Re-thinking History

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

John F. Kennedy & LBJ

The Black Freedom Movement

  • In 1960, Ella Baker called a meeting of 200 African American college students in Raleigh, North Carolina. Out of this meeting emerged the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. (SNCC) Desired to replace the culture of segregation with a "beloved community," of racial justice and to empower lack Americans to take control of the decisions that affected their lives.
  • Blacks in Biloxi and Gulfport, MS engaged in "wade ins" demanded access to segregated public beaches.
    In February 1960, four students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC entered the local Woolworth's department store and sat down at the lunch counter. Whites refused to serve the four students, who suffered insults, threats of violence, assault with condiments, silverware etc. Five months later, however, Woolworth's in July agreed to serve black customers at the counter.
  • In 1961 SNCC launched a campaign of nonviolent protests against discrimination in Albany, Georgia. SNCC initially embraced civil disobedience and the nonviolence principles of Martin Luther King Jr. The activists’ optimism and commitment to nonviolence soon confronted severe testing.
  • In May 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality organized Freedom Rides to integrate interstate transportation in the South. Encouraged by Kennedy administration officials who viewed voter registration as less controversial than civil disobedience and more likely to benefit the Democratic Party, SNCC and other groups began a Voter Education Project in the summer of 1961.
  • The high point of protest came in the spring of 1963, when demonstrations took place in towns and cities across the South, dramatizing black discontent over inequality in education, employment and housing.
  • In May 1963, King, Jr. decided to send Black schoolchildren into the streets of Birmingham. Police chief Eugene "Bull" Connor unleashed his forces against the thousands of young marchers. The images, broadcast on television of children being assaulted with nightsticks, high-pressure fire hoses, and attack dogs produced a wave of revulsion throughout the world and turned Birmingham into a triumph for the civil rights movement. Television revealed to the world the brutality of southern resistance to racial equality in 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. launched a campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, to integrate public facilities and open jobs to African Americans.
  • In June 1963, NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers was shot and killed.
  • On September 15, 1963, four little girls were killed when a bomb exploded in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
  • The largest demonstration drew 250,000 blacks and whites to the nation’s capital in August 1963, where King put his indelible stamp on the day, delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech. The euphoria of the March on Washington quickly faded as activists returned to continued violence in the South.

John F. Kennedy 1961-1963

  • The presidential campaign of 1960 turned out to be one of the closest in American history. Republicans chose Vice President Richard Nixon as their candidate to succeed Eisenhower. Democrats nominated John F. Kennedy, a senator from Massachusetts and a Roman Catholic, whose father, a millionaire Irish-American business, had served as ambassador to Great Britain during the 1930s. LBJ accepted Kennedy's offer to run for vice-president. In the first televised debate between presidential candidates, Kennedy boasted Nixon, who was suffering from a cold and appeared tired and nervous. According to Eric Foner, Kennedy had few tangible accomplishments with his domestic program, the "New Frontier." From the onset of his presidency, Kennedy regarded civil rights as a distraction from his main concern-vigorous conduct of the Cold War.
  • Cold War foreign affairs during the administration of John F. Kennedy (1961-1963), centered on problems in Africa, Latin America and Asia, as Kennedy moved away from brinksmanship policy and toward a flexible response policy. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk were concerned with the Soviet Union as the U-2 incident in 1960 cooled efforts towards better relations. Kennedy requested an increase in nuclear weapons and asked Congress to increase funding to N.A.S.A. to develop long-range missiles. In 1961, the Berlin Wall was created by East Germans in an effort to keep out Berlin residents, and supported by Khrushchev. In keeping with the Truman Doctrine, Kennedy offered economic assistance to “Third World,” countries to challenge growing communist guerrilla movements and established a massive aid program, “Alliance for Progress,” in Latin America. Covert operations flourished during Kennedy’s administration, and failed missions, such as the Bay of Pigs, led to Cuban Missile Crisis. Leonid Brezhnev became the new Soviet leader in 1962 and reversed Khrushchev’s polices of rehabilitation for Stalin’s victims, and moved to a more conservative and regressive approach to the Cold War. Kennedy's perception of the civil rights movement was changed in 1963 as the world watched in horror as police men attacked young black schoolchildren who were protesting in Birmingham. Until this time, as Foner noted, Kennedy had been reluctant to take a forceful stand on Black demands.
