Tag Archives: civil rights

The North Carolina History Project

The Civil Rights Movement was an effort, among many things, to overturn segregation, commonly known as Jim Crow legislation.  Throughout the Jim Crow South (1890-1960), state laws required blacks and whites to use separate facilities, attend different schools, sit in different places in theaters and buses, and even to be buried in different areas in cemeteries—to draw only four illustrations from various cases.  As early as the 1930s, African Americans protested these laws.  In Greensboro, black ministers boycotted the War Memorial Auditorium’s opening, and young people there started a theater boycott.  Lumberton youth marched to protest a lack of educational opportunities.  Meanwhile during the twentieth century, municipality leaders, including Charlotteans, used local ordinances to create residential segregation.

The Civil Rights Movement, as it commonly known, began in the 1950s.  In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Brown decision, and schools were ordered to desegregate.  For some time North Carolina avoided compliance, with various creative ideas such as the Pearsall Plan.  Meanwhile in the 1950s, North Carolina blacks started what would become known as sit –ins.  In 1957 seven blacks, for example, demanded service in the white section of a Durham ice cream parlor.

In 1960, a series of events occurred in North Carolina and began the Civil Rights Movement in earnest.  The Greensboro Sit-In occurred in North Carolina, and this demonstration gained national attention and set an example for others to follow throughout the Jim Crow South.  Four N.C. A & T State University students walked to the downtown Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, sat in the white section of the store’s restaurant, and demanded service.   In time, more and more students started protesting in Greensboro and protests spread to Raleigh.  In the capital city, Shaw University and St. Augustine’s College students carried out sit-ins at various stores.  At other time, college students picketed stores.  Picketers, in one instance, were arrested at Cameron Village.  Although storeowners initially resisted accommodating the blacks, they eventually complied for legal and economic purposes.

Several organizations helped organize and energize the Civil Rights Movement.  The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sponsored the Freedom Rides in 1961; black and white bus riders boarded Greyhounds and Trailways buses and challenged segregation on the buses and in the bus stations.  In North Carolina, the riders experienced no violent resistance.  The following year, the organization led a successful campaign against Howard Johnson’s restaurants.  During the mid-1960s and under the leadership of Floyd B. McKissick, a Durham attorney, CORE embraced black nationalism. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), like CORE, evolved into a more confrontational group.  Ella Baker of Raleigh trained students to live in the rural South and to participate in task forces assigned to educate rural blacks and register them to vote.  In the mid-1960s, student enthusiasm waned for the nonviolent approach, but under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael, student interest revived as the organization promoted black nationalism and black power.  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a legal arm of the Civil Rights Movement, worked to ensure that the law was applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.  Reginald Hawkins was a prominent leader.  Kelly Alexander reorganized the Charlotte NAACP chapter and emerged as one of the Tar Heel State’s leading civil rights leaders during the 1950s and 1960s. Ministers led the Southern Leadership Conference (SCLC), an influential organization that consistently employed nonviolent means.  A well-known North Carolina SCLC leader was Golden Aros Franks; he led various protests in eastern North Carolina towns.

Although Kenneth R. Williams served on the Winston Salem Board of Aldermen during the late 1940s, North Carolina blacks, as a voting bloc, lost political power during the late 1890s and lacked political power, until the passage of national legislation such as the Voting Rights Act.   After blacks regained their suffrage rights, more and more blacks could run for political office and were elected to public office.  Others were appointed to public office.  Henry E. Frye, for example, was appointed to the North Carolina Supreme Court and became the first African American to serve in that capacity.

50 Years Later

Banning-Interracial-Marriage

 

 

Good Morning World Wide Web!  Today in the United States the waves of telecommunications are ignited with the commemoration of a milestone.  One that took place 50 years ago.  That milestone was the peak of a movement called the Civil Rights Movement.  There was a march on the U.S. capital led by several Civil Rights activists.  The activist most famous to Americans is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King delivered the famous “I have a Dream” speech 8/28/1963.  The goal of this movement was to make sure that the rights of all people were equally protected by the law, including the rights of minorities.   There were movements that took place around the world that were similar.

The Independence Movements in Africa, Canada’s Quiet Revolution, The North Ireland civil rights movement, The Chicano Movement, The American Indian movement, German Students Movement, France, and so many others.  Simultaneously, there were movements going on around the world.  They all fought for equality in the eyes of the law for whatever the subject or issue was.

Someone recently told me that we can’t understand the future unless we understand our history.  Knowing where we come from is essential to gaining traction in where we are going as people in our world.  Continuing to progress is based on understanding what we are building upon.  Unless people are going to break up and fall out of love, or there are going to be groups of melanin content to just disappear, diversity is going to become one of the single most important elements of our existence.  Changes that will challenge our current understanding and force many outside of their comfort zones.

50 years later, we’ve had laws continue and some reversed.  We’ve seen things change and some that have stayed the same.  The ones that are important to all of us are unique.  Dr. King’s “I have a dream speech” allowed him to open his heart wide when he imagined the 4 most important people to him; his children;  having a life that he could have only dreamed about at that time.  He poured his heart into his words, and people with similar dreams followed, and marched; peacefully.

The Racial Integrity Act of 1924 prohibited the marriage of people classified as “white” and people classified as “colored.” On June 12, 1967 “Loving vs. Virginia” was a landmark civil rights case that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the United States.  This landmark case was followed by an increase from that time in marriages of interracial couples.

Anti-Miscegenation-Laws-Map

 

 

Federal immigration and military policies also prevented interracial marriages.  After World War II , American soldiers were forbidden to marry “foreign” women.

A 2012 Study at UCLA showed unmarried same-sex couples and straight couples have higher rates of interracial relationships than married couples.  If you expand the scope of this information to couples that actually adopt children of different races then the numbers of interracial families are higher also.   The fact that interracial couples aren’t marrying shows that our society is still very far from being “post racial” or “colorblind.”  Often the element of couples can marry interracially is used to show that we live in a post racial society.  Do we truly live in a post racial society?  The box OTHER (referring to a race) other than what’s been available since the 1800’s didn’t become a part of the US Census until the year 2000.  This information along with recent activities, like a Cheerios commercial that ignited, support, fury and in some cases racial hatred to come to the surface, should encourage us to explore these factors that shape our understandings, and still limit interracial couples, biracial children and racial relations so that we can truly advance and become the diverse nation we were founded to be.

As Always, Thank you for your time and energy.  I appreciate your support!  Join the conversation on Twitter @wecheckother.  Until the Next,

Others’Mother