Section 1 Victories and Violence



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Section 1 Victories and Violence

  • Section 1 Victories and Violence
  • Section 2 Growing Militancy
  • Section 3 Arts and Culture in the Civil Rights Era
  • The Movement Continues
  • Reading Focus
  • What laws were passed to protect African Americans’ civil rights?
  • Why did the civil rights movement expand north?
  • What sorts of violence did civil rights workers face?
  • Main Idea
  • Despite major victories in the fight for civil rights, protesters and activists faced challenges and even violence in the early 1960s.
  • Section 1: Victories and Violence
  • Building Background
  • The early years of the civil rights movement were productive, with activists winning many victories that helped secure equality for African Americans. Over time, however, advances slowed. As people grew dissatisfied with the movement’s progress, they began applying new tactics, and the nature of the movement changed.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • Civil Rights Laws
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • A major victory, the act outlawed discrimination against any individual “because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”
    • First proposed by President John F. Kennedy, who became an active civil rights supporter once in the White House; pointed out the severe injustices faced by black Americans
    • New civil rights legislation became one of Kennedy’s top priorities; passage was delayed by southern senators who opposed the bill’s goals
    • After Kennedy’s death, his successor, Lyndon Johnson, continued to press for the Civil Rights Act
    • After months of fighting, the Civil Rights Act passed
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Limited Voting
  • Even after the Civil Rights Act, few black southerners could vote due to unfair election laws and practices
  • Martin Luther King Jr. led a massive voter registration campaign in Alabama in 1965
  • With SNCC head John Lewis, King organized a march from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital, demanding the right to register to vote
  • March from Selma
  • Alabama state troopers attacked King and 1,500 marchers
  • Television cameras sent graphic images to a shocked nation; others joined the protests
  • The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed literacy tests and other means used to keep black voters from the polls
  • Federal government had power to oversee elections and guarantee their fairness
  • Identify Cause and Effect
  • Why were the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act passed?
  • Reading Check
  • Answer(s):
  • To ensure that the rights of African Americans would be protected
  • The passage of the Civil Rights Act actually increased racist feelings in some places where racism had not been very strong before.
  • Expanding the Movement North
  • New Racism in the North
  • Much of increased racial tension appeared in the North
  • Northern cities kept up a de facto discrimination, or discrimination not supported by laws but continued in practice
  • Chicago Freedom Movement suggested that real estate agents were conspiring to keep black citizens from purchasing good homes
  • Real Estate
  • If two couples applied to move into the same neighborhood, the white family would almost invariably be approved while the black family would be denied
  • Appalled by the results, members of the movement began to picket the offices of racist realtors
  • The Chicago Campaign
  • Responding to new racism, leaders took the civil rights movement north
  • 1966 King and fellow minister Ralph Abernathy moved to a poor Chicago neighborhood to see what life was like for its black residents
  • Group focused on ending housing discrimination and rebuilding poor neighborhoods; led marches for fair housing
  • King and Abernathy promised by city leaders that changes would be made in Chicago’s laws and policies; no real change came to the city
  • King and Abernathy left behind an office of Operation Breadbasket, an organization they helped create that was dedicated to improving the economic lives of black Americans
  • A young preacher named Jesse Jackson ran the Chicago office
  • Make Generalizations
  • What was the result of King’s and Abernathy’s Chicago Campaign?
  • Reading Check
  • Answer(s):
  • They discovered that racism was just as severe in the North as it was in the South, but they were unable to change it.
  • Fearing that African Americans would obtain full and equal rights under the law, some bigoted segregationists decided to take drastic measures.
  • Protestors Face Violence
  • Freedom Summer
  • 1964 Mississippi voter registration drive called Freedom Summer
  • Organized by students and activists who gathered to register new black voters
  • Mississippi’s Fannie Lou Hamer inspired fellow activists by singing Christian hymns; she also fought to win black representation in the Mississippi Democratic Party
  • New Party Branch
  • Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
  • She ran for Congress, though she was not allowed to participate in the party’s state convention
  • Inspired by Hamer and others, activists flocked to Mississippi

Locals disturbed by number of civil rights activists turned to violence to try to make the activists leave