  • According to Eric Foner, Kennedy created an new policy towards Latin America, the "Alliance for Progress," a kind of Marshall Plan for the Western Hemisphere, and aimed to promote both political and material freedom. The Alliance for Progress failed, as military regimes and local elites controlled Alliance for Progress aid. Like his predecessors, Kennedy viewed the entire world through the lens of the Cold War and this outlook shaped his dealings with Fidel Castro, who led a revolution in 1959 that ousted Fulgencio Batista. Until Castro took power, Cuba was an economic dependency of the United States. In 1961, Kennedy allowed the CIA to launch its invasion, at a site know as the Bay of Pigs. Military advisers predicted a popular uprising that would topple the Castro government. However, the Bay of Pigs invasion failed as over 100 invaders were killed and 1,100 captured. Cuba became more closely tied to the Soviet Union.
  • Eric Foner noted that the most dangerous crisis of the Kennedy administration and in many ways of the entire Cold War, came in October 1962, when American spy planes discovered that the Soviet Union was installing missiles and captured images of silos in Cuba. Kennedy imposed a quarantine of the island and demanded the missiles removal. After tense behind-the scenes negotiations, Soviet primer Nikita Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles. In addition, Kennedy pledge that the U.S. would not invade Cuba and secretly agreed to remove American Jupiter missiles from Turkey, from which they could reach the Soviet Union.
  • Lawrence Freedman, Kennedy’s Affairs: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam, (2002), argued that Kennedy respected the Soviet Union as a competitor for international influence, kept his options open and believed that negotiations could occur with Russia. Freedman stressed that Kennedy failed to understand the dynamics of decolonization and changes in governments in Africa and Latin America, where the Cold War was less relevant to the indigenous populations struggling against colonial rule.
  • Michael G. Schatzberg, Mobutu or Change? The United States and Zaire, 1960-1990, (1991) argued that Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba’s gravitation towards the Soviet Union, following independence from Belgium in June 1960 eventually led to a CIA endorsed coup d’etat by Colonel Joseph Mobutu. Schatzberg suggested the U.S. government was present at the creation of Zaire and guided the country’s political life. Schatzberg noted that Kennedy’s relationship with the “friendly tyrant,” was problematic to U.S. foreign policy as it placed foreign policy priorities in conflict. Schatzberg asserted that Mobutu successfully played on U.S. fears of Soviet activity in the region.
  • Bernard A. Weisberger, in Cold War, Cold Peace, (1985) argued that conflicting pressures of good intentions and immediate necessities shaped Kennedy’s foreign policy. Weisberger stated that as long as negotiations prevented war between the two superpowers, the Kennedy administration believed the Berlin Wall changed nothing and left the issue of a divided Germany alone.
  • Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. argued in his introduction to Robert Kennedy’s Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, (1999) that the Presidents purpose during the Cuban Missile Crisis was to stop the delivery of further missiles through the naval “quarantine,” of Cuba and remove present missiles on the island through diplomacy. Kennedy resisted a sneak air attack and saw a trade of American missiles in Turkey for Soviet missiles in Cuba as a possible way out.
  • Stephen G. Rabe, in The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America, (1999) argued that the Kennedy administration held an inordinate fear of communism, a result of the challenge to U.S. hegemony by the Cuban revolution. Rabe asserted that Kennedy’s ‘Alliance’, intended to counter the emerging communist threat by Cuba in the region. Rabe noted that Kennedy grudgingly accepted the anticommunism stance and eased sanctions against the repressive ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier regime (1957-1971), in Haiti.
