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Race and The Tradition of Black Protest: 

Race and The Tradition of Black Protest

Challenging the Paradigm: 

Challenging the Paradigm Lets discuss the making of race and slavery What are the origins of Black protest?


Until the 1660s, slavery in VA legally ill-defined “race” derived meaning from travel/scientific literature Defacto enslavement of African by European traders Black efforts to escape bondage

“Race” in the Old World: 

“Race” in the Old World Mid-15th Century—Turning Point Portuguese explorations down the West African Coast (beg. 1441) 1st time black Africans arrived directly by sea from Africa. New Dynamic Before—Black Africans were the Muslims’ slaves – the other’s other. Since the war against Islam was a Holy War—no justification needed. How did the Portuguese morally defend the enslavement of black Africans? Argued their capture (and enslavement) part of just war to convert heathens.

Institutional Endorsement of “just war” – of African slavery: 

Institutional Endorsement of “just war” – of African slavery The first institutional endorsement of African slavery occurred in 1452 – The pope granted the King of Portugal (Afonso V) the right to reduce to “perpetual slavery” all pagans, and other infidels and enemies of Christ” in West Africa. In 1454, The Pope issues another Bull granting Portugal the specific right to conquer and enslave all people south of Cape Bojador. (Cape Bojador was the most southerly European-known point on the coast of Africa. Until one of Henry's expeditions, was pass it, in 1434.) (the famous Treaty of Tordesillas between Spain and Portugal in 1494) Taken together these papal bulls did more than just grant Portuguese exclusive rights—they signaled to the rest of Christian Europe that the enslavement of Saharan Africans was acceptable and encouraged. All Europeans had the RIGHT to enslave Africans on the grounds that theirs were “civilizing” missions.

English Adoption of Racial Ideas: 

English Adoption of Racial Ideas While there were thousands of Africans in Portugal and Spain around 1500, they were rare elsewhere in Europe. Why?--England’s geographic and social distance from the contested borderlands of Christian Europe and the lands of African rendered slavery far less important than in Spain and Portugal. Only a few Englishmen profited from direct exploitation of their African slaves prior to 1600

The English, the slave trade and “the Negro”: 

The English, the slave trade and “the Negro” In 1550s England began direct involvement in transporting Africans across the Atlantic – on a very small scale. But by the 1570s, conflict in Europe, led to a shift, from trade to piracy. English privateers employed by Queen Elizabeth to plunder Spanish and Portuguese ships in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic. Slave ships seized and reinforced English familiarity with African slavery and the slave trade. Just as was the case with the Portuguese and Spanish, northern Europeans recognized that “Negro” was synonymous with enslaveable status. Thus, when the term Negro was applied by Northern Europeans to Africans, it was another “double othering” An acceptance of the Iberian conflation of skin color and slave status. Negroes—Africans—were the other’s other.

Why is the “race origins debate” important?: 

Why is the “race origins debate” important? What is at stake is whether racism was an “unthinking” result of economic and political systems imposed by elites in the Americas, or whether racism was a function of more deeply entrenched ideas that were at the core of Western society and culture.

The Barbados Example: 

The Barbados Example 1627 -- settled, 10 “Negars” came with first settlers by 1650- slavery inheritable Before SUGAR--Line between freedom and slavery fluid Evidence of slaves suing for freedom, claiming illegally held in bondage.

The making of race in the Chesapeake: 

The making of race in the Chesapeake “pioneer” blacks became Christian, spoke English, and learned English law Used the two most important colonial institutions-church and court house They were litigious people Strove to own their own land Blacks and whites grew/worked tobacco together Africans planted tobacco on small quarters usually surrounded by whites

Making Race: 

Making Race In the 1660s white servants outnumbered black slaves by 5:1 (at least) In the 1670s began importing Africans directly from Africa—the balance changed—black slaves outnumbered white servants. Slave Codes  As Africans grew in numbers, threatened whites passed laws to severely control the slave population.


