Georgia and the American Experience

Unit 7: Modern Georgia
and Civil Rights
Lesson 2: Segregation
and Civil Rights
Study Presentation
Lesson 2: Segregation and
Civil Rights
– How can the policies of state and local
political leaders influence economic
– How can political policies and decisions
create a climate in which individuals and
groups can voice opinions to bring about
social change?
End of the White Primary
• White Primary – Used, after the Civil War, to keep
African Americans from voting.
– 1900 Democratic Primary – Democratic leaders decided
that only white Democrats could vote in the primary
– GA was essentially a one-party state (Republican and
Independent candidates got little support from white
– As a result, white, Democratic candidates were often
elected with little or no African American support.
– End of the White Primary – King v. Chapman Supreme
Court case made the white primary systems in GA
unconstitutional (illegal).
The 1946 Governor’s Race
• Governor Ellis Arnall’s term of office was due to end in 1946.
• Eugene Talmadge was elected to his 4th Term as Georgia’s
Governor but died before taking the Oath of Office.
• Began the “Three Governor’s” Controversy:
– Herman Talmadge (Eugene’s son) was chosen as governor by the
legislature due to the amount of write-in votes he had received and
were “found” after the election.
– Current Governor Arnall declares that Lieutenant Governor Melvin
Thompson was the new Governor as he was the rightful successor.
– January 15, 1947, Herman Talmadge’s men broke into the
governor’s office and changed the locks and readied themselves to
run the state.
– Governor Arnall set up a temporary office at the Capitol Information
counter; Arnall officially resigned three days later.
– Finally in March 1947, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Thompson
was the governor until a special election could be held in 1948. At
this election, Herman Talmadge was elected governor.
Early Civil Rights in GA
• Herman Talmadge – Served as governor of GA
briefly in 1947 and again from 1948-1955. Later
served in the U.S. Senate.
– Segregationist – Worked to keep African
American and white citizens separate
– As a politician, Talmadge worked to help GA’s
farmers and tried to stop Civil Rights.
• 1956 State Flag – In 1956, GA’s state flag was
changed to prominently display the Confederate
Battle Flag; changed in 2001 as citizens found the
flag offensive.
The Supreme Court and
• 1948: racial integration ordered in armed
• 1950: Brown v. Board of Education – case
struck down “separate but equal” concept;
schools were to be integrated
• Sibley Commission: found that most
Georgians would rather close schools than
• More private schools opened
• 1961: Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes
first African American students at UGA
• 1971: All Georgia public schools integrated
Montgomery Bus Boycott
• Dec. 1, 1955: Rosa Parks, African
American, refused to give up her bus
seat to whites in Montgomery, AL
• Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the
NAACP organized civic leaders and
prepared marches
• Supreme court ruled segregation on
public transportation unconstitutional
A Nonviolent Movement is Born
• Benjamin Mays – President of Morehouse College;
educator and mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. of
Atlanta and as a Civil Rights advocate.
• Martin Luther King, Jr. developed a nonviolent
approach to social change
• Four-prong approach:
direct, nonviolent actions
legal remedies
economic boycotts
• SCLC: Southern Christian Leadership Conference –
civil rights group led by Dr. King
• Sit-in: Dr. King’s strategy to people refuse to leave a
public building until their demands are met
The Albany Movement
• 1961: Albany, GA becomes center of civil
rights activity
• SNCC: Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee – challenged segregated bus
system in Albany
• Nearly 500 people jailed
• Biracial committee formed to study
concerns of African Americans
Protests Move to Alabama
• 1963: Martin Luther King, Jr. begins work to
integrate all aspects of public life in
Birmingham, AL
• Over 3000 people arrested
• 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing – KKK
sets a bomb which killed 4 black children in
their church in Birmingham, Alabama
• African Americans and whites from the
north and south began to join together to
stop the violence
The Civil Rights Act
• President Kennedy created new civil rights
• Kennedy was assassinated before the new
laws came into effect
• Lyndon Johnson became president and
pushed for passage of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964
• All public facilities had to be integrated
• Discrimination was prohibited in business
and labor unions
The Voting Rights Act
• 1964: Freedom Summer – Martin Luther
King, Jr. and SNCC worked to get African
Americans registered to vote
• Selma-to-Montgomery,
AL march led by Dr.
• Nearly 30,000 marchers
• Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of
1965 – one million African Americans were
registered to vote
A Shift in Mood
• Some people moved from the nonviolent
strategies to more aggressive ones
• SNCC and “Black Panthers” confronted police
• Malcolm X preached black separatism
• Race riots in Los Angeles, Detroit, and Newark
• Lester Maddox became governor of Georgia in
1967. Had forcibly turned away black activists
who challenged segregation at the restaurant he
had owned. Very popular with Georgians who
supported segregation.
• April 1968: Dr. King assassinated in Memphis, TN
while working with striking sanitation workers
Atlanta: A Case Study in
• Integration in Atlanta was relatively peaceful
• Church leaders get much credit for this peaceful
• William Hartsfield: Atlanta mayor who expanded
Atlanta’s airport and worked with African
American and white leaders; worked to integrate
Atlanta’s schools
• Ivan Allen: Atlanta mayor ordered removal of
“white” and “colored” segregation signs in the City
Hall; integrated police and fire services and city
• Troubled times followed but were overcome
• The city became known as “the city too busy to
African Americans Take
• Maynard Jackson: Elected mayor of Atlanta
in 1973 (1st African American mayor of a
major southern city).
• Andrew Young: An aide to Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. and Executive director of the
SCLC. In 1972, won election to the U.S.
House of Representatives (1st African
American from GA to be elected to
Congress since the 1860’s).

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