Jim Crow and Civil Rights
The African American Experience
What difference did the rise of Jim
Crow policies make in the day-to-day
lives of African Americans at the turn
of the century?
How did African Americans respond to
the racial hostility they experienced in
the Jim Crow era?
What was Jim Crow?
The legal and extralegal forms of
A system of racial domination
When and where did the Jim Crow
1880s-1900s – codification of the
separation of blacks and whites
De jure segregation vs. de factor
North and South
C. Vann Woodward, The Strange
Career of Jim Crow, "segregation
would have been impractical under
Discuss this statement
For additional reading see
Why race relations worsened in the late
1880s and 1890s is a hotly contested
it reflected the collapse of the cotton economy, which
led many whites to search for scapegoats.
also related to a fear among many southern whites
that a new generation of African Americans which had
been born after the Civil War and not been subjected
to slavery would not defer to white authority.
a reaction against the increasing economic
independence of southern blacks. From 1880 to 1900,
black farm ownership increased from 19.6 to 25.4
percent, while sharecropping, declined from 54.4. to
A System of Racial Domination
Must help students understand that
Jim Crow was more than a series of
strict anti-black laws. It was a way of
List of typical Jim Crow laws
Barbers. No colored barber shall serve as a barber (to) white
girls or women (Georgia).
Blind Wards. The board of trustees shall...maintain a separate
building...on separate ground for the admission, care,
instruction, and support of all blind persons of the colored or
black race (Louisiana).
Burial. The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be
buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for
the burial of white persons (Georgia).
See “What Was Jim Crow?” by Dr.
David Pilgrim at www.jimcrow.org
Jim Crow etiquette
A black male could not offer his hand (to shake hands) with a
white male because it implied being socially equal.
Blacks and whites were not supposed to eat together. If they
did eat together, whites were to be served first, and some sort
of partition was to be placed between them.
Whites did not use courtesy titles of respect when referring to
blacks, for example, Mr., Mrs., Miss., Sir, or Ma'am. Instead,
blacks were called by their first names. Blacks had to use
courtesy titles when referring to whites, and were not allowed
to call them by their first names.
If a black person rode in a car driven by a white person, the
black person sat in the back seat or the back of a truck.
White motorists had the right-of-way at all intersections.
Race and Place
Social Jim Crowism: Segregated
Challenges against Segregated Transportation (see
―All the Women were White‖)
Niagara Movement (see next slide)
The Niagara Movement was organized in 1905 by
W.E.B. DuBois, William Monroe Trotter, Ida Wells
Barnett, and other middle-class but militant Black
intellectuals. It was a repudiation of the conservative
and stifling leadership of Booker T. Washington and
the Tuskegee Machine. (see ―The Niagara Movement
Declaration of Principles‖ at
The NAACP was formed in 1909 through the merger
of two organizations: the Niagara Movement and the
National Negro Conference.
The black laws / speech of Hon. B.W. Arnett of Greene
County, and Hon. J.A. Brown of Cuyahoga County, in the
Ohio House of Representatives, March 10, 1886.
Members [of the Ohio House of Representatives] will be astonished
when I tell them that I have traveled in this free country for
twenty hours without anything to eat; not because I had no money
to pay for it, but because I was colored. Other passengers of a
lighter hue had breakfast, dinner and supper. In traveling we are
thrown in "jim crow" cars, denied the privilege of buying a berth in
the sleeping coach. This monster caste stands at the doors of the
theatres and skating rinks, locks the doors of the pews in our
fashionable churches, closes the mouths of some of the ministers
in their pulpits which prevents the man of color from breaking the
bread of life to his fellowmen.
This foe of my race stands at the school house door and separates
the children, by reason of color, and denies to those who have a
visible admixture of African blood in them the blessings of a
graded school and equal privileges...We call upon all friends of
Equal Rights to assist us in this struggle to secure the blessings of
untrammeled liberty for ourselves and prosperity.
Excerpt of ―The Niagara Movement
Declaration of Principles‖ (1905)
Protest: We refuse to allow the impression to remain that the
Negro-American assents to inferiority, is submissive under
oppression and apologetic before insults. Through helplessness we
may submit, but the voice of protest of ten million Americans must
never cease to assail the ears of their fellows, so long as America
Color-Line: Any discrimination based simply on race or color is
barbarous, we care not how hallowed it be by custom, expediency
or prejudice. Differences made on account of ignorance,
immorality, or disease are legitimate methods of fighting evil, and
against them we have no word of protest; but discriminations
based simply and solely on physical peculiarities, place of birth,
color of skin, are relics of that unreasoning human savagery of
which the world is and ought to be thoroughly ashamed.
"Jim Crow" Cars: We protest against the "Jim Crow" car,
since its effect is and must be to make us pay first-class
fare for third-class accommodations, render us open to
insults and discomfort and to crucify wantonly our
manhood, womanhood and self-respect.