  • More Violence
  • Locals disturbed by number of civil rights activists turned to violence to try to make the activists leave
  • These resisters burned or bombed 37 black churches in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer
  • Police arrested 1,000 people for taking part in demonstrations
  • Three civil rights workers, a black man, James E. Chaney, and two white men, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were killed near Philadelphia, Mississippi
  • Attempts to frighten the civil rights movement out of Mississippi failed; thousands more activists flocked to the state
  • The efforts of the Freedom Summer campaign were in large part responsible for the passage of the Voting Rights Act
  • Martin Luther King Jr. received threats against his life but escalated his efforts for peace and freedom
  • Called for an end to the Vietnam War, organized antiwar marches; in 1968 was in Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers
  • King was killed by a sniper while on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel
  • News of the killing spread; riots broke out in more than 100 cities
  • King is Assassinated
  • Presumed assassin James Earl Ray quickly arrested; he confessed, was tried and sentenced to 99 years in prison
  • Ray later recanted his confession, claiming that he had been framed
  • Despite protests from activists who wanted further investigation of the assassination, Ray stayed in prison
  • 1998 Ray died in prison—no further investigation was ever made
  • Funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Summarize
  • Against whom did some civil rights opponents turn violent in the early 1960s?
  • Reading Check
  • Reading Focus
  • Why did some young black activists grow dissatisfied with the civil rights movement?
  • In what new directions did the civil rights movement grow in the mid-to-late 1960s?
  • What Muslim organizations and individuals were influential in the civil rights movement?
  • Main Idea
  • Impatience with the slowness of change led many African American activists to seek out more militant forms of protest against discrimination and segregation.
  • Section 2: Growing Militancy
  • Building Background
  • Though the civil rights movement of the 1960s made progress toward equality for all Americans, that progress was slow. Tired of waiting for their rights to be recognized, some activists sought out new means of protest and persuasion.
  • By the late 1960s, a gulf had arisen. Younger leaders felt the older leaders were selling out to the white power structure and becoming “Uncle Toms,” a disparaging name taken from Stowe’s novel.
  • Dissatisfaction within the Movement
  • Causes of Dissatisfaction
  • Slow gains; public facilities and schools still segregated even though laws had been passed; southern states upheld discriminatory laws
  • Urban black neighborhoods conditions not improved
  • Unemployment and job discrimination plagued most working-class black communities
  • Loss of Faith in Nonviolence
  • Things not changing for the better; was unhappiness with American involvement in the Vietnam War
  • Government not spending enough on domestic problems
  • Dissatisfied activists felt the time had come to take a firmer stand

1965 working-class black neighborhoods exploded into violence

  • Watts Riots
  • 1965 working-class black neighborhoods exploded into violence
  • In August race riots erupted in the black Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles
  • 21-year-old black man, Marquette Frye, was arrested for alleged reckless driving
  • Frye’s relatives protested; three members of the Frye family taken into custody
  • Large-scale rioting began in the streets of Watts; high unemployment in the area; some residents openly distrusted the Los Angeles police
  • Businesses looted, burned during the riots; property worth more than $35 million destroyed and 34 people died
  • Governor finally called in the National Guard to restore peace to the neighborhood
  • When racial tension led to riots in Watts in 1966, it took the involvement of the National Guard to restore order.
  • Later Riots
  • Other Cities
  • Riots broke out in working-class neighborhoods in other American cities; by 1968 hundreds of riots in cities
  • 1966 Chicago three-day riot
  • Another huge riot followed in Detroit in 1967 with five days of violence and looting
  • 43 people died and 467 injured, over 7,200 arrested
  • April 1968 Riots
  • A wave of urban riots more violent than America had ever seen occurred when news of King’s death spread
  • Violence lasted a week, with the most serious disturbances taking place in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
  • In all, 46 people died in the rioting, and at least 2,600 more were injured
  • Summarize
  • What led to the outbreak of violence in Watts and other communities?
  • Reading Check
  • Answer(s):
  • racial and economic tension coupled with mistrust of the police
  • The urban riots transformed the civil rights movement. For a growing number of activists, violence was a new tool in the fight for their rights.
  • New Directions
  • Resurgence of Black Nationalism
  • Before the 1960s focus mainly on the goal of integration
  • Older activists wanted to have the right to participate in civic life with their white neighbors
  • Inspired by the creation of new African nations younger activists began to think of themselves differently
  • Felt like residents of a nation within a nation
  • Create Distinct Community
  • Black nationalists wanted to create their own political parties, economic enterprises, and cultural standards
  • Effort to create a distinct African American community within the United States
  • Resurgence of Marcus Garvey’s call for black nationalism
  • Black Power
  • New Black Power movement called for economic and political empowerment for black people in the early 1960s; supporters thought black Americans should live in their own communities under their own laws and governments
  • Black Power’s chief spokesperson was a young activist named Stokely Carmichael; 1966 involved in the March Against Fear
  • Arrested and released, Carmichael called for the rise of Black Power; declared, “We’ve been saying freedom for six years. What we’re going to start saying now is black power
  • Carmichael, Fannie Lou Hamer, and other radical SNCC and CORE members sought new means for achieving their goals
  • Considered themselves urban guerrillas and armed themselves; more SNCC members followed, and the group became more aggressive
  • 1966 young black working-class students formed the Black Panther Party in Oakland, CA; led by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale
  • Original mission to protect Oakland’s black neighborhoods from police brutality; later Black Panthers became a socialist group
  • Wide-ranging causes from full black employment and housing to reparations
  • Wearing black berets and black leather jackets, the Black Panthers trained in military tactics; at its height, 2,000 members in major cities
  • The Black Panthers
  • Violent conflict between well-armed Panthers and local police
  • Shootouts reported in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago
  • Huey Newton arrested for police officer murder; FBI used COINTELPRO to weaken the Black Panthers and other militant groups
  • Panthers began to splinter and group eventually fell apart
  • Some Panther leaders tried to focus on more traditional politics; but the Black Panthers broke up by the early 1980s
  • Draw Conclusions
  • Why do you think the Black Panthers worried some government officials?
  • Reading Check
  • Answer(s):
  • They advocated the use of force and violence to achieve their goals.
  • African American Muslims have been active in the fight for civil rights. Muslims practice Islam, the religion based on the teachings of the eighth-century Prophet Muhammad.
  • Muslim Activists
  • The Nation of Islam
  • Among the most active Muslim groups in the United States
  • Group traced back to the 1930s; Elijah Muhammad took over when founder died in 1934
  • Main principles taught believers should work to create a nation within this nation, separating from their white counterparts and forming independent educational, religious, and business organizations
  • Leadership Issues
  • 1975 philosophical conflicts split the Nation of Islam
  • Led by Louis Farrakhan much of Nation of Islam’s membership broke away to form a new organization
  • Movement continued to grow; but Farrakhan’s controversial speeches criticized as containing alleged antiwhite or anti-Jewish comments

