Other ways of achieving Civil Rights

Ku klux klan, black power, Nation of Islam, Black Panthers, 


Ku Klux Klan 1950-1968 Incidents

The 1951 Christmas Eve bombing of the home of NAACP activists Harry and Henrietta Moore.

The 1957 murder of Willie Edwards Jr, he was forced to jump to his death off a bridge into Alabama River. He was beaten by Klansmen in a car as they drove him to the bridge and then ordered him to jump at gunpoint. 

The 1961 Freedom Riders were sent through the South and when they reached Birmingham a white mob including 20 UKA members attacked them.

The 1963 16th Baptist Church bombings. Four young black girls were killed when a bomb planted in thre basement of the church detonated. The men were only charged with dynamite possession.

The 1963 assassination of NAACP organiser Medgar Evans in Mississippi. In the early morning in June Evans pulled into his driveway after returning from a meeting with NAACP lawyers. He was shot in the back with a bullet fired from a rifle. Upon arrival to the local hospital in Jackson he was refused entry because of his colour until he explained who he was. He died 50 minutes later. 

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Ku Klux Klan 1950-1968 Incidents

The 1964 murder of two black teenagers in Mississippi. They were picked up by the KKK whilst hitchhiking. They were interrogated and tortured in a nearby forest they were then driven across state lines, chained to a Jeep motor and train rails and dropped into the Mississippi River alive. 

During the Freedom Summer of 1964, freedom summer workers: Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner were arrested for 'speeding' after passing the Church remains. KKK members visited the jailhouse they were in. Once released they drove off and were never seen again. 6 weeks after their disappearance their bodies were found at a farm. They had been shot one by one by the KKK

In July 1964 Penn and two other soldiers were driving down a highway on Georgia when Penn was shot. They were thought by the Klansmen to be assiciates of President Johnson and due to the recent passing of the CR Bill, deserved to be shot.

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Why was the Southern Manifesto published in 1956?

  • Brown Case 1954 - Desegregation of Schools
  • Unconstitutional - Breaks Ammendments and Constitution.
  • De Facto - Engrained attitudes in the South.
  • Against Supreme Court/Federal government intervention - States make their own laws.
  • Signal end of Jim Crow laws.
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What was in the Southern Manifesto?

  • Federal judicial department are breaching States rights.
  • Can't use the 14th Amendment as it doesn't mention education. So, what you're doing is illegal.
  • Carries on with hypocritical theme that you can't tamper with the segregation founded in the Constitution.
  • No person were denied of rights facilities had to be seperated but equal, but it's up to each State what they do with regards to education.
  • De facto, what happens within the state and government laws will not change this.
  • Supreme Court put personal views forward forcing them on America.
  • Supreme Court is breaking Constitution by interfering and breaking up relationships of black and white people. 
  • Not taking opinion of State governors on board and saying education will collapse if desegregation occurs. 
  • Goes against established law and people are opposing it. 
  • Think it's acceptable for people to oppose it.
  • Telling unaffected people to stand up for their constitutional principles.
  • Want to make it right without violence and uproar occuring. 
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Why did black power emerge?

Ghetto Conditions

  • Some ghettos had between 50-70% black youth unemployment.
  • Housing in ghettos was poor, amenities were few.
  • Ghetto schools did not provide a good educational foundation for good jobs.
  • In the early 1950's, 46% of unemployed Americans were black.
  • The Kerner Commission of 1967 reported the social and economic deprivation as causes of ghetto riots.
  • 32% of black pupils finished high school compared to 56% of white.

White People

  • Cost of improving black ghettos would mean white people would have to pay more taxes.
  • Blacks were seen as constantly wanting handouts by whites.
  • Majority of white Americans seemed unwilling to help the ghettos.
  • Blacks began to see whites as the enemy as they were controlling them.
  • White self interest deliberately held back improvements. 
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Why did black power emerge?