Economic Jim Crowism
Sharecropping System – the
dominate form of labor relations
What did black farmers want?
What did white planters want?
Cycle of debt
―fixing the books‖
Convict lease system
Sharecropper Contract, 1882
To every one applying to rent land upon shares, the following conditions must be
read, and agreed to.
To every 30 and 35 acres, I agree to furnish the team, plow, and farming
implements . . . The croppers are to have half of the cotton, corn, and fodder (and peas
and pumpkins and potatoes if any are planted) if the following conditions are complied
with, but-if not-they are to have only two-fifths (2/5) . . . All must work under my
. . . No cropper is to work off the plantation when there is any work to be done on
the land he has rented, or when his work is needed by me or other croppers.
. . . Every cropper must feed or have fed, the team he works, Saturday nights,
Sundays, and every morning before going to work, beginning to feed his team (morning,
noon, and night every day in the week) on the day he rents and feeding it to including the
31st day of December. ...for every time he so fails he must pay me five cents.
The sale of every cropper's part of the cotton to be made by me when and where I
choose to sell, and after deducting all they owe me and all sums that I may be responsible
for on their accounts, to pay them their half of the net proceeds. Work of every
description, particularly the work on fences and ditches, to be done to my satisfaction,
and must be done over until I am satisfied that it is done as it should be.
SOURCE: Grimes Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill, in Robert D. Marcus and David Burner, eds., America Firsthand
(1992), pp. 306—308.
Continuity or Change?
Robert Curtis Smith (turn of the century) in
Litwack, Trouble in Mind, p. 134
If you make a crop and don‘t clear nothin‘ and you
still wound up won on your sharecrop and on your
furnish‘ and you try to move, well the police be after
you then all right. But if you‘re clear well mostly, you
cant go too far because of the money. If you move, or
if you try to move, they know if they like the way you
work they make you pay somethin‘ just for holdin‘ the
house up. If, after you pay that you want to move,
well you can‘t go too far because…you gonne need
money to carry you on to the place where you can get
work. And if you caint get work at one place you go to
the next place, but you caint go too far, because you
aint got enough in hand to go that far.
Sharecropping in Virginia
How did African Americans respond
to the limits of Southern labor
A tenant owned the crop he produced,
the sharecropper did not
Black women‘s labor
In the rural South, blacks lived in the
same housing that had been built for
slaves. What did this housing look
When did housing improve? How?
1895-1896, U.S. Department of Agriculture report on
housing in the Tuskegee region of Alabama:
Practically all the negroes live in cabins, generally
built of logs, with only one or at most two rooms. The
spaces between the logs were either left open,
admitting free passage of the wind in winter as well as
in summer, or were chinked with earth or occasionally
with pieces of board. The roofs were covered with
coarse shingles or boards and were apt to be far from
tight. The windows had no sash or glass, but instead,
wooden blinds, which were kept open in all weather to
admit the light.
W. E. B. Du Bois (1908)
As cooking, washing and sleeping go on in the same
room an accumulation of stale sickly odors are
manifest to every visitor…A room so largely in use is
with difficulty to kept clean. ….animals stray into the
house; there are either no privies or bad ones;
facilities for bathing even the face and hands are
poor…The average country home leaks in the roof and
is poorly protected against changes in the weather. A
hard storm means the shutting out of all air and light;
cold weather leads to overheating, draughts, or poor
ventilation; hot weather breeds diseases….
Georgia farm operator (turn of the
The original plantation houses of the South,
I regret to say, were mostly 1-room affairs,
20 or 25 feet square, and those were
mostly of logs. The modern house is a
frame house, boarded and sheathed with 3
rooms – a general family room, which is
used only to put the family bed in and then
a separate bedroom, and a kitchen. The
general modern tenant house is a 3-room
1901, Georgia commissioner of
Landlords have been forced to build
better tenant houses and provide
them with modern systems that are
adapted all around, in order to retain
and keep the best labor. That is really
the way that a great many of our best
people succeed in keeping their labor,
and the better class of labor, by
making everything around them as
comfortable as possible.
of Jim Crow
Disfranchisement and Political
Disfranchisement – 2 Parts
Disfranchisement I: The Politics and
Culture of Violence
Use of violence to suppress black political
Disfranchisement II: Literacy
Requirements, property qualifications,
Poll Taxes, Grandfather Clauses, and
Disfanchisment Laws had to be carefully
crafted to avoid 15th amendment, they
could not explicitly use race as a barrier to
The Culture of Violence and
Convict Lease System
Taken from the third chapter of "The Reason why
the colored American is not in the World's
Columbian Exposition," published in 1893
… the convicts are leased out to work for railway contractors,
mining companies and those who farm large plantations. These
companies assume charge of the convicts, work them as cheap
labor and pay the states a handsome revenue for their labor…
..[The] reason our race furnishes so large a share of the convicts is
that the judges, juries and other officials of the courts are white
men who share these prejudices. They also make the laws. It is
wholly in their power to extend clemency to white criminals and
mete severe punishment to black criminals for the same or lesser
crimes. The Negro criminals are mostly ignorant, poor and
friendless. Possessing neither money to employ lawyers nor
influential friends, they are sentenced in large numbers to long
terms of imprisonment for petty crimes.
