Origins of Civil RightsProblems• Slavery (of course)– Centuries of slavery created a sense of superiorityamong whites; generated prejudices and stereotypesthat were very difficult to dislodge– Also created a sense of fear among whites: a fear ofrebellion• Jim Crow laws after the Civil War– Caste system created, especially in the South.– Daily offenses against blacks: school segregation,separate waiting rooms, water fountains, etc.– Political offenses: blacks kept from voting; servingon juries.
Origins of Civil RightsProblems• Sharecropping: Created economicdependency• Lynching: Created fear among African-Americans.– Late 1800s-early 1900s: avg. 100 lynchingsper year.– Worst year- 1892: 161 recorded lynchings.– In excess of 85% of these mob murdersoccurred in the South.
A “legal” foundation:Plessey v. Ferguson• June 7, 1892, Homer Plessey purchases firstclass ticket on East Louisiana Railway toCovington.• 50 miles round trip.• He wanted and expected to be arrested forviolating the 1890 state law requiring that “noperson or persons shall be permitted to occupyseats in coaches, other than the ones assignedto them on account of the race they belongto.” The law required “equal but separate”facilities.
Plessey v. Ferguson• Plessey got on board, sat in whitesection.• Conductor ordered him to move. Herefused. Arrested and taken to jail inNew Orleans.• Plessey actually had to arrange hisarrest because he was so light skinnedthat he looked white.
Plessey v. FergusonCase took 4 years to get to Supreme Court.• By time case reached court, attitudes had becomeeven more hostile towards blacks.– Jim Crow laws began to prevent blacks fromvoting.– Reconstruction laws protecting blacks repealed.• Court ruled against Plessey’s 14th Amendmentclaims.– Ct. differentiated between political and socialrights.• “If one race be inferior to the other socially, theConstitution of the United States cannot putthem upon the same plane.”
Plessey v. Ferguson• Far reachingimplications ofPlessey.– Separate but equaldoctrine• Allowed for segregationin many areas.– Schools included.
The Civil Rights Movement inthe 1940s• Domestic racism interferes with ColdWar, especially propaganda and appealsto new nations• African Americans leave WWII ready tochallenge racism and their politicalpower grows in urban north; Trumanneeds this vote• Truman also upset by racialviolence/inequality• Creates Committee on Civil Rights andorders desegregation of USGovernment/military
Supreme Court Decisions onCivil Rights• NAACP brings series of cases tochallenge segregation as violation of14th Amendment• NAACP wins admission of blackstudents to white professional andgraduate schools• In Brown v. Board of Education OfTopeka (1954); Warrens rules “separatebut equal has no place” in education• Energizes African Americanaction/protest
Brown v. Board of EducationBrown argument and decision really a combination withother cases• Briggs v. Elliot, for example.– Briggs from rural S. Carolina where there was along tradition of Jim Crow.– 70% of Clarendon County residents black. Morethan 1/3 of blacks over 10 could not read. Childrenattended very poor schools, most w/o electricity orplumbing.– County spend $179 per white student; $43 per blackstudent.– Indoor toilets in white schools; outhouses in black.– Desks for every white student; in one black schoolnot a single desk for students.– Whites schools had lunchrooms; none of blackschools did.
Brown v. Board of EducationPsychological research used. Kenneth Clark’s doll study.• White and black dolls.• Asked students to identify white and black dolls. Theycould.• Asked for the “nice” doll, the “doll you like to playwith,” the “doll that looks bad,” the “doll that is a nicecolor.”• Black children disproportionately chose white and oneto play with and as nice doll, and chose black as the“bad” one.• This study was done in Clarendon county. Replicated inNew York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and communitiesin Arkansas.• “Schools could buy newer books or hire better teachersfor black students, but they could not erase feelings ofinferiority from their minds. “
Brown v. Board of EducationWarren’s decision stressed psychological impact• “Importance of education in a democraticsociety.” Need schools to foster values andcitizenship.• Separation by race indicates “inferiority of theNegro group.” “To separate them from othersof similar age and qualifications soley becauseof their race generates a feeling of inferiorityas to their status in the community that mayaffect their hearts and minds in a way unlikelyto ever be undone.”
