Humanities
How did the activists of the 1960s try to change America?

Question Description

I’m studying and need help with a History question to help me learn.

How did the activists of the 1960s try to change America? That is one of the major questions that this course has been designed to answer. In the final assignment, you will write a brief answer to that question. First, you will choose one of the movements (Civil Rights Movement, Black Power, Anti- Vietnam War, Counterculture, and Feminism) to work on. Second, take notes on what grievances, problems, and issues the movement was trying to work on. Third, choose a document to illustrate the way that the movement worked on that issue. Use any of the sources that we have used in the class, including the excerpt from Van Gosse; do not use any other sources to write this assignment.

Here are a few more things to think about as you write this exam. Keep in mind Gosse’s concept of rights and dignity. These are two key ways of thinking about what the activists sought in these movements. Remember to use the historians’ articles from Blackboard to define what the grievances, problems, and issues were. Many of the documents work well for this purpose as well. Also bear in mind that describing a problem, dramatizing an injustice, or explaining a grievance is a way of working on an issue. Passing legislation and winning court cases are not the only way to work on these issues. Remember to use topic sentences and the evidence sandwich technique because this exam is as much about how you make an argument as it is about the answer itself.

Your paper will be two paragraphs in length and follow this outline:

First Paragraph: This one will be an introduction for the reader to the problems, issues, and grievances that the activists were working to fix. Describe the movement briefly as well as be specific about what the issues were. The last sentence of the paragraph should summarize your answer to the question:

How did the activists of the movement you are analyzing try to change America?

Second Paragraph: This one will analyze one document that we read from Takin’ It to the Streets as an illustration of your answer. Your topic sentence will summarize your point about the document. The rest of the paragraph will show how the specific ideas, insights, and statements in the document show the truth of your answer to the question. If the document tells of people’s actions, these actions can also be used to show the ways that activists worked

on issues, as well. This paragraph is about what people said and did to argue that things had to change.

Type up your two paragraphs and be sure that they conform to these rules:

  • They must be written entirely in your own words. USE NO QUOTATIONS.

  • They must not include any information taken from any source other than those assigned in the class. USE NO INTERNET SOURCES TO WRITE THIS ASSIGNMENT.

    • Papers that include passages plagiarized from the Internet, another student’s paper, or any other source will receive a zero (no credit). Papers that use information from the Internet will receive a 20 point penalty. 

