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Chapter 29

Civil Rights and Uncertain Liberties


Presentation by

  • Scott XXXX
  • [redacted]
  • [redacted]
  • [redacted]
  • Someone else; I forgot their name...

Monday, November 26, 2012

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Six-year-old Ruby knew the lessons. She was to look straight ahead—not to one side or the other—and especially not at them. She was to keep walking. Above all, she was not to look back once she'd passed, because that would encourage them. Ruby knew these things, but it was hard to keep her eyes straight. The first day of school, her parents came, along with federal marshals to keep order. And all around hundreds of angry white people were yelling things like, "You little nigger, we'll get you and kill you." Then she was within the building's quiet halls and alone with her teacher. She was the only person in class: none of the white students had come. As the days went by during that autumn of 1960, the marshals stopped walking with her but the hecklers still waited. And once in a while Ruby couldn't help looking back, trying to see if she recognized the face of one woman in particular.

* Her family was also receiving threatening letters and phone calls, and her father had been fired by his white employer.

Racial Progress

  • African Americans and Latinos started grassroots movements aimed at gaining social and legal freedoms that they had been denied due to racism and (in the South) segregation.
  • Montgomery bus boycott after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr emerged as a civil rights leader
  • Efforts ramped up in the 1960s
  • Public became symathetic due to violent acts committed against forms of nonviolent protest like sit-ins and Freedom Rides, as well as voter registration drives

Courtroom Victories

Hernández v. State of Texas (May 3, 1954)

  • Ruled that all racial groups, including Mexican Americans, had equal protection under the 14th Amendment
  • Convicted of murder by an all-white jury
  • Lawyers argued that non-whites had to be allowed to sit on a jury in order for it to be impartial

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (May 17, 1954)

  • Eliminated "separate but equal" as being "inherently unequal"; overturned Plessy v. Ferguson
  • Doll test—children of all races preferred white dolls in a study by Kenneth B. and Mamie Phipps Clark, which played a part in the Court's decision
  • Resistance and protests by white southerners in Little Rock, Arkansas

Civil Rights and other reforms

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Johnson's Great Society reforms involved tax cuts, education aid, Medicare and Medicaid, preservation of wilderness, urban development, and a war on poverty
  • His reforms did not satisfy other groups like the LGBT community, feminists, radical students, counterculture members, and dissidents

More Supreme Court Rulings

  • Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, the SCOTUS made more progressive rulings such as:
    • Miranda v. Arizona—"Miranda rights"
    • Gideon v. Wainright—states must provide public defenders under the 6th Amendment
    • Escobedo v. Illinois—suspects in criminal cases have a right to counsel under the 6th Amendment; decided a year after Gideon
  • SCOTUS also banned prayer in schools, expanded voting rights, and reduced censorship

Youth Movements

  • Young adults were unhappy with lack of reform progress
  • Organizations
    • Students for a Democratic Society
      • Advocated direct action and "participatory democracy"
    • Young Americans for Freedom
      • Anti-"big government"; libertarian and anti-Communist values
      • Members gained control of the Republican party in the 70's
      • Catholics, who felt threatened, played a prominent role in its creation
  • Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley (a "bureaucratic monster")
    • Police tried to remove a CORE recruiter; police car surrounded for 32 hours in protest

Youth Movements

  • Counterculture–sex, music, drugs
  • Rock revolution, iconified by the Beatles (no kidding)
  • Hippies
    • Woodstock – Summer 1969
      • Counterculture in decline by this time
      • Violence, organized crime, drug trade, sex crimes
    • Much of hippie culture ended up being adopted by mainstream society


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