Rejection of the traditional Civil Rights Movement

  • In 1966 SNCC expelled whites. In May 1967 Carmichael was replaced as head of the SNCC by Henry 'Rap' Brown.
  • Many ghetto blacks felt that organisations such as the NAACP and SCLC knew little about ghetto life. 
  • The SCLC was criticised because of its southern emphasis and its Christian ethos. Many Northern blacks were not as religious as southern blacks.
  • Due to the Cold War, sympathy for the poor often meant association with and sympathy for Communist doctrines of economic equality. 
  • Northern blacks didn't see how MLK's non-violent philosophy had helped them.

Increasing radicalisation

  • Ghetto blacks turned to more militant leaders like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael.
  • Ghetto dwellers recognised that civil rights activism had led to improvements.
  • CORE endorsed black power in July 1966. By 1968 whites were excluded from CORE.
  • Due to the lack of protection during the Freedom Summer the SNCC turned to Carmichael as a more radical leader
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Nation of Islam


  • Founded in 1930 in Detroit.
  • Was a Nationalist and Seperatist movement. 
  • Elijah Muhammed became leader in 1934 and was leader up until his death in 1975.


  • Allah originally created people to be black.
  • Other races were created by an evil scientist called Yakob and his last creation was the white race.
  • Alternative to the 'white man's' Christian religion. Aimed to increase black self esteem and to keep white and blacks seperate. 
  • Whites would rule for thousands of years then Allah would return and end their supremacy. 
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Malcolm X

Personal upbringing

He was brought up by a family constantly harassed by white racists. His Father was found murdered by white people which drove his mother insane. 

Changing his name

Under slavery many black people had to adopt the surname of their master. This led Malcolm Little to change his name. 

Roles within Nation of Islam

  • 1953-4 acted as Minister of the Nation of Islam temples.
  • 1962 was made National Minister of Nation of Islam
  • Emerged as Elijah Muhammads deputy.
  • Prominent speaker within the Nation of Islam.


High influence, he influenced King and inspired blacks, especially the young.

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The Black Panthers


  • Heavily influenced by Malcolm X and by Communist revolutionaries.
  • Wanted to end white capitalist control in general and police brutality in particular.
  • Panthers' manifesto was radical and nationalistic

Ten point programme:

  • Freedom - power to determine the destiny of the black community
  • Full employment for all
  • End to robbery of black people
  • Decent housing
  • Fair education
  • Black exemption from military service
  • End to police brutality and murder
  • Freedom for all black people in jail
  • Fair Jurues - black juries for black people
  • Land entitlement
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The Black Panthers


  • Great deal of respect from the ghettos - emphasised self help.
  • Set up ghetto clinics to advice on health, welfare and legal rights.
  • Free breakfast programme.
  • Exposed police brutality.


  • Never boasted more than 5000 members.
  • Mostly in Urban Centres and Northern Cities.
  • Exposing police brutality led to violent shoot outs.
  • Surrounded and entered the California State Capital building accusing the legislature of considering repressive legislation, some plotted to blow up major department stores in New York. 
  • Huey Newton shot by police during arrest in 1967.
  • By 1970 most of the leaders were dead, imprisoned or in exile.
  • Alienated whites 
  • Unrealistic aims - talk of seperate black nation.
  • Disbanded in 1982
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Urban Riots - Reasons

New York (Harlem), 1964

  • Immediate spark - 15 year old James Powell was shot by Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan.

Philadelphia, 1964

  • Immediate spark - Tensions between black residents and police had been escalating for months over police brutality.

Cleveland, 1966

  • Immediate spark - Charles Ruthenberg organised a May Day parade to protest the jailing of Eugene Debs. As they marched a unit was stopped, as they refused police orders mass fighting broke out.

Watts (Los Angeles), 1965

  • Immediate spark - A 21 year old African American was pulled over by police on suspicion of drink driving. The situation escalated when the police took him home to arrest him after rumours that the police roughed Price up and kicked a pregnant woman angry mobs formed.
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Urban Riots - Reasons

Chicago, 1968

  • Immediate spark - The assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4th 1968.

