Klan nightriders surround his home, firebomb it, and then shoot at him, his wife, and daughter when they try to escape the burning building. Turnbow grabs his rifle and returns fire, driving them off. The county Sheriff arrests Turnbow, accusing him of firebombing his own house and shooting it full of holes to win sympathy from Northern movement supporters. The Movement carries on, and people of courage respond.
In Sunflower County, Fannie Lou Hamer , 46 years old, mother of two children, a sharecropper and plantation worker all her life, steps up to register after talking to SNCC organizers and attending a voter registration mass meeting. She and almost 20 others go down to the courthouse in Indianola. The cops stop the old bus they are using, and arrest the driver because the bus is "the wrong color.
Hamer returns home she is fired from her job and evicted from her home of 18 years. Klan marauders shoot up the house of a friend who gives her shelter. See Struggle for the Vote Continues in Mississippi for continuation. They stage sit-ins at segregated businesses and institutions, including lunch counters, the courthouse, and City Hall itself. More than are arrested. In support of those who have been busted, hundreds of protesters gather around the jail and courthouse.
Newly-elected mayor Wense Grabarek who has not yet been sworn into office convinces the cops to allow food deliveries for the prisoners and the crowd returns to campus. They then target the Howard Johnson's, and hundreds of students sit down in the parking lot to block its use by customers. They are arrested. More demonstrators are arrested on May 20, raising the total to over 1, and filling the jails and courthouse holding cells. Hundreds of white citizens mostly employed by Duke University take out a full-page newspaper ad urging desegregation, but other whites adamantly support the old order of white-supremacy and Black subservience.
Racists mobilized by the Klan and White Citizens Council attack protesters in the downtown area, throwing rocks, firecrackers, and apples containing shards of broken glass at the Black students and their white supporters. The protests and the racist violence deter shoppers, and retail business in Durham's downtown economic core plummets.
Black student leaders confront the city council, demanding immediate desegregation, school integration, and an end to job discrimination. Wense Grabarek, the new Durham mayor, assumes office. Elected in part with Black support, he immediately meets with Black leaders, including the student activists and direct action groups like CORE.
On May 21st, he addresses a freedom rally at St. Joseph's church. He promises to oppose segregation and calls for a bi-racial committee to resolve the issue. He asks Durham Blacks to suspend protests in the interim. Within a few months segregation is ended at almost all of the city's public buildings, movies, lunch counters, hotels, swimming pools, the Chamber of Commerce, and even the bitterly-contested Royal Ice Cream parlor and Carolina theater. A few months later, Durham repeals the law requiring racial-segregation in eating establishments and a statement is adopted opposing discrimination based on race, color, creed, or national origin as contrary to constitutional principles and policies of the city and the nation.
For the first time, Blacks are admitted to Industrial Education Center job training programs for what used to be "white-only" retail occupations such as cashier and clerk. Companies under federal contract agree to abide by fair-hiring regulations as required by federal law, half a dozen Durham banks, some insurance firms, and Duke University all agree to end race-based job discrimination. Covert, "de-facto," race-discrimination in employment, education, housing, and other areas of economic and social life continues in less naked fashion, but segregation is no longer overt public-policy enforceable by law.
In the after-glow of Birmingham , in May of mass action against segregation is renewed in Greensboro, NC. Though both the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants Association issue statements in favor of integration, local eating establishments and other businesses adamantly refuse to end segregation. On May 17 and 18, more than are arrested for sitting in and other acts of civil disobedience. As the number of arrests continues to climb, the jail is filled to capacity. An abandoned polio hospital and the National Guard armory have to be converted into temporary prisons.
Each day, Bennett College president Willa Player, a staunch supporter of the freedom struggle, visits her imprisoned students to bring them food, mail, and homework assignments so they don't fall behind in preparation for final exams which are fast approaching. With so many students incarcerated, parents and community elders step up to continue the struggle. More than a thousand wave their toothbrushes in the air to indicate they are ready protesters carried toothbrushes and cigarettes for the inevitable sojourn in the slammer.
Marches are shifted to the evening so that working adults can participate and on the 22nd, some 2, Blacks and a few whites, including many adults, participate in a silent march to Jefferson Square, the intersection that marks the center of Greensboro's downtown business district. Overwhelmed by the number of prisoners they have to house and care for, city officials declare that bail is waived, all of the demonstrators can go home.
Most of the jailed students refuse to leave, saying: " You arrested us and put us here for demanding our civil rights, now you can keep us here and feed us. Greensboro Mayor David Schenck appoints Dr. George Evans, a Black school board member, to form a new committee to negotiate with the owners of segregated businesses towards achieving desegregation. The Black Coordinating Council demands an ordinance prohibiting segregation in public accommodations instead of requiring it , complete school desegregation, promotion of " Negro Police " to full law-enforcement status, hiring of Blacks for city jobs, and dismissal of charges against protesters.
On the 24th, they agree to temporarily suspend demonstrations pending the outcome of the Evans Committee effort. More than 1, whites sign a pro-integration ad in the Greensboro Daily News. But the segregated businesses refuse to budge. With school ending for the year, demonstrations are resumed in early June.
He declares, " We have given ample time for the committee to negotiate. We are concerned with actions, not words ," On Sunday, June 2nd, he leads a silent march of into downtown. On Wednesday evening, Jackson leads to protest at City Hall where, instead of praying silently on the sidewalk, they move into the street where they both pray and block traffic. Greensboro Police Captain William Jackson no relation to Jesse orders them to clear the street or face arrest.