  • Rabe, in U.S. Intervention in British Guiana: A Cold War Story, (2005) argued that in the name of anticommunism, the Kennedy administration took extraordinary measures to deny the people of British Guiana the rights to national self-determination. Rabe asserted that Kennedy’s ‘Alliance,’ appeared as a U.S. effort to economic assistance to Peoples Progressive Party leader Cheddi Jagan but planned to develop a covert program to address communists. Merging in 1955, the labor union, the AFL-CIO went from supporting U.S. foreign policy to implementing it and creating unrest. The covert U.S. intervention ignited racial warfare between blacks and Indians, leading to the replacement of Jagan in 1964 with Forbes Burnham, (Afro-Guyanese) whose 21-year dictatorship persecuted the Indian population.
  • Kennedy: New Frontier: Domestic Policy
    At his inauguration, the 43-year-old Kennedy declared that a “new generation, ”was assuming leadership, and he called on Americans to cast off complacency and self indulgence and serve the common good. Though Kennedy’s idealism inspired many, he failed to redeem campaign promises to expand the welfare state. Kennedy did win support for a $2 billion slum clearance and urban renewal program— the Area Redevelopment Act of 1961, offering incentives to businesses to locate in depressed areas— and for the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, which provided training for the unemployed. Kennedy had promised to “get this country moving again,” making economic growth a key objective. Key economic advisers argued that infusing money into the economy by reducing taxes would increase demand, boost production, and decrease unemployment. Congress passed Kennedy’s tax cut bill in 1964, ushering in the greatest economic boom since World War II. Poverty had caught Kennedy’s attention in 1960 when he campaigned in Appalachia for the votes of the rural poor.
    Kennedy and the World Kennedy's agenda envisioned new initiatives aimed at countering communist influence in the world. One of his administration's first acts was to establish the Peace Corp, which sent young men and women abroad to aid in the economic and educational progress of developing countries and to improve the image of the United States.
  • Assassination of a President
    1. The murder of the president touched Americans as had no other event since the end of World War II.
    2. Stunned Americans struggled with what had happened, and why.
    3. To get to the truth, President Johnson appointed a commission headed by Chief
    Justice Earl Warren, which concluded in September 1964 that both Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, assassinated Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby, who killed Oswald two days later, also acted alone. However, historians have suggested that there were more individuals involved in the assassination of JFK.

Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963-68)

  • Following the assassination of JFK in 1963, vice-president Johnson assumed the leadership role of president. In 1064, Johnson campaigned for reelection and his opponent was conservative Barry Goldwater, a senator from Arizona. Goldwater desired a more aggressive approach to the Cold War and critiqued the New Deal welfare state, which he believed stifled individual initiative and independence. He called for the substitution of private charity for public welfare programs and voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Johnson received almost 43 million votes to Goldwater's 27 million. Goldwater represented the conservative strand of the sixties that existed within the midst of tumult and rebellion. Conservatives, such as Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, one of the most prominent segregationists discussed the evils of welfare with racial overtones.
  • Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency with a wealth of political experience. Johnson’s coarse wit, extreme vanity, and Texas accent repulsed those who preferred the sophisticated Kennedy style. Johnson excelled behind the scenes, where he could entice or threaten legislators into support of his objectives. Johnson’s goal was to fulfill Kennedy’s vision for America, and he secured the passage of Kennedy’s proposed tax cut and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Fast on the heels of the Civil Rights Act came a response to Johnson’s call for “an unconditional war on poverty.” The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 authorized ten programs under a newly created Office of Economic Opportunity, allocating $800 million for the first year. The most novel and controversial part of the law, the Community Action Program, required “maximum feasible participation” of the poor themselves in antipoverty programs, thus challenging the system itself.