…Every Negro so sentenced not only means able-bodied men to
swell the state's number of slaves, but every Negro so convicted is
Jackson Weekly Clarion, printed in 1887 the inspection report
of the state prison in Mississippi:
"We found [in the hospital section] twenty-six inmates, all of whom have
been lately brought there off the farms and railroads, many of them with
consumption and other incurable diseases, and all bearing on their persons
marks of the most inhuman and brutal treatment. Most of them have their
backs cut in great wales, scars and blisters, some with the skin pealing off
in pieces as the result of severe beatings.
Their feet and hands in some instances show signs of frostbite, and all of
them with the stamp of manhood almost blotted out of their faces.... They
are lying there dying, some of them on bare boards, so poor and emaciated
that their bones almost come through their skin, many complaining for the
want of food.... We actually saw live vermin crawling over their faces, and
the little bedding and clothing they have is in tatters and stiff with filth.
As a fair sample of this system, on January 6, 1887, 204 convicts were
leased to McDonald up to June 6, 1887, and during this six months 20 died,
and 19 were discharged and escaped and 23 were returned to the walls
disabled and sick, many of whom have since died."
Why the convict lease system?
no black crime spree
Southern governments wanted to control
the black population.
The system used by the planter class and
industrialist to intimidate black
sharecroppers and provide workers for the
South‘s growing industry.
The system reaffirmed white feelings of
Helped maintained racial hierarchy of
Other Helpful Websites:
Especially see sections on ―Jim Crow
Laws,‖ ―Lynching and Riots,‖ and ―Jim
Crow Stories.‖ The lesson plans and
activities are also useful.
Almost all southern states passed statutes
restricting suffrage in the years from 1871 to
But, it was in the 1890s that a formal movement for
disfranchisement emerged in full force.
Why the Delay?
The Fifteenth Amendment
prohibited states from depriving a citizen of his vote
due to race, color, or condition of servitude.
Four main ways disfranchisement was
Poll Tax , Literacy requirements , Property
requirements , Residency requirements
designed so that poor and illiterate whites
could still qualify to vote.
(1) Understanding clause
Literacy and educational requirements
2/Vote172.shtml LA Literacy Test
Could not vote if grandfather could not
have voted prior to 1867
to Jim Crow Politics
Booker T. Washington
The Atlanta Compromise Speech of 1895 (see
http://historymatters.gmu.edu for document)
The Washington-DuBois Debate
―Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others‖ published within
The Souls of Black Folk (1903) (see
http://historymatters.gmu.edu for document)
W.E.B. Du Bois , The Souls of Black
Folk. 1903.Chapter III: Of Mr. Booker T.
Washington and Others
…it has been claimed that the Negro can survive only through
submission. Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black people give up,
at least for the present, three things,—
First, political power,
Second, insistence on civil rights,
Third, higher education of Negro youth,—
and concentrate all their energies on industrial education, the
accumulation of wealth, and the conciliation of the South. This policy
has been courageously and insistently advocated for over fifteen years,
and has been triumphant for perhaps ten years. As a result of this
tender of the palm-branch, what has been the return? In these years
there have occurred:
The disfranchisement of the Negro.
The legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority for the Negro.
The steady withdrawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of
These movements are not, to be sure, direct results of Mr.
Washington‘s teachings; but his propaganda has, without a shadow of
doubt, helped their speedier accomplishment. The question then
comes: Is it possible, and probable, that nine millions of men can
make effective progress in economic lines if they are deprived of
political rights, made a servile caste, and allowed only the most
meagre chance for developing their exceptional men? If history and
reason give any distinct answer to these questions, it is an emphatic
Racist Publications and Black
How are African Americans
represented in these photographs?
Do you see any similarities to
depicting people as inferior and the
use of violence against them?
Negative images used to justify
discrimination and segregationist
Defending black identity
Henry M. Turner
―A man must believe he is somebody
before he is acknowledged to be
somebody…Respect Black.‖ (Litwack,
Trouble in Mind, p. 462)
Black Progress/Black Resistance
The Quest for an Education
Discussion starter: Ask students what
the importance of education is to
them. How significant is it in their
The Value of an education
Elderly black woman,‖ deer fesser, please
accept this 18 cents it is all I have. I save it
out of my washing this week. God will bless
you. Send you more next week.‖
A teacher‘s diary, ―Aunt Hester gave a
pound of butter and a dime. Grandma
Williams a chicken. Effie McCoy, a cake and
five cents; Bessie a dress.‖
See Richard Wormser, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, p.
