The Changes in Racism from 1960 to 1969

Throughout the 60's, racism changed dramatically in a various number of ways. Changes involved the passage of bills into laws as well as involving the overall attitude of the people. Racism was largely based on white people's hatred towards blacks until the 1960's, when several major events increased animosity both from whites towards blacks and from blacks towards whites.

One of the first major events in the sixties was the attack on the Freedom Riders, a groups of black and white citizens who rode busses across the south in order to test laws enforcing segregation in public facilities. As they rode across the south, they were met by angry mobs and police brutality, who would beat them severely, sometimes to death. Another event, which happened in 1963, was the killing of Medgar Evers, the field secretary for the NAACP, who was murdered in his driveway. Because of all the beatings of the Freedom Riders and the frustration of blacks wanting their rights, many riots broke out in various cities and states, such as Los Angeles, New Jersey, Chicago and Philadelphia. When these riots broke out in the 1960's, the police would use any methods necessary to exert their power, such as the use of clubs and physical force. Sometimes, when black protesters would try to enter restaurants, stores or any other "White" facilities, they would be sprayed with large fire hoses. The photos of Birmingham in 1963 are evidence of these events.

In 1965, the Voting Rights act was passed, eliminating poll tax which is the 24th Amendment to the constitution, and literacy tests, therefore helping not just blacks, but all Americans gain equal rights. One of the biggest things that stood out about the 60's, and probably the most remembered about, was the killings of two very famous people in our American history. One of those men was the great black leader Malcolm X, who was killed on February 21, 1965. Malcolm, who had to deal with watching his house burn to the ground as a child, later spoke out against the inequality against the blacks of this nation. He soon appealed to both black and white, as he continued to speak out against racial inequality. He continued to speak out until he was shot and killed, but no one knew who killed him, It may have possibly been the work of other black Muslims.

Maybe the most influential American of the '60's was Martin Luther King, Jr. Through his preaching on non-violent protest, he also soon developed many followers, both black and white. He was put in jail several times, but managed to write a book and continue his preaching. On April 4, 1968, he fell to an assassin's bullet. King is stilled honored today for his strength and courage to still preach of non-violent protest.

The 1960's, played a big part in the history of racism in America. The American people owe a great deal of thanks to both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., for their position as role-models to many black Americans. Outward has decreased over the years, because of laws passed by Congress, but it is still present today, even though some people try to cover it up.

Presented by:

Ben Flaherty

Jeff Seidman

Marshall McLelland

Mike Holler

Michael S. Durham, Powerful Days, 1991.

Daniel E. Kubsitie, Happy Birthday Civil Rights, 1989.

Christolpher Edly & Gene Sperling, Civil Rights: Have we "done enough?"

Rhonda Lois Blumberg, Civil Rights: The 60's Freedom Struggle, Twane Publishers, 1991.

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