Virginia, 1662 Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro woman should be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ fornication with a negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the fines imposed by the former act. Maryland, 1664 That whatsoever free-born [English] woman shall intermarry with any slave. . . shall serve the master of such slave during the life of her husband; and that all the issue of such free-born women, so married shall be slaves as their fathers were. “African in America”


Virginia, 1667 Act III. Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children that are slaves by birth. . . should by virtue of their baptism be made free, it is enacted that baptism does not alter the condition to the person as to his bondage or freedom; masters freed from this doubt may more carefully propagate Christianity by permitting slaves to be admitted to that sacrament. Virginia, 1682 Act I. It is enacted that all servants. . . which [sic] shall be imported into this country either by sea or by land, whether Negroes, Moors [Muslim North Africans], mulattoes or Indians who and whose parentage and native countries are not Christian at the time of their first purchase by some Christian. . . and all Indians, which shall be sold by our neighborign Indians, or any other trafficing with us for slaves, are hereby adjudged, deemed and taken to be slaves to all intents and purposes any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.

Making Blackness: From ethnicity to Race: 

Making Blackness: From ethnicity to Race Africans had to learn the significance of “race.” Dual process -- the adoption of an identity from forces without and within the enslaved black community.

The Process: 

The Process The barracoon The Middle passage “The Seasoning” Resistance key The stratification of the black community key to transition from ethnicity to race

The multiple meanings of Race : 

The multiple meanings of Race Time and Place Virginia Lowcountry Louisiana Response to slavery differed

Race and Systems of Control after Slavery: 

Race and Systems of Control after Slavery

Creating Jim Crow: A System of Racial Domination: 

Creating Jim Crow: A System of Racial Domination Economics Politics Social

Black Codes: Jim Crow precedent: 

Black Codes: Jim Crow precedent 1. Civil Rights: The Southern Black Codes defined the rights of freedmen. had the right ‘to acquire, own and dispose of property; to make contracts; to enjoy the fruits of their labor; to sue and be sued; and to receive protection under the law in their persons and property.” Also, for the first time, the law recognized the marriages of black persons and the legitimacy of their children. 2. Labor Contracts: 3. Vagrancy: 4. Apprenticeship:

Jim Crow: 

Jim Crow Must help students understand that Jim Crow was more than a series of strict anti-black laws. It was a way of life.

Jim Crow laws: 

Jim Crow laws 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

Jim Crow etiquette : 

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: 

Race and Place

"The Tripartite System of Racial Domination” (Aldon Morris, Author of The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement) : 

"The Tripartite System of Racial Domination” (Aldon Morris, Author of The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement) 1) Economics Job Discrimination Lack of Legal Protection Sharecropping and Debt Peonage 2) Politics Disfranchisement and Political Intimidation LA Literacy Test 3) Segregation

Sharecropping System – the dominate form of labor relations: 

Sharecropping System – the dominate form of labor relations What did black farmers want? What did white planters want? Cycle of debt “fixing the books” “settlin’ time” Debt peonage Credit system Vagrancy laws Convict lease system Involuntary servitude

Sharecropper Contract, 1882 : 

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 direction. . . . 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.

Sharecropping: Continuity or Change?: 

Sharecropping: Continuity or Change?

Sharecropping in Virginia : 

Sharecropping in Virginia

The Politics of Jim Crow: 

The Politics of Jim Crow Disfranchisement, Violence, and Political Intimidation


Disfranchisement Disfranchisement was a two part process

Disfranchisement I: Literacy Requirements: 

Disfranchisement I: Literacy Requirements Poll Taxes, Grandfather Clauses, and All-White Primaries. Disfanchisment Laws had to be carefully crafted to avoid 15th amendment, they could not explicitly use race as a barrier to voting

Escape clauses: 

Escape clauses designed so that poor and illiterate whites could still qualify to vote. (1) Understanding clause Literacy and educational requirements LA Literacy Test Grandfather clause Could not vote if grandfather could not have voted prior to 1867

Disfranchisement II: The KKK and the Politics and Culture of Lynching: 

Disfranchisement II: The KKK and the Politics and Culture of Lynching KKK and other related groups using violence to suppress black political action Violence justified by the threat of miscegenation. “'Without Sanctuary': Artifacts of Lynching in America” see

The Culture of Violence and Intimidation : 

The Culture of Violence and Intimidation Chain Gangs 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 : 

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 thereby disfranchised.


