Posts tagged “Civil Rights

This Day In History: Japanese Internment

Article From this day In History
January 14, 1942
Roosevelt ushers in Japanese-American internment
On this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, requiring aliens from World War II-enemy countries–Italy, Germany and Japan–to register with the United States Department of Justice. Registered persons were then issued a “Certificate of Identification for Aliens of Enemy Nationality.” A follow-up to the Alien Registration Act of 1940, Proclamation No. 2537 facilitated the beginning of full-scale internment of Japanese Americans the following month.
While most Americans expected the U.S. to enter the war, presumably in Europe or the Philippines, the nation was shocked to hear of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In the wake of the bombing, the West Coast appeared particularly vulnerable to another Japanese military offensive. A large population of Japanese Americans inhabited the western states and American military analysts feared some would conduct acts of sabotage on west-coast defense and agricultural industries.
Official relations between the governments of Japan and the United States had soured in the 1930s when Japan began its military conquest of Chinese territory. China, weakened by a civil war between nationalists and communists, represented an important strategic relationship for both the U.S. and Japan. Japan desperately needed China’s raw materials in order to continue its program of modernization. The U.S. needed a democratic Chinese government to counter both Japanese military expansion in the Pacific and the spread of communism in Asia. Liberal Japanese resented American anti-Japanese policies, particularly in California, where exclusionary laws were passed to prevent Japanese Americans from competing with U.S. citizens in the agricultural industry. In spite of these tensions, a 1941 federal report requested by Roosevelt indicated that more than 90 percent of Japanese Americans were considered loyal citizens. Nevertheless, under increasing pressure from agricultural associations, military advisors and influential California politicians, Roosevelt agreed to begin the necessary steps for possible internment of the Japanese-American population.
Ostensibly issued in the interest of national security, Proclamation No. 2537 permitted the “arrest, detention and internment” of enemy aliens who violated restricted areas, such as ports, water treatment plants or even areas prone to brush fires, “for the duration of the war.” A month later, a reluctant but resigned Roosevelt signed the War Department’s blanket Executive Order 9066, which authorized the physical removal of all Japanese Americans into internment camps.

Rosa Parks From This Day In History

December 1, 1955
Rosa Parks ignites bus boycot


In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks is jailed for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man, a violation of the city’s racial segregation laws. The successful Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by a young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King, Jr., followed Park’s historic act of civil disobedience.

“The mother of the civil rights movement,” as Rosa Parks is known, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1913. She worked as a seamstress and in 1943 joined the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

According to a Montgomery city law in 1955, African Americans were required to sit at the back of public buses and were also had to give up those seats to white riders if the front of the bus filled up. Parks was in the first row of the black section when the white driver demanded that she give up her seat to a white man. Parks’ refusal was spontaneous but was not merely brought on by her tired feet, as is the popular legend. In fact, local civil rights leaders had been planning a challenge to Montgomery’s racist bus laws for several months, and Parks had been privy to this discussion.

Learning of Parks’ arrest, the NAACP and other African American activists immediately called for a bus boycott to be held by black citizens on Monday, December 5. Word was spread by fliers, and activists formed the Montgomery Improvement Association to organize the protest. The first day of the bus boycott was a great success, and that night the 26-year-old Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., told a large crowd gathered at a church, “The great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right.” King emerged as the leader of the bus boycott and received numerous death threats from opponents of integration. At one point, his home was bombed, but he and his family escaped bodily harm.

The boycott stretched on for more than a year, and participants carpooled or walked miles to work and school when no other means were possible. As African Americans previously constituted 70 percent of the Montgomery bus ridership, the municipal transit system suffered gravely during the boycott. On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Alabama state and Montgomery city bus segregation laws as being in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On December 20, King issued the following statement: “The year old protest against city buses is officially called off, and the Negro citizens of Montgomery are urged to return to the buses tomorrow morning on a non-segregated basis.” The boycott ended the next day. Rosa Parks was among the first to ride the newly desegregated buses.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and his nonviolent civil rights movement had won its first great victory. There would be many more to come.

Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005. Three days later the U.S. Senate passed a resolution to honor Parks by allowing her body to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

“I have a dream” by Eric Metzgar

We are reading the biography ” I have a dream”, by Eric Metzgar.


What has happened in the book so far?

What experiences with segregation has Martin had that will shape him in the future?

What have you learned about King in the book that you did not know?

Do you like the book thus far?

January Writing Contests: Deadline 1/25/08

This month in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday we are accepting written pieces on three people:

1. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr


Research Dr. King’s life and write a piece about him.
Your piece should include all/some of the following points:

* Where and When Martin Luther King grew up, what was the world like he grew up in (the segregated south)
* What strengths Martin possessed in himself (what type of a man was he?)
* What kind of a family did Martin come from?
* How was the Church important to Martin and how did it help him accomplish the great things he did.
* What were some of Martin Accomplishments?
* What did Martin Change in The United States?
* How important was Martin to ending racism in our country?
* Do you think we still have problems with racism in our country?
• If you answer yes to this how can we change it?

2. Rosa Parks and the history of the Montgomery Bus boycott.t012714a.jpg

• Who were Rosa parks?
• Where and when did she live?
• What were the laws on buses in the segregated south?
• What was the boycott?
• What was life like in the segregated south?
• How did the boycott change segregation?

• Give details, how long did it last?
• How did the African American Citizens travel?
• Who was the leader of the boycott?
• Talk about how this little boycott changed the law in the United states
• Why are Rosa Parks and this boycott important in our history?

2 “Ruby Bridges”

Write a short review of this movie.

* Tell what the story was about. (What happened in the story? {Plot}

* When and where did the story take place? (Setting)
* Tell what you find important about Ruby’s story?
* What does it mean that schools were segregated?
* At the time how did the white citizens feel about integration (African American and white students attending schools together)?

• How did Ruby’s African American neighbors feel about Ruby attending a white school?
* What was life like for African Americans at the time (1960) in the south?
* What was special about Ruby?
• What was special about her family?
* What do you think got her through her trouble?
• How would have you reacted if you were she?
• Would you have been afraid or angry?

Short film On MLK’s Childhood


Watch the Film and write a paragraph about the film. Consider the following questions when writing your piece:

1. Where did MLK grow up?

2. What did his father do for a job?

3. What was life like in the Southern States in the U. S. when Martin was a boy 1929 -1935 ?

4. What does prejudice mean?

5. What does segregation mean?

6. What are people’s civil rights?

7. How did Martin feel when at age six he had to stop seeing his best friend because he was white?

8. How did Martin see himself in relation to white people, did he feel equal

9. What roll did the church play in Martin’s self-esteem?

Women and The Right to Vote!

The right to vote is one of our Civil rights in a democracy. The right to vote is called suffrage. Women for most of the United States History were not allowed to vote. They got the right to vote in 1920 with the 19 amendment to the Constitution .

Watch the movie: and learn about how women got the right to vote.

Then right four sentennces about how women got the right to vote. Name leaders of the suffrage movement and important details of the history of how women got the right to vote.


Abraham Lincoln Born today 1809



On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln is born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.
Lincoln, one of America’s most admired presidents, grew up a member of a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana. He attended school for only one year, but thereafter read on his own in a continual effort to improve his mind. As an adult, he lived in Illinois and performed a variety of jobs including stints as a postmaster, surveyor and shopkeeper, before entering politics. He served in the Illinois legislature from 1834 to 1836, and then became an attorney. In 1842, Lincoln married Mary Todd; together, the pair raised four sons.

Lincoln returned to politics during the 1850s, a time when the nation’s long-standing division over slavery was flaring up, particularly in new territories being added to the Union. As leader of the new Republican Party, Lincoln was considered politically moderate, even on the issue of slavery. He wanted to restrict slavery to the states in which it already existed and described the practice in a letter as a “minor issue” as late as 1854. In an 1858 senatorial race,the south started to talk of leaving the union. He did not win the Senate seat but earned national recognition as a strong political force. Lincoln was an inspiring speaker who could move audiences with his speeches.