    Fairclough-Rise and Fall of BlackPower 2.pdf

    Isserman-Kazin-Why Vietnam War.pdf


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11 The Rise and Fatt of Bl,acfr, power RrorrNc 0n the evening ofAurysl summer heat wave, a AND THE rl, 1965, as Los Angeres swerrered in a smog-raden California over a Gsnrro Rrvorr Buick at Avalon Avenue Ht;h*";"p;;-l offi..., L;Mril;r, pu,ed In the driver,s seat was Mar_ quette Frye' a twenrv-one-year-ord brack man; beside brother, Ronald. Marqrette'hrd younger from high school, possessed a';uvenile record, and was currentry rinemproyed. several "screwdrivers'" his ^aiiz,"ls*"r. ,.";;;;ar"*, hil ,;;-il Having recentry downed driving ,h", administered a sobrierv Minikus "riJ*uly erratic, urd test, Frye iu.a ir. gathered as more porice rived' and Frye's mother, arRena ,".r.. slramed or emloldened by his mother,s presence, tutu.q,,.tt. He cursed th. poli."m.rr. "lr a...*a r.y.,;Jr.i ,i. f.""_. T.rrior, ,"."r,"J ,r.H;1il:i,l*?t ther truck, or roughry nl:: q:r*i, h"il;;, ,;;H. rrl ,r*rr. ,he altercation unfolded. ", i1,,, seems thar a porice orncer ilj::Til:ffi:$ff Tfi g';*i'"s-,eiled s y" ,fffi;:,:lj,lffil,To like "irI selma!" that!,,,,Morhe.r,r.t f""ar r.r.oop".uri*r ..rr,]l ei_ their disapprovar. ,uleave "They'd never treat a whlte woman like As olficers moved to disperse the onlookers, what began as the routine ar_ rest of a drunk driver turned ;.rto u .ioi. in""f., began flying,,, reported Los Angeles Times' the "then wine ard bottres, oiJun"..,., pieces of wood-anything ,t u, "hurri, "outJu;1";;.,, six consecutive days of ur_ ,"hiG =BETTER DAY COMING ban violence followed, with rioters looting and burning stores, attacking firemen, battling the police, and assaulting white people. Labelled the "Watts riot," after the black section of south Los Angeles in which it erupted, the violence ranged over forty-five square miles, destroyed an estimated $200 mil- lion of property, led to 4,000 people being arrested, and left thirty-four people dead.z The bloodiest race riot since the Detroit outbreak of 1943,Watts dwarfed the 1964 disturbances in New York, Philadelphia, and Rochester. Although black leaders had been ritualistically warning that the Northern ghettos were combustible, the destructiveness of the Watts riot, and the fact that it occurred amid the palm trees of Los Angeles-not the popular image of a tlpical ghetto-shocked everyone. The McCone Commission, however, appointed by Governor Pat Brown to investigate the riot, tried to downplay the significance of the outbreak by calling it "senseless." This was criminal vandalism, it argued, not purposeful protest. The commission's report made light of racial discrimination, virtually exonerated the Los Angeles Police Department, and criticized the Civil Rights Movement for having weakened black respect for law and order. The commission blamed the violence on a small, unrepresentative minority of unemployed young men, many of them recent migrants from the South, who were on the criminal fiinges of society. Only 10,000 people, it argued, had engaged in riotthe very most, 5 percent of the area's black population. Watts had been an "insensate rage of destruction . . . engaged in by a few but bringing distress ing-at to all."3 The McCone Report's "riffraff" theory however, badly misstated the riot's significance. If the figure of 10,000 was accurate, critics pointed out, then 40 percent of all the rioters had been arrested-a claim that was plainly absurd. On the basis of postriot interviews, social scientists more plausibly estimated that 15 percent of the population-80,0O0 people-had rioted, and reckoned that a further 34 percent had approved of the riot as they watched it unfold. Critics of the report also disputed the contention that the riot had been purposeless: most blacks defined it as a protest which, they believed, would draw attention to their grievances. Bayard Rustin pointed out that the rioters acted with a degree of deliberation and rationality: they attacked property rather than people, singling out white-owned stores that they regarded as exploitative. Sociologist Robert Blauner likened the outbreak to a "mass rebellion against colonial status." Perhaps the most striking aspect of the riot, apart from its sheer destructiveness, was the lack of remorse felt by the local black population. Despite the fact that all but a handful of the dead were black people, most blacks in The Rise and Fall ofBlack Los Angeles Power Zg7 did not conclude that the riot had been a tragic mistake. Even those who disapproved of the riot felt sympathy for the rioters, placed most of the blame upon the police, and believed that the riot had drawn attention to black grievances. Many blacks felt a positive pride in having seized control of the streets and given the police-universally loathed for their racism and bru- tality-a bloody nose. "The mood of Watts last week smacked less of defeat than of'victory and power," noted Newsweeh.a This celebratory