Roy Wilkins, civil rights leader, “the bullet that killed Kennedy paralyzed the civilrights movement” Freedom Rides (1325-1328)Civil rights focused on public transportation. The New York-based Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), led by James Farmer, decided to put “the civil rights movement on wheels” when a group of 18 black and white people boarded two public buses traveling from Washington D.C. through the lower south.
They wanted to test federal court ruling that banned racial segregation on buses and trains.May 14th, mob of white racists, many of them KKK, surrounded the bus from the “Freedom Riders”. Threw a firebomb into the bus, the Klan members barricaded its door. Those who escaped got battered with metal pipes, chains, and clubs.Another came and those who entered into a white only waiting room were beatingin Birmingham, Alabama.The brutality was seen on television and the bus drivers refused to go any further.Diane Nash, a black college student and SNCC leader in Nashville, heard about the violence in Birmingham and recruited new riders.Kennedy said “she would get killed if you do this” and she said “It doesn’t matter if we’re killed, others will come-others will come.”They sang “freedom songs” in jail: “We’ll Never Turn Back,” ‘Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” “We Shall Overcome.”Eugene “Bull” Connor, the city’s notoriously racist police chief, he drove them to the Tennessee state line but they came back to Birmingham.Kennedy thought the Freedom Riders were a “pain in the ass” and so he ordered Harris Wofford his special assistant on civil rights to the end them.Kennedy told civil rights leader to “cool off” and they replied by saying that blacks had been “cooling off for a hundred years…if we got any cooler, we’d be in the deep freeze.”Louis Martin an influential black newspaper publisher said “Negroes are getting ideas they didn’t have before.”Kennedy gave them another bus and they were attacked in Montgomery and the next night MLK Jr. honored the Freedom Riders. But white mob interrupted.They never made it to New Orleans.The Freedom Riders and those who believed in integration prompted the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) that all interstate transportation facilities be integrated.Dr. King was speaking at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference when an American Nazi punched him in the face. Even when his house was bombed and stuff.He always said “the weapon of nonviolence, the breastplate of righteousness, the armor of truth, and just keep marching” toward justice.Election of 1964 (1344-1345)Johnson’s successes aroused a conservative Republican counterattack. Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, a wealthy department store owner, he was one of the only 6 Republican senators to vote against the Civil Rights Act and warned the bill would lead to a federal police state.