1960s Racial Issues


Sources: library.thinkquest.org/J0112391; The Civil Rights Revolution by Frederic O. Sargent; The Civil Rights Movement by Sanford Wexler


1. The Ku Klux Klan of the 1950s and 60s were a group of whites who believed in white supremacy, and thus were deeply against the Civil Rights Movement. They murdered and abused blacks, as well as bombed black neighborhoods.

Desegregation of Atlanta, Georgia

1. Nonviolent plan thought up by students at Atlanta University and Morehouse College in 1960 (using sit-ins and boycotts).
2. Plan supported by Martin Luther King Jr., but not his father.
3. Students and Dr. King were thrown into jail for "trespassing" into the store.
4. They were released under the agreement of desegregation of Atlanta in 1961. This agreement stated that the protests would stop as long as the Atlanta schools accepted blacks and desegregated their public facilities.


1. "Sit-in" = nonviolent protestors continuosly sitting at a table or counter when refused to be served.
2. Feb. 1, 1960: four black college freshmen performed first sit-in in North Carolina. Returned to the store day after day, accomponied by many others, both black and white.
3. Within weeks, this event inspired sit-ins in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and other southern states.
4. Northern state students showed support by boycotting the sit-in stores.
5. Sit-in participants subject to much ridicule and physical abuse.

People Who Fought For Desegregation

1. Homer Plessy- attempted to end segregation on trains
2. Rosa Parks- attempted to end segregation on buses
3. Martin Luther King, Jr.- one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement; wanted to end segregation without using violence.
4. Jesse Jackson- leader of Operation Breadbasket, which worked for opening more job opportunities for blacks.
5. Malcom X- a Civil Rights leader who believed that segregation should be fought by any means, even violence.
6. Marcus Garvey- believed only way for blacks to escape segregation was to go back to Africa.
7. John F. Kennedy- 35th president of the United States; helped pass laws promoting desegregation.

Laws and Court Cases Against Segregation

1. Plessy vs. Ferguson- backfired plan to end segregation of transportation. Instead, it solidified the "justice" of segregation---"seperate but equal" (1892).
2. Brown vs. Board of Education- officially ended segregation in public schools, although many southern states continued it nonetheless (1954)
3. Civil Rights Act of 1964- outlawed all segregation in public facilities


The Civil Rights movement from 1953 to 1968....

Important people

  • Jim Crow was a stage character created around 1828 by Thomas Rice. He reprents segregation laws, rules, and customs which arose after Reconstruction ended in 1877 and continued until the mid-1960s.
  • Martin Luther King JR was a great leader of civil rights. He used "non-violence" since his idol was Mahatma Gandi who always said that love enemy and made India independent from Britain using "non-violence". Also Martin Luther King JR got the Nobel Peace Prize on December 9 1964.
  • Malcom X was an African-American Muslim minister, public speaker, and human rights activist. He prefered to use violence to end segregation. Also he didn't like the way Martin Luther King JR fought which was "non-violence"
  • Marcus Garvey stated that the segregation would be not solved unless the blacks goes back to Africa.
  • John F. Kennedy was 35th president of United States. He helped lots of things to desegregate wiht Martin Luther King.

Important Incidents

  • Brown v. the Board of Education - 1954
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott - 1955
  • Little Rock - 1957
  • The Sit-Ins - 1960
  • The Freedom Rides-1961
  • The Albany movement-1961
  • The March on Washington-1963
  • The Birmingham Church Bombing-1963
  • The Civil Rights of 1964 - 1964
  • Watts - 1965 - ritots

Some Facts....

  • Birmingham, Alabama was considered the most segregated city in America.
  • In the 1960s De facto school segregation was a problem. Racial separation was partly created by the location of schools. White school boards that made decisions could be accused of allowing this segregation because they selected sites for new schools. Housing segregation intensified when whites looked for homes in area by "good white schools."
  • There are "black neighborhoods" and "white neighborhoods". In the town they segregate each other by having own "end" of town. The majority of white people live in the north end, the black people live in the south or west end.
  • 75% of the U.S. citizens are white and only 23% are black. The other minorities equal only 2%. Black income equal only 58% of white family income. These were the disadvantage of blacks in the mid-1970s.
  • Black people were required to eat at separate tables, drink from separate water fountains or sit in the back seats of the bus.
  • Stores in the ghettos were owned mostly by whites, which do not make much sense since blacks made up most of the ghetto. They took advantage of the black residents by overcharging them for products. The black residents couldn't do much about it because of the fact that they did not have reliable transportation.
  • In the late 1960's most urban black people were locked into deteriorated and almost completely segregated ghettos. Public housing funds were unavailable at this time, even though people were trying to develop public housing. Still, since the 1970s, there is a growing black middle class that is competing with the white majority for jobs and other resources.