unrepentant attitude boded ill for the civil Rights Movement. Ever since the much smaller riots of 1964, King had been weighing the possibility of taking the scLC North, applying the methods of nonviolence ro the problems of the ghetto. In moving North, however, the scLC had to contend with apathy, skepticism, and outright hostility. I/vhen Andrew young and James Bevel tried to explain nonviolence to black youths in Rochester, New riot there in 1964, they got nowhere. "what is all thisJesus crap?,, asked one nonconvert. Now, visiting watts, King evoked the same cynical response. Gerald Horne describes a typical encounter. "With his rolling cadences King began,'AIl over America . . . the Negroes mustjoin hands . . .,,And burn,, added a heckler." Shouted another: "Go back where you came from.r,5 The rioters' cries of ttBurn, baby, burn!,, and ,,Get whiteylrt seemed to express a visceral hatred ofwhite people. Sensational reporting by the news media may well, in fact, have exaggerated the depth of that hatred: some whites were beaten up during the watts riot, but not a single white person died through the direct action of rioters. The rioters directed their wrath against the police, not white people in general. Nevertheless, watts brought into the open a widespread hostility toward whites that had been festering beneath the surface in the Northern ghettos-a gut resentment ofwhite people that seemed far more intense in the North than in the South. only a few months earlier,Newsweehhadreported that'(Far from being an York, after a explosively frustrated mass," blacks were "caught up by an exhilarating sense "more deeply committed than ever to the strategy of nonviolence." Judged by the gains of the civil Rights Movement and the of progress" and were beneficence of the Johnson administration, they had every reason to be. But appearances were deceptive. the south in The civil rights reforms had been designed with mind; the legislation ofJohnson's "Great society," especially the much-ballyhooed "war on Poverty," raised black expectations but offered no route out of the ghetto. The situation for many blacks in the North had not improved at all, and in some respects it was deteriorating.o _BETTER DAY COMING SncnncarroN AND DrscnrurNATroN rN THE Nonrn Some urban experts believed that the difficulties faced by blacks in the North were akin to those experienced by European immigrants half a century earlier: in both cases, the arrival of large numbers of impoverished rural folk created overcrowded slums and caused political tension. Certainly, the scale of the continuing black migration was bound to strain the urban fabric: about 4 million blacks left the South for the North between 1940 and 1965. The black population of New York increased from 6 percent of the total population to 16 percent; that of Chicago, from 8 percent to 27 percent; that of Los Angeles, from 4 percent to 18 percent; that of Detroit, from g percent to 29 percent; that of Washington, D.C., from 28 percent to 63 percent. Sheer numbers, argued Professor Philip M. Hauser, "made the Negro in-migratory stream relatively unassimilable-economically, socially and politically." Like the immigrants, blacks would eventually climb up America's economic ladder, but "it requires time-time measured in human generations rather than " Time, however) was not operating in a benign manner. The latest and largest waye of black migrants had started during the Second World War, when an enormous increase in industrial production eliminated mass unemployment and created new opportunities for black people to enter the blue-collar workforce. These were the kind of factoryjobs that had provided generations of European immigrants-Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Italians, Greeks, and others-with stable employment and decent livelihoods. years. But the black migrants gained a toehold in the industrial economy at precisely the time when advances in technology were eliminating blue-collarjobs, and when changes in the organization of industry shifted employment away from central cities and towards suburbs, small towns, and green fields. Moreover, many employers imposed skills tests on job applicants that previous generations of immigrants had never had to face-a considerable handicap to Southern migrants who had been educated in some of the worst schools in America. Many migrants did, to be sure, achieye a degree of ecorromic securiry and the proportion of black workers classified as "white-collar" increased from 10 percent in 1940 to l8 percent in 1960. For a large segment of the black working class, however, wartime employment gains did not last. In 1948 black unemployment stood at a low of 5.9 percent, a ratio of 1.7 compared to white unemployment. By 1954, however, almost l0 percent of black workers were jobless, double the rate among whites. Black unemployment stayed at twice the white level for the rest of the decade and throughout the 1960s. Equally --1 The Rise and Fall of Black powcr discouraging was a sharp decrine in brack participation in the workforce, especially among men: from g7 percent irr lg+s io zz percent twenry years later' A growing number ofyoung black mares between tt . ug", oirixteen and twenty-four dropped o.ut of legal^employment. Many of them joined gangs and engaged in criminal activities.8 The problems faced by blacks in the North were undoubtedry complex. still, white prejudice, which often derived from the crannishness and conservatism of recently arrived ethnic groups) herped to isolate bracks and retard their progress. Racial discriminatlo, in .