Black History Month 2022

civil rights

Corporations Got Civil Rights



Washington, D. C. - The United States Supreme Court gave civil rights to corporations. The case was Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (1886). This decision made a legal fiction (corporation) equal to a United States citizen.

Civil Rights protections were meant for black people. It was meant to unite the nation after the Slavery War. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments do not use 'corporation.'

The Fourteenth Amendment used 'persons' in its text. The Supreme Court decided 'persons' included corporations. This gave corporations protection under the U. S. Constitution. The decision was unanimous.

Black citizens can be hurt and jailed, but not corporations. The United States Supreme Court made no distinction. Corporations had all the benefits of law, without all the risk.

Frederick Douglass Died



Washington, D. C. - Frederick Douglass was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. He was born into slavery, to a white father and enslaved mother.

Douglass spent his life either fighting to end slavery or to advance the causes of black Americans.

While it is unknown his exact birth date, it is accepted to be sometime in February, 1818.

Rosa Parks Born



Tuskegee, Alabama - Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley. Parks was a key activist in the Black Rights (to become Civil Rights) era.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Born



Atlanta, Georgia - Michael King Jr. was born. He would later become Martin Luther King Jr.

Harry and Harriette Moore Killed



Mims, Florida - Harry T. Moore and his wife, Harriette V. S. Moore were killed the night of December 25th, 1951. A bomb exploded under the bedroom floor of the Moores' home in Mims, Florida.

The couple were equal pay and voting rights activists for black Americans. They were early organizers for Black Rights in Florida, after World War 2.

Four (4) white male Ku Klux Klan members were suspected of the murder. Yet, none were indicted, charged, nor arrested.

Rosa Parks' Sitdown Protest



Montgomery, Alabama - Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, on a Montgomery city bus. The bus driver told Rosa Parks to give up her seat. By law, black people were required to give up their seat, when ordered.

Parks decided not to obey. This was 100 days after Emmett Till was murdered. Parks said ... I thought of Emmett Till, and when the bus driver ordered me to move to the back (of the bus), I just couldn't move.

The white bus driver called the local police. Parks was arrested and booked, by the Montgomery Police.

This event launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Source:

Before Rosa Parks

Montgomery Bus Boycott Began



Montgomery, Alabama - The Montgomery Bus Boycott began. This was days after the arrest of Rosa Parks. She was tried on charges of disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. The trial was only 30 minutes. Parks was found guilty. Her fine was ten dollars ($10). Plus, there were four dollars ($4) in court costs.

Parks appealed her conviction. This was a direct challenge to the law of racial segregation.

On December 1st, the night of Parks' arrest, the Women's Political Council (WPC) gave out leaflets. It showed the start of the boycott, on Monday, December 5th.

On Saturday, December 3rd, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) made a list of demands to be met. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the MIA.

On December 7th, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) called the boycott an 'agitation among negroes.' The FBI tried to find 'derogatory information' to discredit King.

Montgomery Bus Boycott Leaders Booked



Montgomery, Alabama - The leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott gave themselves to the police. The City of Montgomery decided that the boycott was illegal, from a 1921 law.

Tuesday, February 21st, 1956, 89 were charged with an illegal boycott. The charged included Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, and Edgar Nixon.

On Wednesday, February 22nd, all 89 peacefully went to the police station. All were booked and released on bond.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the only one who went to trial. Judge Eugene W. Carter found King guilty. King was fined $500, plus $500 for court costs. King appealed the verdict. Judge Carter changed the sentence to 386 days of jail.

King said, 'I was optimistic enough to hope for the best but realistic enough to prepare for the worst. This will not mar or diminish in any way my interest in the protest. We will continue to protest in the same spirit of nonviolence and passive resistance, using the weapon of love.'

On April 30th, 1957, King's appeal was denied. The Court of Appeals ruled his lawyers missed the 60-day deadline. December 1957, King paid the fine.

Montgomery Bus Boycott Ended



Montgomery, Alabama - The Montgomery Bus Boycott ended. It lasted 1 year and 2 weeks. Martin Luther King, Jr. read a prepared statement. 2,500 people, at Holt Street and First Baptist Churches came to hear it.

King urged 'the Negro citizens of Montgomery to return to the buses tomorrow morning on a non-segregated basis.' A person, from the audience, asked about segregated benches downtown. King said the Supreme Court ruling was only for city buses.

King said 'it is true we got more out of this (boycott) than we went in for. We started out to get modified segregation (on buses) but we got total integration.' This was from a Birmingham News account.

At 6:00 a.m., December 21st, 1956, King joined E. D. Nixon, Ralph Abernathy, and Glenn Smiley on one of the first integrated buses. There were only a few instances of verbal abuse and occasional violence.

The Montgomery Advertiser wrote, 'The calm but cautious acceptance of this significant change in Montgomery’s way of life came without any major disturbances.'

Little Rock School Desegregation



Little Rock, Arkansas - Nine black teenagers were to attend the all-white Central High School. An angry white mob and the National Guard stopped them from going to school.

The United States Supreme Court ruled that exclusions based on race had no legal effect. On September 3, 1957, a Federal judge ruled that the students had instant access to attend classes at the then all-white school. Despite this, the Arkansas Governor blocked the black students from the school.

One of the black students, Elizabeth Eckford, tried to go to the school. She recalled what happened that day. 'They moved closer and closer. ... Somebody started yelling. ... I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the crowd—someone who maybe could help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face. But, when I looked at her again, she spat on me.'