As a presidential candidate in the election of 1860, Lincoln tried to reassure slaveholding interests that although he favored abolition, he had no intention of ending the practice in states where it already existed. When he won the presidency by approximately 400,000 popular votes and carried the Electoral College, he was in effect handed a ticking time bomb. His concessions to slaveholders failed to prevent South Carolina from leading other states in an exodus from the Union that began shortly after his election. By February 1, 1861, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas had also seceded. Soon after, the Civil War began. As the war progressed, Lincoln moved closer to committing himself and the nation to the abolitionist movement and, in 1863, finally signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The document freed slaves in the Confederate states, but did not address the legality of slavery in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska or Arkansas.

Lincoln was the tallest president at 6’ 4.” As a young man, he impressed others with his sheer physical strength–he was a legendary wrestler in Illinois–and entertained friends and strangers alike with his dry, folksy wit, which was still in evidence years later. Exasperated by one Civil War military defeat after another, Lincoln wrote to a lethargic general “if you are not using the army I should like to borrow it for awhile.” An animal lover, Lincoln once declared, “I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.” Fittingly, a variety of pets took up residence at the Lincoln White House, including a pet turkey named Jack and a goat called Nanko. Lincoln’s son Tad frequently hitched Nanko to a small wagon and drove around the White House grounds.

Lincoln’s sense of humor may have helped him to hide recurring bouts of depression. He admitted to friends and colleagues that he suffered from “intense melancholia” and hypochondria most of his adult life. Perhaps in order to cope with it, Lincoln engaged in self-effacing humor, even chiding himself about his famously homely looks. When an opponent in an 1858 Senate race debate called him “two-faced,” he replied, “If I had another face do you think I would wear this one?”

Lincoln is remembered as “The Great Emancipator.” Although he waffled on the subject of slavery in the early years of his presidency, his greatest legacy was his work to preserve the Union and his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. To Confederate sympathizers, however, Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation reinforced his image as a hated despot and ultimately led John Wilkes Booth to assassinate him on April 14, 1865. His favorite horse, Old Bob, pulled his funeral hearse.

Ruby Bridges


We watched the movie “Ruby Bridges” last week. Write a short review of this movie. Tell what the story was about. When and where it took place. Tell what you find important about the movie. Did you like the acting? Who was your favorite character. Do you think Ruby was brave? What do you think got her through her trouble? If you need help you can go to the Ruby Bridges site to refresh you memory. Here is the Link

February 5: 1994 Beckwith Convicted of the 1963 Killing of Medgar Evers

February 5: General Interest
1994 : Beckwith convicted of killing Medgar Evers


(click on the picture to read about Medgar Evers)

On this day in 1994, white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith is
convicted in the murder of African-American civil rights leader Medgar
Evers, over 30 years after the crime occurred. Evers was gunned down
in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi, home on June 12, 1963,
while his wife, Myrlie, and the couple’s three small children were

Medgar Wiley Evers was born July 2, 1925, near Decatur, Mississippi,
and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After fighting for
his country, he returned home to experience discrimination in the
racially divided South, with its separate public facilities and
services for blacks and whites. Evers graduated from Alcorn College in
1952 and began organizing local chapters of the NAACP (National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People). In 1954, after
being rejected for admission to then-segregated University of
Mississippi Law School, he became part of an NAACP campaign to
desegregate the school. Later that year, Evers was named the NAACP’s
first field secretary in Mississippi. He moved with his family to
Jackson and worked to dismantle segregation, leading peaceful rallies,
economic boycotts and voter registration drives around the state. In
1962, he helped James Meredith become the first African American to
attend the University of Mississippi, a watershed event in the civil
rights movement. As a result of his work, Evers received numerous
threats and several attempts were made on his life before he was
murdered in 1963 at the age of 37.

Beckwith, a fertilizer salesman and Ku Klux Klan member widely
believed to be the killer, was prosecuted for murder in 1964. However,
two all-white (and all-male) juries deadlocked and refused to convict
him. A second trial held in the same year resulted in a hung jury. The
matter was dropped when it appeared that a conviction would be
impossible. Myrlie Evers, who later became the first woman to chair
the NAACP, refused to give up, pressing authorities to re-open the
case. In 1989, documents came to light showing that jurors in the case
were illegally screened.

