The Civil Rights Movement
by Elwyn Robinson
The Movement of Yesterday and The Movement of Today
Tactics and Strategies of The Civil Rights Movement
Another tactic/strategy used was "sit-in." Protests by African American students, 1960-1961, who took seats at "white only" lunch counters and refused to leave until served; in 1960 over 50,000 participated in sit-ins across the south.
Another Tactic that they used was "Non-Violence" protests. One group that used this heavily was The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). On March 7, 1965, a group of protesters began to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in support of equal voting rights, using non-violence during this march. During their march they were stopped at the Pettus Bridge by a police blockade. Fifty marchers were hospitalized after police used tear gas, whips and clubs against them in what became known as "Bloody Sunday." Two weeks later the non-violent protesters, protected by federal troops, tried again and complete the historic 54-mile march.
Selma To Montgomery
They marched with Selma, they marched for freedom.
They gained equality.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
They refused to ride public transportation. They walked, they car polled and they protested for equal rights on public transportation.
March On Washington
200.000 Americans gathered in Washington, D.C., for a political rally known as the "March on Washington" for jobs and freedom
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Fannie Lou Hamer
Though the March on Washington may be one of the most iconic moments of the civil rights movement, the fight in one state, Mississippi, was what convinced many people to stand up against injustice. Fannie Lou Hamer was at the forefront of that battle. Ms. Hamer was born into a sharecropping family in Mississippi and continued to work on plantations until she attended a protest meeting in 1962. That meeting persuaded her to join a group of 17 other African Americans to travel to a nearby city to register to vote. They were met with violent resistance, and the move got Hamer fired from her job on the plantation where she worked for nearly two decades. It also launched her into a career of championing civil rights in the Deep South.
Hamer subsequently worked for SNCC and founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was the African-American group that challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. She gave an impassioned speech to the credentials committee about her attempts to register to vote that made national broadcasts, and shed light on the violent racism blacks faced in the Mississippi Delta. Her activism resulted in threats, attacks, and beating. She ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress in 1964, but one of her signature lines reflected the experience of her community, and rallied support that far outlasted her candidacy: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” she would often say.
The NAACP, Young Negroes Cooperative League, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) can all thank one largely unsung hero of the civil rights movement: Ella Baker. Ms. Baker was influenced by stories of her grandmother’s harrowing experience as a slave and brought that motivation to start some of the strongest groups fighting for civil rights in the mid-twentieth century. After graduating from Shaw College in North Carolina, she worked in the field to make change with organizations such as the NAACP and the SCLC. Though these are feats within themselves, her largest contribution came when she started SNCC, which brought about a wave of Gandhi-inspired nonviolent protests, organized Freedom Rides, and focused national attention on prejudice against black voters in Mississippi.
Part of the reason Baker isn’t known as well as other leaders in the civil rights movement was her own philosophy. She strongly believed in grassroots advocacy and egalitarianism, and spoke out against what she saw as a gendered hierarchy in the Black church (which largely influenced the civil rights movement). She believed that people should be empowered to make their own change, rather than following the commands of a central leader. Her influence won her the nickname Fundi, which is a Swahili word for meaning “a person who teaches a craft to the next generation.”