The Civil Rights Movement

Using the founding documents to fight for the cause
172 Years too late?
 “There are those who say to you-we are rushing this
issue of civil rights. I say we are 172 years late.”
- Who said it?
- Guess the year it was said.
The Founding Documents of the
The Declaration of
The Bill of Rights
“We hold these truths to be self
evident- that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty, and the
pursuit of Happiness.”
“Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the
freedom of speech, or of the press;
or the right of the people peaceably
to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of
(The unanimous Declaration of the
thirteen united States of America;
July 4, 1776)
(Amendment I of the United States
Constitution, 1789)
The Fourteenth Amendment
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and
subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United
States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall
make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or
immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any
State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law; nor deny to any person within its
jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
(Section I, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,
Lesson Overview
Work in groups to interpret and analyze resources
from the Civil Rights Movement
2. Whole class discussion about what you have done in
these groups
3. Create a situation based on what we have discussed
4. Closing Discussion
Activity Groups
Dr. Martin Luther
King alludes to the
Declaration of
“This note was a
promise that all men,
yes, black men as
well as white men,
would be guaranteed
the “unalienable
Rights” of “Life,
Liberty, and the
pursuit of
(Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr.; August 28,
Segregated Schools
Jim Crow Laws: Separate but Equal
Brown v The Board of Education
 The 1954 United States Supreme Court decision in
Oliver L. Brown et. al. v. the Board of Education (KS)
declared that discriminatory nature of racial
segregation… “violates the 14th amendment of the U.S.
Constitution, which guarantees all citizens equal
protection of the laws.”
The Role of Courts
and Social Equality
Thurgood Marshall
(center ) following the
Brown v Board of
Education decision, which
declared segregation in
schools unconstitutional.
How were the Declaration
of Independence and the
Fourteenth Amendment in
some of these landmark
civil rights court cases?
The Aftermath of
the Brown v the
Board of Education
The Little Rock Nine
Central High School;
Little Rock, Arkansas
Southern reaction
to desegregation
Attempting to block
desegregation at the
University of Alabama,
Governor George
Wallace stands defiantly
at the door while being
confronted by Deputy
U.S. Attorney General
Nicholas Katzenbach.
June 11, 1963
Southern reaction
to desegregation
While many schools throughout the south
were confronted with protesters attempting to
prevent integration, Miss Mary Brent,
principal of the previously all white Glenn
Elementary School in Nashville greets black
and white students, without incident, on the
first day of school.
Race in Schools: Still an Issue?
Powerful Photographs of the Civil
Rights Era
The Problem We All Live With
-Norman Rockwell, Look Magazine, 1964
Left: Women arrested for
reading in a “white’s only”
Right: Participants in a “sitin” protest in Jackson, MS
(Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi)
How could some of these pictures, appeal to everyday
Americans who believed in the “unalienable rights” join
the causes?
March on Selma- “Bloody Sunday”March 7, 1965
Lyndon B. Johnson- “We Shall
Overcome”- March 1965
Bob Dylan- “Only a Pawn in Their
Game” (1963)
Differences in Opinion: Malcolm X
Differences in Opinion: Malcolm X
The Ballot or the Bullet
by Malcolm X
April 3, 1964
Cleveland, Ohio
We're all in the same boat and we all are going to catch the same hell from the same man. He just
happens to be a white man. All of us have suffered here, in this country, political oppression at the
hands of the white man, economic exploitation at the hands of the white man, and social
degradation at the hands of the white man.
Now in speaking like this, it doesn't mean that we're anti-white, but it does mean we're antiexploitation, we're anti-degradation, we're anti-oppression. And if the white man doesn't want us to
be anti-him, let him stop oppressing and exploiting and degrading us. Whether we are Christians or
Muslims or nationalists or agnostics or atheists, we must first learn to forget our differences. If we
have differences, let us differ in the closet; when we come out in front, let us not have anything to
argue about until we get finished arguing with the man. If the late President Kennedy could get
together with Khrushchev and exchange some wheat, we certainly have more in common with each
other than Kennedy and Khrushchev had with each other……
Differences in Opinion: Malcolm X
The Ballot or the Bullet
by Malcolm X
April 3, 1964
Cleveland, Ohio
The government has failed us. You can't deny that. Any time you're living in the 20th century, 1964,
and you walking around here singing "We Shall Overcome," the government has failed you.