List of reasons - In order of importance

  • Frustration at lack of progress - Despite 1964 CR Act and 1965 Voting Rights act blacks looked at the social and economic problems and saw they were not being adequetly adressed.
  • Comparison with white affluence - Blacks compared the area they lived in with those of whites in the same city and felt the massive difference to be unfair. 
  • Black power - Inspired by a new, more agrresive way, of dealing with problems.
  • Police brutality - Tired of police brutality and unfairness towards blacks.
  • Deaths of Civil Rights leaders - Malcolm X in 1965 and MLK in 1968 would cause grief and anger amongst the black community. 
  • Whites to blame - White policemen discriminated against blacks, white suburbs excluded blacks and white landlords charged excessive rent for blacks.
  • Domino effect - Inspired by riots in other cities, communities decided to do the same. 
  • 'Long hot summers' - The weather was stiflingly hot and would have caused agitation.
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  • 1955 - The murder of Emmett Till shocked American, especially the North where his mother insisted his body be displayed in an open casket before burial for the watching media to see. The media exposed the nature of Southern cruelty and racism. 
  • 1955 - Montgomery bus boycott was helped by the media, it spread the word to black people who didn't already know about the boycott. It highlighted the lengths that blacks would go to to achieve Civil Rights. 
  • 1957 - Little Rock, the media showed that white Americans were outwardly racist even to younger African Americans. Angry mobs surrounded the children and this was displayed in the media.
  • 1960 - Greensboro sit-ins, the media attracted more black support therefore increasing the efficiency of the sit-ins. 
  • 1961 - Freedom Rides, the black Americans were shown to be racially abused and attacked by white Americans as they arrived in Mississippi.
  • 1963 - March on Washington, the media created National exposure of the march including organisers speeches. It showed just how many black Americans can come together.
  • 1964-1968 - Urban Riots, the media showed to the Whites just how militant the African-Americans could be.
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1968 - Death of Martin Luther King, this showed how important black leaders were to the Civil Rigths movement and how this death could cause violence among African-Americans.

1968 - The Kerner Commission reported that one of the reasons the urban riots happened in 1967 was because of the white media. The media was accused of sensationalising the riots and thus promoting other cities to follow suit. 

How far was the media helpful in achieving Civil Rights?

Was - It showcased black unity in the Civil Rights Movement and encouraged blacks to join in with the protest. 

Wasn't - It showed that African Americans can be violent and this would be a negative when it came to trying to get acts passsed with the federal government. Not only did it display the violence it also was a factor in causing the violence. The media sensationalised black violence therfore promoting it to others.       

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How much had been achieved by 1968?


1950 - Schools were segreagated on the basis of race, especially in the South. Black schools had worse educational facilities and standards. Buildings, teachers and the resources in the schools were worse compared to white schools.

1968 - 1954 Brown vs Topeka started the desegregation of schools. 1955 Brown II wanted desegregation with all deliberate speed. 1964 Civil Rights act provided money to assist school desegregation. 


1950 - In the South law courts and officials were corrupt, racist  and biased. They represented the consensus of the Southern white segregationalist. Police across America had few black police officers. In the South the police were often racist.

1968 - The 1964 Civil Rights act gave a much greater chance of a fair legal hearing and more guarantee of legal action being taken swiftly and effectively. 

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How much had been achieved by 1968?


1950 - Public facilities were segregated by law in large parts of the South based on the 1896 Plessey vs Ferguson principle. Facilities were often, though, seperate but not equal. In the North, although often not segregated by law, public facilities were segregated in principle. 

1968 - 1964 act meant the end of segregation in public facilities. By 1965 Mississippi and Alabama had almost two-thirds of their towns desegregated. By 1968 most transport facilities were fully integrated. Armed forces integration was well established and black people were starting to rise to a high rank within them. 


