Notes on the African-American Civil Rights Struggle in 1963-65
Two primary activist African-American civil rights groups:
Southern Christian Leadership Conference led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Used
non-violent measures to provoke violence by racists and create a moral dilemma among
CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) which was mostly young, relatively poor Southern
blacks. Did voter registration and encouraged blacks to resist segregation.
1963--forced desegregation of the University of Alabama.
Washington March. Massive participation. King delivers the "I Have a Dream"
Medgar Evers killed in Jackson, Mississippi by Byron de la Beckwith
William Moore, a white postman traveling with anti-segregation sandwich boards from
Baltimore to Miss, killed just after entering Alabama.
September--bombing of Birmingham church which kills for African American children.
November 22nd-President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and a Southerner, Lyndon Baines Johnson, becomes President.
1964 President Johnson gets the Civil Rights Act passed barring segregation in schools and
1965--Supreme Court overturned requirement to register as a member of a
"subversive organization" on grounds of self-incrimination
Supreme Court upholds the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act
Outlawed segregation in private businesses.
Jones v. Mayer (1968) forbade private discrimination in sale or rental of housing
1964--Mississippi Summer Project
White college students from North join Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee
(SNCC) and CORE field workers begin establishing "freedom schools" for black
children and do voter registration.
FBI mistrusted these students. FBI infiltration of Klan and a few became Klan leaders.
One involved in Birmingham bombing
June-October, 1964--two dozen black churches torched in Mississippi. "Mississippi
Burning" was an apt description..
Philadelphia, Mississippi--sheriff's deputies killed three civil rights workers:
Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andy Goodman, one black, two whites. Lengthy
investigation. Inability to get state of Mississippi to prosecute. Finally prosecuted by
federal government on grounds that the murders violated the 1966 Civil Rights Law. After a
tussle with judges, a jury on October 20, 1967 returns verdicts of guilty against seven
conspirators, nine are acquitted, and the jury is unable to reach a verdict on three of
the men charged.
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party founded. Got two at-large delegates at the
national Democratic convention after a lengthy struggle.
Race riots in Harlem, Rochester, and several NJ cities
Malcolm X--murdered by Black Muslims in February, 1965.
By 1966, Stokely Carmichael was the new leader of SNCC, called for Black Power. The
movement moves into a more militant phase.