  • The administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963-69) faced divisive foreign affair issues that affected the goals of his “Great Society”. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara outlined the terms of “mutual assured destruction,” which assumed that both sides had enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other. In addition, McNamara’s notion of ‘graduated pressure’ addressed the issue of Viet Cong mobility and the need for increased U.S. ground troops in Vietnam. In Latin America, Johnson isolated Cuba, and sent U.S. troops to the Dominican Republic in 1954 to quell communist takeover and ensure election defeat of Juan Bosch. In the Middle East, the U.S. and Russia used the ‘hot line,” during the 1967 Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel. However, Vietnam became Johnson’s greatest foreign policy problem by far, as the CIA sponsored assassination of Diem in 1963 ushered in a set of new problems for the president. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964 permitted Johnson to subsequently “Americanize”, the Vietnam War. One year later, Johnson initiated ‘Operation Rolling Thunder,’ the three-year massive bombing effort, following an attack on a U.S. based in central South Vietnam, with Vietnamese casualties reaching nearly 60,000 a year. The 1968 Tet Offensive altered the U.S. course in Vietnam, as U.S. casualties convinced the Johnson administration to attempt diplomacy in Paris with North Vietnam.
  • George C. Herring, in LBJ and Vietnam: A Different Kind of War (1994), argued that the Johnson administration was wrong and divided over the Vietnam War. Herring stressed that the doctrine of limited war hindered any change of direction in the war in 1968. Herring noted that Johnson’s limited war doctrine failed to employ a sound military strategy or maintain a pro-war consensus.
  • Michael H. Hunt, in Lyndon Johnson’s War: Americas Cold War Crusade in Vietnam, 1945-1968, (1996) argued that the roots of the Vietnam conflict began with U.S. paternalism towards Asian countries that emerged from FDR’s trusteeship concept during WWII and culminated in massive intervention in the sixties. Hunt noted that a serious misreading of Vietnamese history and culture by the administration led to Johnson’s misfortune.
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, in Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, (1991) noted that Johnson failed to understand cultures, and tended to see foreign leaders as remote figures. Goodwin argued that although Johnson learned the accepted concepts of containment, he thought in terms of personalities, power and good works.
  • H.R. McMaster, Dereliction of Duty, (1998) argued that Johnson, McNamara, and the “silent accomplices,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff succeeded in creating the illusion that the decisions to increase American involvement in Vietnam were alternatives to war rather than war itself. McMaster noted that McNamara’s testimony before Congress in 1964 failed to alert Congress to covert maritime operations, including destroyer patrols along the North Vietnamese Coast. McMaster indicated that the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 "probably did not occur" as historians have debated whether U.S. patrol boats were fired upon by the North Vietnamese. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was designed to allow President Johnson to assume unchecked power in Vietnam.
  • Lyndon Johnson's War: According to Eric Foner, Johnson came to the presidency with little experience in foreign policy. Johnson had initial misgivings about sending American troops to Vietnam. However this changed with the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964. In August 1964, North Vietnamese vessels encountered an American ship on a spy mission off the coast. Claiming that the North Vietnamese had fired on the American vessel, Johnson proclaimed that the U.S. was a victim of aggression. In response, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, authorizing the president to "take all necessary measures to repel armed attack in Vietnam." Only two senators, Ernest Gruening of Alaska and Wayne Morse of Oregon, voted against Johnson this blank check. The resolution passed without any discussion of American goals and strategy in Vietnam. In December 2006, the National Security Agency finally released hundreds of pages of secret documents that made it clear that no North Vietnamese attack had actually taken place. During the 1964 election, Johnson insisted that he had no intention of sending American troops, but changed his mind rather quickly. The National Security Council recommended that the United States begin air strikes against North Vietnam and introduce American ground troops in the south. When the Viet Cong in February 1965 attacked an American air base in South Vietnam, Johnson put the plan, Operation Rolling Thunder" into effect. At the same time, Jonhson intervened in the Dominican Republic. Here, military leaders in 1963 had overthrown the left-wing but non-communist Juan Boche, the country's first elected president since 1924. In April 1965, another group of military men attempted to restore Bosch to power but were defeated by the ruling junta. Fearing the unrest would lead to another "Cuba situation," Johnson dispatched 22,000 American troops. The intervention outraged many Latin Americans. By 1968, the number of American troops in Vietnam exceeded half a million and the conduct of war had become more and more brutal. American planes dropped tons of bombs on the small countries of North and South Vietnam, more than both sides used in all of WWII. They spread chemicals that destroyed forests to deprive the Viet Cong of hiding places and dropped bombs filled with napalm, a gelatinous form of gasoline that burns the skin. The army pursued Viet Cong and North Vietnam forces in "search and destroy" missions that often did not distinguish between combatants and civilians. As casualities mounted, the Cold War foreign policy consensus began to unravel, as the war had sidetracked much of the Great Society and had torn families, universities and the Democratic party apart. Opposition to the war became the organizing theme that united people of all kinds of doubts and discontents. In 1967, young men were burning their draft cards or fleeing to Canada. In October of that year, 100,000 anti-war protestors assembled at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and many marched across the Potomac River to the Pentagon, where protestors placed flowers in the rifle barrels of soldiers gaurading the nerve center of the American military.
