Following the arrest of Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955, the Women's Political Council and the NAACP planned to boycott Montgomery buses on December 5th. The success of the boycott (90% of African Americans did not ride the buses) excited them, and black leadership decided to establish the Montgomery Improvement Association. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was chosen to lead, with Ralph Abernathy, Jo Ann Robinson, E. D. Nixon, Rufus Lewis and other prominent figures at his side. They were meant to oversee continuing the boycott, but sought to improve Montgomery's community and race relations as a whole. After the MIA's initial meeting, the executive committee drafted the demands of the boycott and agreed that the campaign would continue until demands were met. Their demands included courteous treatment by bus operators, first-come, first-served seating, and employment of African American bus drivers. Following its success in Montgomery, the MIA became one of the founding organizations of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in January 1957. The MIA lost some vital momentum after King moved from Montgomery to Atlanta in 1960, but the organization continued campaigns throughout the 1960s, focusing on voter registration, local school integration, and the integration of Montgomery city parks. Although it lost momentum, it did however improve the life of black people living in Montgomery after the boycott. In 1941, A. Phillip Randolph planned an initial march to fight racial injustice in the workplace. However, Roosevelt then issued an executive order forbidding discrimination by any defense contractors and establishing the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), so the march was cancelled.
- In 1963, African American Leaders from many different organizations planned a new march in order to fight for a Civil Rights Act
- They wanted elimination of segregation in schools, protection for demonstrators against brutality, prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.
- Opposition: KKK, Kennedy didn't want it to backfire, Malcolm X
- August 28th, 1963 march took place. Super successful. 250,000 people (1/4 white). Completely nonviolent. Marched from Washington Monument to Lincoln Memorial
- This is where MLK gives the "I Have A Dream" speech. Pushed for urgency in fighting for the end to segregation. Now is the best time to push forward for civil rights.
March resulted in Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
The Children's Crusade was a march by hundreds of school students in Birmingham, Alabama, May 2-5, 1963, during the Civil Rights Movement's Birmingham campaign. Initiated and organized by Rev. James Bevel, the marches were stopped by the head of police, Bull Connor, who brought fire hoses to ward off the children, and set police dogs after the children. Footage and photographs of the violent crackdown in Birmingham circulated throughout the nation and the world, causing an outcry. On May 5th, protesters marched to the city jail where many of the young people were still being held. They sang protest songs and continued their tactics of non-violent demonstration. Finally, local officials had agreed to meet with civil rights leaders and hash out a plan to end the protests. On May 10th, an agreement had been reached. City leaders agreed to desegregate business and to free all who had been jailed during the demonstrations. Weeks later, the Birmingham board of education announced that all students who had been involved in the Children's Crusade would be expelled. This decision was ultimately overturned by the court of appeals. The Children's Crusade marked a significant victory in Birmingham. The city was in the world spotlight, and local officials knew that they could no longer ignore the Civil Rights Movement. This event compelled President John F. Kennedy to publicly support federal civil rights legislation, and eventually led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Montgomery, AL was where MLK begin his career. First as a pastor, second as a civil rights leader. Despite their knowledge that African Americans were heavily discriminated against in the South, they felt that it was their duty to move there. That began the Civil Rights Movement and thus the bus boycotts, the SCLS, etc, eventually leading to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960. In Birmingham, MLK was arrested during the Birmingham campaign. From the jail, he wrote the Letter From Birmingham City Jail, arguing for and supporting nonviolent resistance. He then gave the "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington. Both of these events combined were able to re-inspire the tired activists, and they letter succeeded in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1965, MLK and the SCLC joined the voting-rights marches in Selma. At this march, police beat and tear-gassed the marchers. This extreme violence was still met with non-violence, building support for the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. MLK and Malcolm X came from two religions, and therefore their interpretations of those religions caused them to respond differently to the times through which they were living. Malcolm X was Muslim, and one of his most famous principles that stemmed from his religion was "By any means necessary". MLK however was a Christian, and thus believed in the principle of love and that "One should treat others the way that one would want to be treated".
Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael fought heavily against integration, believing that integration is just meant to be another way in which the Caucasian Americans could control the African Americans. They believed that the best thing would be for the American government to allow the African Americans to govern themselves, while the Caucasian Americans govern their own as well. The two could work together, but they should always remain separate. MLK countered this, stating that anything that worked against the status quo would force everyone, Caucasian and African Americans, to have to take two steps backwards. Instead, one would have to change the actual status quo instead. He states that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere".