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White Resistance to

Civil Rights

CHQ: How did various forms of segregation
lead to white resistance to the Civil Rights

How do we know what is right and what is wrong? .

and legal discrimination in the South due primarily to: A)The prejudice of Southern whites? B) The failure of local authorities to enforce the Constitution? C) The inaction of the federal government? D) The Supreme Court’s failure to strike down segregation earlier? → In other words. Was racism. segregation. which of the above factors best explains “white resistance”? .

or touch or speak suggestively to white women – lynching was the most extreme form of punishment for blacks who violated these unwritten rules . Jim Crow Culture – Blacks were referred to as “boy” (regardless of age) by whites – Blacks were expected to address whites as “Mr.” – Whites and blacks did not shake hands. which implied equality – Black men did not light cigarettes for white women.” or “Mrs.

1956 . Perpetuating Racism ● Children surrounded by segregation ● Often thought of as their “way of life” ● Sudden change often leads to backlash Associated Press.

) – Poor quality schools for Blacks . literacy tests. political power – Blacks were not hired and taxed to maintain public facilities that they could not use (parks. etc.). often lynching – Blacks were denied voting rights (through poll taxes. Changing Norms • Prior to civil rights changes whites wielded nearly all forms of power: – Blacks that did not follow customs faced violence. etc. beaches.

segregationists challenged integration with various forms of resistance Star Telegram. • Therefore. neighborhoods. restaurants. etc. 1963 . • Whites would be forced to have blacks in “their” schools. workplaces. Changing Norms Cont.

and murder • 1963 killings of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers • killing of 4 black girls in a church bombing in Birmingham. 1964 . Alabama. Forms of Resistance: Violence • KKK tried to delay integration through intimidation. • Police would help KKK or “look the other way” Don Sturkey. violence.

etc. “federal tyranny” and ignoring “states rights” 3. → blamed for “invading” the South. President Kennedy/Johnson. Birmingham church bombing. etc 2. Forms of Resistance: Violence Targets: 1. the Supreme Court under Earl Warren. Black Civil Rights activists • MLK’s residences were bombed several times. White sympathizers and white liberals. including “outsiders” coming into the southern states to promote civil rights . Federal Government: FBI officials.

segregation forever” – 1963 . ● “segregation now. Forms of Resistance: Politics Southern Manifesto: • 128 Congressmen signed this document (101 from the South) • The document blamed the Supreme Court for “clear abuse of judicial power” in Brown v. Board of Education and promised “massive resistance” Alabama Governor George Wallace: Wallace standing against desegregation while being ● Famous Democratic “populist” politician confronted by Deputy U. Attorney General Nicholas ○ Became a hero to segregationists for his defiance and resistance to integration Katzenbach at the University of Alabama in 1963. segregation tomorrow.S.

Forms of Resistance: Community Action • Grassroots protest and organizing tactics • Some whites argued civil rights was a communist Cold War conspiracy • FBI leader J. Edgar Hoover put civil rights activists – including MLK – under FBI surveillance Library of Congress. 1959 .

protests. lawsuits. newsletters. . and used “race-neutral language” in their opposition to integration • “maintaining tradition and custom”. “protecting our children”. • Citizen’s Councils rejected the overt racism and violence of the KKK. “preserving state’s rights”. and also organized marches. Forms of Resistance: Community Action White Citizens Council: • Threatened “economic reprisals” on blacks and whites who supported civil rights. etc. “protecting law and order”. etc.

C. many whites also used lawsuits to challenge civil rights laws • “Property Rights” arguments were used by some whites to challenge the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Argued that deciding who was served and hired was a personal choice as a business owner • S. Forms of Resistance: Law • As the civil rights movement gained momentum. upholds the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the case of Heart of Atlanta Motel v US • discrimination in “employment” and in places of “public accommodation” is illegal under federal law .

segregation.Was racism. and legal discrimination in the South due primarily to: A)The prejudice of Southern whites? B) The failure of local authorities to enforce the Constitution? C) The inaction of the federal government? D) The Supreme Court’s failure to strike down segregation earlier? → In other words. which of the above factors best explains “white resistance”? .

1957 . Prejudice of Southern Whites ● “Jim Crow” and culture of racism ● Anti-Integration Protests ● Backlash in response to Brown v. Associated Press. Board of Education ● Mistreatment of African Americans ○ Little Rock 9 ○ Actions of the KKK The Little Rock Nine being escorted by the National Guard to Little Rock Central High School.

1943) ○ Police set dogs on Birmingham protests ○ Emmitt Till.Biased local courts. police and juries . Failure of local authorities ● Think back to that question: How do we know what’s right and wrong? ● Inaction of Authorities/Police Forces ○ Lack of action against lynchings ● Discrimination/Racism of Police Force ○ Cases of police aiding in racial violence (Claude Screws.

Established the Civil Rights Commission ● Federal Govt hardly enforced civil rights laws/rulings ● Truman began by desegregating armed forces and Eisenhower followed ○ But. what about the rest of the country? ○ Where were the real actions? ● Did not enforce some earlier Supreme Court decisions .prohibiting racial violence towards African Americans ○ 1957. Inaction of Federal Government ● No Federal Govt Action between 1871 and 1957 ○ 1871.

Board of Education (1954)- Desegregate all public schools ○ Heart of Atlanta Motel v US . but none were strike down taken ● In many cases. Ferguson (1896). Bradley (1976)- Segregation based on unintentional district lines are okay ● Some efforts made to desegregate schools Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). it permitted the segregation of blacks in public facilities throughout the colleges land.Desegregate cases to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. one of the most important ○ Sweatt v. Supreme Court even upheld segregation and discrimination ○ Plessy v. Supreme Court’s failure to ● Multiple opportunities to make efforts to strike down segregation. Interpreting law in a way that lasted for more than a half century.Separate but equal ○ Milliken v. (Library of Congress) ○ Brown v. Painter (1950).