The Civil Rights Project

Trina Klein Period 1

Civil Rights Introduction

When the Civil Rights movement had just begun, lots of good people died while peacefully protesting for their rights. Even African Americans who were just minding their own business were killed and there never was any justice for them. Eventually, after many years of fighting, black people were given the same rights as white people and racial discrimination was no longer much of an issue. Recently, it has become an issue again, with people speaking out about cop brutality and unfair treatment about black people. (Ferguson Case)

Feature Article

One of the most famous strategies that was used to end segregation was the bus boycott, that took place between 195 and 1956. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white passenger and was arrested for it. In protest, African Americans organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, where they walked everywhere, or carpooled, and refused to ride the buses. The buses lost money because no one was riding them This protest lasted 381 days, until a federal court ordered the desegregation of Montgomery buses and the boycott ended.

The desegregation of Little Rock Central High School was another big win for the African American community. In 1957, nine African American children were enrolled in a previously whites only high school in Arkansas. On the first day, they were harassed by angry protesters outside the school and were unable to even get into the school. They eventually had to be escorted to school by military personnel in jeeps. Only one out of the Little Rock Nine graduated, in 1958.

Another way African Americans protested segregation was through sit-ins, where they would sit at local diners and stores that would not desegregate. They would dress professionally and sit quietly. This often promoted local authorities to use brute force and make the protesters leave. By the end of 1960, sit-ins had spread to every southern state and some northern ones.

Claudette Colvin:

Despite popular belief, Rosa Parks was not the first person to refuse to give up her bus seat for a white person. Claudette Colvin had in fact, done it nine months before Rosa. When she was 15, Claudette would not give up her seat on a Montgomery bus and was arrested for violating the segregation and was sent to jail instead on juvenile detention, and was allowed to call her family. However, she was not given credit in history because she was thought to be too emotional and unreliable, and she became a pregnant, unmarried teenager.

Ella Baker:

Influenced by her grandmother's stories of hen she was a slave, Ella Baker was motivated to start fighting for civil rights. After graduating, she worked with the NAACP and the SCLC. Her largest contribution was when she started the SNCC, which organized freedom riders, inspired nonviolent protesting, and addressed the prejudices against black voters in Mississippi. The reason she is no a well known leader in because she believed in grassroots adversity, egalitarianism, and spoke out against gendered hierarchy in the Black Church.

Mavis Staples, We Shall Never be Moved