The Civil Rights in the 1950’s and 60’s
(1) Trumans civil rights committee: In 1947 Trumans Civil Rights Committee recommended laws protecting the right of African Americans to vote and banning segregation on railroads and buses. It also called for a federal law punishing lynching. He issued executive orders ending segregation in the armed forces and prohibiting job discrimination in all government agencies.
(2) Brown V. the Board of Education (1954): In 1954 the Supreme Court made one of the most important decisions in its long history. It decided in the case of Brown v. Board Of Education of Topeka that it was unconstitutional for states to maintain separate schools for African American and white children. This case over turned the “Separate but equal” doctrine established in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson back in 1896.
(3) Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955): After the supreme court decided to end segregation, African Americans started to speak out more about their racial opinions. In Montgomery, Alabama, a bus boycott ended with a victory for the African Americans. The Supreme Court ruled that the Alabama segregation laws were unconstitutional. During the boycott a young African American Baptist minister, Martin Luther King, Jr. became well known. Throughout the long contest he advised African Americans to avoid violence no matter had badly provoked by whites. Rosa Parks tired of sitting in the back of the bus, and giving up her seat to white men. One weary day she refused to move from the front of the bus, and she became one of history’s heroes in the Civil Rights Act movement.
(4) The Civil Rights Act: In 1964 congress passed a Civil Rights Act prohibiting racial discrimination in restaurants, theaters, hotels, hospitals, and public facilities of all sorts. This civil rights act also made it easier and safer for Southern Blacks to register and vote. Laws were passed to help poor people improve their ability to earn money, a program to give extra help to children at risk even before they were old enough to go to school, and a program to train school dropouts.
(5) The Great Society: These actions were very popular. Johnson easily won the 1964 presidential election and then proposed what he called the Great Society program. This was Johnson’s plan. He would work to improve the lives of all people, but especially the poor and the powerless. Programs were aimed at helping every segment in society.
(6) Passive Resistance: After Martin Luther King, Jr. successfully led the African Americans through the bus boycott, he became a national figure. Every where he preached the idea of non- violence or passive resistance as the best way to achieve racial equality. ” Nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards” he said. One must “accept blows from the opponent without striking back”. Love, not hate or force, was the way to change people’s minds.
(7) “I have a dream”:
1. ” Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice”.
2. ” Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”