-pLymenr, for ."";;i;, was commonplace, despite fair employment laws in most Northern states. The unions were often to blame. In the construction industry for example, it was virtually impossible for blacks to obtain a union ca.d. Limiting th" ,ir" of their mem_ bership, the craft unions accepted new apprentices on a friends-and-reratives basis, thereby perpetuating i white ,.oropory. The apprenticeship itself could last.up to five years, giving union offilciai. u.r,pl.;;p;;;;;;,y to dis_ courage black interlopers. Such practices ensured that th" pl.r*bers union was 99'8 percent white; erectricar workers 99.4 percent *hite; and carpenters 98.4 percent white. Even in unions with substantiar brack memberships, rike the UAW, blacks found themselves concentrated in lower_paid, ,,unskilled,, jobs, and underrepresented at the leadership level.e .."g":t"* was perhaps the strongest and most visible expression of raciar discrimination in the North. Despite the supreme court,s invaridation of.,,restrictive covenants" in r94g, resicrential ,"g."gutio., persisted in every city. supported by the vast majority of white hoi"o*.r..r, who viewed the proxim1ty.9f black people as a threat, the real estate industry covertlf operated a dual housing market, with the object of maintaining separation o'f th. .u".r. In practice, this involved preventing bracks r.or" r.iyi"g ;;;;;ri;; in areas occupied by whites. when the preszure of numbers b""ir," ,oo g.."ur, neighborhoods on the edge of the ghetto shifted from white to black-and rear estate agents often made rarge,profits by exproiting the panic selling of white homeowners' However, the black poprlutio., was not permitted perse throughout the city,large sections of people. to dis- which remainejoff-limits to black white politicians ,housing projects quietly reinforced segregation. They ensured that pubric were eirher all-black 1[,oI" located i., ttr. gh.iio; o. unwhite (those situated in white areas). Sporadic a*emprs ;il"g*" public housing evoked vehement white resistarr". urrd were soon abandoned. politicians also used urban redeveropment-the routing of expresswayr,-ro. ."u-- create physical ll:-,: federal government barriers between whire and black areas. Until t94g the had actively encouraged segregation; until 1962 it had silently acquiesced in it. segregation becaie even more solidry entrenched as B[,TTER DAY COMING whites moved to new suburbs. White-only developments like Levittown on Long Island, the model for postwar suburban housing, were built with the support of the Federal Housing Authority. Even after President Kennedy banned discrimination in federal housing programs-which the 1964 Civil Rights Act reinforced-the government did little to oppose segregation. As a result, the races lived apart and the ghettos grew; residential segregation was more rigid in the North than in the South. Segregated housing patterns produced "de facto" segregated public schools. School boards further discouraged integration by gerrymandering school attendance zones and permitting whites to transfer out of predominantly black schools. Whites in the North expressed their opposition to integration in no uncertain terms. In 1964, only months before the Watts riot, California voters passed Proposition 14, a referendum that repealed a recently enacted fair housing law. Voters in other states also rejected antidiscrimination laws. White determination to exclude blacks sometimes turned violent: in Chicago, black families who settled in white neighborhoods met with harassment, arson attacks, physical assaults, and at least a dozen riots between 1945 and 1964. In 1952 Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson called out the National Guard when the arrival of blacks in the satellite town of Cicero triggered rioting. The blacks departed and Cicero remained an all-white enclave of 70,000 people. Where housing was concerned, racial discrimination in the North lost its subtlety; it was raw and open. Tsr SCLC's CHrcAGo CAMpercN .q.Nl rnn Wnrrn Bacrlesn This is what the SCLC discovered in Chicago, where King led his first campaign in the North. After floundering for the first half of 1966, the SCLC focused its attack upon housing segregation, organizing marches in the city's all-white neighborhoods. It was a brilliantly effective tactic. By evoking the same kind ofviolent opposition it had encountered in the South-white mobs