Civil Rights Notes

Great Society & Civil Rights Movement
The New Frontier & Great Society
• Kennedy’s vision of
progress – medical
care for aged,
rebuild urban areas,
• Practiced deficit
spending to
stimulate economy
• Increase defense
budget by 20%
• Increased minimum wage,
extension of
unemployment insurance
• Established Peace Corps –
volunteer assistance to
developing nations
• Alliance for Progress – aid
to Latin America ($12
• Investment in space
program, race to the moon
(Neil Armstrong 1969)
• Johnson took over after Kennedy’s assassination
• Convinced Congress to
cut $10 billion in taxes:
people spent more,
businesses & tax revenue
• “War on Poverty” –
Economic Opportunity
Act: youth programs,
small business loans, job
training, Head Start
• Civil Rights Act (1964): prohibited discrimination
based on sex, religion, national origin, race
• Won big (1964) vs. Barry Goldwater (fear of nukes,
not escalating war in Vietnam)
• Great Society: end poverty
& racial injustice, higher
standard of living & equal
• w/ support from
democratic led Congress,
Johnson able to push
through laws on education,
Medicare & Medicaid,
Housing & Urban
Development, immigration,
• Warren Court: rulings
protected rights of the
accused: illegally attained
evidence couldn’t be used,
legal counsel to those who
couldn’t afford it, lawyer
present during questioning,
rights read before
• Impact of Great Society:
extended power of federal
gov’t, poverty fell from 21%
to 11%, funding his
programs increased federal
Civil Rights Movement 1950s & 60s
• Civil Rights Act (1875) declared unconstitutional 1883
• Plessy v. Ferguson (1896): Supreme court ruled
separate but equal didn’t violate 14th Amendment
• Southern states had passed Jim Crow laws, black
facilities were always inferior
• WWII helped set stage
for movement, labor
shortage, 1 million
African Americans joined
• Desegregation led by
NAACP & Charles
• Focused on inequality
in separated schools &
placed Thurgood
Marshall as leader of
• Morgan v. Virginia
(1964) –
mandating of
segregated seating on
interstate buses
• Brown v. Board of Education (Topeka): segregated
schools unequal (unanimous decision)
• Reaction was mixed & faced resistance in South
(Miss & GA)
• Arkansas 1st southern
state to admit African
Americans to state
university w/o order
• Governor ordered
national guard to turn
students away at
Central High School
• federal judge ordered them in (Little Rock Nine)
• Eisenhower placed Ark. guard under federal control
• Rosa Parks (1955) arrested for not giving up seat on
bus for white man
• African American leaders organized a bus boycott
led by Martin Luther King Jr.
• Boycott lasted 381 days until Supreme Court
outlaws bus segregation in 1956
• MLK based teachings & practices on Jesus,
Thoreau, Phillip Randolph, Gandhi
• joined Southern
Christian Leadership
Conference that
organized other
protests &
• 1960 students from NC A & T organized sit-in at
Woolworth lunch counter covered by media
• Movement spread, students formed picket lines at
national chains that practiced segregation (48 cities,
11 states)
• 1961 freedom riders took a 2 bus trip across south
to challenge interstate segregated facilities
• Bus One was met by hostile mob in Birmingham,
Alabama (chains, brass knuckles, pistols)
• Bus Two was followed out of Anniston, Alabama
• tire blew & fire bomb thrown in
• New group joined in Birmingham & were beaten by
police & driven to Tenn but returned
• Bus driver refused to take them out of fear & riders
protested in white only facility for 18hrs until call
from Robert Kennedy
• Alabama officials promised protection but riders
faced violence in Montgomery, Alabama
• President Kennedy used US Marshalls to protect
them on their journey & ICC banned segregation in
all interstate travel facilities
• James Meredith
won court case for
admittance into Ole
Miss but Governor
refused to let him
• Kennedy ordered marshals to escort him
• Sep. 30, 1962 riots broke out
• 1963 March on Washington: MLK – “I have a
dream” influenced public opinion to support civil
rights laws, power of non-violent mass protest
• Birmingham, Alabama
considered most
segregated city, King
flew in & led
• King was arrested on
April 12th, 1963
• posted bail &
organized a march on
May 2 (over 900
• May 3rd another march, camera caught brutality
• Continued protests, boycotts & negative media
convinced officials to desegregate & Kennedy to
push for new civil rights legislation
• Kennedy
ordered troops
to force Gov
Wallace to
Univ. of Ala
• Convinced Congress to pass Civil Rights Act (1964):
prohibited discrimination, desegregated public
• Volunteers went to Miss to register blacks to vote in
1964 known as Freedom Summer
• 3 murdered in Neshoba
• Jimmy Lee Jackson shot & killed in Selma, Ala
• King organized 50 mile march (March 1965)
demonstrators beaten as violence erupted, media
captured mayhem
• Marchers organized again on March 21st w/ federal
• Voting Rights
Act (1965):
outlaws literacy
tests, federal
registrars sent to
• De facto segregation still existed & more difficult to
change (economic & social power)
• Urban blacks lived in decaying slums, rent to
landlords who failed to comply w/ ordinances,
schools deteriorated, unemployment 2x whites
• Urban riots
erupted in major
cities throughout
60s (100, 1967)
• Worst was Watts
in LA (1965)
• Malcolm X rose w/in
Nation of Islam
• taught that blacks
should separate from
white society & be
able to defend
themselves against
white violence
• Went to Mecca &
broke w/ Nation of
Islam & changed some
of his views,
assassinated Feb. 1965
• Black Power movement grew led by Stokely
Carmichael who was arrested & beaten in Miss
• Black Panther Party established in Oct 1966
• Civil Rights Movement in Virginia: Oliver Hill –
Legal defense team in VA
• massive resistance
to ruling, closed some
schools, established
private academies,
white flight from
urban schools
• King assassinated on April 4, 1968
• March 1968 the Kerner Commission issued report
on urban violence - named 1 cause: white racism
• helped end de jure segregation in schools, housing,
transportation; passed Civil Rights legislation, graduation
rates rose, pride & identity, increased voters/elected
officials, lowered “colored bar” in entertainment
Image Sources (in order)

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