Singing freedom songs, the marchers return to their church without incident. One adult marcher tells the mass meeting: We are tired of being maids, tired of taking care of their babies, cleaning their houses, doing their washing and ironing; then they spit in our faces. We aren't going to do it anymore, I tell you. We're going to have our freedom. But the white people aren't going to give it to us. We have to take it. I'm not afraid. I have a brother in jail in Danville.
He isn't afraid. You can't believe in white people's promises. You know that. I have two children here. I'm not afraid to die because this isn't living. I don't care if the blood runs in the streets. On the morning of Thursday, June 6, word spreads that an "Inciting to Riot" warrant has been issued for Jesse Jackson because he led the demonstrators into the street the night before at City Hall.
Jesse addresses the crowd: In a few minutes I will be in jail. You are in jail as much as I. Many of our fathers fought in the Second World War, some spent long months in prisoner of war camps. My father fought in the Second World War and came home 'to the land of the free and the home of the brave. This movement won't stop with me in jail. Or you in jail. We have plenty of leaders.
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Patrick Henry said, 'Give me liberty or give me death. I have a infinite love of America and my feeling for America transcends my feeling for Greensboro. Everyone knows he is just doing his duty as ordered by those in power above him. But there is deep anger at Jesse's arrest on an absurd charge there had been no riot and at the white businessmen who insist on maintaining the humiliations of segregation. Jesse's arrest galvanizes the Black community. In the twilight of a summer evening, a long column of singing marchers, two-by-two on the sidewalk, come flowing into downtown.
The cops are ready. Every available Greensboro officer, the sheriffs and all their reserves, and 50 state Highway Patrolmen have been mobilized. Hundreds of remaining demonstrators return to their neighborhoods to mobilize an even bigger protest for the next day. The following afternoon, Mayor Schenck makes a public address from a local TV station. He calls for an immediate end to segregation in eating establishments, theaters, hotels, and motels.
Selection of customers purely by race is outdated, morally unjust, and not in keeping with either democratic or Christian philosophy. A divided Coordinating Council agrees to again suspend direct action. Within a week, a quarter of Greensboro's segregated restaurants and businesses agree to desegregate.
But unlike Durham, progress in Greensboro is slow and grudging, with recalcitrant white resistance that Schenck and the power-structure are either unable or unwilling to overcome. Some Black student leaders call for a renewal of mass protests, but the momentum has faded and though they undertake some small actions there is nothing on the scale of May and June. When the Civil Rights Act of ends legally-enforced segregation nationwide a year later, more than half of Greensboro's eating establishments are still segregated.
Most of Jackson's Black churches allow boycott leaders to speak at Sunday services. Underground boycott committees are active in many of Jackson's Black neighborhoods and there are secret student committees at the three Black high schools, Lanier, Brinkly, and Jim Hill. But against the entrenched resistance of the White Citizens Council backed by state and local government, they know that the boycott alone is not strong enough to break segregation in Jackson Mississippi.
Inspired by the Birmingham Movement , they are convinced that similar mass protests are necessary in Jackson. Though they reluctantly accept the necessity of a few pickets being arrested to publicize the boycott, they adamantly oppose sit-ins, mass marches, or other tactics that they associate with Dr. King, whom they view as an upstart rival.
As an employee of the national organization, Medgar is prohibited from endorsing or participating in mass direct action. On May 12, Jackson boycott leaders send a letter to the white power-structure demanding fair employment, an end to segregation, and biracial negotiations with officials and community leaders. Large-scale, Birmingham-style, direct action is threatened if the city refuses to meet with Black leaders. The letter is signed by Medgar, Mrs. Led by Mayor Allen Thompson, the power-structure adamantly refuses to make any concessions or to meet with Black leaders.
Mayor Thompson refuses to meet with the elected committee. Instead he appoints his own "Negro Committee" composed of conservative, pro-segregation Blacks, such as Jackson State College President Jacob Reddix who had previously suppressed civil rights activity on his campus. They are joined by youth advisor Hunter Bear. The boycott pickets outside are immediately arrested as usual. But, surprisingly, the cops do not bust those who are sitting in.
Water mixed with pepper is thrown into their eyes. Jackson Police Captain Ray and dozens of cops do nothing as Memphis Norman is pulled from his stool, beaten and kicked. After he loses consciousness, the cops arrest him. Joan too is beaten, kicked, and dragged to the door, but with steadfast, nonviolent courage she manages to resume her seat. FBI agents observe, and as usual do nothing. Hunter Bear John Salter later described what happened: Someone struck me several hard blows on the side of my face.
I almost passed out and had to grip the counter for support. My face was bleeding. Then I was struck on the back of the head and almost pased out again. I was dizzy and could hardly hear myself talking, but I asked Annie Moody what she thought of the final examination questions that I had asked in Introduction to Social Studies. She smiled and said that she felt they were much too tough. Joan Trumpauer began to talk about her final exams. More ketchup and mustard were poured over us. Then sugar was dumped in our hair. We talked on. Beittel, President of Tougaloo College, sits down to join the students' protest.
Unable to intimidate the sit-ins, the mob begins to smash up the store. At that point, the police immediately order them out. In Mississippi it's okay to savagely attack "race mixers," but destroying commercial property won't be tolerated. The Mayor meets with the Black "leaders" selected by him and tells them he will desegregate public facilities such as parks and libraries, hire some Negro cops, and promote a few Black sanitation workers. That night, more than 1, people attend a mass meeting at Pearl St. Church to support the boycott and the sit-ins.
The young activists call for mass protest marches like those in Birmingham. But at the urging of the more conservative Black ministers, the young activists agree to temporarily halt demonstrations while the Mayor's promise is tested. The next day, Wednesday May 29, the Mayor denies that he made any concessions at all.