First Sit-in



Witchita, Kansas - 20 year-old Ron Walters began one of the first sit-in protests against segregation. He had the help of his 19-year-old cousin, Carol Parks-Hahn. It took place at Dockum Drug Store (southeast corner of Douglas and Broadway).

Martin Luther King, Jr. Stabbed



Harlem, New York - Izola Curry stabbed Martin Luther King, Jr. in the chest. She used a steel letter opener. To save King's life, surgeons opened his chest to remove the weapon.

King was on a book tour to promote his book, Stride Toward Freedom. The tour took King to Harlem, and Blumstein's Department Store. There, as King signed books, Curry came forward. She asked King his name. After she got her answer, she lunged at King and stabbed him in the chest.

After Curry stabbed King, a bystander grabbed her. Curry was ruled insane by the court. She died of natural causes, in New York, in 2015, at 98 years of age.

Birmingham Black Rights Campaign



Birmingham, Alabama - The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planned protests of racial segregation. These protests were led by Martin Luther King, James Bevel, and Fred Shuttlesworth. King called Birmingham the most segregated city in the country.

As the protests continued, volunteers ran low. It was decided to include children. They came from elementary, middle, and high school.

The Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene 'Bull' Connor acted against the children. Connor sent high pressure water hoses and attack dogs at the children. Hundreds of children and adults were arrested.

40% of Birmingham's population was black. Yet, none worked for the Birmingham Police Department.

Images of this period showed the harsh brutality of segregation in the South. Whites attacked defenseless and huddled children, because of skin color. The children were no threat to anyone.

Birmingham May Bombings of 1963



Birmingham, Alabama - Bombs exploded at the home of A. D. King (Martin Luther King's brother), and under the room where Martin Luther King had stayed the previous nights.

The first bomb was placed by a uniformed police worker. He drove a marked police car to the home of A. D. King. There he placed a bomb near the porch. The second was thrown at Room 30, of the Gaston Motel.

There was a month-long protest in Birmingham, for racial justice. Finally, local white Birmingham politicians and bureaucrats agreed to concessions. On Friday, May 10th, they agreed to limit racial discrimination and lessen segregation.

In response, on Saturday, May 11th, a white supremacist rally was called outside Birmingham, in Bessemer, Alabama. That evening, at 10:45 p.m., a bomb exploded at A. D. King's home, planted by the Birmingham police.

Just before midnight, at 11:58 p.m., the bomb exploded at the Gaston Hotel. The explosion could be heard across town.

Later, President John F. Kennedy remarked, 'the people who've gotten out of hand are not the white people, but the Negroes by and large.' On this basis, Kennedy called on the military to enter Birmingham.

No deaths or injuries were caused by the explosive devices (bombs). Martin Luther King had left earlier, to go to Atlanta.

The guest, in the room below King's, slept elsewhere. He had planned to sleep there, to get a break from the meetings at his house. But, fatigue forced him to sleep at home.

The bomb at the home of A. D. King did not do enough damage to cause injury. No one was prosecuted for the bombings.

Medger Evers Killed



Jackson, Mississippi - Medger Evers was murdered, at his home. The murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, was tried and convicted.

Early Wednesday morning, Medger Evers returned home to his waiting wife and children. Evers got out of his car. He carried T-shirts that read 'Jim Crow Must Go' in his hands. There, he was shot in the back, from an Enfield 1917 rifle. The bullet struck the 37 year-old Evers through his heart.

After the shot, Evers staggered 30 feet, to the front door of his house. There he collapsed. His wife, Myrtle, found him there.

Evers was taken to the local hospital. He was refused entry, because he was black. His family explained who he was and the hospital admitted him. Evers was in the hospital for 50 minutes, and died.

On June 19th, 1963, Evers was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in the funeral procession. Evers' funeral got full military honors.

Myrtle Evers fought to get the murderer convicted. On February 5th, 1994, Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of Evers' murder. It took 30 years, but Evers' murderer was sent to prison. Beckwith died in prison on Jaunary 21st, 2001.

'I Have A Dream' Speech Given



Washington, D. C. - At the March on Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the crowd. It was his 'I Have A Dream' speech.

The event was formally known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It took place at the National Mall. 250,000 attended.

First Selma March Began



Selma, Alabama - Reverend C.T. Vivian led the first Selma march. It was to end at the courthouse in Marion, Alabama. The march protested the arrest of James Orange. He was a member of the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL).

In Marion, Alabama state troopers attacked the marchers. Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by white police. Jackson was shot as he tried to protect his mother and grandfather from the police.

Jackson was denied medical care in Marion. He was moved twenty (20) miles to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma. On February 26th, Jackson died, in the hospital.

Second Selma March



Selma, Alabama - White state troopers and sheriff workers attacked hundreds of black civil rights marchers. The march was to go 54 miles. The route went from Selma to Montgomery, the Alabama state capital.

The march was a protest of a death from the first Selma march. His name was Jimmie Lee Jackson, a young black man. The other goal, of the march, was to get black people able to vote.

Over five hundred (500) marched toward the Edmund Pettus Bridge. There Alabama state troopers and sheriff workers waited. Once the marchers reached the other side of the bridge, the Alabama state troopers told them to stop and disperse.

The marchers walked off the bridge and the Alabama troopers and sheriff workers attacked. They used tear gas, batons, kicked, and beat the unarmed marchers. The march was stopped. It never made it out of Selma.

1965 Voting Rights Act Signed



Washington, D. C. - President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Source:

Voting Rights Act

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