20 reneged on the agreement.

In document Political movements : three case studies of protest (Page 101-110)

g that it would not allow touring companies to appear in segregated halls.

20 reneged on the agreement.

17 Ibid., Apr. 24, 1963, p. 19.

18 Ibid., Ho t. 14, 1958, p. 1( Mar 27, 1959, p. 47; Ho t. 24, 1959, p. 18; see also Bowman v. Morgan, reported ln V CLD 42(1960).

19

NIT,

pr. 22, 1962, p. 63.A

20

Martin Luther King, Jr., Vhy V* Can't Wait (New York: New American Library, 1963), p. 53.

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SCLC and AChft lau n ch ed " P r o j e c t C o n fro n ta tio n " In April» 1963% w ith c e r t a i n minimum demands on th e m erch an ts and th e c i t y and backed up th e s e demands w ith sm a ll s c a l e s i t - i n s . W ith in a w eek, 102 a r r e s t s had been made on t e c h n i c a l c h arg es o f t r e s p a s s i n g , p a ra d in g w ith o u t a

21

p e r m it, c r e a t i n g a d is tu r b a n c e , and l o i t e r i n g . As had happened i n A lbany, Birmingham became a n a t i o n a l news ite m when a c o n sc io u s a c t o f c i v i l d is o b e d ie n c e , a p r o t e s t march i n d e f ia n c e o f a co u n ty c o u r t

22

i n j u n c t i o n , r e s u l t e d i n th e a r r e s t s o f K in g , A bernathy and some s i x t y o t h e r s . For th e r e s t o f A p r i l , th e p a t t e r n o f p r o t e s t c o n tin u e d , s p re a d in g to k n e e l - l n s a t ch u rch es and s i t - i n s a t l i b r a r i e s . F ig h tin g b r i e f l y e ru p te d when Negro b y s ta n d e r s , i n p r o t e s t a t some o f th e a r r e s t s , h u r le d s to n e s a t th e p o l i c e ; b u t t h i s was cu rbed e f f e c t i v e l y by th e

23

a u t h o r i t i e s . A r r e s ts o f p e a c e fu l d e m o n stra to rs c o n tin u e d ; b u t even in th e fa c e o f a n i n e t y - f i v e p e r c e n t e f f e c t i v e b o y c o tt , m erch an ts w ere u n p re p a red to n e g o t i a t e .

The n o n - v io le n t s ta le m a te which had s e t t l e d o v e r th e c i t y was b ro k en when o v e r one th o u san d young c h i l d r e n , some a s young a s f i v e , ap p eared on th e l i n e s o f march and were a r r e s t e d . For two d a y s , th e e x c ite m e n t i n Birmingham was th e c h i l d d e m o n s tra to rs . T hen, on May 4 t h , w h ile Negro a d u l t s s to o d on th e s i d e l i n e s and c h e e re d on c h i ld r e n and

te e n - a g e d e m o n s tr a to r s , th e Com m issioner o f P u b lic S a f e ty o rd e re d t h a t f i r e h o ses and p o lic e dogs be tu rn e d on th e d e m o n s tr a to r s . In a d d i t i o n

21 NIT, Apr. 8 , 1963, p . 31. 22

C ity o f Birmingham v , W alker, r e p o r te d i n V III RRLR 4 3 6 (1 9 6 3 ). 23 NIT, Apr. 15 , 1963. p . 1.

t o th e e f f e c t w hich t h i s u s e o f f o r c e had on th e th i n k i n g o f th e f e d e r a l g o v e rn m e n t, i t was an i n v i t a t i o n to N egro b y s ta n d e r s to

r e t a l i a t e . S to n e s and b o t t l e s throw n a t p o l i c e by th o s e who w ould no l o n g e r s t a n d i d l y by w h ile dogs and h o s e s w ere u n le a s h e d r e v e a le d t h e l a t e n t f u r y i n th e N egro com m unity. SCLC's o n ly r e p ly was to c a l l o f f

24 f u r t h e r d e m o n s t r a tio n s .

A g a in s t th e b a c k g ro u n d o f mass a r r e s t s - by May 6 th th e num ber, 25

m ost o f whom w ere c h i l d r e n , h ad r i s e n to 2 ,4 2 5 - t a l k s w ere h e ld b e tw e e n Negro and w h ite community l e a d e r s ; b u t no a c c o rd was r e a c h e d . When r i o t i n g b ro k e o u t f o r a se c o n d tim e as n e a r l y t h r e e th o u s a n d N egroes

s to rm e d th ro u g h w h ite b u s in e s s d i s t r i c t s o n ly to b e d r iv e n b ack by h ig h p r e s s u r e h o s e s and arm oured c a r s , t h e n eed f o r a t r u c e became more appa­ r e n t . A f t e r s e v e r a l a b o r t i v e a t t e m p t s , an ag re e m e n t was r e a c h e d .

H ow ever, t h e a g ree m en t was c u t £ h o r t when bombs d e s tr o y e d th e homes o f some o f th e N egro l e a d e r s and s e t o f f w id e s p re a d r i o t i n g i n Negro a r e a s . A f t e r some d a y s , t h e c i t y q u ie te n e d . When o r d e r r e t u r n e d , t h e n e g o t i a t e d a g re e m e n t b eg an t o p ic k up s u p p o r t w i t h i n th e w h ite com m unity. SCLC c a l l e d o f f f u r t h e r d e m o n s tr a tio n s . By J u l y i n i t i a l s t e p s h ad b een ta k e n to im p lem en t th e a g re e m e n t.

March on Washington•

B irm ingham s h i f t e d t h e Kennedy A d m i n i s t r a t i o n 's a p p ro a c h to o u t r i g h t s u p p o r t , i n th e form o f l e g i s l a t i o n , f o r t h e d i r e c t a c t i o n d e m o n s tr a tio n s . A g a in s t th e b a c k g ro u n d b o th o f g ro w ing r e s e n tm e n t

I b i d . ,

May 5 , 1 9 6 3 , p . 1 .

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w i t h i n th e c i v i l r i g h t s movement to w ard s p h y s i c a l o p p o s i t i o n to i t s dem ands and o f th e hope i n s p i r e d by t h e Kennedy p r o p o s a l s , c i v i l r i g h t s l e a d e r s i s s u e d a c a l l f o r a March on W ash in g ton f o r A u g u st 2 8 , 1963, The o r d e r and d i s c i p l i n e s o u g h t by th e l e a d e r s h i p w as a c h ie v e d beyond a l l e x p e c t a t i o n . Two h u n d re d and f i f t y th o u s a n d p e o p le c o n v e rg e d on

W ashingto n on th e day to demand o f th e f e d e r a l g o v ernm ent a b r o a d programme o f s o c i a l r e f o r m .

Aims and M otives

Birmingham• B oth b e f o r e and a f t e r th e s ta l e m a t e i n A lb a n y , s i t - i n s ,

v o t e r r e g i s t r a t i o n d r i v e s , s e l e c t i v e b u y in g cam paigns and th e l i k e w ere b e in g c o n d u c te d th r o u g h o u t th e S o u th . SCLC b e l i e v e d t h a t a s u c c e s s f u l a t t a c k on s e g r e g a t i o n i n B irm ingham " m ig h t w e l l s e t f o r c e s i n m o tio n t o

26

ch ange th e e n t i r e c o u r s e o f th e d r i v e f o r freed o m an d j u s t i c e . " Towards t h a t e n d , i t drew up " P r o j e c t C o n f r o n t a t i o n " , a f u l l y d e t a i l e d programm e o f n e g o t i a t i o n an d d i r e c t a c t i o n d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t b o th th e b u s in e s s

community an d t h e c i t y a u t h o r i t i e s . The p r o j e c t o u t l i n e d minimum dem ands: (1 ) th e d e s e g r e g a t io n o f lu n c h c o u n te r s and a l l p u b l i c f a c i l i t i e s i n a l l downtown s t o r e s ; (2) t h e im m ed iate e s ta b l i s h m e n t o f f a i r h i r i n g p r a c t i c e s i n th o s e s t o r e s , i n c l u d i n g th e em ploym ent o f q u a l i f i e d N eg ro es f o r w h ite c o l l a r j o b s ; (3 ) th e d ro p p in g o f a l l c h a rg e s a g a i n s t th o s e a r r e s t e d d u r in g r e c e n t s i t - i n s ; (4 ) th e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f f a i r h i r i n g p r a c t i c e s i n a l l c i t y d e p a r tm e n ts ; (5 ) th e r e - o p e n in g o f c i t y p a r k s and p la y g r o u n d s , a l l o f w h ich had b e e n c lo s e d t o a v o id d e s e g r e g a t i o n ; (6 ) t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f a b l - r a c i a l 26 K in g , Why We C a n 't W ait9 ope i t , 3 p .5 4

group to work out a timetable for the desegregation of all city public schools. 2 7

The Negro leadership was no longer prepared to wage a fight for one particular objective. The aim during the Birmingham demonstrations was to present a package deal to which it was hoped both private and public interests would respond. In addition, the demands included a new objective of civil rights - fair hiring agreements.

March on Washington, Two streams of protest activity merged for the March on Washington, represented by the dual themes of jobs and freedom. A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the principal Negro trade union leader, had been planning a demonstra­ tion against unemployment in October of some twenty thousand persons to be

9g

led by the Negro American Labor Council. When it looked as though President Kennedy might not introduce any significant civil rights legislation, King suggested that civil rights groups might press for such legislation by staging a March on Washington, possibly one that would include civil disobedience in the form of sit-ins in the halls of

In document Political movements : three case studies of protest (Page 101-110)