Prosecutor Bobby DeLaughter worked with Myrlie Evers to force another
prosecution of Beckwith. After four years of legal maneuvering, they
were finally successful. At the third trial they produced a riflescope
from the murder weapon with Beckwith’s fingerprints, as well as new
witnesses who testified that Beckwith had bragged about committing the
crime. Justice was finally achieved when Beckwith was convicted and
given a life sentence by a racially diverse jury in 1994. He died in
prison in 2001 at the age of 80.




Published: January 29, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Jan. 28 — More times than he remembers, La’Markus Cook has traveled south on Interstate 65 from Nashville, where he attends American Baptist College, to his home outside Montgomery, Ala. But never, he said, as he did this weekend.

Air brakes hissing and motors rumbling, four buses retraced segments of the 1961 Freedom Rides on Saturday and Sunday, giving students aboard a front-seat view of a pivotal moment in civil rights history. On the rides 46 years ago, activists armed with only their convictions braved white mobs to defy segregation of interstate bus travel.

There have been many previous expeditions to locations where riders were beaten, bloodied and jailed, but this weekend’s was probably the largest and most ambitious attempt to keep the history alive.

“I don’t know that any students have ever had this opportunity before,” said Raymond Arsenault, the author of the 2006 book “Freedom Riders,” considered an authoritative history.

About 100 students from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University, Fisk University and American Baptist College accompanied veterans of the civil rights movement, some of whom came close to death in the bloody confrontations over interstate travel in the South.

The buses served as rolling classrooms, leaving Nashville early Saturday for Montgomery and arriving in Birmingham on Saturday evening. The students, along with faculty members, historians and others, returned to Nashville on Sunday.

Along the route, speakers rotated among buses to describe their experiences and answer questions. Several came from the “Nashville movement” of brash activists, many affiliated with the same colleges and universities as the students.

Among them were Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, who was beaten and jailed on the rides; John Seigenthaler, an aide to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy during the crisis; James Lawson and C. T. Vivian, ministers who advised many of the students; and Diane Nash, who in the early 1960s led sit-in movements to desegregate lunch counters in Nashville and became one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

“Maybe, just maybe,” Mr. Lewis said, “this trip will help renew and inspire and encourage people to take a page from the past and apply it to your own life.”

Though the Supreme Court had ruled that Jim Crow segregation in interstate travel was unconstitutional, the Justice Department had little appetite for enforcement. In 1947, an interracial “Journey of Reconciliation” in the upper South had done little to break travel segregation, Mr. Arsenault wrote.

In 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality decided to challenge travel segregation again with nonviolent civil disobedience. When one group of interracial passengers reached Anniston, Ala., a Ku Klux Klan-organized mob firebombed the bus and beat the passengers. Passengers on another bus were badly beaten when they reached Birmingham.

Attorney General Kennedy intervened. The riders, some badly hurt, wanted to press on, but the trip was scuttled and the riders flew instead to New Orleans.

Nashville activists pledged to continue. Mr. Seigenthaler pleaded with the students, but Ms. Nash said riders had signed their wills and were prepared to die if necessary.

In Montgomery, a mob met the new wave of riders, severely beating Mr. Lewis and another rider, Jim Zwerg. In the melee, Mr. Seigenthaler was clubbed and left unconscious.

The crisis mounted with riders’ imprisonment in Mississippi. Eventually, more than 400 riders would board segregated buses and trains, taxing courts throughout the South. Then, in September, the Interstate Commerce Commission prohibited all discrimination in interstate busing.

Sherrae M. Hayes, a 20-year-old junior at Tennessee State, said the trip gave the lesson new meaning. “You can definitely learn it from a textbook,” Ms. Hayes said, “but I don’t think it means half as much, or a quarter as much, as being there.”

Outside Montgomery’s old Trailways station on Saturday, riders craned to see the building’s facade. A few minutes later, as rain pattered on the roof of the bus, Mr. Zwerg, 67, described the eerie quiet before the crowd set upon him 46 years ago. “I knew whether I lived or died,” he said, “it was going to be all right.”

