Jim Crow

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  • A minstrel character of a black man, portrayed by a white man, by blackening his face with charcoal and jumping up and down and speaking with broken English
  • the Jim Crow idea was one of many stereotypical images of black inferiority in the popular culture of the mid to late 1800’s

Plessy V. Ferguson

  • 1896 Supreme Court decision
  • “Separate, but equal”
  • Basis of Jim Crow Laws
  • Brown V. Board of Ed.
  • May 1954 – Little girl forced to go across town to a Black school
  • Supreme Court says it’s unconstitutional to separate students by race
  • No deadline for compliance given

Rosa Parks

  • Dec. 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama
  • Martin Luther King Jr. asked to lead bus boycott
  • Supreme Court makes it illegal to segregate public transportation in 1956

Central High School

  • Federal Court orders 9 Blacks be allowed to attend White school in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Governor sends National Guard to stop them
  • President Eisenhower sends army to protect students


  • Feb. 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Passive resistance against segregated lunch counters
  • Freedom Riders

Spring 1961

  • Blacks board buses to go to segregated bus terminals
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Martin Luther King Jr. protests against segregation (April 1963)
  • Violence against marchers broadcast on TV
  • President Kennedy sends in troops to protect marchers and proposes a Civil Rights Bill
  • Univ. of Alabama
  • Governor George Wallace blocks the door to keep Blacks out of the university (June 1963)
  • March on Washington
  • 100th Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation (Aug. 1963)
  • “I have a dream” speech at Lincoln Memorial
  • JFK Shot
  • President Kennedy assassinated (Nov. 1963)
  • Vice-President Johnson vows to continue his work
  • Civil Rights Act

July 1964

  • Forbids discrimination / racial prejudice
  • Voting Rights Act


  • Eliminates test of English reading ability from voter registration
  • Boosts Black, Mexican, and other minority voters
  • Selma, Alabama
  • Jan. 1965
  • Selma turns down Black voter registrations
  • Sheriff attacks protestors with dogs
  • Selma-Montgomery March
  • March 1965
  • President Johnson sends troops to protect the marchers
  • “Burn, Baby, Burn!”
  • Northern Blacks unofficially segregated into ghettos and poor-paying jobs
  • Summer riots and fires
  • “Early morning, April 4
    Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
    Free at last, they took your life
    They could not take your pride”
  • Martin Luther King Jr. shot in Memphis
  • Rioting and violence erupts all over USA
  • “It may be necessary to burn the U.S. down to save ourselves”
HELL NO, WE WON'T GO! American Public in the Vietnam War


  • 1968 Richard Nixon takes office
  • Tries to slow down Civil Rights gains (but fails)
  • Nation of Islam
  • “Black Muslims”
  • Led by Elijah Muhammad
  • Blacks should completely isolate themselves
  • Malcolm X
  • A Nation of Islam leader
  • Calls for Blacks to use violence to get equality
  • Breaks with Nation of Islam over integration vs. isolation
  • Shot by Nation of Islam in 1965

Black Panthers

  • Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver
  • Formed in 1966
  • Want to arm Blacks and use force to get equal rights
  • Ultimately condemned black nationalism as “black racism”.
  • Became more focused on socialism without racial exclusivity and instituted a variety of community programs to alleviate poverty  among communities deemed most needful of aid.

Black Power

  • Prominent in 1960s and 1970s
  • Emphasized racial pride and the creation of black political and cultural institutions to nurture and promote black collective interests
  • 2 African American athletes performed the Black Power salute at the 1968 games in Mexico city.
  • one of the most overtly political statements in the 110 year history of the modern Olympics.


  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization for ethnic minorities in the united States.

Affirmative Action

  • Set of public policies designed to  eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Affirmative-Action has been criticized as a form of “reverse- discrimination”
  • Perpetuates discrimination against all those who are not part of the designated groups.

Rodney King & L.A. Riots

  • In 1992 a predominately white jury acquitted four police officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King when he resisted arrest.
    • Seeing the verdict as a metaphor for historic injustice against African-Americans in the United States, thousands of African Americans in L.A. commenced to riot over six days.
    • 53 people died during the riots.

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