Brown v. Board of Education• Unanimous decision striking downschool segregation.• “Separate is inherently unequal.”• Implementation of the decision to takeplace “with all deliberate speed.”– What does this mean?– To most of the South, it meant as slow aspossible.
White Resistance to Civil Rights• KKK violence surges; middle-classWhite Citizens’ Councils prefereconomic pressure• Southern states pass laws to resist Brown• Eisenhower refuses to say he will enforceBrown• Eisenhower eventually acts in LittleRock, AR (1957–58), but only after stateresistance and white mobs createpotential for violence
A Movement BeginsIn the mid-1950s, a broad-basedmovement of African-Americanspredicated on a belief in the use of non-violent civil disobedience began.• The origins of this movement can befound in India.
Gandhi and Non-Violent CivilDisobedience• Concept of Civil Disobedience weare familiar w/ from Thoreau– For Thoreau it seems a rather individualact- to be at peace w/ one’s conscience– With Mohandas Gandhi it becomes atactic of creating social change towardsjustice.• First learned principles of non-violent resistance in South Africa– Laws discriminated against Indiansthere as against Blacks.
Gandhi and Non-Violent CivilDisobedienceKey principle of non-violent resistance: ahisma• “non-harm”• since no group has absolute claim to truth, no groupshould use violence to compel others to act againsttheir own understanding of truth.– W/o this thinking, ‘saints’ can become moremurderous than ‘sinners’- dogmatic certainty isdangerous.• influenced by Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God isWithin You– said he was “overwhelmed” by its argument.– a Christian argument against the use of force (byindividual or government using individuals)• shows Gandhi’s openness.
Gandhi and Non-Violent CivilDisobedience• At first he called this ‘passiveresistance’. Later rejected this term-non-violent action is not passive-very energetic.• He later rejected that term andreplaced it w/ satyagraha– this word combines Hindu words for“truth” and “hold firmly”– sometimes translated as ‘truth force’ or‘soul force’
Gandhi and Non-Violent CivilDisobedienceTo make satyagraha a practical tool, had to bringpressure to bear on the opponents.• “I do not believe in making appeals whenthere is no force behind them, whether moralor material.”• Practicality of satyagraha lies in the fact,according to Gandhi, that rulers aredependent upon the cooperation of the ruledfor any system to work. But, the ruled havethe choice of whether to obey or resist.– Non-cooperation thus becomes a verypowerful activity
Gandhi and Non-Violent CivilDisobedienceSatyagraha not for saints- all people could preparethemselves and use the method.• Preparation important. Not enough to have self-rule.Must also have self-discipline.– Thich Nhat Hanh- have Statue of Liberty on east coast,should have Statue of Responsibility on west coast.• Gandhi believed that needed to purge society ofweaknesses brought by British (commercialism, forexample) and home-grown weaknesses (castesystem, forced marriages)– Gandhi early in his work in India sought to erasebarriers, between Hindu/Muslim, men/women, castes• Freedom a personal as well as a political condition.
Gandhi and Non-Violent CivilDisobedienceThe Method:• Declare opposition to the unjust law– do not try to be secretive– make moral arguments– appeal to justice• Break the unjust law– refuse to comply w/ injustice– do so out in the open– do not engage in general lawlessness- break only theunjust law• Suffer the consequences– may be legal consequences (prison, fine, etc.)– may be physical abuse– may be social consequences• Do so in a way that brings pressure to bear on theperpetrators of injustice
Gandhi’s Guide toActionKeep thoughts positive, becausethoughts become words.Keep words positive becausewords become behavior.Keep behavior positive becausebehavior becomes habit.Keep habit positive becausehabit becomes values.Keep values positive becausevalues become destiny.Thoughts » Words » Behavior » Habits » Values »Destiny
Wealth without WorkPleasure without ConscienceScience without HumanityKnowledge without CharacterPolitics without PrincipleCommerce without MoralityWorship without SacrificeAn 8th(added by Gandhi’s grandson):Rights without Responsibility
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violenceFrom Gandhi to King and Beyond• 1936 Dr. Howard Thurman, African-American minister, met w/ Gandhi.1 year later two others came. To seeif Gandhi’s methods would work inUS South.– Gandhi told them that non-violence“cannot be preached. It can only bepracticed.” Not just by individuals as ifa moral choice, but “on a mass scale.”
