The Mississippi Freedom Summer Project was organized in 1964 by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a coalition of four civil rights organizations: the Student NonViolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE); the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The project was to carry out a unified voter registration program in the state of Mississippi. Both COFO and the Summer Project were the result of the "Sit-In" and "Freedom Ride" movements of 1960 and 1961, and of SNCC's earlier efforts to organize voter registration drives throughout Mississippi.
The day after W. E. B. Du Bois died in Ghana, 250,000 people descended on the nation's capital, where King's "I Have a Dream" speech took on mythic proportions. Not a month later, white supremacists bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, leaving four little girls dead. Central Intelligence Agency director J. Edgar Hoover identified the attackers but disliked the Civil Rights movement, so he did nothing.
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., providing young blacks with a more prominent place in the civil rights movement. The SNCC later grew into a more radical organization under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael (1966-1967) and H. Rap Brown (1967-1998). The organization changed its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee.
encourages the black population to walk, car pool or ride bikes to financially effect the bus lines.
Violent reaction of whites to this nonviolent protest gains the attention of the nation.
The bus lines become desegregated
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is formed to continue the “fight”.
1957 - 9 black students set to attend Central High, an all white school, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Little Rock 9
Orval Faubus, the governor, resists and sends in the National Guard
The 9 are turned away, causing President Eisenhower to reluctantly become involved.
The students return to the school 3 weeks later escorted by the 101st Airborne (fully armed).
Sit ins – Black people peacefully sit at a lunch counter and wait to be served while whites abuse them in a variety of ways.
Other forms of protest
1963 - Birmingham, Alabama
Civil Rights leaders want to embarrass city officials by filling the jails with children and teens.
While they expect violence to increase support for their cause, they did not anticipate the level of violence that the kids would receive – attacks by dogs, being sprayed by high pressure hoses, being beaten by policemen with billy clubs.
Over 900 children are arrested on the first day, but even more children showed up to march on the next!
Robert F. Williams was president of the Monroe, North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP. But his frustration with nonviolent protest stemmed not from a preference for courtroom battles. He advocated armed self-defense, responding to white violence with bullets and barricades. Williams looked out over America's social landscape and saw little recourse in nonviolent protest or legal statutes. As a case in point, the federal government passed the first Civil Rights Act in 1957, but it was hardly enforced. Williams was part of a growing body of activists from within traditional organizations who were critical of both nonviolence and top-down leadership approaches from the start. Their presence reveals that the meaning of civil rights activism was not set in stone but constantly contested and reconstructed.
In 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and prompted The Montgomery Bus Boycott led by one of the most pivotal leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr.
The maintenance of white power had been pervasive and even innovative, and hence those fighting to get out from under its veil had to be equally unrelenting and improvisational in strategies and tactics. What is normally understood as the Civil Rights movement was in fact a grand struggle for freedom extending far beyond the valiant aims of legal rights and protection. From direct-action protests and boycotts to armed self-defense, from court cases to popular culture, freedom was in the air in ways that challenged white authority and even contested established black ways of doing things in moments of crisis.
This time is often referred to as the Nadir of American Race Relations, which simply put means that racism was at its worst during the time period of the Civil Rights Movement.
This was due to the revival of the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement, which began with the courageous actions of one woman in Montgomery, Alabama....
Historians generally agree that Civil Rights Movement began with the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and ended with the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
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Historically, the Civil Rights Movement was a time during the 1950’s and 60’s to eliminate segregation and gain equal rights.
The dangers were even clearer in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964, another of the sentinel campaigns of the civil-rights movement. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee recruited hundreds of Northern, largely white unpaid volunteers to run Freedom Schools, register black voters, and raise civil-rights awareness in the Deep South. “No one should go anywhere alone, but certainly not in an automobile and certainly not at night,” they were instructed. Within days of arriving in Mississippi, three volunteers—Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman—were kidnapped and killed, and, during the rest of the summer, thirty-seven black churches were set on fire and dozens of safe houses were bombed; volunteers were beaten, shot at, arrested, and trailed by pickup trucks full of armed men. A quarter of those in the program dropped out. Activism that challenges the status quo—that attacks deeply rooted problems—is not for the faint of heart.
While visiting family in Mississippi, fourteen-year-old Chicagoan Emmett Till was kidnapped, brutally beaten, shot and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two white men, J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, were arrested for the murder and acquitted by an all-white jury. They later boasted about committing the murder in a Look magazine interview. The case became a cause célèbre of the civil rights movement.