The Civil Rights Movement

By Tom Cacko

What is it about?

The Civil Rights Movement has made America a way more justice and equal place. It was a major victory over racism which was a big problem for centuries in this country and opened the eyes for a lot of citizens. It made them understand that people shouldn't be treated differently just because of they're race or skin color and it also showed the great pain and trouble black citizens had to go through during that time period.

In this flier, you should read and find information about the movement in general,certain strategies and tactics( with matching pictures),profiles about "unsung heroes" and important groups that had big impact during the movement.

How did they do it?

The Civil Rights Movement lasted 14 years (1954-1968) and as this is a pretty long time,the people in that movement used a lot of different strategies to be successful:

  1. The No-Bail-Strategy: The protestors came in such large numbers, that when they peacefully broke the law and got sent in prison and didn't want to get bailed out, the jails were so overcrowded that they either had to release them to let new prisoners in or the laws simply couldn't be enforced.
  2. Sit In's: This tactic was often used in public facilities like restaurants,cinemas etc. The protestors would simply all sit down in that space (they weren't allowed in) and not do anything until they would get service or get forcefully removed. People who were black would for example sit down in a white restaurant until they would get service by someone.
  3. Non-Violent Protesting: This was one of the main strategies of the movement. Establishes by MLK (Martin Luther King), one of the leaders of the movement, the idea was to protest peacefully and not surrender, even if you got physically abused, but you may not answer with violent or rude actions yourself. King designed those rules of off Ghandi, which he had studied earlier in his life. He wanted to show the opposing side a not romantic but human love,which was also linked to god. He wanted his opponents to feel bad about themselves and understand that there hasn't to be violence to solve a conflict. This was a very controvercial strategy because of all the physical abuse and saw violent protestors on the other side like for example Malcolm X.
  4. Boycott: This was a very simple strategy. People would not use things that were depending on their public usage to survive like for example buses until they would get desegregated,or integrated. The most famous example for that is probably the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Unsung Heroes

Emmett Till

Emmett Till was a 14 year old boy out of Chicago who was know by relatives as a boy who always live very risky and on the line.However, one summer he visited family in the deep south, a region that is not very safe for African-Americans at that time due to racism,where he one day visited a shop and said "Bye Baby" to the shopkeeper as he left-a total tabu at that time. When the shopkeeper gets home she told her uncle and brother about it and they were so upset about it that they tracked down the little Emmett and took him out of his house to a unknown place where they beated him up badly and ended up shooting him,which ended in his death. The suspects got charged for murder but were never found guilty. This is just one of many examples how people got away with murder of black citizens during that time period. Here is another one...

Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers was a Civil Rights leader in Missisipi during his lifetime. He was a very vocal person and a WWII Veteran. In 1963 however, this tragedy happened:

For the first time the president at that time,JFK, comes out and openly holds a speech about racism in his country and how it has to be stopped. Medgar watched this speech with a couple of friends until deep into the night in the city and is very passionate and hopeful after the speech ended. He can't wait to drive home and see his wife and kids. Due to several attacks before the family knew that a bush at the house next to the drivers door was a great potential for danger and potential assaults. Usually the family would always get out through the other side just to be safe. For some reason Edgar didn't this evening...

He was right next to the bush as a man with the last name Beckwith is waiting inside of it and shots Evers,which later dies in the hospital.

Beckwith even left his Rifle with his fingerprints in the bush and he went to trial twice but again, he was never found guilty and ended up free.

Key Groups


CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) was founded in Chicago in March 1942. Among the founding members were James L. Farmer, Jr., George Houser, James R. Robinson, Samuel E. Riley,Bernice Fisher, Homer Jack, and Joe Guinn. Officially they are still operating today but there impact and activity is way smaller since the end of the Civil Rights Movement Their goal was to desegregate public facilities like Restaurants,Cinemas etc. What they were best known for and what really seperated them from every other groups was that their main strategy was the above explained Sit In. With that strategy they ended up being very successful and desegregating a lot of facilities. They are entiteled as one of the "Big Four" movements.

Freedom Riders

The Freedom Riders operated from May 4th-December 10th 1961 and rode interstate busses into the south. They were special because they were allowing all kinds of people into this movement and not just Afro-Americans and they were only existing for a very short time span. Their goal was to desegregate bus terminals which they had partially success at. The also encountered big losses like in Birmingham. There are one of the smaller groups and not in the "Big Four" like CORE but still had a great impact on the Civil Right Movement.