Malcolm X one of the most prominent of all American civil rights activists; as a member of Nation of Islam founded mosques in Boston, Philadelphia, Harlem, and other cities

  • Malcolm X
  • Malcolm X one of the most prominent of all American civil rights activists; as a member of Nation of Islam founded mosques in Boston, Philadelphia, Harlem, and other cities
  • Won many converts with his speeches, writings, and television and radio appearances
  • 1963 Malcolm X founded his own group, the Muslim Mosque, Inc.
  • Malcolm X was vocal in his criticism of the ineffective and unfocused civil rights movement; called for militant action against white oppressors
  • His words stirred up great controversy; called on black Americans to fight for their rights “by any means necessary”
  • Preferring black pride and separatism to equality and integration, Malcolm X traveled the country on speaking tours; spoke in Africa
  • 1965, killed at a rally of his supporters in Harlem by three members of the Nation of Islam who disagreed with his approach toward civil rights
  • Make Generalizations
  • What was the general goal of black Muslim activists?
  • Reading Check
  • Answer(s):
  • They wanted to free black Americans from oppression and give them control of their own lives.
  • Reading Focus
  • How did the civil rights movement lead to changes in black culture?
  • How was the quest for civil rights reflected in literature?
  • What achievements were made by African Americans in the performing arts during the civil rights era?
  • Main Idea
  • The sense of African heritage and pride generated by the civil rights movement found expression in the arts and culture of the era.
  • Section 3: Arts and Culture in the Civil Rights Era
  • Building Background
  • In the 1960s black culture surged onto the American scene amid the raised fists of the Black Panthers and cries of “Black Power!” The political philosophy of black nationalism inspired changes in many people’s lifestyles, as African-inspired wardrobes and hairdos became popular. Meanwhile, dynamic writers and artists worked hard to describe the African American experience.
  • African American communities paid more attention to their history, heritage, and culture. The slogan “Black is beautiful” became popular, signifying the new pride many African Americans took in themselves.
  • Black Culture in the 1960s
  • Style and Clothing
  • Many African Americans grew Afros, a type of hairstyle in which the hair extends around the head
  • Used African-inspired clothing like kente; a dyed, hand-woven fabric that originated in Ghana in West Africa as early as the 1000s
  • The dashiki, a loose, tunic-like garment inspired by African fashions, became quite popular among African Americans
  • Cultural Nationalism
  • Scholars refer to types of changes in which people alter how they dress or behave to reflect pride in their culture, as cultural nationalism
  • 1966 new African American holiday, Kwanzaa, created by Maulana Karenga, a professor from California; way for black Americans to feel connected to their African roots

New interest in learning more about African American past; 1960s saw a dramatic increase in the demand for the teaching of black history and culture