  • The "Great Society" Agenda Having steered the nation through the assassination trauma and established his capacity for national leadership, Johnson rejected stability and security in the midst of a booming economy. Johnson wanted to usher in the “Great Society,” and in the sheer amount and breadth of new laws, he succeeded mightily. The Great Society provided health services to the poor and elderly in the new Medicaid and Medicare programs; federally funded education and urban development; created the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; new agencies such as the Equal Opportunity Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts, and the national public broadcasting network.
  • The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was just the opening shot in the war on poverty.
  • Targeting depressed regions that the general economic boom had bypassed, Johnson’s measures sought to help the poor indirectly by stimulating economic growth and providing jobs through road building and other public works programs. A second approach endeavored to equip the poor with the skills necessary to find jobs. Other antipoverty efforts provided direct aid. For example, a new food stamp program, which largely replaced surplus food distribution, gave poor people greater choices in obtaining food. The federal government’s responsibility for health care increased. The assumption of national responsibility for social justice also underlay key civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Great Society benefits reached well beyond the poverty-stricken and victims of discrimination. The flood of reform legislation dwindled to a trickle after 1966, when midterm elections trimmed the Democrats’ majorities in Congress and a backlash against government programs arose. Against these odds, in 1968 Johnson pried out of Congress a civil rights law that banned discrimination in housing and jury service.
  • Assessing the War on Poverty
    Measured by statistics, the reduction in poverty in the 1960s was considerable. In 1962, Michael Harrington published The Other America, which revealed that 40-50 million Americans lived in poverty, often in isolated rural areas or suburan slums "invisible" to the middle class. Large numbers of the aged and members of male-headed families rose out of poverty, while the plight of female headed families actually worsened. Conservatives charged that Great Society programs discouraged initiative by giving the poor “handouts.” Most of the funds for economically depressed areas built highways and helped the construction industry. Some critics argued that ending poverty would require a redistribution of income — raising taxes and using those funds to create jobs, overhaul social welfare systems, and rebuild slums.
    The Judicial Revolution
    A key element of liberalism’s ascendancy during the Kennedy and Johnson years emerged in the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren, who presided from 1953 to 1969. Expanding the Constitution’s promise of equality and individual rights, the Court’s decisions supported an activist government to prevent injustice and discrimination and provided new protections to disadvantaged groups and accused criminals. Chief Justice Warren considered Baker v. Carr (1963), which established the principle of “one person, one vote,” his most important decision. The egalitarian thrust of the Warren Court also touched the criminal justice system, as it overturned a series of convictions on the grounds that the accused had been deprived of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law,” a denial of Fourteenth Amendment rights. As Supreme Court decisions overturned judicial precedents and often moved ahead of public opinion, critics accused the justices of obstructing law enforcement and letting criminals go free. The Warren Court also fortified protections for people suspected of being Communists or subversives, setting limits, for example, on the government officials who investigated and prosecuted them. The Court’s decisions on prayer and Bible reading in public schools provoked even greater outrage. Two or three justices who believed that the Court was overstepping its authority often issued sharp dissents, but the Court’s major decisions withstood Warren’s retirement in 1969 and the test of time.