[applause] This is part of what's wrong with you, you do too much singing. [laughter] Today it's
time to stop singing and start swinging. [laughter, applause]
You can't sing up on freedom. But you can swing up on some freedom. [cheering]…..
If we don't do something real soon, I think you'll have to agree that we're going to be forced either
to use the ballot or the bullet. It's one or the other in 1964. It isn't that time is running out -- time
has run out!.......
It's time now for you and me to become more politically mature and realize what the ballot is for;
what we're supposed to get when we cast a ballot; and that if we don't cast a ballot, it's going to end
up in a situation where we're going to have to cast a bullet. It's either a ballot or a bullet.
Differences in Opinion: Malcolm X
Malcolm X speaks about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.- February 1965
Differences in Opinion: The Black
Panther Party
“We must serve notice on our oppressors that we as a people
are not going to be frightened by the attempted assassination
of our leaders. For my assassination—and I'm the low man
on the totem pole—I want 30 police stations blown up, one
southern governor, two mayors, and 500 cops, dead. If they
assassinate Brother Carmichael, Brother Brown ... Brother
Seale, this price is tripled. And if Huey is not set free and
dies, the sky is the limit!”
-James Forman, Black Panther Party Minister of Foreign
Affairs, February 17, 1968
Differences in Opinion-Best
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
 An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to
confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the
United States of America to provide relief against
discrimination in the public accommodations, to
authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to
protect constitutional rights in public facilities and
public education, to extend the Commission on the
Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally
assisted programs, to establish, to establish a
Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and
for other purposes.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
AN ACT To enforce the fifteenth amendment to the
Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this
Act shall be known as the "Voting Rights Act of 1965."
SEC. 2. No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or
standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied
by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the
right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of
race or color.
Using the Declaration of Independence
to Argue Against Civil Rights ?
 “It is therefore a cruel irony that the President of the
United States has only yesterday signed into law the
most monstrous piece of legislation ever enacted by
the United States Congress. It is fraud, a sham, and a
(George C. Wallace, “The Civil Rights Movement: Fraud, Sham, Hoax”)
July 4, 1964
How can these founding documents be
used for civil rights in today’s world?
 Create a scenario in which a person or group of people
in American society today might use the Declaration
of Independence or Bill of Rights to defend their civil
rights. How would the leaders of the Civil Rights
movement help defend this person or group?
Some ideas:
Arab-Americans, Immigrants, Religious groups, Gay
rights groups
Going Back to Where We Started
 “There are those who say to you – we are
rushing this issue of civil rights. I say we are
172 years late.”
 Any guesses?
“He [Thomas Jefferson] did not proclaim that all the
white, or the black, or the red, or the yellow men are
equal; that all Christian or Jewish men are equal; that all
Protestant and Catholic men are equal; that all rich and
poor men are equal; that all good and bad men are
equal. What he declared was that all men are equal; and
the equality which he proclaimed was the equality in
the right to enjoy the blessings of free government in
which they may participate and to which they have
given their support.
My friends, to those who say that we are rushing this
issue of civil rights, I say to them we are 172 years late. To
those who say that this civil-rights program is an
infringement on states’ rights, I say this: The time has
arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out
of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly
into the bright sunshine of human rights. People –
human beings – this is the issue of the 20th century.
People of all kinds – all sorts of people – and these
people are looking to America for leadership, and
they’re looking to America for precept and example.
Hubert Humphrey!
1948 Democratic National
The Assassination of Dr. King
April 4, 1968- 6:01 P.M.
“Somewhere I read….”
Final Speech- Memphis, TN April 3, 1968
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