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violenceMontgomery Bus Boycott and theBeloved Community• Dec. 1, 1955- Rosa Parks arrested forviolating bus segregation laws.• Women in community who had beenactive in civil rights decided toorganize a one day boycott forMonday Dec. 5. Expanded intomore.
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violenceFormed an organization Montgomery ImprovementAssociation. Dr. King elected President.• New in town. Not all that well known. Preacher atJoanne Robinson’s church, and she was one of theprime organizers of the original boycott.• His opening speech- p. 22, Beloved Community.• As Boycott grew and expanded in time, King’sphilosophy of non-violence developed in the face ofincreasing threats against him, and the bombing ofhis house.– King’s words, p. 37-9, Beloved Community.• King spoke of the power and dignity of resistinginjustice non-violently. “With love and unrelentingcourage.”– In anticipation of “the coming new world in which men willlive together as brothers.”
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violence• King related the non-violent struggle to“picking up one’s cross.”– non-violent resistance embodies the event of thecross in the human struggle for justice.• King looked for guidance to Gandhi’s work.– saw his activities as “complementing the longtradition of our Christian faith” (relate toGandhi’s reading of Tolstoy, the consilience ofreligions). Gandhi supplied the Christiandoctrine of love w/ a strategy of social protest.– King’s copies of Gandhi’s works became wornand tattered over time w/ reading.
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violenceThe Beloved Community.• “where the kingdom of God meets theAmerican dream.”• belief in love between people, humanprogress.• rather like the social gospel movementwe studied earlier.• “segregation is the blatant denial of allwe have in Jesus Christ.” Thebeloved community is a new space ofreconciliation introduced into history.
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violenceNashville Sit-Ins• Jim Lawson- teacher of non-violent methodsof civil disobedience.– Had read about Gandhi- who got good coveragein black newspapers.– Went to prison for refusing to submit to draft inKorean War.– Went to India after college.• Went to be a missionary/teacher at a college. While hewent to teach, his true mission was to learn- aboutGandhi and his methods.• For Lawson, being Gandhian and being Christianbecame the same thing.• While in India, read about the bus boycott in 1955. Hecame home in ’56, prepared to participate in thestruggle.
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violenceNashville saw itself as a progressive city, but segregationstill very persistent: Couldn’t eat at lunch counters;had to enter movie theaters through alley door and sitin balcony; excluded from public pools and golfcourses; in banks, department stores, and restaurants,could only work in back, out of sight.• A virtual caste system.• Significant number of young blacks in townattending predominantly black colleges, such as Fisk.– some had lived w/ segregation their whole lives assoutherners– some feeling it for the first time as northerners whocame to college.– Most not eager to do anything on civil rights- afraid tomake waves.
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violence• Some students were eager.– Diane Nash- from Chicago. John Lewis- a poor southernstudent.• Lawson began organizing workshops.– Taught the philosophy of non-violence: its morality andhow it would be effective.– Taught techniques of handling verbal and physical assaults– the strong and courageous are unharmed by words.– curl up and protect internal organs and head when struck.– Also taught that there would be negative consequences totheir actions, and they had to be prepared for that– Self-discipline built through the workshops. Lawsonemphasized “the necessity of fierce discipline and trainingand strategizing and planning and recruiting … That can’tbe done spontaneously. It has to be done systematically.”Anything less would dissolve under the force that wouldmeet them.
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violence• Nashville students began their sit-ins inFebruary of 1960.• Pressure on system-– Students to fall in behind students who werearrested and take their seats- fill the jails– Boycott of downtown by adults– March after bombing- confrontation w/ MayorWest on steps.• Key role of Diane Nash: After CT Vivian attacked theMayor verbally, Nash appealed to Mayor’s sense ofdecency. When he admitted he though segregation ofthe counters was wrong and should be ended, the systemcrumbled.• This was the sort of transformation that Gandhiansatyagraha was supposed to produce.
