The civil rights movement was consisted of a bunch of organizations and organized efforts to abolish racial discrimination against African Americans and to restore voting rights in the south between 1954 and 1968. In many situations it took form of civil resistance to stop discrimination against blacks by nonviolent forms of resistance. Organizations such as the NAACP, National Association of the Advancement of Colored People, the SNCC, Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the COFO, the Council of Federal Organizations, the CORE, Congress of Racial Equality and the Black Panthers were all major contributors in trying to integrate blacks and whites. Forms of protest and civil disobedience included boycotts like the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott from 1955-1956, “sit-ins” including the influential Greensboro sit-ins in 1960, marches including the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 and a wide range of other nonviolent acts. All these civil disobedient acts and protest had all had leaders. The major leader and most famous that made speeches and lead most of the marches was Martin Luther King Jr. Some other people that had a major influence in the civil rights movement were Jesse Jackson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and the informally named Big Six who were Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, James Farmer and John Lewis. All these leaders and nonviolent acts of resistance lead to the abolishment of racial discrimination.
In 1954, the Brown vs. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court declares school segregation unconstitutional. In 1955, Rosa Parks gets arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus when there were seats open in the front in Montgomery, Alabama. Bus boycotts followed and bus segregation ordinance is declared unconstitutional. It was also the year of the Mississippi and Emmitt Till case. In 1957, the Arkansas government uses National guards to block nine students from attending Little Rock High School; following a court order; President Eisenhower sends federal troops to ensure compliance. In 1960, four black college students began sit-ins at lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, at restaurants where black students were not served. Freedom rides began in 1961, beginning in Washington D.C. all the way into southern states. In 1962 President Kennedy sends federal troops to the University of Mississippi to quell riots so that James Meredith, the school’s first black student, can attend. The Supreme Court also declares that segregation is unconstitutional in all transportation facilities. The Department of Defense orders full integration of military reserve units, excluding the National Guard. In 1963, Medgar Ever, leader of the NAACP was assassinated. Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivers “I Have a Dream” speech to hundreds of thousands at the March in Washington. In 1964, Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1964, declaring discrimination based on race illegal after 75 day long filibuster. Malcolm X also delivers his “The Ballot or The Bullet Speech” 1965 was the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to demand protection for voting rights. Also Malcolm X was assassinated at the rally in New York. The voting rights were signed too. In 1968, April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Selma to Montgomery marches were three marches in 1965 for the voting rights of African Americans and that represented the peak of the Civil Rights Act. The first march took place on March 7, 1965 in Selma, Alabama. This first march is known as “Bloody Sunday” because about 600 civil right marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80 and on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, about six blocks away, there were met by local lawmen. The police tried to force them back into Selma by attacking them with billy clubs and tear gas. Two days later King Jr. lead the march and werre protected by the court for them to march with being attcked by the police. They marched for three days from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
Martin Luther King Jr:
“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”
“If man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
“I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.”
“The best way to solve any problem is to remove its cause.”
“Today the choice is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”
“We are out to defeat injustice and not white persons who may be unjust.”
“A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.”
“Being a Negro in America means trying to smile when you want to cry. It means trying to hold on to physical life amid psychological death. It means the pain of watching your children grow up with clouds of inferiority in their mental skies. It means having their legs off, and then being condemned for being a cripple.”
“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”
“I see America through the eyes of a victim. I don’t see any American dream. I see an American nightmare.”
” We don’t go for segregation. We go for separation. Separation is when you have your own. You control your own economy; you control your own politics; you control your own society; you control your own everything. You have yours and you control yours; we have ours and we control ours.”
“It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t know you ever had coffee… It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”
“If it’s necessary to form a Black Nationalist army, we’ll form a Black Nationalist army. It’ll be ballot or the bullet. It’ll be liberty or it’ll be death.”
“No sane black man really wants integration! No sane white man really wants integration!”
“I am – Somebody. I may be poor, but I am – Somebody! I may be on welfare, but I am – Somebody! I may be uneducated, but I am – Somebody! I must be, I’m God’s child. I must be respected and protected. I am black and I am beautiful! I am – Somebody! Soul Power!”