Civil Rights

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Civil Rights


ROSA PARKS: One December day in 1955, Rosa Parks was on a public bus. The policy on these buses was that if a white came onto the bus, blacks were required to give up their seat for a white. Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man. She was taken into custody and fined $14 and was convicted of violating segregation laws. This event sparked a 13-month boycott of the Montgomery buses, organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by African Americans. Finally, in 1956, the Supreme Court declared this type of segregation illegal. Rosa Parks had a large impact on racial segregation and equality for blacks in the South.

THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT: The 14th amendment was ratified on July 9th, 1868. This amendment required state and federal citizenship for all people, regardless of race, both born or naturalized in the United States. This amendment also stated that no state would be allowed to shorten the privileges and immunities of citizens and no person was allowed to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. In addition, no one could be denied equal protection of laws.

LITTLE ROCK NINE: The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine black students in 1957 who went to an all white high school in efforts to integrate schools. The students were blocked from entering the high school on order by the governor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to intervene on behalf of the nine black high schoolers.

Brown v. Board of Education: This case declared state laws establishing separate schools for blacks and whites unconstitutional. This started when Linda Brown was denied entrance to her local elementary school. The only reason she was denied entrance was because of her ethnicity.

THE SELMA TO MONTGOMERY MARCH: On February 18th, 1965, the Selma to Montgomery March took place. This was a nighttime march for the voting rights of blacks. As the march started, the street lights went out. The marchers were then attacked by police, state troopers and angry whites who did not agree with what the blacks were fighting for.

THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT: The Bus Boycott, led by Jo Ann Robinson, was boycott that urged people not to ride buses. Instead of using the buses, people organized carpools, walked, rode bicycles and even hitchhiked. Nine out of every ten blacks participated in the boycott. The buses were very empty and the boycott hurt many white shopkeepers businesses.

CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 became a law in June of 1964 and was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This law prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, national origin or religion. This law also provides the federal government with the power to enforce desegregation in the south.

I HAVE A DREAM SPEECH: On August 28th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Washington D.C. Lincoln Memorial. This speech represented freedom and equality within jobs, education and the many other things blacks lacked in equality.

THE GREAT MIGRATION: From 1910 to 1930, 6 million African Americans moved from the South to the Northeast, Midwest and West. This migration outranks the migration of any other ethnic group. For these African Americans, this migration meant leaving what had always been their economic and social base for a new one.

FREEDOM RIDERS: In 1967, Civil rights activists rode interstate buses into the segregated Southern United States. This was to challenge the non-enforcement of bus segregation being unconstitutional because the Southern states had ignored the rulings and the government did nothing to enforce them. Police ended up arresting riders for trespassing, violating state and local Jim Crow laws, unlawful assembly and other offenses; the police often let white mobs attack them first.

THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE: In 1963, The Children’s Crusade took place. The first protests resulted in arrests. Police turned to high pressure fire hoses, which knocked protesters down and pinned them against buildings, and dogs that bit their flesh. Children as young as six years old marched and participated in these protests. These marches, sit ins, and boycotts resulted in 20,000+ civil rights workers being arrested.

THE DEATH OF EMMETT TILL: In August of 1955, Emmett Till whistled at a young worker in a general store. Later, he was kidnapped at gunpoint by the young worker’s husband and brother-in-law, brutally beaten, shot and then dumped into river with a cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. His mother left the body of Emmett out for the world to see what had been done to her son.

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist. He lead many boycotts and made many demands for his fellow African Americans such as: courtesy towards black riders, first-come-first-serve approaches to segregated seating and black drivers for some routes. King toured the country giving inspirational speeches, appearing at rallies, meeting with elected candidates and officials and wrote a book about the Montgomery experiences.

THE MURDER OF WORKERS IN PHILLY: On June 21st, 1964, three young civil rights workers, who were working to register black voters, were murdered. The three young men were arrested by the police on trumped-up charges, imprisoned for several hours, and then released after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, who then beat and murdered them.

KU KLUX KLAN: The Ku Klux Klan played a violent role against African Americans. The Klan was designed to be outlandish and terrifying. The Klan also burned many crosses and had mass parades. Though most members of the KKK saw themselves in holding to American values and Christian morality, virtually every Christian disapproved of the Ku Klux Klan.


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