A Voice For the Voiceless
By Alex Brown
A More Equal Society
Pathways To Freedom
One very common form of protesting was the act of boycotting. Boycotting, the refusal to purchase goods or services to prove a point, was used generally towards the bus companies. Buses actively segregated blacks from whites, making African Americans sit in the back of each bus. Those involved in the boycott would carpool, bicycle, or even walk to where they needed to be. This devastated the bus company and left hundreds of buses idol, proving how much these companies and others relied on the African American population.
Another very common act of nonviolent protest was sit-ins. Sit-ins, the refusal to leave an establishment or business until certain demands were met, were often met with firm opposition from business owners and whites. Those protesting were commonly known to be dragged from their seats and savagely beaten by those against the movement. However, no matter how savagely protesters were attacked, they more often then not chose strict nonviolence. These brave acts of sacrifice clearly illustrated the power of civil disobedience.
Lastly, a group protesters that met some of the greatest opposition were known as The Freedom Riders. The Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern states to protest their refusal to enforce the anti-segregation law. Several buses were burned, shot at, or even attacked by many against the movement. The Freedom Riders actively risked their lives to support their cause.
Boycotting in Birmingham
This picture, taken in Birmingham, Detroit, shows the power and effect of boycotting. As you can see, no one rode.
In 1960 these two men joined a small sit-in to boycott the segregation at a diner in Nashville. They proceeded to stay the entire night.
Taken during a tour of the Freedom Riders, this picture captured a greyhound buses being maliciously burned. This was a quite regular occurrence for the protesters.
Boycotting in Birmingham
"Black Birds" Learning to Fly
The Beatles' song, Black Bird was written in the height of the civil rights movement. Aimed toward wrongfully segregated African Americans, the song refers to "Black Birds learning how to fly" and them "only waiting to be free". African Americans had lived decades in the united states without voice, without equality, and without freedom. The Civil Rights Movement changed this, giving hope for the hopeless and a voice for the voiceless.
Groups that Contributed to the Movement
NAACP- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Perhaps the largest and most extensive Civil Rights group. Created in 1909, they were the first to begin the fight towards racial equality. The group has been behind multiple equality debates and prepared for other groups such as the SNCC, CORE, etc. They are greatly recognized for helping begin the Montgomery bus boycott
CORE- Congress of Racial Equality
The group was created in Chicago in 1942. The groups beliefs and standards were based off of Mahatma Ghandi's teachings of nonviolent resistance. CORE created the Freedom riders to protest bus line segregation and was one of the "big 4" leading activism groups at the time. (The others including NAACP, SCLC, and the SNCC)