Civil Rights Movement and Non-violenceBy end of April, sit-ins had spread to 78 cities inthe South. About 70,000 students protested.About 3,000 went to jail at some point.• The days of Jim Crow were numbered.When the ruled refuse to cooperate w/injustice, the injustice will fall.– Gandhi’s message was beingimplemented in America.
Protests against Segregation& for the Vote• SCLC and SNCC use sit-ins; CORE usesFreedom Rides; ‘63 freedom vote alsotried• In response, JFK begins to act (U of MS,‘62; U of AL, ‘63; submits legislation, ‘63)• In March on Washington (Aug.’63)250,000 peacefully protest in support oflegislation• TV records white violence: death of Evers,Birmingham police, church bombing (‘63)
LBJ’s Great Society• Program builds on ideas of FDR, HST,JFK• Civil Rights Act of ‘64 bansdiscrimination in publicaccommodations and employment• Empowers Justice Dept. to end schoolsegregation and promote voting rights• 24th Amendment bans poll taxes (‘64)• Equal Employment Opportunity Comm(‘64) investigates job discrimination
Election of 1964; VotingRights Act of 1965• LBJ appeals to majority desire forcontinued economic growth and socialjustice• Crushes Goldwater; Dems dominate Cong,‘65-66 and pass most reforms since NewDeal• Att Gen able to supervise voter registration• See Map 30.1 for explosion in blackvoting• Elementary and Secondary Education Act‘65 provides first federal funding toeducation
War on Poverty• Start with Economic Opportunity Act (1964)and then create/expand Job Corps, HeadStart, Upward Bound, VISTA, Model Cities• Medicare (elderly) and Medicaid (poor),1965• See Table 30.1* for flurry of legislation• Mixed success: “community action” angersmayors; confusion of so many programs• Rural poverty doesn’t drop much; stillmigration*A People & a Nation, Sixth Edition
War on Poverty (cont.)• Great Society and economic growth cutspoor from 25% to 11% of populationby 1973• Big drop in elderly poverty (40% to16%)• Poverty drops for families headed bymales, but many women/children (11million) in female-headed homes remainpoor by 1973• See Figure 30.1 for poverty change byrace: poverty drops faster for whitesthan blacks
The Warren Court• Continues liberal reform even when GreatSociety stalls over Vietnam and race riots• Baker v. Carr (1962): one person, onevote• Griswold v. CT (1965): right of privacyvoids legal restrictions on access to birthcontrol• Gideon (1963), Escobedo (1964), andMiranda (1966) increase protections foraccused• Court bans prayer/Bible readings inschools
Civil Rights Disillusionment• Democrats’ response to MFDP (1964)alienates activists; anti-civil rightsactions by Hoover and FBI increasealienation• Early race riots occur in NY and NJ(1964) in response to white policebrutality• Northern African Americans upset withlack of improvement in ghettos (samefor West)• Suffer poverty, unemployment,segregation
Race Riots, 1965–68• Watts (1965) is first major riot as blacksloot white-owned stores and fight whitepolice• Violence grows; 1967 very bloody(Newark and Detroit); same in 1968 afterKing’s death• National Advisory Committee on CivilDisorders (1968) blames white racism assource of riots• Many blacks (especially in North) startto question effectiveness of nonviolentprotest
Malcolm X• Spokesman for Nation of Islam; espousesblack pride and separation from “whitedevil”• Advocates self-defense when faced withwhite violence; rejects King’s passiveresistance• Fellow Muslims assassinate him (1965)when he softens his opposition to whitesand expresses cautious support fornonviolence• Becomes hero to Black Power Movement
Black Power (post-1965)• Growing movement among youngblacks• Stress need for African Americans tocontrol their owninstitutions/organizations• SNCC (1966) and CORE (1967) expelwhite members and reject goal ofintegration• Black Panthers blend black nationalismwith revolutionary communism;institute programs to improve ghetto life