He announces that protests will not be tolerated and hastily deputizes 1, "special officers" drawn from the ranks of the most virulent racists. A mob of whites and over cops prowl Capitol Street ready to pounce on any pickets or sit-ins. Woolworths and other stores close their lunch counters and remove the seats. That night a firebomb is thrown at Medgar's home. The police refuse to investigate, calling it a "prank. With the public school term ending the next day Friday, the 31st , high school students begin mobilizing for mass marches to begin as soon as school lets out.
At Lanier and Brinkley High, Youth Council activists lead several hundred students singing freedom songs on the lawn during lunch break. Cops force the Lanier students back into the building with clubs and dogs. The school is surrounded, and parents are beaten and arrested when try to reach school. To protest police brutality, Tougaloo students and community adults stage a nonviolent protest at the Jackson Federal building site of federal court, FBI, and US Marshal's offices.
Even though they are on federal property and their action is protected by the First Amendment, they are immediately arrested by the Jackson police. FBI agents and Justice Department officials observe this violation of Constitutionally-protected free speech, but do nothing about it. As soon as school lets out for the summer on Friday May 31st, close to Lanier, Brinkley, and Jim Hill high school students join students on summer break from Tougaloo and Jackson State at Farish Street Baptist Church for the first mass march.
Their plan is continuous marches like Birmingham with jail-no-bail for those arrested there is no money for bail bonds, and the cost of incarcerating hundreds of protesters will put pressure on the authorities. Hundreds of cops, troopers, "special deputies," and sheriffs surround the church. Whites in cars prowl the city waving Confederate flags.
Carrying American flags, they start towards the downtown shopping district on Capital Street. The cops block the street. They grab the flags from the marchers and drop them in the dirt. Beating some of the marchers with clubs, they force them into garbage trucks and take them to the animal stockade at the nearby state fairgrounds. Department of Justice officials observe, and do nothing.
That night people attend a huge mass meeting. Though the students planned to go jail-no-bail, NAACP lawyers who oppose mass marches convince many of them to bond out. And the minors are forced to sign a no-demonstration pledge before being released. But a hard core of protesters over the age of 18 hold out, refusing to sign the pledge.
Helen Wilcher of Jackson are arrested for picketing downtown stores. It is Wilkins first-ever civil rights arrest, and the three are quickly bonded out. They argue for voter registration and continuing the boycott in the same manner as the past six months. Despite their opposition, late in the day students and adults march. The cops are caught by surprise, and the marchers manage to get several blocks through the Black community before being surrounded and hauled to the fair grounds stockade in garbage trucks. Using their control of funds, the national NAACP leaders oust the student and Youth Council activists from the democratically elected strategy committee and replace them with conservative ministers and affluent community "leaders" who oppose Birmingham-style mass action.
The new, reconstituted, committee agrees to refocus on the boycott, voter registration, and court cases. Without the sustaining energy of mass action, morale sags and attendance at mass meetings drops, though a hard core of students are still holding out in the stockade, refusing to be bonded out. On Thursday, June 6th, a Hinds County court issues a sweeping injunction against all forms of movement activity. Though the injunction blatantly violates Constitutionally protected rights of free-speech and assembly, the national NAACP leaders who have taken over the Jackson movement choose not defy it with direct action.
Discouraged and disheartened, the last students accept bond and leave the stockade. I came down here to be with that little man in the streets; and I was willing to go to jail for ten years, if necessary to get this problem straight. Without the pressure of sit-ins and mass marches, neither local officials nor the federal government have any reason to challenge the status quo.
And without the defiance of young protesters inspiring the courage of their elders, the NAACP's voter registration drive has little success. See Medgar Evers Assassination for continuation. Population almost 50,, one-third Black, two-thirds white. Strict segregation is the rule in Danville, few Blacks are registered to vote, whites hold all political offices, and the police are all white.
They file suit in demanding the integration of Danville's hospitals, schools, cemeteries, public buildings, public housing projects, teaching assignments, and city employment opportunities. In early they are arrested for trying to integrate a Howard Johnson restaurant. They call for desegregation of public and government facilities, fair employment, representation in government, and a biracial committee to monitor and address racial issues. A boycott of white merchants is declared, and a march to City Hall follows. Most of the marchers are high school students led by Ezell Barksdale and Thurman Echols.
There is a similar march each day for the next five days. He refuses to meet with them. They refuse to leave and sit down on floor to wait. They are all are arrested for "inciting to riot. The daily march escalates to civil disobedience by sitting down on Main Street to block traffic. The next day Archibald Aiken, the local judge, issues an injunction forbidding protesters from interfering with traffic or business, obstructing entrances to buildings, participating in or inciting mob violence, or using loud language that might disrupt the peace.
I Was There (1963)
This law, passed in after a slave uprising, makes it serious felony to ".. Black attorney and Movement activist Len Holt, who has been defending arrested protesters, is later added to the indictment. Answering the call, Movement activists arrive in Danville. On Monday, June 10, nonviolent protesters kneel in prayer on the City Hall steps.
They are viciously attacked by police and hastily deputized city employees using clubs and high pressure firehoses. Of 65 protesters, 50 are arrested and 48 are injured seriously enough to require medical attention which is not forthcoming at the inadequate, segregated, Black infirmary the city hospital is "white-only".
Arrested high school students are encouraged by the authorities to call their parents. When their mothers and fathers arrive at the jail, they are arrested for "Contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Daily marches continue. On June 13, more than led by Rev. Chase march to City Hall to once again try to see the Mayor. As usual, he refuses to meet with Blacks. The protesters then wait for 9 hours on the City Hall steps. The sing freedom songs, Jim Forman of SNCC gives a lecture on Black history, and local church women bring them sandwiches and soft drinks.