  • Education
  • New interest in learning more about African American past; 1960s saw a dramatic increase in the demand for the teaching of black history and culture
  • Students and professors organized courses on African and African American history; courses on African American literature, music, and art also appeared in college catalogs
  • 1969 Harvard University established the country’s first program in African American studies, followed by one at Stanford University
  • Groundbreaking programs models for similar programs on campuses throughout the United States
  • Sports
  • Several world-class athletes broke racial barriers to achieve greatness
  • Boxer Muhammad Ali born Cassius Clay in 1942; won a gold medal in heavyweight boxing at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960
  • Turned pro; Ali knocked out Sonny Liston; defended his title through 1967 and later regained it twice, in 1974 and 1978
  • Ali famous outside the ring too
  • Took the name Muhammad Ali in 1964 after joining the Nation of Islam
  • 1966 Ali drafted for Vietnam, but as a conscientious objector refused to fight; becoming a hero to the antiwar movement
  • 1968 Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win a major professional tennis tournament, the U.S. Open
  • Ashe outspoken opponent of racial prejudice; criticized South Africa’s apartheid policies
  • Amateur Athletes
  • Track and field star Wilma Rudolph first American woman to win three Olympic gold medals in a single year in 1960
  • 1966 Texas Western College won the NCAA championship, the first team with an all-black starting lineup ever to do so
  • The college—now the University of Texas at El Paso—had been the first college in the South to allow black players onto its sports teams
  • Two African American Olympic athletes made international news in 1968 for expressing their black pride
  • During medal ceremony, sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists high—a symbol of black power—as a protest against continued racism in the United States
  • For their protest, both banned from all future Olympic competitions
  • Define
  • What is cultural nationalism?
  • Reading Check
  • Answer(s):
  • the process of changing how one dresses or behaves to reflect pride in one’s culture
  • During the 1960s playwrights, novelists, and short story writers wove political messages into their creative works. Civil rights leaders were writers as well.
  • Literature
  • James Baldwin
  • Burst upon the literary scene in the 1950s; best represents the writing of the civil rights era
  • His novels deal with the dilemmas of black people in America
  • 1953 first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, was successful
  • He went on to write several more novels; also published two collections of essays lamenting the status of African Americans
  • Attempt by some African American writers of the 1960s and 1970s to promote social change through their writings
  • Literary equivalent of the Black Power movement because the writers of the movement stressed many of the same themes as political activists
  • The Black Arts movement was founded by essayist and playwright LeRoi Jones who later changed his name to Amiri Baraka
  • His 1964 play, The Dutchman, won wide acclaim; play showed brutally honest portrayal of racial problems in America
  • The Black Arts Movement
  • Baraka called on fellow African Americans to become artists and creators to help define black culture
  • Young black poets, writers, and thinkers heeded Baraka’s call and joined the Black Arts movement
  • Poets Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez, for example, provided determined voices for many black women
  • Novelist Ishmael Reed wrote moving novels that addressed injustices faced by African Americans
  • Playwrights Ed Bullins and Larry Neal brought their protests to the stage in cities across the country
  • Others Joined
  • Summarize
  • What was the main goal of writers in the Black Arts movement?
  • Reading Check
  • Answer(s):
  • They wanted to bring about social change through their writings.
  • Even before the civil rights movement, African Americans had helped shape America’s cultural landscape. During the movement, as new opportunities opened to black performers, African Americans helped entertain the country.
  • The Performing Arts
  • Film and Television
  • James Earl Jones won Broadway’s Tony Award in 1968 for his role in The Great White Hope
  • 1965 Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win an Oscar for his role in Lilies of The Field.
  • Cicely Tyson known for her role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
  • In addition, Nichelle Nichols and Eartha Kitt famous for their roles on popular television series
  • Music and Dance
  • Black singers like Leontyne Price, Nina Simone, Odetta, and Mahalia Jackson also left their mark
  • The 1960s saw the birth of soul music, which blended elements of the blues and gospel into a completely new sound
  • Soul music often included commentaries on society
  • Soul gradually spread through the United States

Major performers were James Brown, the “godfather of soul” and Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

  • Motown and Dance Theater
  • Major performers were James Brown, the “godfather of soul” and Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul
  • Soul became a sensation with new Detroit record label, Motown Records
    • Founded by producer Berry Gordy, Motown home to Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Marvin Gaye
  • In the world of dance, choreographer Katherine Dunham first person to put ethnic Caribbean and African dances on the concert stage
  • Arthur Mitchell, founder of The Dance Theater of Harlem, and Alvin Ailey, who established the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, demonstrated the talent of African Americans on the modern dance stage
  • Explain
  • How did African American performers help shape America’s cultural identity?
  • Reading Check
  • Answer(s):
  • They starred in major movies and television series and helped create new styles of music and dance.


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