Civil Rights

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Discipline:
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Subject:
African-American History
Grade:
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Civil Rights

Civil Rights

Birmingham Church Bombing

On September 15th, 1963, an explosion went off before the Sunday morning masses inside of the Birmingham Church. Birmingham, Alabama, the city founded in 1871 was known as one of American’s most racially segregated cities. One of the main problems that caused this was that Birmingham was home to some of the most violent Ku Klux Klan members living in the city making it very dangerous to be an African-American living there. Eugene Connor, who was also know as “Bull” was the cities notorious police commissioner was known for his consent to use atrocity in resisting blacks. On September 15th homemade bombs were placed inside of the Birmingham church, (a mostly black church) and set off before Sunday morning masses. When the bombs went off they killed four young girls, also injuring many more. This happened in 1963, and by then bombs being placed inside of black churches and black houses became so common that Birmingham acquired the nickname “Bombingham.” This was the result of a strong portion of the Ku Klux Klan being involved in the community of Birmingham, Alabama and being in close proximity with many African-Americans.

Ku Klux Klan

The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 and was also known as the KKK. By 1870 the KKK spread to almost every Southern State with its primary goal of reestaablishing white supremacy. The KKK often burnt crosses and staged rallies, parades, and marches. This group was usually the center of attention when a bombing or a mass killing occurred. A strong part of the KKK could be found in Birmingham, Alabama, where they placed homemade bombs inside black churches and black homes. The KKK eventually earned Birmingham the nickname “Bombingham” for the frequency of these bombings.

Martin Luther King was a civil rights leader who fought throughout his whole life for racial equality. Dr. King attended public schools in Georgia and because of this he went through a lot of racial discrimination. After graduating high school and college he went on to be a strong worker for civil rights for his race. He became a member of the executive committee National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He gave countless speeches while in his fight for racial equality. His “I Have a Dream” speech was one of his most famous and it in he altered many people both black as well as white in the clash for racial equality.

Martin Luther King

Jackie Robinson

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy was our nation’s president during the prime of the Civil Rights Movement. He was the thirty-fifth president of the United States serving from 1961 to 1963. Responding to many requests and parades President Kennedy took brisk action in the element of Civil Equality. He fought for equal rights until the day he was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

Malcolm X

Although well known, Malcom X was not necessarily well liked. A prominent and influential leader of Islam, Malcom Little changed his last name to X as a statement, rejecting his “slave” name. He was outspoken in his non-traditional views. He advocated for a separate black community as well as encouraged the use of self defense against white aggression. These ideas frightened people as they challenged the ideas of integration non-violence. Malcom worked with disadvantaged black youth, encouraging them in a world that was plagued with segregation. His autobiography continued spread his ideas even after his assassination in 1965. His popularized ideas laid the foundation for the Black Power movement.

Lyndon Baines Johnson became the 36th president of the United States following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President Lyndon B. Johnson had dreams of making America a “Great Society”. He has been credited with being one of the most important players in the civil rights movement, as he fought to attack racial discrimination by signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This bill opened all public accommodations, such as hotels and restaurants, to all Americans regardless of race, color or national origin. He also signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. These achievements improved the lives of millions and changed the face of America.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks became known as the “mother of the civil rights movement” when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was not a young idealist at the time but a in her forties and a mother of two children. Her arrest and jailing brwomanought about a 381 day bus boycott. This set a pattern for non-violent, community-based protesting that became a successful strategy in the civil rights movement. This boycott also led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation on city buses. In her lifetime she was able to see an end to legalized segregation and witness the equal opportunities people of color now enjoy.

Jackie Robinson was a major part of the civil rights movement. He broke the color barrier in baseball forever becoming the first African-American person to “officially” play Major League Baseball. He broke the “barrier” when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base in April of 1947. Jackie wasn’t just a great baseball player he was also a civil rights activist. Besides all of his feats he accomplished playing baseball he also was a champion off the field. He helped fight for racial equality. He is a historic figure not just in baseball but in America’ s history too.

Educator Dorothy Height

Educator Dorothy Height was an important part of getting equal rights not just for African-Americans but for women also. She was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for over 40 years. She was also a leader of the reproductive rights movements in her career. She received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for her work over the years.

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was a civil rights leader who worked with Martin Luther King for a long time. Bayard organized the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his very famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He also advised MLK on civil disobedience tactics. Also, him and Dr. King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

John Lewis

John Lewis was in the inner circle with Martin Luther King. He currently serves as a U.S Representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional district. John Lewis helped plan the March on Washington where Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Mr. Lewis is considered one of the last living of the “Big Six” from the civil rights era.

Hosea Williams

Gloria Richardson

James L. Farmer Jr.

Philip Randolph

Hosea Williams was a part of Martin Luther King’s inner circle. He was also a principal leader for the Civil Rights Movement. Due to his major roles in many protests Williams was arrested over 125 times.

John Lewis was in the inner circle with Gloria Richardson was the leader of the Cambridge Movement. She also co-founded the Cambridge Non-Violent Action Committee, which worked to desegregate Cambridge. In honor of all of the work she completed she was chosen to be one of the women included in the March on Washington’s “Tribute to Negro Women Fighters for Freedom.”

Philip Randolph was an African-American civil rights leader. Randolph was the head of the March on Washington, which was organized by Bayard Rustin, at which Martin Luther King presented his “I Have A Dream” speech. During the civil rights movement, Philip Randolph developed into one of the most visible spokesperson African-American civil rights.

Jon Rodenbush

James L. Farmer Jr. was a man from Texas who fought for racial equality. He attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas and at Howard University in Washington, D.C. (1941), where his father taught divinity.


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