burned cars, hurled bricks, and bodily assaulted the marchers-the SCLC exposed the depth of Chicago's racial division and exerted intense political pressure upon Mayor RichardJ. Daley. Forced to the negotiating table, Daley accepted a "Summit Agreement" that consisted of promises by the city of Chicago, and by local real estate agents, to promote housing integration. Having defused the immediate crisis, however, Mayor Daley quietly shelved the Summit Agreement. King was bitterly disappointed by the betrayal. On one level, Daley simply outfoxed King. Yet the SCLC's failure in r The Rise and Fall ofBlack power 301 chicago had deeper *uf*'.1^llrthern organizarion accusromed to mobilizing small communities, the SCLC lacked thT know-how and the resources ro reach a massive black popuration of o"" a half used to dealing with one-dime.rsionar v,rains tit ;;; m,rii;;il: connor andJim crark, the scLC found Mayor Richard Darey "rg.rx* a sJde, skinful poritician, who J' opposed the civil Rights Morr.-".,rt utr, r.iJ*ords and smart than fire hoses a.rJ billy,.clubs. were chicago's brack L. Dawson, who nor were Srpp"rl"S gestures rather DaleS-and opporirg the SCLC, poriticians-erecred o'n"iutr,'tit o"ly.3jor.d . +;;;dmacy c;d;;il;; wiriam u"i;.r.r,l..luse they part of the Democratic rimachine," possessed patronage and fhvors to dispense or withhold. The scLC also found it ai{Hcurt ro adapr to jhe. hald-edged, more secular, urban culture of the North. The brack chx."h ru.k.d the prestige and influence thar it commandecr in the south. In the No_rth? many ical, disturbed bv the,r.,.rth gurgr,-, bi;;l;:;.-.d cyn;w. ;.;. ;;rticurarry ...utt.J;fi;i';..;;,";';#J, alienated. and impervious to the scl0s idealism. looted, raped: t..,..1ii.a"*f,ot.,r.igt,Uorhoods; fought with each other. ''[T]hose hard-eved brack boys L"d ;;?.;ct for anything or anybody. To them a preachrr *u' th.e next worse thing to a poriceman, and rerigion was for old folks and suckers, both of whom ffii.g"ra.d witrr a fine c-ooniempt.,, A serious riot that .."ptlg.in the west sial giitt, inJury 1966 sharpry,rumi_ nated the SCLC,s inability to influence ,ilr" gu.rgr. King, stranded in the middle of :r,lTd,and the riot area. tried, to Iisten, heckJing and cursing rtrp ,r* .p.r"aing violence. him.r,i people refused to The more profound reasons for the sclC's sorth.l, r."Jiry fa,ure, however, had to do had aroused the conscience in the yl;h1nt;;presidents down, to assist rhe :l::::i:1,"?::,y,jlg,ynf:"s cause ofthe civ, Rifhts Movement. similar violencr, bui they did ,ror gui., sympathy. Indeed, the Iiberals who had lauded with white people, not bracks. u,l scici;;"],1Tft1'*..-Jii *h; King a y"u. "urii..-and even marched beside him at Selma-now co'dcmnJd lis tactics u, i...rfor.,rible and p."r";;l;. Sympa_ thy for the civil Rights Movement Mason-Dixon line. ,....i',o'.uaporate when it crossed the Northern politicians attributed this rack of sympathy to a ,,white backrash,, h;i.;;;r";nd violence. A"";;;g to this rpr.uaofurti*hit. rhetoric ararmed basi_ cally well-meaning whites. Most whites mri.*a that demonstrations encouraged riots and should stop.By 1966, accordingto an opinion poll, g5 percent of all whites had come to th. co.r"r,^i."ir.", a."ro.r.rrurio.ri*.r.,,hurting the Negro cause." The number or*rrit" r*" in the North who believed that had been caused by brack theory the outbreak ofriots and ar _.302 BETTE,R DAY COMING that theJohnson administration was pushing integration "too fast" grew from 28 percent in April 1965 to 36 percent in August 1965 (after Watts), and to 52 percent in September 1966. "White people are scared and sore and the consensus behind improvement of the Negro's condition is running out-has run out," White House aide Harry McPherson wrote Johnson. The 1966 Civil Rights Bill, which proposed to ban housing discrimination, failed to pass. Shortly afterwards, in the midterm elections, the Democrats lost fortynine seats in the House and four in the Senate.Il Bayard Rustin contended that the Civil Rights Movement had to shift "from protest to politics," investing its energies in building support for a progressive agenda within the Democratic Party. Yet race was splitting apart the traditional New Deal coalition. In state after state, wrote pollsters William Brink and Louis Harris, elections showed "the defections ftom the Democratic party of the late-arriving Catholic minorities."l2 Few sensible people-and certainly not King-denied that rioting had set back the cause of racial equaliry. Yet while riots might have intensified the "white backlash," they did not cause it. In 1963, before any serious rioting had occurred, opinion polls documented the fact that "anti-Negro prejudice is widespread and deeply rooted in the U.S., extending to the vast majoriry of ordinary well-meaning Americans." North and South, most whites shunned social contact with black people, did not want integrated housing, and thought blacks ...
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