1963 was a very prominent year for the Civil Right s struggle.
Jessie Bailey was just one out of numerous young African Americans in the Unites States who took to the street protesting in a non-violent manner the segregation practices in the south.
The violence encountered by the non-violent protesters in Birmingham, Alabama prompted President John F .Kennedy to propose a Civil Rights bill. A, Phillip Randolph who had organized the black Pullman porters along with Bayard Rustin organized a march on Washington.
African Americans all over the United States emerged on our Nation’s Capitol and heard
Martin Luther King, Jr., give his famous I Have A Dream Speech.
African Americans returned from Washington re charged in their quest for freedom. On
September 15, 1963, a cloud darkens that enthusiasm as a result of a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. There had been many bombing
Throughout the movement b but this one was the most despicable crimes of the Civil Rights movement. Four young girls attending Sunday school Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carol Robertson and Adie Mae Collins ages eleven through fourteen were killed when a bomb exploded at the Church. Twenty others were injured. The Church was a center for civil rights meetings and just a few days earlier, the courts had ordered the desegregation of Birmingham schools.
The violence did not stop there. On November 22, 1963 the civil rights movement received a severe blow, when President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in
Jessie Bailey thought she was fighting against segregation in Greensboro N.C. Little did she know that her actions would lead to the United States Supreme Court ordering the re-opening of the schools in Farmville, Virginia in 1965, so that her unknown relatives could receive an education.
Associate Justice Felix Frankfurter retired after suffering a stroke in 1962. Lead by Hugo
Black, the United States Supreme Court ordered Prince Edwards’ county schools to reopen in 1965. In writing the opinion for a unanimous Court, Black stated that the time
for mere deliberate speed had run out and that the phrase can no longer justify denying
these children their Constitutional rights.
Following upon P resident Kennedy’s recommendation, President Lyndon Baines Johnson over-came southern resistance and achieved the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Passed under the Interstate Commerce clause, the Act prohibited discrimination in public facilities, government and employment. It abolished the Jim Crow laws of the south and made it illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, and hiring.
In 1964, the world would learn about another despicable act carried out by cowards
hiding behind white hooded bed sheets. On June2 1,1964,three political activists were murdered outside Philadelphia, Mississippi for their participation in the voter registration of blacks.
The killing of James Chaney, a 2l years old black man from Meridian, Mississippi,
Andrew Goodman, a 20 years old anthropology student from New York, and Michael
Schwerner, a 24 years old Jewish social worker also from New York occurred one day
After the three men arrived in Mississippi after attending a week long training in regards
to black voter registration strategies.
The three men were on route to Longdale to inspect the ruins of black civil rights active
Church destroyed by arson when they were pulled over for an alleged speeding violation.
They were released after being held for several hours, and Chaney the driver was fined.
After a $25,000.00 reward w as offered, the FBI found their bodies two months later just
6 miles southwest of Philadelphia, Mississippi. Goodman and Schwerner had each been shot in the heart, while Chaney had been shot three times following a severe beating.
On June21, 2005 on the 41st anniversary of their murders an appropriately named Edgar Ray Killen was convicted of three counts of manslaughter.
This atrocity coupled with the unprovoked attack on March 7, 1965 in Selma, Alabama
by state troopers on peaceful marchers on route to the state capitol as they crossed the
Edmund Pettis Bridge and the beating death of James Reed a catholic priest by white
Supremacist persuaded the President and Congress to overcome southern legislators
Resistance to effective voting rights legislation.
President Johnson signed into law on August 6, 1965, the voting rights act that applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial or abridgement against the right to vote based on literacy test. Although the act did not prohibit poll taxes, the U.S. Supreme Court held poll taxes to be unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.
100 years after the Civil war, 100 years after the signing of the emancipation
Proclamations, southern Blacks through a horrendous civil rights struggle finally regained the civil and political rights they had obtained through Congress during the reconstruction era.
The clip was narrated by radio journalist, Robert Lorei.
For Spanish and hearing impaired versions, please go to the Febone1960.net Black History Month Calendar
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Tags: 16th Street Baptist Church, A. Phillip Randolph, Adie Mae Collins, Andrew Goodman, Carol Robertson, Cythia Wesley, Denise McNair, Edgar Killen, Edmund Pettis Bridge, Febone1960, Febone1960.net, Interstate Commerce Clause, James Chaney, James Reed, Jesse Bailey, Michael Schwerner, President John Ftzgerald Kennedy, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Prince edwards County Schools