    The Black Freedom Struggle During the administration of LBJ
  • In 1964, the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project mobilized more than a thousand northern black and white college students to conduct voter education classes and a voter registration drive in Mississippi.
    In March 1965, Alabama troopers used such fierce force to turn back a march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery that the incident earned the name “Bloody Sunday” and forced President Johnson to call up the Alabama National Guard to protect the marchers.
  • The Response in Washington: Both the Kennedy and the Johnson administrations acted more in response to the black freedom struggle than on their own initiatives, moving only when events gave them little choice. In June 1963, Kennedy finally made good on his promise to seek strong antidiscrimination legislation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 guaranteed access for all Americans to public accommodations, public education, employment, and voting, thus sounding the death knell of the South’s system of segregation and discrimination. In August 1965, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which empowered the federal government to intervene directly to enable African Americans to register and vote. Two more measures completed Johnson’s
    civil rights record. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 banned racial discrimination in housing and jury selection and authorized federal intervention when states failed to protect civil rights workers from violence. In September 1965, Johnson used his presidential authority to issue Executive Order 11246, banning discrimination by employers holding government contracts and obligating them to take affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity.

The Changing Black Movement
By 1966, civil rights activism had undergone drastic changes. Black protest extended from the South to the entire nation, demanded not just legal equality but also economic justice, and no longer held nonviolence as its basic principle. In part, the new emphases resulted from earlier success, as legal oppression receded only to reveal other injustices more subtle but no less pervasive.
Integration and legal equality did little to improve the material conditions of blacks, and black rage at oppressive conditions erupted in waves of riots from 1964 to 1968. In the North, a powerful new challenge to the ethos of nonviolence arose.

  • Malcolm X, emphasized racial pride, black autonomy and enterprise, and separation from the dominant white culture and institutions, attracted a large following, especially from the urban ghettos. Malcolm X: Shift in ideology during last year of life to Pan-African and Black Nationalist vision; (pride, economic, political, social & cultural independence from whites.) Historiography: starting with Alex Haley: place Malcolm in conciliatory history of CRM: does not discuss Pan-Africansim, OAH, Black Nationalism,; Mecca more important than last year of life
  • Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, (1984) Last year of Malcolm's life: breadth to his vision; understood the necessity to change. 400 years of survival as an endangered species; black survival skills is ability to change. Was no such thing as a single issue struggle, b/c we don’t live single issue lives. Malcolm knew this…Revolution is not a one time event. It is becoming always vigilant, for the smallest opportunity to make genuine change. Malcolm stated: We are not responsible for our oppression, but we our responsible for our liberation.
  • George Breitman, Malcolm Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements, (2nd edition, 1990) Speeches reflect a shift to a broader scope, from civil rights to humanitarian rights.
    o 1959 & 1964 Trips to Africa were not only about Islam and peace with the white man.
    o Development of a Pan-African ideology that understood the importance of connection with Africans in Diaspora.
    o April 11, 1964, Accra. “You cannot understand what is going on in MS if you don’t understand what is going on in the Congo, and you cannot really be interested in MS if you are not also interested in what’s going on in the Congo. There both the same.
    o Malcolm: civil rights keeps you under his restrictions and means that you are asking Uncle Sam to treat you right. However, human rights are something that you were born with…they are you’re God given rights”
  • The Black Revolution, April 8, 1964,
    § Revolution, loss of land and will be bloody; never compromising and never based upon negotiations.
    § Identified with decolonization movements in Latin America and Africa.
    § Addressed divide & rule concept: in global community, white man is minority.
    § Objected to Moise Tshombe and Colonel Mobutu in Congo
  • Eugene Victor Wolfenstein, The Victims of Democracy: Malcolm X and the Black Revolution, (1981)
    o OAAU was appropriate, practical revolutionary response to economic conditions of time.
    o Stressed the importance of moving away from the American Negro identity.
    o Stress common enemy, white racism, white supremacy.
    o Stressed need for new allies.
