Civil Rights Movement
October 14, 2009 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I need a significant event that happened during the Civil Rights Movement.

I would like for the event to be important or significant, but under the radar. Everyone knows about Rosa Parks and the bus, etc. And if it happened in chicago, that'd be a bonus.
posted by shesaysgo to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Lynching of Emmett Till, perhaps. While it didn't happen in Chicago, Till was from Chicago and is buried in Alsip.
posted by honeybee413 at 11:19 AM on October 14, 2009

Martin Luther King's marches against housing discrimination in the late 1960s in Chicago and the ensuing riots? The episode led MLK to say something like Chicago was worse than any place in the South as far as segregation.
posted by Mid at 11:23 AM on October 14, 2009

Here is some wikipedia on that.
posted by Mid at 11:24 AM on October 14, 2009

Not exactly an event, but CORE was founded in Chicago, and was a major organizer of MLK's March on Washington as well as the Freedom Ride of '61.
posted by mkultra at 11:28 AM on October 14, 2009

Several significant (but largely forgotten) events took place in St. Augustine, Florida during the Civil Rights movement.
posted by saladin at 11:30 AM on October 14, 2009

The sit-ins at the Woolworth's store in Greensboro NC.

An interesting sidebar: There is an historical marker in downtown Greensboro describing the event. For some unknown reason, though, the sign has been erected about four blocks away from the site of the Woolworth's store.
posted by DrGail at 12:25 PM on October 14, 2009

When we were in Montgomery, Ala., we visited the Civil Rights Memorial at the Souther Poverty Law Center. Water runs over the scultpture and it is marked with the names of 40 people (or groups) who lost their lives during the Civil Rights Movement. Many of them are under the radar, and you can read all of them via this .pdf.

January 23, 1957 Montgomery, Alabama
WILLIE EDWARDS JR., a truck driver, was on his way to work when he was stopped by four Klansmen. The men thought Edwards was another man who they believed was dating a white woman. They forced Edwards at gunpoint to jump off a bridge into the Alabama River. Edwards’ body was found three months

March 25, 1965 Selma Highway, Alabama
VIOLA GREGG LIUZZO, a housewife and mother from Detroit, drove alone to Alabama to help with the Selma march after seeing televised reports of the attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She was driving marchers back to Selma from Montgomery when she was shot and killed by a Klansmen in a passing car.

March 11, 1965 Selma, Alabama
REV. JAMES REEB, a Unitarian minister from Boston, was among many white clergymen who joined the elma marchers after the attack by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Reeb was beaten to death by white men while he walked down a Selma street.

January 3, 1966 Tuskegee, Alabama
SAMUEL LEAMON YOUNGE JR., a student civil rights activist, was fatally shot by a white gas station owner following an argument over segregated restrooms.
posted by GaelFC at 12:30 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Freedom Ride from Washington DC to New Orleans that resulted in the firebombing of a Greyhound Bus.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 9:36 PM on October 14, 2009

shesaysgo, this might fit your bill. Ida B. Wells, a black civil rights lynching opponent and suffragist helped organize a boycott and pamphleteering protest of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, from which African-Americans were largely excluded. The event brought her to Chicago permanently. It's significant, but not necessarily important.

It may also be too early for your purposes. This is a brief summary of civil rights in Chicago. In the 1960s there were marches for integration and equality in education, for instance (yes, in Chicago). This led to the Chicago Freedom Movement to desegregate the slums and improve economic conditions for blacks.

Blacks in Chicago were also targeted for organization by Saul Alinsky, who's become more notorious in death than I can recall thanks to his disciple Obama.
[My mother's roommate was his daughter. I read his books as a kid, and went years mentioning his name and rarely ever got a nod of recognition.]

Illinois is also important for [former Gov. Otto] Kerner Commission, famous for its report's conclusion that we were "moving toward two societies, one black, one white—-separate and unequal."

It is also where the segregation of public housing was challenged by the Gautreaux decision.
posted by dhartung at 9:47 PM on October 14, 2009

The Freedom Ballot, in which blacks denied the right to vote in Mississippi in 1964 organized their own vote, and voted for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The MFDP I(or "Freedom Democrats") then challenged the seating of the Mississippi Democratic Party's all white and anti-civil rights delegation to the 1964 Democratic Convention.

The testimony before the Convention's Credentials Committee of Fannie Lou Hamer, a key organizer of the Freedom ballot and MFDP delegate, was broadcast by national network television; this caused a great problem for President Johnson (who referred to Hamer as "that illiterate woman"), as the other Southern delegations threatened to vote against Johnson's' and Humphrey's nominations if the MFDP was seated in place of the regular Mississippi Democratic Party's delegation.

In the end, the MFDP was not seated, leading to great and lasting disillusionment in Johnson and the national Democratic Party by many in the civil rights movement.

Hamer in her own words:

• in nationally-televised testimony to the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention, 1964: "If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America? The land of the free and the home of the brave? Where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hook, because our lives be threatened daily."

• When the Democratic National Committee offered a compromise in 1964 to seat 2 delegates of the 60+ sent by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party: "We didn't come for no two seats when all of us is tired."

• to Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, who brought a compromise offer to the MFDP delegates: "Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important than four hundred thousand black people's lives? Senator Humphrey, I know lots of people in Mississippi who have lost their jobs trying to register to vote. I had to leave the plantation where I worked in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Now if you lose this job of Vice-President because you do what is right, because you help the MFDP, everything will be all right. God will take care of you. But if you take [the nomination] this way, why, you will never be able to do any good for civil rights, for poor people, for peace, or any of those things you talk about. Senator Humphrey, I'm going to pray to Jesus for you."
posted by orthogonality at 12:37 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

« Older By Thor's Hammer!   |   Those Kitten Socks are So Hawt Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.