The value of an education: from
Montgomery Alabama Lawyer, ―It is a
question of who will do the dirty work…If
you educate the Negroes they won‘t stay
where they belong; and you must consider
them as a race, because if you let a few
rise it makes the others discontented.‖
Unknown, ―It tends to make the negro
unwilling to work where he is wanted and
desirous of working where he is not
See Litwack, Trouble in Mind, p. 95
The Quest for Education
Why were students afraid?
One Virginia county man, ―down in my
neighborhood they are afraid to be caught
with a book.‖
Caroline Smith, 1871, Georgia ―They would
not let us have schools. They (KKK) went to
a colored man there, whose son had been
teaching school, and they took evry book
they had and threw them into the fire; and
they said they would dare any other
[negro] to have a book in his house…
W. E. B. Du Bois
Identify significant differences in the early lives of
Washington and Du Bois. Where was each man born?
Who was born a slave? Where did they go to school?
What early experiences played a role in shaping their
differing philosophies on elevating African-Americans
in American society?
Contrast the educational theories of both men. What
did each man believe should be the purpose of
education for African Americans?
Booker T. Washington
Washington was "born a slave on a plantation in
Franklin County, Virginia..." (Up From Slavery) in
1856. After emancipation, he and his family moved to
Malden, West Virginia. The nearby Kanawha Sapines
salt furnaces provided wage work for many freed
slaves in West Virginia, including members of
Washington's family. A prominent white family, the
Ruffners, hired the young Washington as a domestic.
Washington later said the lessons he learned from
them were "... as valuable to me as any education I
have gotten anywhere since."
from "Nineteenth Annual Report of the Principal of the
Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute" by Booker T.
The chief value of industrial education is to give to the
students habits of industry, thrift, economy and an
idea of the dignity of labor. But in addition to this, in
the present economic condition of the colored people,
it is most important that a very large proportion of
those trained in such institutions as this, actually
spend their time at industrial occupations. Let us
value the work of Tuskegee by this test...Our students
actually cultivate every day, seven hundred acres of
land, while studying agriculture. The students
studying dairying, actually milk and care for seventy-
five milch cows daily...and so I could go on and give
not theory, nor hearsay, but actual facts, gleaned
from all the departments of the school.
from "The Primary Needs of the Negro Race" by Kelly
The first great need of the Negro is that the choice
youth of the race should assimilate the principles of
culture and hand them down to the masses below.
This is the only gateway through which a new people
may enter into modern civilization...The Roman youth
of ambition completed their education in Athens; the
noblemen of northern Europe sent their sons to the
southern peninsulas in quest of larger learning...The
graduates of Hampton and other institutions of like
aim are forming centers of civilizing influence in all
parts of the land, and we confidently believe that
these grains of leaven will ultimately leaven the whole
W. E. Burghart Du Bois, "The Talented Tenth,"
The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its
exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes
must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of
developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass
away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own
and other races. …..
How then shall the leaders of a struggling people be trained and
the hands of the risen few strengthened? There can be but one
answer: The best and most capable of their youth must be
schooled in the colleges and universities of the land. We will not
quarrel as to just what the university of the Negro should teach or
how it should teach it — I willingly admit that each soul and each
race-soul needs its own peculiar curriculum. But this is true: A
university is a human invention for the transmission of knowledge
and culture from generation to generation, through the training of
quick minds and pure hearts, and for this work no other human
invention will suffice, not even trade and industrial schools.
The Niagara Movement and the
Niagara Movement – 1905
NAACP – 1909
Heirs to the 19th century abolitionist movement
NAACP mission ―to ensure that African
Americans be physically free from peonge,
mentally free from ignorance, politically
free from disfranchisement, and socially
free from insult.‖
Booker T. Washington declined to join, so
did Ida B. Wells
Do you think that you could have lived as a
black person in the Jim Crow South?
How would you have coped?
What would you have done to survive?
What would have been the most difficult
thing for you as a young black person to
have accepted or coped with in Virginia at
the peak of Jim Crow?
Answer the same questions from the
perspective of a young white person.
Going North – The Great Migration
Phase 1 – 1900-1915
Phase 2 – WWI to 1930
April 7, 1917
Albert Alex Smith,
"They Have Ears But
They Hear Not," The
One Way Ticket I pick up my life
And take it on the
I pick up my life, train,
And take it with me, To Los Angeles,
And I put it down in Bakersfield,
Buffalo, Scranton, Seattle, Oakland,
Any place that is Salt Lake
North and East, Any place that is
And not Dixie.
North and West,
And not South.
