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African American History 1945 to Present

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 10 years, 9 months ago


1909 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, usually abbreviated as NAACP, is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States. .Its mission is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination". http://www.naacp.org/pages/naacp-history

 1942 The Congress of Racial Equality or CORE is a U.S. civil rights organization that played a pivotal role for African-Americans in the Civil Rights Movement. Membership in CORE is still stated to be open to "anyone who believes that 'all people are created equal' and is willing to work towards the ultimate goal of true equality."


From 1955 to 1965 the Civil Rights Movement was a diverse movement with shared goals and common tactics - non violence. It was a top down and bottom up... an interchange between elites and activists. The key ACTORS also uninvolved spectators - Why?  The people that hate the movement are the most critical to its success



 1957  The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The SCLC had a large role in the American Civil Rights Movement.   http://sclcnational.org/




Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ruled that segregation in public schools was unequal and thus unconstitutional. The decision reversed the previous ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Local History -Saratogian 1952






Emmett Till’s Murder (1955) Emmett Till's abduction and murder in Mississippi in August 1955, and the subsequent acquittal of his killers the following month, became not only a national story, but also put Southern racism into the international spotlight. These events became a major force in the advancement of the Civil Rights Movement  - Bob Dylan's Death of Emmett Till








Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955) A yearlong successful boycott after Rosa Parks refuses seat. Martin Luther King (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) gains status and proved blacks could unite.





Little Rock 9 (1957) Arkansas high school integrated only after Eisenhower intervenes over government (State’s Rights?)





Feb 1960   Four black students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Although they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the South. Six months later the original four protesters are served lunch at the same Woolworth's counter. Student sit-ins would be effective throughout the Deep South in integrating parks, swimming pools, theaters, libraries, and other public facilities.   Moving Pictures of Sit-ins






May 1961  

Over the spring and summer, student volunteers begin taking bus trips through the South to test out new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel facilities, which includes bus and railway stations. Several of the groups of "freedom riders," as they are called, are attacked by angry mobs along the way. The program, sponsored by The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), involves more than 1,000 volunteers, black and white.  Moving Pictures on the Freedom Riders (fast forward to 4:29)



Arkansas (1957) vs Mississippi (1962)


October 2, 1962
In the fall of 1962 James Meredith, a black, sought to be admitted to the all-white University of Mississippi. Furious legal manipulations by Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett and the Mississippi state legislature to keep Meredith out of "Ole Miss" resulted in Meredith's legal case being taken up by both the NAACP and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Violence and riots surrounding the incident cause President Kennedy to send 5,000 federal troops.



Birmingham, Alabama (April 16, 1963) 

Martin Luther King is arrested and jailed during anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, Ala.; he writes his seminal "Letter from Birmingham Jail," arguing that individuals have the moral duty to disobey unjust laws  Wordle of Letter from a Birmingham Jail



REVIEW:  Key Works of Art and Literature 


Birmingham, Alabama (May 1963)

During civil rights protests in Birmingham, Ala., Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor uses fire hoses and police dogs on black demonstrators. These images of brutality, which are televised and published widely, are instrumental in gaining sympathy for the civil rights movement around the world. Images of Birmingham 1963




March on Washington Aug. 28, 1963

About 200,000 people join the March on Washington. Congregating at the Lincoln Memorial, participants listen as Martin Luther King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.



President John F Kennedy




NPR Story on the Civil Rights Act of 1964  (7 minutes)



Civil Rights Act of 1964 (July 1964) Forbade segregation in hotels, motels, restaurants, lunch counters,theaters, and sporting arenas that did business in interstate commerce. -- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission created to enforce the law.





Mississippi Summer Freedom Project  Aug. 4 1964

(Neshoba Country, Miss.) The bodies of three civil-rights workers—two white, one black—are found in an earthen dam, six weeks into a federal investigation backed by President Johnson. James E. Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24, had been working to register black voters in Mississippi, and, on June 21, had gone to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested by the police on speeding charges, incarcerated for several hours, and then released after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, who murdered them.




Selma to Montgomery March (March 1965)  King leads 54-mile march to support black voter registration. Despite attacks from police and interference from Gov. Wallace, marchers reach Montgomery. Pres. Johnson addresses nation in support of marchers  







The Black Panther Party (originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was an African-American revolutionary socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982. The Black Panther Party achieved national and international notoriety through its involvement in the Black Power movement and U.S. politics of the 1960s and 1970s.


Founded in Oakland, California by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale on October 15, 1966, the organization initially set forth a doctrine calling primarily for the protection of African-American neighborhoods from police brutality.The leaders of the organization espoused socialist and Marxist doctrines; however, the Party's early black nationalist reputation attracted a diverse membership.The Black Panther Party's objectives and philosophy expanded and evolved rapidly during the party's existence, making ideological consensus within the party difficult to achieve, and causing some prominent members to openly disagree with the views of the leaders.












Malcolm X assassinated   February 1965

Rejecting integration and nonviolence, Malcolm splits off from Elijah Muhammad's Black Muslims and is killed by black opponents



 Voting Rights Act of 1965  (August 6, 1965)  Legislation still did not address the 15th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. Literacy tests unlawful if less than 50% of all voting-age citizens were registered. If so, African Americans could be enrolled whether or not they could read. b. If local registrars would not enroll African Americans, the president could send federal examiners who would.  This gave teeth to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - As a result, 740,00 African Americans registered to vote in three years.






Race riots in Detroit and Newark  1967

Worst riots in U.S. history results in 43 deaths in Detroit and federal troops being called out to restore order


King assassinated  King assassinated, April 4. 1968

While supporting sanitation workers' strike which had been marred by violence in Memphis, King is shot by James Earl Ray. Riots result in 125 cities  in Memphis, King is shot by James Earl Ray. Riots result in 125 cities



The Supreme Court, in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, upholds busing as a legitimate means for achieving integration of public schools. Although largely unwelcome (and sometimes violently opposed) in local school districts, court-ordered busing plans in cities such as Charlotte, Boston, and Denver continue until the late 1990s.



Affrimative Action 

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