O during the 1930s parks took part in meeting

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o During the 1930s, Parks took part in meeting protesting the conviction of the Scottsboro Boys Served many years as secretary to E.D. Nixon, local leader of the NAACP o In 1943, Parks tried to register to vote, but was turned away after she “failed” the literacy test After a few more attempts, she succeeded in becoming 1 of the few blacks in Montgomery to cast a ballot o After news of her arrest spread, hundreds of blacks gathered in a local church and vowed to refuse to ride the buses until accorded equal treatment o For 381 days black maids, janitors, teachers and students walked to their destination or rode an informal network of taxis On Nov. 1956, The Supreme Court ruled segregation of public transportation unconstitutional The daybreak of freedom o Montgomery bus boycott marked a turning point in postwar American history Launched the movement for racial justice as a nonviolent crusade based in the black churches of the South Gained the support of northern liberals and focused unprecedented and unwelcome international attention on the country’s racial polices Marked the emergence of the 26 Martin Luther King Jr., who had recently arrived in Montgomery to become pastor of a Baptist church o From the beginning, the language of freedom pervaded the black movement
Resonated in the speeches of civil rights leaders and in the hand-lettered placards of the struggle’s foot soldiers o During the summer of 1964, when civil rights activists established “freedom schools” for black children across Mississippi, lessons began with students being asked to define the word o Freedom had many meanings Meant enjoying the political rights and economic opportunities taken for granted by whites Required eradicating historic wrongs such as segregation, disenfranchisement, confinement to low-wage jobs, and the ever-present threat of violence Mean the right to be served at lunch counters and downtown department stores, central locations in the consumer culture The Leadership of King o The King’s most celebrated oration, the “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963, began by invoking the unfulfilled promise of emancipation and closed with a cry borrowed from a black spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” o King presented the case for black rights in a vocabulary that merged the black experience with that of the nation o King outlined a philosophy of struggle in which evil must be met with good, hate with Christian love, and violence with peaceful demands for change o King echoed Christian themes derived from his training in the black church He repeatedly invoked the Bible to preach justice and forgiveness King appealed to White American by stressing the protestors’ love of country and devotion to national values Massive resistance o King in 1956 took the lead in forming the Southern Christian Leadership conference (civil rights organization founded in 1957 by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders), a coalition of black ministers and

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