  • Robert E. Terrill, Malcolm X: Inventing Radical Judgment, (2004)
    o April 3 1964 The Ballot or the Bullet, asked audience to adopt a critical perspective in an effort to make possible a critical engagement with the world.
    o Laid ideological foundation for OAUU; Black Nationalism; black man should be economic & political control of community; re-evaluate the community with new eyes.
    · William W. Sales, Jr. From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, (1994)
    o First stage in the evolution of X thought, trips to Africa 1959 and 1964; pushed forward the development of his thinking;
    o role of Africa was both political & cultural.
    o Organization represented the changing views by Malcolm of Africa and the liberation movement.
    o Organization for Afro-American Unity: killed during a meeting; modeled after OAU
    o U.S. violation of humanitarian rights during slavery.
  • Black Power: 1966 James Meredith March Against Fear, shot in leg, Greenwood Ms, Stokeley Carmichael, rally after detention in MS jail, uttered “Black Power” SNCC chairman Stokely Carmichael gave those principles a new name, “black power,” which quickly became the rallying cry in SNCC and CORE. Carmichael rejected integration and assimilation because both implied the superiority of white institutions and values. To black power advocates, nonviolence only brought more beatings and killings.
  • After police killed an unarmed black teenager in San Francisco in 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale organized the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and armed its members for self-defense against police brutality.
  • On April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York, King, Jr. questioned U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King Jr. agreed with black power advocates on the need for “a radical reconstruction of society.” Although black power organizations made headlines, they failed to capture the massive support that African Americans gave King and other earlier leaders.
  • A Multitude of Movements
    Native American Protest
    Protest was not new to the group of Americans with the oldest grievances, but Native American activism took on fresh militancy and goals in the 1960s. According to Eric Foner, the Tr
    uman and Eisenhower administrations attempted to dismantle the reservation system and intergrate Native Americans into the American mainstream, a policy knows as "termination," since it meant ending recognition of the remaining elements of Indian sovereignty. Many leaders protested vigorously against this policy and it was abandoned by President Kennedy. President Johnson's War on Poverty increased federal funds to reservations. In 1961, a new, more militant generation of Native Americans expressed growing discontent with the government and with the older Indian leadership by forming the National Indian Youth Council. Native Americans demonstrated and occupied land and public buildings, claiming rights to natural resources and territory that they had owned collectively before European settlement. In Minneapolis in 1968, two Chippewa, Dennis Banks and George Mitchell, founded the American Indian Movement to attack problems in cities, where about 300,000 Indians lived. AIM sought to protect Indians from police harassment, secure antipoverty funds, and establish “survival schools” to teach Indian history and values. AIM leaders helped to organize the “Trail of Broken Treaties” caravan to the nation’s capital, where some of the activists took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A much longer siege occurred on the Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota, where conflicts between AIM militants and older tribal leaders led AIM to take over the village of Wounded Knee. Although these occupations failed to achieve their specific goals, the wave of Indian protest produced the end of relocation and termination policies; greater tribal sovereignty and control over community services; enhanced health, education, and other services; and protection of Indian religious practices.
  • Latino Struggles for Justice
    The fastest-growing minority group in the 1960s was Latinos, or Hispanic Americans, an extraordinarily varied population encompassing people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and other Latin American origins. Throughout the twentieth century, Mexican Americans had organized to push for political power and economic rights. In the 1960s, however, young Mexican Americans, like African Americans and Native Americans, increasingly rejected traditional polices in favor of direct action.
    Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta organized a movement to improve the wretched conditions of migrant agricultural workers. In 1962, they founded the United Farm Workers. UFW marchers and strikes gained widespread support, and a national boycott of California grapes helped the union win a wage increase for the workers in 1970. Chicanos mobilized elsewhere to end discrimination in employment and education, gain political power, and combat police brutality. In 1965, the Young Lords Organzation, modeled on the Black Panthers, staged street demonstrations in New York to protest the high employment rate among the city's Puerto Ricans and the lack of city services in Latino neigborhoods.