The Supreme Court


Supreme court is the highest court of the land and has the ultimate power to determine the issues related to constitutional subjects, state disputes, cases in which federal or central government is a party etc are decided. Supreme court judges are appointed by the head of the state (president).

The Constitution established the Supreme Court as the highest court in the United States.

One of the Supreme Courts most important responsibilities is to decide cases that raise questions of constitutional interpretation. The Court decides if a law or government action violates our founding document of law the Constitution. This is known as judicial review and enables the Court to strike down both federal and state laws when they conflict with the Constitution. Since the Supreme Court stands as the ultimate authority in constitutional interpretation, its decisions can be changed only by another Supreme Court decision or by a constitutional amendment.

Judicial review puts the Supreme Court in an important role in the American political system, making it the referee in disputes among various branches of the Federal, as well as state governments, and as the ultimate authority for many of the most important issues in the country. For example, in 1954, the Court banned racial segregation in public schools in Brown v. Board of Education. The ruling started a long process of desegregating schools and other institutions.

After reading answer the following questions.


1. What is the highest court in the land?

2.What document does the court base it’s decision on?

3. How can the court’s decision be overturned?

4. What was the name of the famous case that desegregated schools?



Exploring Jim Crow


We have been studying Civil rights through film, and we have seen how badly African- Americans were treated in the south and the brave people who fought to change things, often giving  their lives to do so. So today we will back track  back a little and take a look at some of the history and events that created a segregated south.

Jim Crow was not a person, yet affected the lives of millions of people. Named after a popular 19th-century  song that stereotyped African Americans, “Jim Crow” came to personify the system of government policy of racial oppression and segregation in the United States.

Click  on the picture  to  visit  PBS’s website on Jim  Crow.

373R’s PodCast: King on Peace



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WireTapping and Civil rights!



Ok so all our classes are studying civil rights. We have defined civil rights as the protections and privileges of personal freedom given to all citizens by law. The right to vote is one. The right to equal treatment regardless of your your gender or race is another. The right to a fair trial if you are accused of a crime. The right to hold a peaceful protest. The right to privacy.

That is the one I want to talk about today. The right to privacy.

All American citizens are guaranteed a right to privacy. Meaning that the government cannot invade your privacy unless a court says they can. The constitution says that the government needs a warrant to do things like wiretap your phone or read your mail. They get a warrant by convincing a judge that you are doing something dangerous that needs to be watched.

Well after September 11th and the terror attacks the government began skipping this step. They wiretapped peoples phones with out asking a judge or court for permission. That all changed yesterday.

Here is the CNN Story.

Administration to let Court Monitor Spying

Story Highlights

• Attorney general says administration will submit monitoring requests to FISA court
• Court agrees to preserve “speed and agility” needed, letter to senator says
• Administration program to monitor calls without warrants has been criticized

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Bush administration has agreed to allow a federal court that specializes in wiretap requests to oversee its non-warrant electronic surveillance program, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

In a letter to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wrote that a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has agreed to authorize the program and preserve “the speed and agility necessary” to battle terrorism.

The Bush administration has asserted for more than a year that it had the authority to monitor U.S. residents’ international communications without a judge’s approval, as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires. But many lawmakers and legal observers have questioned that claim and argued that President Bush violated that 1978 law by authorizing the eavesdropping.

In the letter, Gonzales maintained that the program to monitor communications without a court order is legal. However, he said that FISA court orders issued on January 10 mean Bush won’t need to reauthorize the controversial surveillance effort.

“The president is committed to using all lawful tools to protect our nation from the terrorist threat, including making maximum use of the authorities provided by FISA and taking full advantage of developments in the law,” Gonzales wrote.

‘Welcome news, if long overdue’

The announcement comes a day before Gonzales is scheduled to appear before Leahy’s committee. Leahy said he welcomed the administration’s decision.

“As I pointed out for sometime, and as other senators on both sides of the aisle pointed out, that was at the very best of doubtful legality,” Leahy said. He said surveillance was needed to prevent terrorist attacks, “But we can and we should do it in ways that protect the basic rights of all Americans.”

What do you think? Is it ok for the government to wiretap phones in times of war or terrorist attacks or is this always illegal?