For Images and Maps about
Migration North see
Great Migration lesson plan --
Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence
"Interview of Jacob Lawrence"
from African American Frontiers: Slave Narratives and Oral Histories
ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, 2000) @
My family was a part of the migration. That is, my mother, my sister,
and my brother. My father and my mother were separated. I was born
in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They were moving up the coast, as many
families were during that migration. And I was part of that. We moved
up to various cities until we arrived—the last two cities I can
remember before moving to New York were Easton, Pennsylvania, and
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And then we finally settled in New York
City. So that was my upbringing. My young years were spent just
doing that: traveling as part of the migration, and that was it.
I was aware of people moving, older people like my mother's peers—I
would hear them talk about how another family has arrived. And these
were the people who would mention the fact that they had been here
a few years and they were seeing the new migrants coming in and
settling or moving on. And I didn't realize what it was at the time, of
course; it's only in later years that I realized what was going on.
The Music of the Great Migration
Harlem Music lesson Plan--
Harlem childrens games lesson plan -
“Times Is Gettin Harder”: Blues of the
Times is gettin' harder, Soon as I gather my cotton and
Money‘s gettin' scarce. corn,
Soon as I gather my cotton and I‘m bound to leave this place.
corn, Me and my brother was out.
I‘m bound to leave this place. Thought we‘d have some fun.
White folks sittin' in the parlor, He stole three chickens.
Eatin' that cake and cream, We began to run.
Nigger‘s way down to the kitchen, Times is gettin' harder,
Squabblin' over turnip greens. Money‘s gettin' scarce.
Times is gettin' harder, Soon as I gather my cotton and
Money‘s gettin' scarce. corn
I‘m bound to leave this place.
(find at Historymatters.gmu– see also:"Sir I Will Thank You with
All My Heart": seven Letters from the Great Migration
What life was like for African
Americans in the Jim Crow North in
the early the 20th century?
Chicago, Illinois, July 1941 LOC
Prints and Photographs Division
Chicago, Illinois, July 1941 LOC
Prints and Photographs Division
Torched school in New Jersey
from Scott Nearing, Black America (New York: The Vanguard
The New Negro
African American Responses:
National Urban League --1910 in New
Universal Negro Improvement
Association -- 1914
African American Responses:
Complex factor: WWI
W.E. B. Dubois ―Returning Soldiers‖ May 1919
―We are returning from war! The Crisis and tens of thousands
of black men were drafted into a great struggle. For bleeding
France and what she means and has meant and will mean to
us and humanity and against the threat of German race
arrogance, we fought gladly and to the last drop of blood; for
America and her highest ideals, we fought in far-off hope; for
the dominant southern oligarchy entrenched in Washington,
we fought in bitter resignation. For the America that
represents and gloats in lynching, disfranchisement, caste,
brutality and devilish insult—for this, in the hateful upturning
and mixing of things, we were forced by vindictive fate to
But today we return! We return from the slavery of uniform
which the world's madness demanded us to don to the
freedom of civil garb. We stand again to look America
squarely in the face and call a spade a spade. We sing: This
country of ours, despite all its better souls have done and
dreamed, is yet a shameful land.‖
―If We Must Die‖ (1919) Claude McKay
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
The Harlem Renaissance and the
paintings by Jacob Lawrence and
sculptures by Augusta Savage
picture quilts by Faith Ringgold
Poetry by Langston Hughes
Lesson plan --
Portrait of Place, Portrait of a Family
Between the Wars
―Direct Action during the Depression
contrasted sharply both quantitatively and
qualitatively with the history of such tactics
during the entire preceding century‖ A.
Meier and E. Rudwick
Increase in Black Political Awareness
Newspaper circulation doubled
NAACP membership increased
Marcus Garvey – UNIA
―Don‘t Buy Where You Can‘t Work‖ (1929-1941)
Harlem Riot- 1935
The Fight for Civil Rights: Toward a
Social Movement (pre-Brown)
Focus: The early twentieth-century civil rights
efforts of African American – with particular
attention on individual acts and local
organization such as church groups, and
national organizations (i.e. NAACP , NUL and
Goal: Help students understand that long
before the African American struggle for rights
became a mass movement, local resistance in
black communities took many forms.
Rising Black Militancy
Langston Hughes (1931) ―Tired‖
I am so tired of waiting,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?
Let us take a knife
And cut the world in two—
And see what worms are eating
At the rind.
World War II and the Rise of
African-American Protest Politics
A. Philip Randolph and the March on Washington
B. The president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car
Porters, a primarily black union, was A. Philip
March 1941, Randolph proposed a new civil
rights strategy: a massive march on
Washington D. C.
The immediate end to segregation and discrimination in
federal government hiring.
An end to segregation of the armed forces.
Government support for an end to discrimination and
segregation in all American employment.
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
Est. 1942 on the University of Chicago campus.