Finally, as the police mass for another attack, the demonstrators fall back to their church for a mass meeting. Cops armed with submachine guns and a tank set up roadblocks to intimidate those who try to attend the meeting. By August 28th, date of the March on Washington , over have been arrested in Danville on charges of inciting to violence, contempt, trespassing, disorderly conduct, assault, parading without a permit, and resisting arrest.
Danville sends a large contingent to join the huge march, but back home the arrests, violence, and intimidation have sapped the movement's strength. Demonstrations dwindle and become less frequent. It is only after the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of and the Voting Rights Act of that conditions for Danville's Black community start to slowly change. The hundreds of legal cases arising out of the suppression of the Danville Movement drag on for 10 years.
Eventually, the injunction is upheld and the convictions are allowed to stand, but the jail sentences are suspended. Many of the local leaders who form the backbone of the Southern Freedom Movement across the South come up through the Citizenship Schools, first as students, then as teachers of others.
On the return trip, they have to change busses in Columbus MS. The driver shoves them out of line and forces them to sit segregated in the back of the bus. He calls ahead to the next rest stop at Winona MS, alerting the police and State Troopers who are ready when the bus pulls in on Sunday, June 9th. The actions of the driver and the police are in flagrant violation of the federal "no-segregation" regulations won by the Freedom Rides and numerous court rulings.
They are taken to an isolated county jail where no one can hear them scream. One by one they are taken to the interrogation room. June is stripped naked and beaten with a blackjack until the blood pours down her face. Annell is next. They call her "nigger bitch," and demand that she address them as "Sir.
They beat her down to the floor, again, and again. Bloody and battered, they drag her back to the cells. Then they come for Fannie Lou Hamer. The police know she tried to register to vote, and tell her, " You, bitch, you, we're going to make you wish you were dead. A Mississippi State Trooper tells them, " If you don't beat her, you know what we'll do to you. Hamer with a thich leather cosh.
When the first one tires, they switch places. Euvester Simpson, still a teenager, shares a cell that night with Mrs. Hamer, I sat up all night with her applying cold towels and things to her face and hands trying to get her fever down and to help some of the pain go away. And the only thing that got us through that was that We sang all night. I mean songs got us through so many things, and without that music I think many of us would have just lost our minds or lost our way completely. When SNCC field secretary Lawrence Guyot calls the Winona jail from Greenwood, he is told he has to come in person to find out the charges, bail, and condition of the prisoners.
Winona is only 25 miles from Greenwood and he arrives quickly. The police are waiting for him. They beat him with gun butts, strip him naked and threaten to burn off his genitals. Eventually a doctor warns the cops that they are close to killing him. The Sherrif then arrests Guyot for "attempted murder. She reports back to the Greenwood office, " Annell's face was swollen Hamer never fully recovers from her injuries, suffering from damage to her kidneys and partial loss of sight in one eye for the rest of her life. In September, public pressure finally prods the Justice Department to file charges against the Sheriff, a State Trooper and three other police for conspiring to deprive the six of their civil rights.
An all-white jury acquits them of all charges in December. In later years Mrs. Hamer often speaks of Winona and the affect it had on her: I'm never sure any more when I leave home whether I'll get back or not. Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I'll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I'm not backing off. Alabama for previous events. In the years following Autherine Lucy's unsuccessful effort to integrate the University of Alabama in , hundreds of Blacks apply for admission.
They are all denied. The university works with state and local police to dig up any slander or accusation that can be used to disqualify Black applicants. And in cases where that fails, economic and physical intimidation and beauracratic evasion suffices. They refuse to be intimidated, and the frantic efforts of state detectives fail to find any grounds for disqualifying them. In early June a federal judge issues an injunction ordering their admission and forbidding Governor Wallace from interfering.
Back in , when Wallace announced his candidacy for Governor, he promise defend segregation at all costs and to resist integration to the end even if it meant defying court orders, saying: " I shall refuse to abide by any such illegal federal court order even to the point of standing in the schoolhouse door, if necessary. Marshalls injured. Finally, at long last, with national support for civil rights growing, they are beginning to lose patience with the more extreme southern segregationists. June 11 is registration day for the university's summer session.
With his eye on future political prospects, Wallace orders the Klan to stay away from Tuscaloosa, he wants no violence to upstage his political theater. Deputy U. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach later Attorney General in the Johnson administration confronts Wallace who is standing at a podium in front of the building.
In the full view of TV news cameras, Wallace cuts off Katzenbach's words and launches into a tirade condemning the federal government for usurping "states rights. This time the Kennedys are ready. They immediately federalize the Alabama National Guard. Backed by rifles and bayonets, the commander of the guard does his duty, ordering Wallace to obey the court order. His political points scored and his segregationist credentials burnished, Wallace steps aside and Vivian Malone and James Hood are registered. Dave McGlathery is registered without incident at the Huntsville campus the following day.
That night, Kennedy addresses the nation on civil rights. President Kennedy orders him aside and enforces federal court integration orders. That night, in response to Wallace's bombastic rhetoric and to explain his actions, JFK addresses the nation on civil rights. For the first time he unequivocally condemns segregation and racial discrimination, and he announces his intention to submit to Congress a new, effective, civil rights bill. This nation] was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.
It ought to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his color. In short, every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated. But this is not the case. We are confronted primarily with a moral issue.
It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution. One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. And this nation, for all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free. During the campaign, JFK had assured southern white voters that he saw no need for any new civil rights legislation, and at the same time he told northern liberals and Blacks that he would address civil rights issues by issuing executive orders.
Once in office, however, he proved slow and reluctant to use his executive powers on behalf of southern Blacks and denied any need for new laws. He shoots Medgar in the back and flees into the night. Medgar's wife Myrlie and their children rush to his side as he lays dying in the driveway. He is just 37 years old when they gun him down.