King On Peace

peacehands-1.jpgON PEACE (1964): “Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

This a a quote from Martin Luther King on peace and he is giving his opinion if he believes peace is possible in our world.

Read and Discuss MLK’s words, what is he saying? Look at the imagery he uses to get his point across.

” starless midnight of racism and war”

bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood”,

What does he mean by this? How is racism and war like a starless midnight? How is peace and brotherhood like daybreak?

What is King saying about peace? Do you agree with him or not? Why?

Best Pieces will be Podcast and win prizes!!

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Podcast’s On MLK.

Here is the First of our Podcasts on MLK

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Steven Mickens On MLK

Voices of Civil Rights


This week we will be watching two films from the History Channel Voices of Civil Rights: about Martin Luther King Jr. and the other about Justice Thurgood Marshall.

After watchng the first part of the documentary Voices of Civil Rights “Martin Luther King, The Man and The Dream” Tell what you learned from the Documentary that you did not know about Martin’s life and the Civil Rights movement.  Focus on how events in his life made him who he was. What was his childhood like? How did going to Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, a town that did not have racist segregation laws affect him?  How did he get involved with the Civil Rights movement? How did the student’s movement and Freedom riders affect him and the civil rights movement?

Montgomery Bus Boycott 51 years Ago!

Rosa being ArrestedMontgomery Bus 1955
Rosa Parks Being Arrested & The Bus Rosa Parks Refused Give to up her seat on.

listenListen to this post!

December 5th is the 51 year anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

This of course fits in beautifully with our mission to discuss and define civil rights. Here is an article form Wikipedia giving you all the particulars.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama intended to oppose the city’s policy of racial segregation on its public transit system. The struggle lasted from December 5, 1955 to December 21, 1956 and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses unconstitutional.
The protest was triggered by the arrest of African American seamstress Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955. She was charged for violating racial segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama after refusing to give her seat on a bus to a white man.
Rosa Parks

Main article: Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks was a seamstress by profession and she was also educated. Shortly before her arrest in December 1955, she had completed a course in “Race Relations” at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. Rosa Parks was also secretary for the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. The boycott was planned before Rosa Parks’s arrest. Her arrest was a test case which allowed them to challenge segregation on public buses. Community leaders had been waiting for the right person to be arrested, a person who would anger the black community into action, who would agree to test the segregation laws in court, and who, most importantly, was “above reproach.” When fifteen year old Claudette Colvin was arrested early in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat, E.D. Nixon of the NAACP thought he had found the perfect person, but Colvin turned out to be pregnant. Nixon later explained, “I had to be sure that I had somebody I could win with.” Enter Rosa Parks. She was arrested on Thursday, December 1, 1955 for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. When found guilty on Monday, December 5, 1955, she was fined $10 plus a court cost of $4, but she appealed. Rosa Parks also helped and supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks is now considered one of the pioneering women of the civil rights movement.

On Friday, December 2, 1955, Jo Ann Robinson (president of the Women’s Political Council) would receive a call from Fred Gray, one of the city’s two black lawyers, informing her that Rosa Parks had been arrested. That entire night Robinson worked tirelessly mimeographing over 35,000 handbills reading:
“Another Negro woman has been arrested and thrown in jail because she refused to get up out of her seat on the bus for a white person to sit down. It is the second time since the Claudette Colvin case that a Negro woman has been arrested for the same thing. This has to be stopped. Negroes have rights, too, for if Negroes did not ride the buses, they could not operate. Three-fourths of the riders are Negroes, yet we are arrested, or have to stand over empty seats. If we do not do something to stop these arrests, they will continue. The next time it may be you, or your daughter, or mother. This woman’s case will come up on Monday. We are, therefore, asking every Negro to stay off the buses Monday in protest of the arrest and trial. Don’t ride the buses to work, to town, to school, or anywhere on Monday. You can afford to stay out of school for one day if you have no other way to go except by bus. You can also afford to stay out of town for one day. If you work, take a cab, or walk. But please, children and grown-ups, don’t ride the bus at all on Monday. Please stay off all buses Monday.” [1]
The next morning at a church meeting with the new minister in the city, Martin Luther King, Jr., a citywide boycott of public transit was called as a protest for a fixed dividing line for the segregated sections of the buses was proposed and passed.
The demands of the boycotters included courteous treatment by bus operators, first-come, first-served seating, and employment of African American bus drivers.
Thus, despite the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the boycotters were initially willing to accept a compromise that was consistent with separate but equal rather than complete integration. In this respect, they followed the pattern of earlier boycott campaigns in the Deep South during the 1950s. A prime example was the successful boycott of service stations in Mississippi for refusing to provide restrooms for blacks. The organizer of that campaign, T.R.M. Howard of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, had spoken in Montgomery as King’s guest at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church only days before Parks’ arrest.
The boycott proved extremely effective, with enough riders lost to the city transit system to cause serious economic distress. Martin Luther King later wrote “A miracle had taken place.” Instead of riding buses, boycotters organized a system of carpools, with car owners volunteering their vehicles or themselves driving people to various destinations. Some white housewives also drove their black domestic servants to work, although it is unclear to what extent this was based on sympathy with the boycott, versus the simple desire to have their staff present and working.[2] When the city pressured local insurance companies to stop insuring cars used in the carpools, the boycott leaders arranged policies with Lloyd’s of London.
Black taxi drivers charged ten cents per ride, a fare equal to the cost to ride the bus, in support of the boycott. When word of this reached city officials on December 8, 1955, the order went out to fine any cab driver who charged a rider less than 45 cents. In addition to using private motor vehicles, some people used non-motorized means to get around, such as bicycling, walking, or even riding mules or driving horse-drawn buggies. Some people also raised their thumbs to hitchhike around. During rush hours, sidewalks were often crowded. As the buses received extremely few, if any, passengers, their officials asked the City Commission to allow stopping service to black communities[1]. Across the nation, black churches raised money to support the boycott and collected new and slightly used shoes to replace the tattered footwear of Montgomery’s black citizens, many of whom walked everywhere rather than ride the buses and submit to Jim Crow laws.
In response, opposing whites swelled the ranks of the White Citizens’ Council, the membership of which doubled during the course of the boycott. Like the Ku Klux Klan, the Councils sometimes resorted to violence: Martin Luther King’s and Ralph Abernathy’s houses were firebombed, as were four Baptist churches. Boycotters were often physically attacked.
Under a 1921 ordinance, 156 protesters were arrested for “hindering” a bus, including King. He was ordered to pay a $500 fine or serve 386 days in jail. The move backfired by bringing national attention to the protest. However, King commented on the arrest by saying: “I was proud of my crime. It was the crime of joining my people in a nonviolent protest against injustice” [3]

Pressure increased across the country and on June 4, 1956 the federal district court ruled that Alabama’s racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional (Browder v. Gayle). However, an appeal kept the segregation intact and the boycott continued until, finally, on November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling. This victory led to a city ordinance that allowed black bus passengers to sit virtually anywhere they wanted and the boycott officially ended December 21, 1956. Martin Luther King capped off the victory with a magnanimous speech to encourage acceptance of the decision.The boycott resulted in the U.S. civil rights movement receiving one of its first victories, and gave Martin Luther King the national attention that would make him one of the prime leaders of the cause.

The First Civil Rights Bus Boycott, No, not the one with Rosa Parks.


We are taking a closer look at Civil Rights in an attempt to understand just what this term Civil Rights mean. Of course we will take a look at the Famous Montgomery Bus Boycott, however 2 years earlier in Baton Rouge, Louisiana there was another Bus Boycott: largely forgotten, Here is the story of the Baton Rouge bus boycott,

Told by Debbie Elliot from NPR

Fifty years ago in Baton Rouge, La., black citizens banded together to fight the segregated seating system on city buses. They quit riding for eight days, staging what historians believe was the first bus boycott of the budding Civil Rights movement.

The Baton Rouge episode inspired the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, but was largely forgotten. But as NPR’s Debbie Elliott reports, organizers of a commemoration of the original bus boycott this week hope to change that.

Willis Reed, 88, publisher of the Baton Rouge Post, now takes a seat at the front of the bus that stops at the newspaper offices. The World War II veteran says doing that 50 years ago would have meant trouble.