  • With blacks and Native Americans, Chicanos continued to be overrepresented among the poor but gradually won more political offices, more effective enforcement of antidiscrimination legislation, and greater respect for their culture.
  • Student Rebellion, the New Left, and the Counterculture
    Although materially and legally more secure than their African American, Indian, and Latino counterparts, white youth joined them in expressing dissent, supporting the black freedom struggle and launching student protests, the antiwar movement, and the new feminist movement. The central organization of the white student protest was Students for a Democratic Society, formed in 1960 by a remnant of an older socialist-oriented student organization. A free speech movement, the first largescale white student protest, arose at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, when university officials banned student organizations from setting up tables to recruit support for various causes. Hundreds of student rebellions followed on campuses across the country. Opposition to the Vietnam War activated the largest number of students; they held rallies and took over buildings to protest universities’ links to the war. Growing up alongside and often overlapping the New Left and student movements was a rebellion known as the counterculture, which drew on the ideas of the Beats of the 1950s. Cultural radicals rejected many mainstream values, such as the work ethic, materialism, rationality, order, and sexual control. Rock and folk music defined both the
    counterculture and the political left. Music during the 1960s often carried insurgent political and social messages. The hippies faded away in the 1970s, but many elements of the counterculture — from rock music to jeans and long hair— filtered into the mainstream.
    The New Wave of Feminism
  • A Movement Emerges: After women won the right to vote in 1920, feminism receded from national attention, but small groups of women continued to work for women’s rights and opportunities in such areas as employment, jury service, and electoral politics. Policy initiatives in the early 1960s reflected larger transformations and the specific efforts of small bands of women’s rights activists in the 1940s and 1950s, and they sparked new activism.
  • The President’s Commission on the Status of Women, appointed by Kennedy in 1961, highlighted a practice that women’s organizations and labor unions had sought to eliminate for two decades: the age-old custom of paying women less than men for the same work. Just as it inspired other protests, the black freedom struggle also gave an immense boost to the rise of a new women’s movement, by creating a moral climate sensitive to injustice and providing precedents and strategies that feminists followed.
  • In 1966, Betty Friedan and others founded the National Organization for Women, which focused on achieving equal treatment for women in the public sphere. Simultaneously, a more radical feminism grew among women in the black freedom struggle and the New Left. In 1964, two white women in SNCC, Mary King and Casey Hayden, recognized the contradiction between the ideal of equality and women’s actual status in the movement, and in 1965, they began circulating their ideas to other New Left women. Women’s liberation demonstrations began to gain public attention, especially when dozens of women picketed the Miss America beauty pageant in 1968, protesting against being forced “to compete for male approval [and] enslaved by ludicrous ‘beauty’ standards.”
  • Radical feminists, who called their movement “women’s liberation,” differed from those in NOW and other more mainstream groups in several ways, particularly in the early years of feminism’s resurgence. Groups like NOW wanted to integrate women into existing institutions, while radical groups insisted that women would never achieve justice until economic, political, and social institutions were totally transformed. Complicated relationships between black women and feminists arose from their interlocking racial and gender identities.
  • Although NOW elected a black president in 1970, white middle-class women predominated in the new feminism’s national leadership and much of its constituency. Common threads underlay the great diversity of feminist organizations, issues, and activities. Although more an effect than a cause of women’s rising employment, feminism lifted female aspirations and helped lower barriers to jobs and offices monopolized by men.
  • Feminist activism produced the most sweeping changes in laws and policies affecting women since they had won the right to vote in 1920. At the state and local levels, radical feminists won passage of laws forcing police departments and the legal system to treat rape victims more justly and humanely. Feminists also pressured state legislatures to end restrictions on abortion.
    A Countermovement Arises
    Public opinion polls registered majority support for most feminist goals, yet by the mid-1970s, feminism faced a strong countermovement focused on preventing ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist in the Republican Party, mobilized a highly effective host of women at the grassroots level who believed that traditional gender roles were God-given and feared that feminism would devalue their own roles as wives and mothers. Opposition to the right to abortion was even more intense. Feminists faced a host of other challenges.