"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." Jackson Weekly Clarion, printed in 1887 the inspection report of the state prison in Mississippi:

Why the convict lease system?: 

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 racial superiority Helped maintained racial hierarchy of southern society.

Other Helpful Websites:: 

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.


THE ULTIMATE ACT -- LYNCHING Billie Holiday's Song "Strange Fruit“ Lesson Plan “Strange Fruit” Site includes review of film “Strange Fruit” and history of the song. Audio clip of song also available online. Lyrics: Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant south, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burning flesh. Here is fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Other Helpful Websites:: 

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. “From Jim Crow To Linda Brown: A Retrospective of the African-American Experience from 1897 to 1953” A mini-unit that allows students to explore to what extent the African American experience was "separate but equal." “Jackie Steals Home” Students read two documents relating to Jackie Robinson's breaking of the racial barrier in professional baseball and through the readings explore racism in the United States, both in and out of sports.

African-American Responses I: Accommodation and Agitation: 

African-American Responses I: Accommodation and Agitation Booker T. Washington The Atlanta Compromise Speech of 1895 (see for document) The Washington-DuBois Debate “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others” published within The Souls of Black Folk (1903) (see for document) 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 ) NAACP The NAACP was formed in 1909 through the merger of two organizations: the Niagara Movement and the National Negro Conference. Challenges against Segregated Transportation (see “All the Women were White”)

Excerpt of “The Niagara Movement Declaration of Principles” (1905): 

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 is unjust. 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. Soldiers: We regret that this nation has never seen fit adequately to reward the black soldiers who, in its five wars, have defended their country with their blood, and yet have been systematically denied the promotions which their abilities deserve. And we regard as unjust, the exclusion of black boys from the military and naval training schools.

African-American Responses II: The Culture of Resistance : 

African-American Responses II: The Culture of Resistance Wearing the Mask of Segregation Paul Laurence Dunbar's (1872-1906) poem "We Wear the Mask" (1896)             WE wear the mask that grins and lies,     It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—     This debt we pay to human guile;     With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,     And mouth with myriad subtleties.     Why should the world be over-wise,     In counting all our tears and sighs?     Nay, let them only see us, while             We wear the mask.     We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries     To thee from tortured souls arise.     We sing, but oh the clay is vile     Beneath our feet, and long the mile;     But let the world dream otherwise,             We wear the mask! “Behind the veil” (Du Bois) “Politics of Respectability” (Higginbotham)

African American Responses III: Collective Protest: 

African American Responses III: Collective Protest 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 fight also. 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.”


Red Summer “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 Great Migration: 

The Great Migration The migration stimulated a national movement for civil rights Many Americans began to realize that segregation and discrimination were no longer  uniquely Southern problems. The rise of black ghettos in northern and western cities compounded the problems of segregation and discrimination and Allowed for the flowering of African-American cultural movements such as the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. (Langston Hughes and J. W. Johnson)

Great Migration: Part I: 

Great Migration: Part I One Way Ticket (Langston Hughes) I pick up my life, And take it with me, And I put it down in Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Scranton, Any place that is North and East, And not Dixie. I pick up my life And take it on the train, To Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Seattle, Oakland, Salt Lake Any place that is North and West, And not South. Migration Series (Jacob Lawrence) See (section “Art and Poetry) for complete the poem, images, and other resources.

Great Migration: Part II: 

Great Migration: Part II THE BLUES

Between the Wars: 

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 Increased militancy Marcus Garvey – UNIA “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” (1929-1941) Harlem Riot- 1935

The ARTS: Rising Black Militancy: 

The ARTS: Rising Black Militancy Langston Hughes (1931) “Tired” I am so tired of waiting, Aren’t you 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. Richard Wright (1940) Native Son Paul Robeson

Theme 2: From Resistance to a Social Movement (pre-Brown) : 

Theme 2: From Resistance to 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 CORE). 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.

World War II and the Rise of African-American Protest Politics : 

World War II and the Rise of African-American Protest Politics A. Philip Randolph and the March on Washington Movement The president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a primarily black union, was A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979). March 1941, Randolph proposed a new civil rights strategy: a massive march on Washington D. C. Three demands: 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.


