United States - The system of legal racial segregation lasted until 1965. In theory, non-whites were to have the same access and services as whites. In law and in practice, whites gave themselves prvileges over non-whites in every area of public life. Black Americans were harmed the most, since they were the direct target of Jim Crow laws.
Washington, D. C. - The United States Supreme Court decided school segregation of students was illegal. Ir was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Brown was not the only school segregation case considered. It included cases from Kansas, Delaware, South Carolina, and Virginia. They were all rolled into one decision.
There was one key question. 'Does the racial segregation of children in school deprive them of an equal education?' The U. S. Supreme Court decided yes.
It was not until the 1960s, that schools began to desegregate in number. The process was slow by 1965 and was never fully realized. Schools are still very segregated.
Whites challenged integration and protested. White parents left integrated schools, as 'bad' schools. Or, whites called neighborhoods 'bad' if there were too many Black American children.
A tragedy of the decision is that it destroyed all-Black American schools. By the time of the decision, many of these schools had unique cultures that catered to Black American students. That disappeared.
Many Black American teachers, principals, and administrators lost their jobs. White schools rarely hired them. If Black Americans were hired, it was into a hostile setting. They were undermined by white teachers, administrators, school boards, and the white students.
Today, the damage of this decision is seen today. When the students are mostly Black (American), the hand giving the grade, is often white (or at least not Black American). It has led to decades of poor performance, low graduation rates, and high delinquency.
Money, Mississippi - Two white males, Roy Bryant (middle) and J. W. Milam (right) murdered 14 year-old Emmett Till. Roy's wife, Carolyn, lied about Till. That led to Till's murder.
Till was from Chicago, Illinois. He visited relatives, in Money, Mississippi. Till visited a local store, and spoke with Carolyn. Days later, Roy and Milam kidnapped Till, from Till's great-uncle's house. Milam was Roy's half-brother.
Roy and Milam beat and mutilated Till. Then, they shot Till in the head. Finally, Till's body was sunk in the Tallahatchie River. Three (3) days later, Till's body was found.
In September 1955, Roy and Milam faced trial. The jury was all-white. The prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge were white. Roy and Milam were found not guilty.
On January 24th, 1956, Roy and Milam confessed, in a Look magazine article. Milam said he had no plan to murder Till. But, Till showed no fear. Milam murdered Till for that.
Till's murder inspired Rosa Parks. It led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott made Martin Luther King, Jr. a national figure.
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 Americans 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.
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, 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, 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, Arkansas - Nine (9) Black American 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 American students from the school.
One of the Black American 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.'
Little Rock, Arkansas - Federal troops guarded Black American students as they went to an all-white high school. An angry mob of whites waited for them, as they entered Central High School. Angry whites were there when they left the school. The United Staets Army 101st Airborne helped the Black American students attend classes safely.
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).
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.
Detroit, Michigan - Tamla Records was founded on this day. It was renamed Motown, on April 14th, 1960. Berry Gordy Jr. founded and made Motown into a hit-making machine. In fact, the home of Motown is named Hitsville, U. S. A.
Motown Records became one of the most iconic record labels in American history. Motown produced hits from Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and many more.
New York, New York - A series of television programs showed Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan, and the Nation of Islam to America. The series was produced by Mike Wallace and Louis Lomax. Wallace narrated.
Lomax was a Black American man and worked with Wallace, a white man. They worked for News Beat, on WNTA-TV (now WNET), in New York. Lomax did the interviews while Wallace narrated.
This was the first time whites had heard of the Nation of Islam. It was the first time Malcolm X appeared on television.
The series was called 'The Hate That Hate Produced.'
Atlanta, Georgia - The Nation of Islam sent two (2) of its members to meet the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The two men were Malcolm X and Jeremiah X.
Elijah Muhammad wanted his mosques safe, in the South. A meeting was arranged with the KKK. It was held at the home of Jeremiah X. As national spokesman, Malcolm X spoke for the Nation of Islam.
The KKK speaker was W.S. Fellows. It was estimated 10% of the KKK were Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) snitches. The FBI may have used the meeting to learn more about the Nation of Islam.
The Nation of Islam got the safety it wanted. Malcolm X, it was believed, began to doubt Elijah Muhammad.