King is just 39 when he is assassinated in Memphis five years later. At the time of his assasination, Medgar Evers is the most prominent leader of the Mississippi freedom movement. The son of sharecroppers, he grows up in Decatur, Mississippi. Mound Bayou is a Black town founded by freed slaves in the late s. In Medgar becomes the state's first NAACP field secretary, courageously traveling the state to organize and sustain the movement. He plays a key role in the desegregation of the University of Mississippi and the Jackson Movement. Medgar's assassination is part of a KKK plot to simultaneously murder freedom workers in three states: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
On June 23, De La Beckwith is arrested for the murder. His fingerprints are on the rifle, witnesses place him at the scene, and he boasts of his crime to White Citizen Council and Klan buddies. An all-white jury refuses to convict him. Walker who had helped incite the white mob when James Meredith integrated Ole Miss in De La Beckwith is tried a second time, and again an all-white jury fails to convict him. As Medgar's friend Sam Baily put it: " A white man got more time for killing a rabbit out of season than for killing a Negro in Mississippi.
Myrlie and the children move to California where she enrolls in Pomona College, graduating in She is active in public affairs and continues the struggle to have her husband's murderer arrested, tried, and punished. Byron De La Beckwith is tried a third time and convicted by a jury of eight Blacks and four whites.
He is given a life sentence, and dies in prison in The vast majority of doctors are white. Some will treat Black patients, but many refuse to treat Blacks under any circumstances, and others are like the Mississippi doctor who told historian James Cobb: " If there is a nigger in my waiting room who doesn't have three dollars in cash, he can sit there and die.
I don't treat niggers without money. And for those Blacks who can pay, the examination and treatment reflect the world-view of white-supremecy. Said one Black patient in the Mississippi Delta, " Most often I sits on one side of the office and he sits on the other asking questions. There ain't no listening, or thumping, or looking in the mouth like white folks get. Other hospitals require that a Black patient pay in cash before treatment white patients, of course, are treated immediately regardless of their economic circumstances.
There are few Black doctors or nurses, and most public and private medical and nursing schools in the South refuse to admit non-whites. Most hospitals and county health departments won't hire Blacks for anything other than menial jobs. In many counties, Black doctors are not allowed to treat their patients in those hospitals that do admit Blacks because hospital "privileges" are restricted to members of the county medical associations which are "whites-only.
According to the law, these federally-funded facilities are required to provide care to all races without discrimination, but Senator Lister Hill of Alabama added a "separate-but-equal" loophole which permitted segregated wards and buildings. The inevitable results of segregated and unequal health care are starkly revealed by government birth and natal statistics. In Alabama, infant mortality among Blacks is twice that of whites, and a Black mother is four times as likely to die in child-birth as a white woman. Inspired by the Sit-ins , Freedom Rides , and the struggle in Birmingham , a few progressive doctors decide to picket the convention to protest the AMA's continued tolerance of affiliated county and state medical societies that refuse to admit Black doctors, thereby denying them medical privileges in tax-funded hospitals.
They face a problem though, " doctors do not carry picket signs. Lear and Holloman met with the Atlantic City police chief who quickly grasps the class distinctions, " Yes, I understand, " he tells them. The outgoing president charges that the picketers are " typical They have at least forced the AMA to publicly acknowledge the issue, and there is significant press coverage of their protest. Returning home to Jackson Mississippi where he is one of just a handful of Black doctors, Bob Smith, " realized for the first time that from then on things would never be the same.
I saw that I was serving a purpose, that there was a higher calling, and that this thing needed the kind of leadership and pushing that we were bringing, and that we would never give up until we had achieved some of these goals. But there is no money or fund-raising mechanism to sustain the organization. Yet the ideas of a medical arm of the Freedom Movement, and equal access to health care as a civil right, do not die. Half the marchers are adults, the other half students from Tougaloo and Jackson State colleges and Lanier, Hill, and Brinkley high schools.
They are blocked by a swarm of hundreds of cops who arrest and violently force the others to disperse with clubs and guns. The young college and high school activists mobilize for a mass meeting at Pearl Street church that evening from which they intend to stage a large night march. Even though the police surround the church and intimidate those trying to attend, there is a huge turnout. The cops block it, tearing American flags from the hands of marchers as they arrest them. A crowd of Black bystanders watching the police brutality chant, " Freedom!
The cops and local press blame "outside agitators" for the growing anger and unrest among Jackson Blacks. Taken to the fair grounds stockade, the marchers are brutalized and some are forced into broiling hot "sweat boxes" under the blazing sun on a day when the temperature soars to over degrees. On Friday, June 14, young college and high school activists again gather for a march, but national NAACP leaders tell them that if they are arrested that day they won't be out of jail in time to attend Medgar's funeral scheduled for Saturday.
Everyone is expecting a massive demonstration in conjunction with the funeral. Most of the young demonstrators don't want to risk missing the funeral march, so only 37 are willing to protest. It is Flag Day, so they go downtown carrying American flags, but no freedom signs of any kind. They are beaten and arrested and their flags are seized. The national NAACP leaders agree to those terms and forbid the young activists from engaging in protest activity during or after the funeral procession.
Though bitterly disappointed, the militants who had worked soed so closely with Medgar understand that unity and discipline are essential. On Saturday, June 15, more than 5, people march in solemn funeral procession to honor Medgar Evers. Among them are Nobel laureate Ralph Bunche, Dr. An army of Jackson police, Mississippi State Troopers, and sheriff's deputies from many counties surround Collins funeral home. They are armed with rifles, shotguns, pistols, and snarling attack dogs.