MASS PROTEST “Power and pressure are at the foundation of the march of social justice and reform…power and pressure do not reside in the few…they lie in and flow from the masses…Hence, Negro America must bring its power and pressure to bear upon the…Federal Government to exact their rights in National Defense employment and the armed forces of the country.” Randolph

Protest Politics: 

Protest Politics

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE): 

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. CORE PHILOSOPHY Interracial founders committed to Gandian techniques of “nonviolent direct action” Their tactics provided an important example for later civil rights activists.

From Individual Resistance to Collective Protest: 

From Individual Resistance to Collective Protest Rising expectations of blacks Challenging Segregation on the Buses (pre-Montgomery) Buses as “Contested Terrain” Black Voices Ringing the bell

Theme 3: Brown and Beyond: Rising Expectations, 1953-1959 : 

Theme 3: Brown and Beyond: Rising Expectations, 1953-1959 Brown v. Board of Education (Brown I and Brown II) A free digital library of multimedia resources for classroom and independent study, captures the voices, images, demonstrations, and resistance that defined the Civil Rights Movement through interview segments filmed for "Eyes on the Prize," primary source materials and oral histories from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and archival video and audio segments from "American Experience," "Frontline," "People's Century," and other WGBH productions. Emmett Till Montgomery Bus Boycott Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas

Emmett Till (1941-1955): 

Emmett Till (1941-1955) “Emmett Till and the Impact of Images” see Site contains various relevant web resources, including Jet Magazine photos. Great site for documents and images regarding Emmett Till’s murder. See “Reactions in Writing.”

Who are these Women?: 

Who are these Women? March 2, 1955 December 1, 1955

Montgomery Bus Boycott: 

Montgomery Bus Boycott Mary Louis Smith, Claudette Colvin – Who were they? Montgomery Bus Boycott—Organizing Strategies and Challenges Activity at Jo Ann Robinson – Who was she? Women's Political Council (WPC) of Montgomery, Alabama May 1954 precursor INTERVIEW:

Theme 4: Student Activism and the Emergence of a Mass Movement, 1960-1965 : 

Theme 4: 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 Movement : 

Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement Websites Sweet Chariot: The Story of the Spirituals MUSIC OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA, 1954-1968 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.

Sit-ins : 

Sit-ins 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 Site contains photographs, documents, and audio clips from Greensboro participants and civil rights leaders.

Ella J. Baker (June, 1960) “Bigger than a Hamburger”: 

Ella J. Baker (June, 1960) “Bigger than a Hamburger” The Student Leadership Conference made it crystal clear that current sit-ins and other demonstrations are concerned with something much bigger than a hamburger or even a giant-sized Coke. Whatever may be the difference in approach to their goal, the Negro and white students, North and South, are seeking to rid America of the scourge of racial segregation and discrimination - not only at lunch counters, but in every aspect of life…. By and large, this feeling that they have a destined date with freedom, was not limited to a drive for personal freedom, or even freedom for the Negro in the South. Repeatedly it was emphasized that the movement was concerned with the moral implications of racial discrimination for the "whole world" and the "Human Race." This universality of approach was linked with a perceptive recognition that "it is important to keep the movement democratic and to avoid struggles for personal leadership." It was further evident that desire for supportive cooperation from adult leaders and the adult community was also tempered by apprehension that adults might try to "capture" the student movement. The students showed willingness to be met on the basis of equality, but were intolerant of anything that smacked of manipulation or domination. This inclination toward group-centered leadership, rather than toward a leader-centered group pattern of organization, was refreshing indeed to those of the older group who bear the scars of the battle, the frustrations and the disillusionment that come when the prophetic leader turns out to have heavy feet of clay….

Ella Baker: 

Ella Baker SNCC Ella Baker 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 born.” Different leadership style than MLK Baker believed in “group centered leadership” vs “leadership-centered group”

A Movement in Transition: SNCC: 

A Movement in Transition: SNCC 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 nonviolence Nearly 1,000 volunteers worked in Mississippi that summer.  During those months, 6 people, were killed, 80 beaten, 35 churches burned, and 30 other buildings bombed. 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 Mississippi.

