LSU HIST 2057 - The 1960s: Dissent and Discontent

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The 1960s: Dissent and Discontent Civil Rights in the 1960s- What is a civil right?o Personal rights or freedoms o Including: Free speech Due process of law Equal protection under the law - In the US, civil rights are protected by Constitution or acts of congresso Examples: 1st amendment 14th amendment Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990- Civil rights protect individual freedomso Allow people to participate in politics and society o Generally provide for equality of opportunity - Rights determined by law or customo Not always spelled out directly Example: right to privacy Not explicitly listed in US Constitution Supreme court has used legal rulings to protect that unwritten right- Griswold vs. Connecticut, 1965- Discrimination in economics, politics, or society can violate civil rightso Example: segregation in access to facilities - Civil rights cannot be taken away by government or private interests - Idea evolved over timeo What is included as a civil righto How to protect civil rightso Government seen as enforcer of civil rights  What role should government play?o In US, federal government often responsible for protecting civil rights Example: 14th amendment o Enforcement poor or non-existent  Example: segregation, disenfranchisement Plessy vs. Ferguson What happened, what changed?- In US, minorities have had less protection of civil rightso Examples: Jim Crow segregation, housing- Protesting movements have long historyo African American community worked against discrimination Examples: NAACP, Double V Campaign, legal challenges- Civil Rights Movement in 1950s and 1960s part of historyo Forcing government to recognize violations and address themo 1950s, 1960s distinguished by: *** Mass protest Direct action tactics- Non-violent, passive resistance- Sit-ins, boycotts, marches - Court cases, bus boycotts in 1950s expanded scope of protest - Activists took on discrimination by public and private interestso Government, retail stores, restaurants, transportation- Example: Greensboro, North Caroline, February 1960o Sit at lunch counter, not served/not addressed, they return they next day andmany people went to observeo Brings attention to the issue of discrimination in restaurants - Other examples:o May 1961, Freedom Rides Organized by Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Protesting segregation in transportation Sent blacks and whites on buses through south Attacked and beaten in Montgomery, AL  Arrested in Jackson, MS o Summer 1961, Voter Education Project Organized by groups such as Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNCC) Worked in south to register blacks to vote Met with violence and arrestso Spring/summer 1963—Birmingham, AL Protests calling for integration of public facilities Organized by Martin Luther King, Jr., and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Very effective direct action campaign  Violently resisted—police dogs and high-power water guns  Broadcasted on the news  Prompted change in city laws o One of the largest demonstrations—March on Washington, August 1963 Organized by “Big Six” coalition Attended by 200-300,000 people  Called for civil and economic rights for blacks August 28—King gave his “I have a dream” speech *** Rally successful in drawing attention  Did not stem resistance or violence- 1964 voter registration drives heavily resistedo Murders, assaults, church burnings, arrests- 1965 Selma march—“Bloody Sunday”o 3 killed, others beaten Response by government- Federal level:o Both John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson reluctant Needed southern democrats in congress  Promised to address civil rights Often reacted rather than acted on own initiative  Kennedy sent troops to protect Freedom Riders Johnson sent National Guard to Selma in 1965 Increasingly hard to ignore pressure Images on television broadcast to entire nationo Johnson able to use political clout, growing public support Also used memories of Kennedy after his assassination o In July 1964, Johnson signed The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Guaranteed access to public accommodations- Also, education, employment, and voting Banned discrimination based on race in employment- Wages, hiring, promotion  Largely supported by northern politicians Largely opposed by southern politicians Signaled the end of the Jim Crow South  Also began shift of southern states away from democratic party  Johnson aware of risk but pursued it anywayo Activists kept pressure upo August 1965, congress passed Voting Rights Act of 1965 Response to ongoing disenfranchisement Law designed to protect voting rights- Established federal oversight for elections Banned state or local governments from discriminating against minorities- Outlawed literacy tests Set up “special provisions” aimed at specific jurisdictions- Places with history of discrimination- Required them to clear laws with the Justice Department  Extremely successful law  Further contributed to shift in political alignments Influence beyond civil right legislation - Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act huge victories- Movement began to fragment after 1965 thougho Criticisms that legal equality not enougho Growing demands for economic equality too Faced job, housing discriminationo Some civil rights leaders said nonviolence wasn’t working Also said laws, integration fell too shorto Leaders such as Malcolm X advocated “black nationalism” Separation and autonomy from white societyo Grew into “black power” movement  Reject integration, embrace independence - Press paid attention to more radical groupso Blamed for riots in 1965, 1967, 1968 Rioters responded to specific grievances  Labeled as lawbreakers  Violence, radicals stirred fear in white Americans  Provoked backlash; support declinedo Groups never commanded the same kind of power as King ** Expressions or pride, critiques held widespread appealo Activists such as King recognized importance of economic issues 1968, planned a march against poverty before assassination- Efforts, tactics by blacks in 1960s encouraged other groupso Native Americans, Hispanics, women All had long histories of protest against discriminationo Tactics or nonviolence, litigation adoptedo 1963, Northwestern Native Americans organized “fish-ins”o 1968, American Indian Movement formedo 1972,


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LSU HIST 2057 - The 1960s: Dissent and Discontent

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