Their faces are filled with hate. When the procession ends, the crowd spontaneously starts singing freedom songs in violation of the "silence" agreement. Suddenly they surge down Farish street towards Capitol Street in a spontaneous, unplanned, unorganized march. Police invade a nearby building to arrest yet again Hunter Bear and Reverend Ed King who are trying to find a telephone.
The police phalanx manages to block the marchers just short of Capitol Street. With clubs beating heads bloody, dogs lunging on their leashes, they slowly force the huge throng back to the Black portion of Farish street. Firing pistols and rifles over the protesters' heads they drive them up Farish Street, shattering the 2nd-story windows of Black-owned businesses.
Enraged by the vicious police violence, some angry Blacks retaliate by throwing rocks and bottles at the cops. As the troopers and deputies prepare to fire directly into the crowd, Department of Justice attorney John Doar places himself between the two opposing forces to avert a blood bath. With Medgar dead, the national NAACP leaders and conservative ministers bypass the elected steering committee and take complete control of the Jackson movement.
Over-ruling the Youth Council activists and a large segment of Jackson's Black community, they quash any resumption of mass direct action. In return for a no-demonstrations pledge, the Mayor agrees to hire six "Negro Police" and eight Black crossing guards, promote eight Black sanitation workers, and he promises that the City Council will hear Negro grievances in the future. But he refuses to accept a biracial committee.
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- King's dream: Looking back, marching forward for a new generation.
Nor is there any agreement on the part of store-owners to desegregate lunch counters, rest rooms, or other public facilities, hire Blacks, or use courtesy titles such as "Mister" or "Miss" to Black customers. In most cases, it denoted Black men hired to keep other Blacks in line on behalf of the white power-structure. While the specifics varied from one town to another, for the most part "Negro police" were paid less than white cops, often had different badges or no badges at all , could only work in Black neighborhoods, and were usually not permitted to arrest a white person even if they observed that person commit a serious crime.
As a general rule, they were armed with clubs, not guns. Nor could they assume any role that might imply social or occupational equality with a white man female police officers of any race were unheard of. In some jurisdictions, "Negro police" were not considered law enforcement officers by the local judicial system.
As a general rule, most Freedom Movement activists did not consider the hiring of "Negro police" to be any kind of victory, but rather a continuation of segregation. Ed King is riding with him. Without the power of mass action, the boycott fails to desegregate white-only facilities or obtain jobs for Blacks in white-owned businesses. Segregation remains the law in Jackson until it is overturned by the Civil Rights Act of , and defacto segregation continues for long after.
The NAACP's voter registration campaign fails, few voters are registered in Jackson until the Voting Rights Act of is finally passed after two more years of heroic struggle, deep-root organizing, and mass action. As Movement veterans, we note the following about the Jackson Movement of and the assasination of Medgar Evers: The Jackson Movement substantially cracked the mantle of fear which had enveloped the Black community in Jackson and its environs. It destroyed the self-serving white myth of Black satisfaction in Jackson and nearby counties.
The violence of Movement opponents played a significant role in supporting the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act of Film clips of the much-televised Woolworth Sit-In were shown to Congress at several points in debate over the Act. The Jackson Movement, and Medgar's martyrdom, played an important role in focusing national and international attention on Mississippi. By the time the Civil Rights Act of came into force, the white businessmen of Jackson were in no mood to do anything except quickly comply by ending formal, overt, segregation.
But equal employment took much longer, and to some degree job discrimination lingers to this day. See Jackson, MS Protests for continuation. I could not help but reflect on things such as the fact that we were not allowed -- people of color were not allowed on television shows, you know. That we did hold places in government. And I used the theme that had such a negative connotation, Stand Your Ground. And I hope I got over to the crowd. We need to seize that and use it as our own in a positive way.
Stand our ground for what we believe, for what we have worked and for what we have died for and move forward. That version of stand your ground. I love what you said about the young people. And I could sort of watch and see how they were responding. But it was also important what you just said there about this notion of the understanding of the history. And this is part of what I wanted to turn to you on Ms. Brown, because we talk about the march being 50 years ago. But of course, the planning was even two decades before that, because of A. Philip Randolph. Remind us, remind the viewers who A.
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In , there was the design for a march because there was disparities within the military and especially ammunitions. Randolph went to President Roosevelt to say there needed to be a change so those who served would have an opportunity for good jobs. But it was Eleanor Roosevelt who went to him and said this is the right thing to do. And with the signature of a pen made jobs that were sustainable jobs available to minorities.
Evers said, this was speaking in Washington, right, not just speaking in Washington but to Washington, the president will speak on Wednesday, on the actual day that is the 50th anniversary. What do you hope to hear from President Obama? But I hope that there will be a sense of a deeper understanding on his part and all of the others who are -- who did not have to go through the battles that we did, and to send a message that will be strong to our government officials that people simply are not going to sit back and accept things as they are. We have seen changes with the Supreme Court with voting rights and everything.
I am here, a person who had to count beans in a jar to be able to answer a question, how many bubbles in a bar of soap to be able to vote. We are still here. The problems still exist. BROWN: Well, I hope that the president will say no longer will the cabinet, the Congress hold back something that is so vital to this country. And maybe rethink the old idea about using that pen to bring two million people out of poverty wages into sustainable work and guaranteed ability to take care of their families.
Phillip Randolph on mass movement. Up next the workers inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The day before he was killed, Dr.
King spoke to workers urging them to adhere to nonviolence, warning that instances of looting that had broke out at a recent march and diverted the story away from the injustices of workers themselves were facing. Joining me now is the current president of that union and the first black man to hold the title, Lee Saunders. He also addressed those gathered for the march yesterday. Lee, I think people forget this was a march for jobs and freedom. They have attacked the private sector unions, private membership is now down to six percent, public sector membership and unions is about 35 percent.