Freedom Rides: 

Freedom Rides 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 New Orleans. Significance: They forced the Kennedy administration to take a stand on civil rights, which was the intent of the Freedom Ride in the first place. In addition, the Interstate Commerce Commission, at the request of Robert Kennedy, outlawed segregation in interstate bus travel in a ruling, more specific than the original Supreme Court mandate, that took effect in September 1961. Website: African American Odyssey-Library of Congress See especially the “Civil Rights Era” section.

Birmingham: : 

Birmingham: “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. “Birmingham Manifesto’ King issued the 'Birmingham Manifesto' stating that all facilities in downtown department stores must desegregated, that blacks must be hired in local business and industry, and that a bi racial committee must be set up to implement further desegregation. “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 their own. 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 report:

ALABAMA CENTENNIAL, by Naomi Long Madgett : 

ALABAMA CENTENNIAL, by Naomi Long Madgett They said, "Wait." Well, I waited. For a hundred years I waited In cotton fields, kitchens, balconies, In bread lines, at back doors, on chain gangs, In stinking "colored" toilets And crowded ghettos, Outside of schools and voting booths. And some said, "Later." And some said, "Never!" Then a new wind blew, and a new voice Rode its wings with quiet urgency, Strong, determined, sure. "No," it said. "Not 'never,' not 'later." Not even 'soon.' Now. Walk!" And other voices echoed the freedom words, "Walk together, children, don't get weary," Whispered them, sang them, prayed them, shouted them. "Walk!" And I walked the streets of Montgomery Until a link in the chain of patient acquiescence broke. Then again: Sit down! And I sat down at the counters of Greensboro. Ride! And I rode the bus for freedom. Kneel! And I went down on my knees in prayer and faith. March! And I'll march until the last chain falls Singing, "We shall overcome." Not all the dogs and hoses in Birmingham Nor all the clubs and guns in Selma Can turn this tide. Not all the jails can hold these young black faces From their destiny of manhood, Of equality, of dignity, Of the American Dream A hundred years past due. Now!

Birmingham: cont…: 

Birmingham: cont… On Sept. 15, 1963, the all-Black Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed. Sunday school was in session. Handout: “Ballad of Birmingham” Websites: Includes Lesson Plan

Ballad of Birmingham: 

Ballad of Birmingham "Mother dear, may I go downtown         Instead of out to play,  And march the streets of Birmingham In a Freedom March today?" "No, baby, no, you may not go, For the dogs are fierce and wild, And clubs and hoses, guns and jails Aren't good for a little child." "But, mother, I won't be alone. Other children will go with me, And march the streets of Birmingham To make our country free." "No, baby, no, you may not go,                                                For I fear those guns will fire. But you may go to church instead And sing in the children's choir." She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair, And bathed rose petal sweet, And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands, And white shoes on her feet. The mother smiled to know that her child Was in the sacred place, But that smile was the last smile To come upon her face. For when she heard the explosion, Her eyes grew wet and wild. She raced through the streets of Birmingham Calling for her child. She clawed through bits of glass and brick, Then lifted out a shoe. "O, here's the shoe my baby wore, But, baby, where are you?"


NINA SIMONE Mississippi Goddam! Nina Simone, 1963 Nina Simone wrote "Mississippi Goddam" after the bombing of a Baptist church in Alabama killed four children Four Women

Birmingham: Significance of events in Birmingham : 

Birmingham: Significance of events in Birmingham 1. Signaled a profound change in the direct-action campaigns in the South. As Bayard Rustin put it in 1963: For the black people of this nation; Birmingham became the moment of truth. The struggle from now on will be fought in a different context... For the first time, every black man, woman and child, regardless of station, has been brought into the struggle. Unlike the period of the Montgomery boycott... the response to Birmingham has been immediate and spontaneous. Before Birmingham, the great struggles had been waged for specific, limited goals. The Freedom Rides sought to establish the right to eat while traveling; the sit-ins sought to win the right to eat in local restaurants; the Meredith case centered on a single Negro's right to enter a state university. The Montgomery boycott, although it involved fifty thousand people in a year-long sacrificial struggle, was limited to attaining the right to ride the city buses with dignity and respect. The black people now reject token, limited or gradual approaches. The package deal is the new demand. 2. Birmingham moved Kennedy to action. Announced that a new Civil Rights Bill would be presented to Congress on June I9th Site includes transcript and audio of JFK’s June 11, 1963 speech.