1950 - In the North blacks lived in unsafe and unsanitary ghettos. They congregated in these areas on the idea of safety in numbers and they could not afford to live in other areas of major cities nd were denied access due to the colour of their skin.

1968 - The 1968 Fair Housing Act outlawed discrimination in renting or selling.

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How much had been achieved by 1968?

Attitude of government/officials

1950 - Very few elected black officials. Local government generally unsympathetic although Truman was more progressive at a federl level. In Southern states the attitude was generally racist, segregationist state governors and police chiefs were popular. The Supreme Court had ruled in favour of the civil rights movement n some notable cases. 

1968 - Earl Warren brought a less cautious and more positive approach to Civil Rights. In regards to transport, violations of the rulings could be seen easily and enforcement was cheap but pronouncements on education often went unheeded.

Economic Prosperity

1950 - Discriminatory pay and working conditions. Many blacks lived in poverty.

1968 - Black unemployment rates remained high. In the late 1960's black unemployment was above 7% whereas the national figure was 5%. However the percentage of black families earning over $10 000 per annum rose from 13% in 1960 to 31% in 1971. In the 1960's black income went up 100%.

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How much had been achieved by 1968?

Leadership/ Civil Rigths groups

1950 - The NAACP was the prominent civil rights group and they sought to achieve civil rights by using the courts. There was no one recognised leader or figurehead of the movement.

1968 - The movement was weakened as its 2 greatest spokesmen had been assassinated. The confrontational tactics taken by the SCLC, CORE and SNCC had been successful. 


1950 - Majority of blacks in the South could not register to vote. By 1964 the percentage of blacks registered to vote in Mississippi was 6.7%. Registration was nigh on impossible due to imposible examination forms. Very few blacks in office or positions of political power. Situation was better in the North but still not favourble. 

1968 - After the 1964 CR act the organisations planned to target voting rights as a seperate issue that needed seperate legislation. The 1965 Voting Rights act caused rapid change. By 1968 the number of black registrated voters had more than trebled from 1 million to 3.1 million. With more voting more would also hold public office. 

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Supreme Court

1944 Smith vs Allwright - Smith was a black voter who sued election officiel Allwright for the right to vote. Thurgod Marshal from the NAACP argued the case for Smith and the Supreme Court ruled he was being unfairly treated. 

1946 Morgan vs Virginia - The Supreme Court ruled that the interstate buses should be desegregated. Freedom rides happened to challenge the enforcement of the ruling.

1948 Shelley vs Kraemer - Shelley was a black family who bought a house in Missouri unaware of a protective covenant that restricted blacks from owning the property. Kraemer lived ten blocks away from the purchased housing and sued to stop the Shelleys from taking possession of the property. The Soupreme Court then ruled against restrictions that were used to stop blacks from purchasing homes in white areas but it was ineffective. 

1950 Sweatt vs Painter - Supreme Court ruled in favour of Sweatt who had been refused admission to the School of Law at the University of Texas. The Court ruled that the University's seperate black law school in Houston was seperate but unequal. The Court forced the University to integrate it's facilities. 

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Supreme Court

1954 Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka - Brown wanted his daughter to go to the white school around the corner as opposed to the black school 20 blocks away. The Supreme Court ruled that schools should be integrated.

1955 Brown II - Ruled Brown had to be done at all deliberate speed. This lead to Little Rock in 1957.

1956 Browder vs Gayle - The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the black community of Montgomery in their year long strugge against segregated buses. The decision stated that segregated buses were unconstitutional and the decision paved theway for the Montgomery Bus boycott to end.

1958 Cooper vs Aaron - The Court ruled that the Brown decision was binding on all states and therefore no state governor or government could ignore it. It was a reaction to Little Rock in the previous year.

1960 Boynton vs Virginia - The Supreme Court ruled that interstate bus stations had to be desegregated. Followed the previous Morgan decision in 1946. 

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