So, they want to come after us. We still have resources. We still have power. So, they believe if they take us out as they did the private sector unions and they will have free rein to control this country and we have to stop them. We have to rebuild our coalition and continue to organize, not only in the public sector but rebuild our private sector unions. We have got to work with our community organizations, our allies, our coalition partners. That statement was we want to be treated fairly. We want to be able to achieve the American dream.
That has a kind of rippling effect for all workers whether they are in unions or not. Tell me when you think about organizing people into unions, explaining the importance of them, are the strategies different now, are the arguments different now than they were 50 years ago. We have to look at new sectors of the economy to organize. My union, AFSCME, we are organizing child care workers, home care workers, public service workers all over the country. We have taken some hits in the past couple of years simply because f what is going on in states like Wisconsin where Scott Walker stole or voices to collected bargaining away from us.
But I got to tell you, Melissa, there are number are charged up. They are frustrated with the fact that the top one percent in this country still control the 40 percent of this wealth. They are frustrated that CEOs are making on average times the amount of what working families are making. We have got to fight back.
That you need White working folks and you need agriculture labors who maybe Latinos and you need Black folks who are working in a whole variety of jobs.
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How do we make sure that labor organizing is also interracial organizing? We are linking the movement with fast-food workers. We are linking the movement with taxicab drivers who want to organize in city after city after city. We are linking the movement with the independent provides, a child are workers, the home care workers. You know, it was so important for us to link our movement with Occupy Wall Street because they were able to signal a tone that we were not able to do. They were not within the union movement, but they had a very strong message.
And that strong message was that there is unfairness that exists in this country. And the economic equality -- inequality that exists in this country right now must be addressed. And so, all of us have to work together. He understood the value and he understood the importance of linking civil rights with union rights with labor rights with worker rights. He understood those values. They understood that need to have a larger community to address those concerns. So, thank you so much for your work. And up next, a mother on a mission. Her few words said what everyone gathered on the national mall already knew and had come there to honor.
It is so nice to have you both here. FULTON: I think the most important thing that I can do is continue to fight and just be realistic and not expect things to happen overnight.
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I will fight for my son. The other thing -- question you have was, what can other people do? Just continue, continue to take little steps, continue to take little steps and just be persistent. And yet, it must be exhausting, the trial, the loss of your son, the trial, the outcome, the media of it all.
God is first in my life. The case is I pull my strength from God. So, when other mothers come up to me, when other fathers and grandfathers and aunts and uncles come up to me and say, listen, we have to keep fighting. Things like that really help and they really energize me. So, that energy keeps on rebuilding and keeps on rebuilding. One is in heaven and one is on earth. And I will continue to fight for both my boys.
Tell me about those three things. And I owe Sybrina an apology, no matter what I was supposed to tell everybody at the march on Washington that we have to take the conversation that President Obama said, we have to take that conversation and move it to legislation. Trayvon could not vote. The real question is, you who are 18 years old, will you vote? Will you be a Trayvon Martin voter. His mother knew his death was not in vain because of positive from something negative. Lets pass the Trayvon Martin amendment. If you, at 18, you stand and you vote where Trayvon could not vote.
Thank you so much for your time. Thank you for being here. And thank you for the ways in which your spirit and your faith give strength to so many of the rest of us. Up next, students fighting for the right to vote then and now, 50 years later the struggle really does continue.
Just last week in North Carolina we got a sobering reminder that students who were so much of the driving force behind the movement are today, right now, being denied those same rights. Barely hours later while the ink was still fresh, Republican controlled boards of election in North Carolina immediately took advantage of the new law by putting students in the crosshairs of their voter suppression efforts.
Students voting rights under attack in the same state were a few years before the march on Washington, a movement that brought national attention to the injustice of segregation was sparked by, yes, students. Mow, mind you, the qualifications to run for office in the county are the same as the qualifications to vote. And Montravias has been a registered voter in the county since So, by disqualifying his eligibility as a candidate and a voter, the board opened the door to challenges to the voter registration of all students in North Carolina who used school as their official place of residency.
And Pete Gilbert, head of the Republican party, might do just that. And he has told the "Associated Press" that he plans to, quote, "take this show on the road. Because as Reverend Al Sharpton said yesterday, the voting rights tour that began with a march on Washington is moving forward with its road show this week. We are on our way to North Carolina.
We are on our way to Texas. We are on our way to Florida. Look at this photo, it gives you the ID of who we are. You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. Powell said quote "I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote, it immediately turns off a voting bloc the Republican party needs. These kinds of actions do not build on the base but turn people away. Powell responded quote, "you can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud? How can it be widespread and undetected.
Judith, I want to start with you because the biggest round of applause, other than for Reverend Sharpton was for attorney general Eric Holder. What does it look for you right now in terms of federal authority intervening on voting rights? You know, after the Supreme Court decision, they decided that they would move all of their staff and resources that have been put into section 5 preclearance into section 2 cases.
And so, this really has been an aggressive move by the attorney general and folks recognize it. I mean, at the march, people were giving him love because they know that he actually is protecting civil rights and he is making a real case for why the federal government needs to be involved. You know, Texas is one of those places where they are saying well, sovereign rights, you know, why do the feds need to be in our business?
And we know well why. With, you know, Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman who used to be there for Republican Party in Wisconsin chairman, with his favorite governor Scott Walker, we have seen a ceaseless and endless assault on voter rights in the state of Wisconsin, everything from redistributing early voting hours, ending soles to the polls, putting more partisans into the polling place, doing the things that will create chaos and long lines so that people go home instead of exercising the franchise.