Freedom Summer : 

Freedom Summer Mississippi -- summer of 1964 Successes: The Mississippi project established fifty Freedom Schools to carry on community organizing. Failures: It registered only twelve hundred Afro-Americans and the Democratic National Convention refused to seat the protest slate of delegates elected through the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party. Significance: The events of Freedom Summer deepened the division between those in the civil rights movement who still believed in integration and nonviolence and others, especially young Afro-Americans, who now doubted whether racial equality was achievable by peaceful means.

Freedom Summer: 

Freedom Summer A group of student volunteers waiting for buses to take them to Mississippi (1964)


MISSISSIPPI—FREEDOM SUMMER The Mississippi Summer Project had three goals: registering voters, operating Freedom Schools, and organizing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) precincts.

Freedom Schools: 

Freedom Schools Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 1964


Volunteer Jim Nance, a minister, heading into the Black community to do voter registration canvassing.

The Student Voice: 

The Student Voice SNCC Newsletters at Civil Rights Movement Veterans (

The Legacy of Freedom Summer: 

The Legacy of Freedom Summer "What [the Summer Project] achieved more than anything else, I think, it exposed the system—from top to bottom," Dave Dennis, the Mississippi Director of the Congress of Racial Equality in 1964.

Theme 5: The Militant Years, 1966-68: 

Theme 5: The Militant Years, 1966-68 Focus: The changing face of the civil rights movement. 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.

Black Power: 

Black Power June 1966 March against Fear in Mississippi. James Meredith, in 1962 became the first black to attend the University of Mississippi. S. Carmichael--June 16: "I ain't going to jail no more." …"What we gonna start saying now is `black power.'"

Stokely Carmichael “What We Want” September 22, 1966: 

Stokely Carmichael “What We Want” September 22, 1966 “One of the tragedies of the struggle against racism is that up until now there has been no national organization which could speak to the growing militancy of young black people in the urban ghetto.  There has been only a civil rights movement, whose tone of voice was adapted to an audience of liberal whites.  It served as a sort of buffer zone between them and angry young blacks.  None of its so-called leaders could go into a rioting community and be listened to. . .   For too many years, black Americans marched and had their heads broken and got shot.  They were saying to the country, ‘Look, you guys are supposed to be nice guys and we are only going to do what we are supposed to do - why do you beat us up, why don’t you give us what we ask, why don’t you straighten yourselves out?’  After years of this, we are at almost the same point - because we demonstrated from a position of weakness.  We cannot be expected any longer to march and have our heads broken in order to say to whites: ‘come on, you’re nice guys.’  For you are not nice guys.  We have found you out. . . . Black power can be clearly defined for those who do not attach the fears of white America to their questions about it.  We should begin with the basic fact that black Americans have two problems: they are poor and they are black.  All other problems arise from this two-sided reality: lack of education, the so-called apathy of black men.  Any program to end racism must address itself to that double reality. . . . For racism to die, a totally different America must be born…..”

Black Panthers: 

Black Panthers October 1966 (H. Newton & B. Seale) BP Ten Point Program ( Rethinking Schools website


Handouts “From Black Consciousness to Black Power” “ The Founding of the Black Panther Party”


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. Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Radical Vision plans/mlk2/index.html

Martin Luther King, Jr. and the War: 

Martin Luther King, Jr. and the War “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” By Rev. Martin Luther King 4 April 1967 or So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such. Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

Helpful Websites:: 

Helpful Websites: This a research site devoted to information on Malcolm X. It contains a chronology of his life, and extensive bibliography site, information on his family life, a webliography, and a study guide. October 1966 Black Panther Party Platform and Program “What We Want What We Believe” Very little text, but excellent photographs.


Please note this presentation is for workshop purposes only. Please address all source inquiries to the presenter: Wendi N. Manuel-Scott

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