The creation of CORE marked the beginning of
a mass movement for civil rights.
Interracial founders committed to Gandian
techniques of ―nonviolent direct action‖
Their tactics provided an important example
for later civil rights activists.
strikes, demonstrations, boycotts
―Don‘t Buy Where You Can‘t Work‖ (1929-1941)
Sit-ins by Howard Univ. students (1943-1944
Jackie Robinson: Civil Rights
The first black man to "officially" play
in the big leagues,
First game with Dodgers in 1947
Barbara Johns and Beyond: Rising
1. Barbara Johns, April 23, 1951
2. Brown v. Board of Education, May 1954
3. Montgomery Bus Boycott, December 1955
4. Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas,
Key Point: ―Students took the initiative in seeking to
transform legal rights into tangible racial advances.‖
The Brown Decision
Immediate Reaction to the Decision:
Comparing Media Coverage
Compare and contrast different regions‘ newspaper
How did Virginia newspapers report the decision?
Were Loudoun County schools segregated?
Was segregation de jure (by law) or de facto (in fact)?
Make sure the students understand that even if schools
were not legally segregated (de jure), they could have
been segregated in fact (de facto) because people of color
were excluded from moving into certain neighborhoods and
communities, and the segregated communities created
How and when did the schools become integrated?
African Americans in Montgomery
Protest Segregation Transportation
Half a century before the 1955-1956
Montgomery Bus Boycott African Americans
in the city had conducted a two-year
boycott when the city council enacted a
trolley-car segregation bill. ―Like the bus
boycott of 1955-1956, the Montgomery
streetcar boycott of 1900-1902 was part of
a larger regional black protest against Jim
Crow urban transit.‖
(August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, ―The Boycott Movement Against Jim Crow
Streetcars in the South, 1900-1906,‖ Journal of American History, 55, 4
(March 1969), 756. (pdf)
Slide from presentation by Elsa Brown, 2002
Known Streetcar Boycotts
Atlanta, 1892-1893 Houston, 1903-1905
Augusta, 1898 Vicksburg and Natchez,
Savannah, 1899 1904
Atlanta and Rome, 1900 San Antonio, 1904-1905
Augusta, 1900-1903 Richmond, 1904-1905
Jacksonville, 1901 Memphis, Chattanooga, and
Montgomery, 1900-1902 Knoxville, 1905
Mobile, 1902 Jacksonville and Pensacola,
New Orleans and 1905
Little Rock, 1903 Nashville, 1905-1906
Columbia, 1903 Danville, Lynchburg,
Petersburg, and Norfolk,
Slide from presentation by Elsa
Brown, 2002 Newport News, 1906-1907
Who are these Women?
March 2, 1955 December
Montgomery Bus Boycott
Mary Louis Smith, Claudette Colvin – Who were
Montgomery Bus Boycott—Organizing
Strategies and Challenges Activity at
Jo Ann Robinson – Who was she?
Women's Political Council (WPC) of
May 21, 1954 letter to Mayor
Slide from presentation
by Elsa Brown, 2002
Flyer announcing boycott
by Elsa Brown, 2002
Teaching the Bus Boycott
Toni Morrisson‘s Remember
Teaching With Documents:
An Act of Courage, The Arrest Records of Rosa Parks
Student Activism and the Emergence of a
Mass Movement, 1960-1965
Focus: College students developed new
strategies and revitalized old ones that help
to escalate the civil rights struggle and
broaden its base. Their tactics included sit-
ins, freedom rides, jail-ins, boycotts, voter
registration drives, and marches.
Goal: To help students understand how/why
the involvement of college students brought
transformed the movement.
Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights
Sweet Chariot: The Story of the Spirituals
MUSIC OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA, 1954-1968
Eyes on the Prize Lesson
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Search for “Sing For Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Its Songs”
and “Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs 1960-1966.”
There are audio clips for both CDs available online.
EYES ON THE PRIZE
Paul and Silas bound in jail Hold on, hold on
Had no money for to go their Keep your eyes on the prize,
bail hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize,
hold on Soozie!
Paul and Silas thought they Only chain that a man can
was lost stand
Dungeon shook and the chains Is that chain o' hand on hand
come off Keep your eyes on the prize,
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on
I'm gonna board that big
Freedom's name is mighty greyhound
sweet Carry the love from town to
And soon we're gonna meet town
Keep your eyes on the prize, Keep your eyes on the prize,
hold on hold on
I got my hand on the gospel Hold on, hold on
plow Keep your eyes on the prize,
Won't take nothing for my hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize,
Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-in (1960)
―Bigger Than a Hamburger‖ and ―A Conference on the
Sit-ins‖ [see handout]
Consider the following statement by journalist Louis
Lomax, "They [the sit-ins] were proof that the Negro
leadership class, epitomized by the NAACP, was no
longer the prime mover in the Negro's social revolt.
