B: Analyze the role of Georgia & prominent Georgians played in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s & 70s, including the founding of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Sibley Commission, admission of Hamilton Holmes & Charlayne Hunter to UGA, Albany Movement, March on Washington, Civil Rights Act, the election of Maynard Jackson as mayor of Atlanta, & the role of Lester Maddox
C; Discuss the impact of Andrew Young on Georgia
Major Developments of the Civil Rights Movement (1940 - 1959)
In Georgia, African-Americans successfully ended the white primary in 1944 and were successful, for a time, in helping to elect moderate white politicians who were supportive of their cause. But in the 1946 governors race and the election of Herman Talmadge, segregationist politicians were elected and continued to strengthen Jim Crow laws in the state. Legislators changed the state flag to incorporate the Confederate battle flag in protest of pro-civil rights court rulings like Brown v. Board of Education. Because of this massive resistance by many white Georgians, African-Americans in the state would not gain full civil rights for almost another full decade.
As governor, Talmadge successfully lobbied for a state sales tax to support Georgia's public education system. He is also credited for bringing more industry to GA. He was a segregationist who fought against the US Supreme Court's civil rights decisions, primarily integration of schools.
In 1956, Talmadge was elected to the US Senate where he served until 1981. As senator, he supported agricultural programs & continued to oppose civil rights legislation. In 1979, he was charged with financial misconduct & censured by the Senate. He lost the 1980 Senatorial election to Republican Mark Mattingly. After his defeat, he lived quietly in Henry County until he died at 88 years old.
In 1940, Mays became president of Morehouse College. 4 years later, Martin Luther King, Jr. entered Morehouse. The two formed a mentor/mentee relationship that would last until King's murder in 1968. As president, Mays strengthened the school's academic rigor & finances. He retired in 1967, though he continued to be involved with organizations such as the NAACP & YMCA. He was also an active write & speaker until his death in 1984.
1946 Governor's Race
After Eugene Talmadge died before taking office in his 4th term, 3 men claimed the governors office. Many of his supporters felt that due to his poor health, he would not make it to the election. They discovered that the General Assembly had the power to select the 2nd or 3rd vote-getter should the governor die. Knowing this, they wrote in Herman Talmadge's name on the ballot.
However, the new GA Constitution stated that the lieutenant governor would take office if the governor died. Melvin Thompson, who was a member of the Anti-Talmadge faction of the Democratic party, was elected lieutenant governor. But in January 1947, the General Assembly appointed Herman Talmadge as governor.
At the same time, outgoing governor Ellis Arnall refused to abdicate the office until the issue was resolved. He believed the General Assembly did not have the authority to elect a governor. Arnall was affiliated with Anti-Talmadge Democrats which caused tension and altercations with Talmadge supporters. Talmadge eventually had state troopers escort Arnall out of the capital, changing the locks of the governor's office. Arnall refused to give up the governor's seal, setting up a 2nd governors office in a different location of the capital. Arnall eventually gave up his claim to the office, supporting Thompson. In the end, the GA Supreme Court ruled that Thompson was the rightful governor. Talmadge left the office within 2 hours of the ruling. A second election was held where Talmadge easily defeated Thompson.
The End of the White Primary
Brown v. Board of Education
In 1958, some people of Atlanta fought against the legislature's segregationist stance, forming a group called "Help Our Public Education" (HOPE) to demand the government not shut down ANY school. In 1906, the Sibley Commission recommended that Georgia allow counties to decide if they would integrate their schools or not, without state interference.
In 1961, Atlanta was the first system to integrate, followed by Savannah, Athens & Brunswick. It wasn't until 10 years later that all school systems in the state were desegregated.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta. He graduated from high school at 15 and began his college studies at Morehouse. His father and grandfather were ministers and he eventually followed in their footsteps. He earned his Ph. D in Divinity from Boston University. While there, he met his wife, Coretta Scott.
In 1954, King accepted an offer to become pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. A year later, he became the spokesman for the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Due to its success, King, along with other civil rights groups, attempted a similar action in Albany which wasn't as successful. His successes seemed to be followed by less that successful campaigns. The March on Washington, creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and winning the Nobel Peace Prize were followed by his focus on discrimination in Chicago.
Nonetheless, King was instrumental in ending segregation & changing Atlanta's views on race & racial equality. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the results of his hard work, efforts & leadership come to reality.
The 1956 State Flag
To this day, there is much debate on reasons why the flag was changed. Some research found that legislators chose it to commemorate the anniversary of the Civil War. Some believe the flag was changed to protest civil rights legislation.
In 2001, Governor Roy Barnes changed the flag based on requests of supporters & civil rights activists. In 2003, the people of Georgia voted for the change. Today, it resembled the pre-1956 flag.
Major Developments of the Civil Rights Movement (1960 - 1979)
Throughout the 60s, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) continued to target Georgia, In 1963, Savannah integrated due to the efforts of the NAACP. Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allan Jr, Coca-Cola president Robert Woodruff and other business leaders worked with civil rights leaders to ensure Atlanta desegregated peacefully. In the late 70s, Governor Jimmy Carter called for an end to discrimination in Georgia and soon African-Americans such as Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young were elected to high political offices.
Georgia was slow to integrate, especially in rural areas of the state. While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Acts of 1965 changed the lives of African-Americans in major cities, rural areas struggled for many years to follow.