No surprise they do it in urban areas. It gets very clearly as we saw in the North Carolina case around student voting, right, we are going to starting schools and particular schools, right, schools where we see particular voting patterns. Ground zero was initially Ohio. I mean, even just a few weeks ago, member -- GOP member, and people talk about partisanship, it is the Republicans for the most part, far right Republicans.
You know, my grandma say you can put truth in a river five days alive truth going to catch up. Well, truth has caught up and there is only one party that is trying to suppress the vote, go backwards, trying to crush democracy. Everybody, regardless of our political affiliation, should hold dear and true those fundamental principles of what it means to be an American. Pillar number one, the right to vote, the right to speak your voice regardless of your socioeconomic status, gender, who you love, your religion.
One woman, one man, one vote. Why in the greatest democracy on the face of the earth would a party that proclaims to care about those principles try to crush the votes of some groups. And, so many folks paid a price for this. We forget how far we have come as a nation. We are a nation of progress, not regression. And so again, political affiliation out the door, this is about a sense of fairness. In Ohio this should not be happening in Ohio. They gave their lives so we could vote. Look at this photo. It gives you the ID of who we are.
This is our Medgar Evers photo ID. We are thinking, maybe, we will make one of John Lewis, Viola, of all the civil rights workers. Because I thought that was such a critically important point. For someone to ask you who are you when you vote? I mean, you think about North Carolina where we have made so much progress. I mean, you know, really kind of like one of the birth places of the civil rights movement.
If we look across the country, every rollback they are trying in North Carolina shows that this -- we are moving backwards. And you know, for the people like Medgar Evers, for all the people that paid the price, I think we know that there is a time. And I think voting rights was mentioned so many times yesterday. And people know this is going to be the battle of our time. Again, I just -- briefly here, Wisconsin feels to me like a testing ground for interracial cooperative work between labor and voting rights, between labor and civil rights.
Do you have optimism that the people of Wisconsin still have enough energy and optimism even after sort of having so many of these rollbacks to do that work? Because the people of Wisconsin are like the people across the country. When a legal voter is denied the franchise, we cease to be a democracy.
ROSS: And what is the thing that they say. They there is voter fraud. Well, we know the only fraud is partisans who are manipulate the process to achieve their political goals. And for instance, in the state of Wisconsin where Governor Walker passed photo ID, still in the courts, but where he passed photo ID, he did is and said it was because of fraud. We have had 14 million ballots passed in the state of Wisconsin since and less than 24 potentially improper votes. Scot Ross, Judith Browne Dianis, thank you so much. So Sherrilyn, what is the next step in the litigation battle?
Because civil rights law organizations including my own have been fanning out across the south. My own attorneys have been in Texas. They have been in Alabama. We have been in Louisiana where the legal defense fund is stocking up some litigation. So, we have been all over the place as have other organizations. This is a real challenge to democracy. We are standing at a crossroads and we have to meet the challenge.
Do you have any sense, any optimism we can get a new section 4 formula that will put the teeth back in section 5 from the congress. And the people are going to have to push for this. You know, Dr. King in the s did what was called a people to people tour where he traveled long with other freedom fighters to galvanize people and to register people to vote.
Is there a way to marry the efforts of litigation that we see with LDF and the kind of person-to-person direct action that Nina is calling for? This is all quite a plan. Congress will come back, you know, after labor day. This is all timed and planned to make sure that we are building a ground swell so that Congress will have no choice but to hear people. I mean, it is not going to be just the marches on the street, it is going to be the flooding in the congressional offices. So, all of this is part of a planned connected sequence of litigation and activism.
The two have to work together. I spoke yesterday at the march and that was I said, we know our voice in the court now is not enough, we have to be talking on the street. I mean, two boards of election members were fired for the crime in Montgomery county in Ohio, Lieberman and Richie, for the crime of trying to expand early voting access.
Fired by the secretary of suppression in the state of Ohio. There is something wrong with that. A lot of people holding that job. Sherrilyn Ifill, thank you for your work and thank you for coming in today. And also, we are going to be joined by the young activist hoping to follow in Dr. Congressman John Lewis was the youngest speaker. And now 50 years later I am the youngest speaker. He will be here in Nerdland when we come back. More at the top of the hour. Take a look. We had ID when we voted for Nixon. Why when we get to Obama do we need some special ID?
There was a dreamer as I close, a dreamer in the Bible called John. John looked up said I see a new heaven. I see a new earth. All things are passed away. They will romanticize Dr. But the genius of his speech was not just the poetry of his words. He sat in the face of those that wanted him dead, that no matter what you do, I can dream above what you do. Coretta Scott King. What did she teach you about how to move the legacy forward? KING: I would have to say first and foremost m and dad taught us to have a love of our selves, to have a love of our community -- excuse me, to have a love of our family, to have a love of our community, and most of all, to have a love of God.
So, love of self, love of family, love of family, love of community, love of God. All those things are very important in terms of this -- the mission, because dad did what he did as a Christian minister. What was it you wanted to say if you would have gotten that microphone back? So, I really wanted to say thank you to her. King, about Asean -- every time I hear him -- is that he minces no words. And certainly part of the struggle we have as adults is we want to be political. We want -- what is the most important, no word mincing message that you think we need to carry away from this commemoration of the march?
KING: You know, this commemoration indication really it was tone setting because 50 years ago because we have significant unemployment. The mantra was jobs and freedom. Yesterday, it was jobs, freedom, and justice. Over the last two months, we saw the Voting Rights Act gutted. All of those messages, also as it relates to immigration policy, a lot of things came out yesterday.
Reverend Sharpton and I talking about a national action initiative to realize the dream. The dream is not done yet.