Paper on Civil RIghts Movement

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Civil RIghts Movement

The Civil Rights Movement started with the The Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Boycott
officially started on December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks Was a Educated women she attended the
laboratory school at Alabama State College. Even with that kind of education she decided
to become a seamstress because of the fact that she could not find a job to suit her

Rosa Parks was arrested December 1955. Rosa Parks Entered a bus with three other blacks
and sat on the fifth row. The fifth row was the first row the black could occupy. After a
few stops later the rows in front of them where filled with whites. According to the law
at the time blacks and whites could not occupy the same row. There had been one white man
left with out a seat. The bus driver had told the four to move so the white man had a
place to sit. The other three that was with Rosa Parks had moved. Rosa Parks however did
not. She refused and was arrested.

E.D. Nixon post bond for Rosa Parks. He told her that with her permission they could break
segregation from buses with her case. Jo Ann Robinson made flyers and distributed them
with her students. The flyers urged people to stay off the buses on Monday the day Rosa
Parks case was due. Martin Luther King, Jr. a minister thought that if they could 60
percent of the blacks to stay off the buses the boycott would be a success.

Martin Luther King Jr. thought he saw a miracle when he saw bus after bus pass his house
with no blacks in them. That night they had called a meeting him and other ministers and
blacks of the community which they called there self (MIA) Montgomery Improvement
Association. They elected King the president of the group. They had a decision to make
whether or not to continue with boycott or not.

Then E.D. Nixon rose to speak: "What's the matter with you people? Here you have been
living off the sweat of these washerwomen all these years and you have never done anything
for them. Now you have a chance to pay them back, and you're too damn scared to stand on
your feet and be counted! The time has come when you men is going to have to learn to be
grown men or scared boys."

The MIA had then decided to let the people vote on whether or not to let the boycott
continue or not. They held a mass meeting and it was obvious to see that they decided to
continue with the boycott. When the boycott began no one had expected for it to last this
long. On Thursday, December 8, the fourth day of the boycott King and the other members
schedule a meeting with lawyers and officials of the bus company's to discuss a moderate
desegregation plan.

The MIA was hopeful that the meeting would go well and the boycott would end. The city
officials refused and also made announcement that any cab driver charging less then 45cent
would be prosecuted. Which before the cabs where charging 10cent the same amount of charge
the buses charged. Which gave thousand of black no way to get to work? The MIA made a
private taxi service which had blacks with cars pick up blacks without.

King's home was bombed. Also Nixon's home was also bombed. After that they turned to the
law. The whites arrested blacks for any minor traffic violation possible. No matter the
problems they faced they did not break down. They took it all the way to the federal
courts. November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal court's ruling,
declaring segregation on buses unconstitutional. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was officially
over. Although the boycott was over the whites did not take this lightly. There was a
series of bombings, threats and attempts to scare blacks off busses.

The first Sit-Ins happen when four black men entered F.W. Woolworth Company store in
Greensboro, North Carolina, purchased some school supplies, then went to the lunch counter
and asked to be served. One of the students said "We believe, since we buy books and
papers in the other part of the store, we should get served in this part." They sat there
until the store had closed and still they had been denied service. This first sit-in had
very little effect.

Soon words began to spread. Gordon Carey, a representative from the Congress of Racial
Equality (CORE), came down from New York to organize more sit-ins. In a few weeks several
cities began sit-ins mainly in Woolworth's and S.H. Kress stores. The basic concept of
sit-ins students would go up to the counter and ask to be served and if they would where
served them they would move on. If they where not served they would wait till they are
served. If they happen to be arrested a new group would come to replace them.

They had standards also. Like don't talk back or strike back if attack, always face the
counter, and to be on there best behavior. They had to wear there best Sunday cloths they
had. Also not to hold conversations or to block entrances. When Northern students heard of
the movement, they decided to help their Southern counterparts by picketing local branches
of chain stores that were segregated in the South.

The first few weeks of sit-ins were fairly quiet. The black people where not served or
been harassed much either. Then, on February 27, sit-in students in Nashville were
attacked by a group of white teenagers. When police arrive they let the white kids that
hit the black kids go, and they arrested the blacks for disorderly conduct. No matter what
they did or how many times they been arrested there still was a counter full of students
not served.