The demonstrations have shifted the desegregation
battles from the courtroom to the marketplace.―
See ―Greensboro Sit-ins: Launch of a Civil Rights
Movement‖ at http://www.sitins.com/index.shtml.
Site contains photographs, documents, and audio
clips from Greensboro participants and civil rights
Ella J. Baker (June, 1960)
“Bigger than a Hamburger”
The Student Leadership By and large, this feeling
Conference made it crystal that they have a
clear that current sit-ins
and other demonstrations destined date with
are concerned with freedom, was not limited
something much bigger to a drive for personal
than a hamburger or even a freedom, or even
Whatever may be the
freedom for the Negro in
difference in approach to the South. Repeatedly it
their goal, the Negro and was emphasized that the
white students, North and movement was
South, are seeking to rid concerned with the moral
America of the scourge of
racial segregation and implications of racial
discrimination - not only at discrimination for the
lunch counters, but in every "whole world" and the
aspect of life…. "Human Race."
1940s (NAACP);1950s (SCLC); 1960s (SNCC)
―Baker left the SCLC after the Greensboro sit-
ins. She wanted to help the new student
activists and organized a meeting at Shaw
University for the student leaders of the sit-ins
in April 1960. From that meeting SNCC was
Different leadership style than MLK
Baker believed in ―group centered leadership‖
vs ―leadership-centered group‖
A Movement in Transition:
SNCC went through three stages.
First: 1960 to 1963 (Sit-ins and Freedom Rides)
Second: 1963 to 1964 (Freedom Summer) A time of
transition which sparked a reconsideration of
Nearly 1,000 volunteers worked in Mississippi that
summer. During those months, 6 people, were killed,
80 beaten, 35 churches burned, and 30 other
Third: 1965 to 1967. A trip to Africa by several SNCC
leaders, discussions with and about Malcolm X, and
growing alienation between blacks and whites inside
SNCC was capped by the Watts riot in August, 1965.
The following June, "Black Power" became SNCC's
battle cry in a march led by James Meredith in
Define: The Freedom Riders left Washington DC on May
4, 1961. They were scheduled to arrive in New
Orleans on May 17, the seventh anniversary of the
Brown decision. The Freedom Riders never made it to
Outcome: led to the end of segregation in interstate bus
travel in a ruling, -- took effect in September 1961.
African American Odyssey-Library of Congress
especially the ―Civil Rights Era‖ section.
―Project C‖ ('Confrontation Birmingham' )
New campaign in Birmingham.
Goal: to activate the black community and to force complete
desegregation of all the city's facilities.
――Letter from Birmingham City Jail‖
Written in response to a letter in the local paper, the Birmingham
News by eight white Alabama clergymen. The clergymen stated
that the demonstrations by "impatient" "outsiders" was "unwise
and untimely". They thought that the civil rights movement should
wait and give Birmingham citizens a chance to reform their city on
MLK ―Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging
darts of segregation to say, ―Wait.‖ …comes a time when the cup
of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be
plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope sirs, you can understand
our legitimate and unavoidable impatience
For more information about the letter, listen to the following NPR radio
ALABAMA CENTENNIAL, by Naomi Long
And I walked the streets of
They said, "Wait." Well, I waited. Montgomery
For a hundred years I waited Until a link in the chain of patient
In cotton fields, kitchens, balconies, acquiescence broke.
In bread lines, at back doors, on Then again: Sit down!
chain gangs, And I sat down at the counters of
In stinking "colored" toilets Greensboro.
And crowded ghettos, Ride! And I rode the bus for
Outside of schools and voting freedom.
booths. Kneel! And I went down on my
And some said, "Later." knees in prayer and faith.
And some said, "Never!" Then a March! And I'll march until the last
new wind blew, and a new voice chain falls
Rode its wings with quiet urgency, Singing, "We shall overcome."
Strong, determined, sure.
Not all the dogs and hoses in
"No," it said. "Not 'never,' not Birmingham
'later." Nor all the clubs and guns in Selma
Not even 'soon.' Can turn this tide.
Now. Not all the jails can hold these
Walk!" young black faces
And other voices echoed the From their destiny of manhood,
freedom words, Of equality, of dignity,
"Walk together, children, don't get Of the American Dream
weary," A hundred years past due.
Whispered them, sang them, Now!
prayed them, shouted them.
On Sept. 15, 1963, the all-Black Sixteenth
Street Baptist Church was bombed. Sunday
school was in session.
―Ballad of Birmingham‖
Includes Lesson Plan
Ballad of Birmingham
"Mother dear, may I go She has combed and brushed her
downtown night-dark hair,
Instead of out to play, And bathed rose petal sweet,
And march the streets of And drawn white gloves on her
Birmingham small brown hands,
In a Freedom March today?" And white shoes on her feet.