“They’d put me in jail,” he tells Elliott. “And it’s wrong. Definitely wrong.” Reed was the founder of a group challenging segregation on Baton Rouge buses. Reed and a local clergyman, the Rev. T.J. Jemison, were the leaders of the bus boycott, which began June 20, 1953.

In 1953, 80 percent of bus riders were black — and Reed knew that a boycott would send an economic message.

“Historians believe it was one of the first times blacks in the South organized to challenge segregation,” Elliott says. “Yet most people here — even the African-American bus drivers — don’t know about the Baton Rouge bus boycott.”

Jemison, now 84, says he got involved in the boycott 50 years ago after watching buses pass by his church and seeing black people standing in the aisles, not allowed by law to sit down in seats reserved for whites.

“I thought that was just out of order, that was just cruel,” he tells Elliott.

After eight days of boycotting the buses, the Baton Rouge City Council agreed to a compromise that opened all seats — except for the front two, which would be for whites, and the back two, for black riders.

That wasn’t good enough for some protesters, but Jemison called off the boycott anyway, arguing they had achieved what they set out to do.

“When we started we didn’t start to end segregation on buses,” he tells Elliott, “we just started to get seats.”

Marc Sternberg, who is 30 years old and white, grew up in Baton Rouge but found out about the boycott by accident, reading an account of the action in a book about King’s success in Montgomery. Sternberg organized two days of events to highlight the 50-year anniversary of the Baton Rouge boycott.

“Before Dr. King had a dream, before Rosa kept her seat, and before Montgomery took a stand, Baton Rouge played its part,” Sternberg says.

Here are some other links about the 1953 Bus Boycott.

Thanksgiving, Turkey, Democracy and Civil Rights!

thanksgiving.jpgListen to this

Here this year so far in addition to learning how to use digital cameras, camcorders, Imovie, garage band, publish podcasts, and many other cool tech applications we have started a discussion I think about what it means to live in a democracy . As the definition says

  1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
  2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
  3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
  4. Majority rule.
  5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community
  • That said it occurs to me as we look at things we are thankful as Thanksgiving closes in on us here some things come to my mind.

I am thankful for the usual stuff:

  1. like family,( and my beautiful dogs)
  2. I am thankful for all of you dare I say it, wonderful students, who annoy me, drive me crazy and yes bring meaning and purpose to my life.
  3. I am thankful for my friends who I cherish like family (only they annoy me a little less than my family)
  4. I am thankful for all the “good” teachers I get to work with, who make me want to do a better job. (Not that I am saying all teachers are good)
  5. I am thankful for my health and my home.
  6. Finally I am thankful we live in a democracy, where I have a voice, where even people I don’t like or agree with have a voice. Where there is some respect for the the individual in the community and social equality.

Democracy and Civil Rights. When we return from thanksgiving break we are going to look at the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Jim Crow laws, and other areas that are all involved with the concept of democracy and civil rights.
You can either explore the linked pages from Wikipedia or you can blog what you are thankful share some thing you know about Civil rights, or questions you have.

For now I just want to say thank you to, my collegues; fellow teachers, and para-professionals, my bosses, and mostly my students for all their hard work. Happy Thanksgiving.


Ms. Broderick

More Podcasts and MLK Finally Gets His day on the Mall

(Click Here to listen to a podcast of this post)

We are not yet finished posting our podcasts on the Election. Here is another from James in Mac’s classvote-1.jpg.

Now for the announcement of the memorial on the Washington Mall for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.kingjrbk02.jpg
Here is the link to read the TFK article lets read it and leave a comment on their site. Then I want to begin an on-going discussion about civil rights in the month of December. I want to start it but I very much want you, my students to take it and make it your own. We will need to look at just what Civil rights mean in our world in the U.S. and maybe other places. If what I am saying seems vague in a way it is. I don’t want to tell you what I think, but have you do the research and decide what civil rights mean to you.

Anyway we will let the discussion unfold. Here is the link:,6260,1558797,00.html

Just read the story, leave a comment, and begin to think about MLK and just why he deserves the same honor as Washington and Lincoln.