Over Easter Weekend, Ella Baker of the SCLC helped organize a conference of sit-in
students from around the nation. She encouraged the students to form an independent
organization. They formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced
"snick") to lead the sit-in effort. On April 19, Z. Alexander Looby's home was destroyed.
She was fairly a conservative person. So the destruction did not only enrage blacks but
also whites.

2,500 students and community members staged a silent march to City Hall that day. When
they arrived at city hall Mayor Ben West was waiting for them. They had asked the mayor if
it was right to discriminate against someone only because there color of there skin. Mayor
Ben did not find that reasonable. So, the merchants decided if Mayor Ben said it wasn't
they should start serving blacks. It was almost as a excuse so they didn't move n there
own. A few weeks later on May 10, six Nashville lunch counters began serving blacks.

Sit-Ins however where not over, they continue doing sit-ins in some parts of the South.
They continued in some areas of the South until and even after the passage of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 declared segregation at lunch counters unlawful. In addition, the
technique of the sit-ins was used to integrate other public facilities, such as movie
theaters, and SNCC, the student group that rose out of the sit-ins, continued to be
involved in the civil rights movement for many years. Sit-Ins were a big part of the civil
rights movement. They showed that nonviolent direct action and youth could be very useful
weapons in the war against segregation.

Birmingham was nicknamed "Bombingham" because it was the site of eighteen unsolved
bombings in black neighborhoods over a six-year span and of the vicious mob attack on the
Freedom Riders on Mother's Day 1961. The city was going threw a major change. Voters
decided to rid the city of the three-man city commission and instead elect a mayor, mostly
to force Bull Connor, commissioner of public safety and the man largely responsible for
the attack on the Freedom Riders, to step down.

There was a problem tough. The city commission refused to step down. On April 6, police
arrested 45 protesters marching from Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to city hall. The
next day, Palm Sunday, more people were arrested. In addition, two police dogs attacked
nineteen-year-old protester Leroy Allen as a large crowd looked on. In response to the
protests, Judge W.A. Jenkins, Jr., issued an order preventing 133 of the city's civil
rights leaders, including King, his friend and fellow SCLC leader Ralph Abernathy, and
Shuttles worth from organizing demonstrations.

On May 2, children, ranging in age from six to eighteen, gathered in Kelly Ingram Park,
across the street from Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Around 1:00, fifty teenagers left
the church and headed for downtown, singing "We Shall Overcome." They were arrested and
placed in police vans. Another group left the church, and they were also put in vans. Soon
the police began stuffing the protesters in school buses because there were no more vans.
Three hours later, there were 959 children in jail. The jails were absolutely packed.

The next day even more children had came out. Bull Connor was determined not to let them
into downtown. He had got the firefighters to pull out hoses and spray the kids. The blast
of the hoses was strong enough to break bones. In addition, Connor had mobilized K-9
forces, which attacked protesters trying to enter the church. Pictures of the
confrontation between the children and the police shocked the nation. The entire country
was watching Birmingham.

The demonstrations escalated. Because the jails were filled, the police did not know what
to do. Finally, the Birmingham business community, fearing damage to downtown stores,
agreed to integrate lunch counters and hire more blacks, over the objections of city
officials. King had gotten his much-needed victory.

After Birmingham, President Kennedy proposed a new civil rights bill. To show that the
bill had widespread support, civil rights groups united to organize a March on Washington.
Organizers hoped to draw a crowd of 100,000, but instead over 250,000 people from around
the nation, arriving in more than thirty special trains and 2,000 chartered buses,
descended on Washington, DC on August 28, 1963. The day was an overwhelming success. There
was no violence and the event received extensive media coverage. It did not have an
immediate impact on Congress. Kennedy's civil rights bill was not passed for nearly a
year. It affected in some way just about everyone who participated or watched.

In the early 1960s, Mississippi was the poorest state in the nation. 86% of all non-white
families lived below the national poverty line. In addition, the state had a terrible
record of black voting rights violations. In the 1950s, Mississippi was 45% black, but
only 5% of voting age blacks were registered to vote. Some counties did not have a single
registered black voter. Whites insisted that blacks did not want to vote, but this was not
true. Many blacks wanted to vote, but they worried, that they might lose their job.

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