The Student Non-Violent Coordination Committee (SNCC) & Sibley Commission
In Georgia, Albany & Atlanta were major focuses of the SNCC. They were at the forefront of the Albany Movement, which although considered unsuccessful, its mistakes helped the group to organize more successful protests.
In Atlanta, successful sit-ins were organized in 1960. The group was successful in helped several African-Americans gain seats in the General Assembly.
After the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Georgia General Assembly supported "massive resistance" to desegregation of Georgia's public schools. By 1960, Governor Ernest Vandiver was having to choose to follow federal mandates or close schools. He pushed for legislation that would create a committee to investigate the opinion of Georgians on the matter.
John Sibley, a segregationist lawyer who believed in resistance to federal mandates, led 10 hearings across the states to find out how the people felt. It was discovered that 60% of Georgians claimed they would rather close public schools that integrate.
Despite the findings, Sibley pushed for Georgia schools to desegregate on a limited basis. The legislature set to vote on the matter January 1961, but when UGA was integrated, focus changed. When Vandiver unsuccessfully tried to close UGA, he gave up and asked the General Assembly to accept Sibley's recommendations. Within a year, Atlanta schools desegregated.
Desegregation of UGA
Both were refused admission to UGA because of their race. Publically, UGA claimed their rejection was due to lack of housing & Holmes' vagueness during interviews. After numerous denials, both took their case to federal court where they ruled in favor of Holmes & Hunter. Both began classes January 6, 1961.
Soon after arriving on campus, a mob of students, locals and members of the KKK started a riot, throwing bricks and rocks through Holmes' dorm window. Georgia State Patrol escorted both students back to Atlanta. A few days later, the court ruled that Holmes and Hunter be reinstated and allowed to return to campus. The both eventually graduated from UGA. Holmes back a successful doctor in the Atlanta area until his death in 1995. Hunter became a well-respected journalist, still working in that profession today. In 2001, UGA celebrated the 40th anniversary of desegregation by renaming an academic building after Holmes and Hunter.
The Albany Movement
In draw more attention to the cause, the SNCC invited Martin Luther King, Jr to take part in the protest. He was arrested many times, but always immediately released from jail. Most of the protesters were jailed, leaving almost no one left to protest.
By summer 1962, the Albany Movement was viewed as a failed attempt to desegregate an entire community, but a valuable learning lesson. King used what he learned, including the power of protest songs, in his campaigns in Birmingham. Despite the failure, black citizens of Albany believed they accomplished a lot. After King and the SNCC left, an African-American nominee for a county commission seat was in a run-off election. The following spring, all segregation laws were removed.
March on Washington
The Civil Rights Acts
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
The voting Rights Act of 1965
Maynard Jackson (1938 - 2003)
Jackson attended Morehouse College, graduating in 1956 at 18. He worked towards a law degree at Boston University, but did not complete. He later finished his degree, earning it from North Carolina Central University in 1964.
Jackson moved back to Georgia in 1968, running against Herman Talmadge for Senate which he lost. He was a force to be reckoned with in city policies. Within 4 years, he became mayor of Atlanta at the age of 35.
He served as mayor from 1973 - 1981 and 1990 - 1994. While mayor, he was instrumental in providing more contract work to black-owned businesses and expanding Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport. He also sought to add more black police officers to the city's force and make sure that African-Americans were promoted in the department. During his term in the 1990s, he worked with Andrew Young and Billy Payne to bring the Olympics to the city.
He retired from public life in 1994 due to health issues. He continued to be active in business and started his own security and bond business. Jackson died in 2003 in Washington DC. In his honor, Atlanta renamed the airport Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Lester Maddox (1915 - 2003)
Maddox was born in Atlanta. After dropping out of high school, working several jobs, he opened the Pickrick restaurant in 1947 near the Georgia Tech campus. He gained attention for advertisements for the restaurant in the Atlanta Journal newspaper. He later became known throughout the nation for his use of ax handles to forcefully remove African-Americans who tried to integrate his restaurant. He closed it over integrating it.
In the late 50s, early 60s, he was quite unsuccessful in campaigns for mayor, losing to William B. Hartsfield and Ivan Allan Jr. He did win the governor's office in 1966 and later lieutenant governor where he clashed with Governor Jimmy Carter over many issues. He was unsuccessful in reclaiming the governors office in 1974 as well as the presidency in 1976. Once he retired, he tried his hand at business again, but never as successful as the Pickrick. Throughout his life, he apologized for his defense of segregation. Maddox died from cancer at the age of 87.
Young became very active the the Civil Rights Movement, primarily focusing on voting. He resigned from his job and started working for the SCLC where he organized "citizenship schools" that helped train civil rights volunteers in organizing & taking part in non-violent protests. He soon became a close associate to Martin Luther King Jr. He successfully organized demonstrations and voter registration campaigns throughout the South. He was with Dr. King the day of his assassination.
Young began his political career in 1972, He was elected as Georgia's first African-American Congressman since Reconstruction. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed him ambassador to the United Nations. He resigned from this position in 1979 after meeting with members of the Palestine Libertarian Organization which was a known terrorist organization in the US at the time.
He was elected mayor of Atlanta in 1981. As mayor, he was instrumental in the growth of the city, gaining national and international prestige. Young continued to work for Georgia's economic development after leaving office, serving as co-chair of Georgia's 1996 Olympic Committee and working as a consultant for many international organizations which he continues to do today.