14 petitioned the mayor tp approve a biracial committee.

In document Political movements : three case studies of protest (Page 186-189)

In many cases, the continuing pattern of protests wassimilar to

that of earlier instances, but often the demands were changing. In some

areas, it was true that goals still centred dn the limited field of public

^ Ibid, a p. 14.

8 NYT, Jan. 20, 1964, p. 15; Jan. 27, 1964, p. 1. 9

Ibid., Ffeb.27, 1964, p. 1.

^ Ibid, 9 Mar. 24, 1964, p. 1.

X'L Ibid, 9 June 26, 1964, p. 1.

12

Southern Regional Council, Civil Rights: Yeca*-end Sianmary3

op* *t*3 p* 5•

13 Ibid., p. 15.

accommodation; but the case of Atlanta, Georgia, was typical of new developments in the South, namely tae dissatisfaction with, and even contempt for, toaeu desegregation«

When demonstrations were renewed in the city in becemoer, 1963,

there already had been token desegregation of schools, public accommodation, hospitals and Jobs« To the mayor, there was reason to be proud: "With

justifiable pride we have viewed Atlanta's racial progress in racial 15

amity." To Martin Luther ling, however, these achievements were dismissed with scorn in comparison with the "hard and ugly facts about conditions in A t l a n t a . D i s s a t i s f i e d with the progress of talks on desegregation and recalling the achievements of earlier demonstrations, Negro leaders of various degrees of militancy put forth a comprenensiv. list of demands: the total desegregation of all public accommodation; the establishment of private and governmental programmes to guarantee fair employment practices; the desegregation of all housing and the appointment of Negroes to housing boards and agencies; the passage of an open occupancy ordinance; the total desegregation of all schools, including administration, clerical and teaching personnel; the Increased Negro participation on trial juries and the appointment of Negro lawyers to tne staffs of city and county

attorneys, and to judgeships on municipal and traffic courts; the desegre­ gation of all public health facilities and increased Negro representation on

^ Quoted in Pat Vetters, "Atlanta: Fruits of Tokenism", Nation, CXCVIII (Feb. 17, 1964), 162.

16 Ibid\

182 -

health and welfare boards; the desegregation of penal and correctional institutions and the appointment of more Negro policemen and probation officers.'1^ While these demands were still race demands, they were applicable to more classes within the Negro community than had been the case with earlier demands.

These demands were not met, even when backed up by non-violent direct action demonstrations which were intensified when a section of the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Discrimination visited the city

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at the invitation of the mayor. Mass arrests, police mistreatment, and counter-picketing by the Ku Klux Klan, when added to a drain on the limited financial resources of the participating groups, resulted intthe tapering off of demonstrations. By the time that the Civil Rights Act had been passed in July,1964, some sporadic demonstrations were still being con­ ducted; but only a limited accord on public accommodation and school integration had been reached.

The kind of demonstrations which had been held in Atlanta were held in other urban areas in the South throughout 1964. Sometimes they reached the limited accord that had been obtained in Atlanta; sometimes the door of negotiation remained barred to the movement and the use of non-violent direct action failed to knock it open.

m 3 Jan. 19, 1964, p. 43.

Slice’s version of the visit appears on Freedom Singers, Utie Freedom Singers Sing o f Freedom Now (New York: Mercury Records, 1963), No. MG 20924.

V oter y*eoi ntrcrti o n .-

A n o th er k in d o f d e m o n s tr a tio n i n t h e S o u th was bound

u n w ith th e movement’ s e f f o r t s to f u s e p o l i t i c a l and d i r e c t a c t i o n . E f f o r t s to r e g i s t e r more Negro v o t e r s i n t h e S o u th w ere i n t e n s i f i e d when d i r e c t a c t i o n d e m o n s tr a tio n s w ere begun i n 1960. By e a r l y 1 9 6 3 , SNCC had begun i n t e n s i v e c o n c e n t r a t i o n on v o t e r r e g i s t r a t i o n . F o c a l p o i n t s f o r SNCC a c t i v i t y w ere th e ’’b la c k b e l t ” r e g io n s o f M i s s i s s i p p i and A labam a, so c a l l e d o r i g i n a l l y f o r t h e c o lo u r o f t h e i r r i c h s o i l , b u t now so named f o r t h e i r heavy c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f N egro p o p u l a t i o n . I n th e f a l l o f 1 9 6 2 , SNCC w ent i n t o S elm a, A labam a, i n D a lla s C o u n ty , w here o n ly 0 .9 p e r c e n t

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o f t h e e l i g i b l e Negro v o t e r s w ere r e g i s t e r e d . Hie c o u n ty , t y p i c a l o f o t h e r s i n th e a r e a , was a lm o s t e x c l u s i v e l y r u r a l . Im p o v e ris h e d , i t was among th e p o o r e s t i n th e U n ite d S t a t e s : e i g h t y - f i v e p e r c e n t o f th e N egroes l i v e d b elo w th e minimum s ta n d a r d o f s u b s i s t e n c e ; s i x t y - s e v e n p e r c e n t o f th e N eg ro es h ad l e s s th a n a s i x t h g ra d e e d u c a tio n ; 5 .7 p e r c e n t o f t h e e l i g i b l e N eg ro es i n a l l n i n e t e e n c o u n t i e s i n th e ” b la c k b e l t ” w ere r e g i s t e r e d to

20

v o t e . F o r SNCC: Those c o u n t i e s w ith t h e h i g h e s t p e r c e n ta g e o f N egroes a r e g e n e r a l l y th e p o o r e s t , w ith N eg ro es h o ld in g th e lo w e s t p a y in g j o b s . N eg ro es i n B la c k B e l t Alabama a r e h e l d in p o v e r ty by jo b d i s c r i m i n a t i o n and l a c k o f e d u c a tio n . Selm a a d e q u a te ly d e m o n s tr a te s how N egroes a r e

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In document Political movements : three case studies of protest (Page 186-189)