to nationwide wave of riots. The commission's final report called for major reforms in employment and public policy in black communities. It warned that the United States was moving toward separate white and black societies. James Lawson invited King to Memphis, Tennessee , in March to support a sanitation workers' strike. These workers launched a campaign for union representation after two workers were accidentally killed on the job; they were seeking fair wages and improved working conditions.

    King considered their struggle to be a vital part of the Poor People's Campaign he was planning. A day after delivering his stirring " I've Been to the Mountaintop " sermon, which has become famous for his vision of American society, King was assassinated on April 4, Riots broke out in black neighborhoods in more than cities across the United States in the days that followed, notably in Chicago , Baltimore , and Washington, D. Armed National Guardsmen lined the streets, sitting on M tanks , to protect the marchers, and helicopters circled overhead.

    On April 9, Mrs. King led another , people in a funeral procession through the streets of Atlanta. Coretta Scott King said, []. The day that Negro people and others in bondage are truly free, on the day want is abolished, on the day wars are no more, on that day I know my husband will rest in a long-deserved peace. It was to unite blacks and whites to campaign for fundamental changes in American society and economic structure. The march went forward under Abernathy's plainspoken leadership but did not achieve its goals.

    As began, the fair housing bill was being filibustered once again, but two developments revived it.

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    The Senate was moved to end their filibuster that week. As the House of Representatives deliberated the bill in April, Dr. King was assassinated, and the largest wave of unrest since the Civil War swept the country. Nevertheless, the news coverage of the riots and the underlying disparities in income, jobs, housing, and education, between White and Black Americans helped educate citizens and Congress about the stark reality of an enormous social problem.

    Members of Congress knew they had to act to redress these imbalances in American life to fulfil the dream that King had so eloquently preached. The House passed the legislation on April 10, and President Johnson signed it the next day. The Civil Rights Act of prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, and national origin. It also made it a federal crime to "by force or by threat of force, injure, intimidate, or interfere with anyone While most popular representations of the movement are centered on the leadership and philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr.

    Civil rights movement

    Sociologist Doug McAdam has stated that, "in King's case, it would be inaccurate to say that he was the leader of the modern civil rights movement The movement was, in fact, a coalition of thousands of local efforts nationwide, spanning several decades, hundreds of discrete groups, and all manner of strategies and tactics—legal, illegal, institutional, non-institutional, violent, non-violent. Without discounting King's importance, it would be sheer fiction to call him the leader of what was fundamentally an amorphous, fluid, dispersed movement.

    During the Freedom Summer campaign of , numerous tensions within the civil rights movement came to the forefront. The participation by numerous white students was not reducing the amount of violence that SNCC suffered, but seemed to exacerbate it. Additionally, there was profound disillusionment at Lyndon Johnson's denial of voting status for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the Democratic National Convention. The Louisiana campaign survived by relying on a local African-American militia called the Deacons for Defense and Justice , who used arms to repel white supremacist violence and police repression.

    It permitted its black leaders to openly promote the use of armed self-defense. Charles had taken the lead after his brother Medgar Evers was assassinated in



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