"No, baby, no, you may not go, The mother smiled to know that her
For the dogs are fierce and wild, child
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails Was in the sacred place,
Aren't good for a little child." But that smile was the last smile
"But, mother, I won't be alone. To come upon her face.
Other children will go with me, For when she heard the explosion,
And march the streets of Her eyes grew wet and wild.
Birmingham She raced through the streets of
To make our country free." Birmingham
"No, baby, no, you may not Calling for her child.
go, She clawed through bits of glass
For I fear those guns will fire. and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
But you may go to church instead "O, here's the shoe my baby wore,
And sing in the children's choir." But, baby, where are you?"
The Militant Years, 1966-68
Focus: The changing face of the civil
Goal: Help students understand why
the expectations created by the civil
rights movement met with frustration
in the mid-1960s and how their
disappointment and frustration
aroused a new urgency among black
civil rights activist.
A NEW KING
Have students identify the ways in which
Martin Luther King, Jr. is portrayed in the mass
media, and specifically, which of his ideas are
communicated to the public.
Have students read and discuss a range of
King‘s ideas almost completely unknown to
most of the public today.
Homework: Read excerpts of King‘s speeches
and writings. Identify lines that stand out as
interesting, deep, meaningful, moving or
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON ON
MARTIN LUTHER KING
Martin Luther King, Jr., kept getting up morning after morning,
knowing they [the FBI and other government agencies] were after him,
knowing they were possessed of this zealous intensity that was illegal
and immoral! And so he was a danger to America. Why? Because he
loved democracy so much he wanted to see it become real. He wanted
to march democracy from parchment to pavement. He wanted to see
it become a reality in this nation. That‘s why he had a dream.
But America has frozen him. Now they freeze King in this posture of
dreaming before the sunlit summit of expectation at the height of his
national fame in Washington, D.C., where he said, ―I have a
dream.‖ He said more than that. We ought to have a moratorium on
that speech for the next ten years. I don‘t want to hear it no
more! And if you‘re gonna play the speech, play the other parts of the
speech: ―We have come to the nation‘s capital to cash a check marked
‗insufficient funds.‘ ‖ [In other words,] ―Where‘s my money?!‖ That‘s
the part we ought to play. Right? We ought to play the part where
King says, ―The foundations of this nation will continue to shake.‖ He
said, ―The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of
this nation until the Negro is granted his full citizenship rights.‖ Play
that part, too!
MLK ON NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION
Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963:
The purpose of our direct-action program is to create
a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open
the door to negotiation…
…My friends, I must say to you that we have not
made a single gain in civil rights without determined
legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an
historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up
their privileges voluntarily…We know through painful
experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by
the oppressor; it must be demanded by the
A PART OF “I HAVE A DREAM”
THAT WE DON’T USUALLY HEAR
Speech to the March on Washington
for Jobs and Justice, August 28,
…There will be neither rest nor
tranquility in America until the
colored citizen is granted his
citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of
revolt will continue to shake the
foundations of our nation until the
bright day of justice emerges.
MLK on Poverty
Speech to Teamsters and Allied Trade Councils, New
York City, May 2, 1967:
Today Negroes want above all else to abolish poverty
in their lives, and in the lives of the white poor. This is
the heart of their program. To end humiliation was a
start, but to end poverty is a bigger task. It is natural
for Negroes to turn to the Labor movement because it
was the first and pioneer anti-poverty program…
... I am now convinced that the simplest approach will
prove to be the most revolutionary. The solution to
poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely
discussed measure: the guaranteed annual income.
We are likely to find that the problems of housing and
education, instead of preceding the elimination of
poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first
MLK ON THE POOR PEOPLE’S MARCH ON
WASHINGTON, PLANNED FOR SPRING 1968
From Inconvenient Hero (1997), by Vincent Harding:
He was planning to bring the poor of every color, to
stand and sit with the poor where they could not be
MLK said, ―We‘ve got to camp in – put our tents in
front of the White House… We‘ve got to make it
known that until our problem is solved, America may
have many, many days, but they will be full of
trouble. There will be no rest, there will be no
tranquility in this country until the nation comes to
terms with our problem.‖
MLK on a REVOLUTION OF VALUES
"Beyond Vietnam," Address,” Riverside Church, New York,
April 4, 1967:
… I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of
the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical
revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a
thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. …
…A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the
glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. …
A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order
and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not
Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the
revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile
world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and
For more on MLK see
Lessons Learned: The Walk Away
1. African Americans have suffered
great challenges to realizing full
freedom and equality.
2. They have a long history of
resisting oppression and racism
3. Individuals can make a
difference/students can make a
Please note this presentation is for
workshop purposes only.
Please address all source inquiries to the
presenter: Wendi N. Manuel-Scott