In 1964, less than 7% of Mississippi’s African Americans were registered to vote, compared to between 50 and 70% in other southern states. In many rural counties, African Americans made up the majority of the population and the segregationist white establishment was prepared to use any means necessary to keep them away from the polls and out of elected office. As Mississippian William Winter recalls, “A lot of white people thought that African Americans in the South would literally take over and white people would have to move, would have to get out of the state.”
This summer fifty years ago well over a thousand volunteers went to Mississippi to help register as many African-Americans as possible to vote, in the Freedom Summer, which would end with at least seven people murdered for their support for the campaign. For PBS's American Experience series, director Stanley Nelson has created a movie about the campaign, which you can watch online
. A transcript
and other resources
are also available.
posted by MartinWisse
on Jul 23, 2014 -
For twenty years, the belief that the sex provision was a monkey wrench that unintentionally became part of the machine was the conventional wisdom about Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964]. But when scholars—including Michael Gold, Carl Brauer, Cynthia Deitch, Jo Freeman, and Robert Bird—dug into the archives they not only learned that the real story of the sex amendment was quite different; they essentially uncovered an alternative history of women’s rights.
—The Sex Amendment
by Louis Menand tells the story of "how women got in on the Civil Rights Act." It focuses especially on the role of the National Women's Party, led by septuagenarian suffragette Alice Paul. Here is a long interview with her
which focuses on her activist youth.
posted by Kattullus
on Jul 20, 2014 -
This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation
is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools
with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious
on Jul 16, 2014 -
Today is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the civil rights act, and to commemorate, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library hosted in April a Civil Rights Summit
, featuring dozens of civil rights luminaries as well as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and President Barack Obama. [more inside]
posted by Ndwright
on Jul 2, 2014 -
Inside the Kafkaesque World of the US’s "Little Guantánamos"
We sat together on her couch, her small, eight-year-old hands clutching a photo of her father, Yassin Aref. “My daddy only held me twice before I was five,” Dilnia told me. For the first five years of her life, she only knew him as the man on the other side of a plexiglass window in a communication management unit in an Indiana federal penitentiary.
Prisoners describe the communication management units, or CMUs, as “Little Guantánamos.” In 2006, the Bureau of Prisons created two of these units to isolate and segregate specific prisoners, the majority of them convicted of crimes related to terrorism. The bureau secretly opened these units without informing the public and without allowing anyone an opportunity to comment on their creation, as required by law.
posted by jaduncan
on Mar 24, 2014 -
This will be a very short diary. It will not contain any links or any scholarly references. It is about a very narrow topic, from a very personal, subjective perspective. The topic at hand is what Martin Luther King actually did, what it was that he actually accomplished. The reason I'm posting this is because there were dueling diaries over the weekend about Dr. King's legacy, and there is a diary up now ... entitled, "Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream Not Yet Realized." I'm sure the diarist means well as did the others. But what most people who reference Dr. King seem not to know is how Dr. King actually changed the subjective experience of life in the United States for African Americans. And yeah, I said for African Americans, not for Americans, because his main impact was his effect on the lives of African Americans, not on Americans in general. His main impact was not to make white people nicer or fairer. That's why some of us who are African Americans get a bit possessive about his legacy. Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy, despite what our civil religion tells us, is not color blind. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Jan 20, 2014 -
Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years. He’s been searched more than 100 times. And arrested and jailed 56 times. Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on 207th Street in Miami Gardens. But Sampson isn’t loitering. He works as a clerk at the Quickstop
posted by PenDevil
on Nov 22, 2013 -
Fifty years ago, another bus-centric race dispute took place
. Despite "Just 12 miles away in Bath, black crews were working on buses. London Transport recruitment officers had travelled to Barbados specifically to invite workers to come to the capital" ...non-whites found it impossible to obtain employment working on buses in Bristol, England. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore
on Aug 27, 2013 -
What makes a movement work in the first place? Why do some movements like the struggle for civil rights take off while others like Occupy Wall Street wilt? Four ways to beat 'The Man'
posted by shivohum
on Aug 17, 2013 -
"The success of the campaign made the three activists wonder: Could they replicate it on a grand scale by getting themselves detained on purpose? Inside immigration detention facilities, they would surely find dozens, if not hundreds, of low-priority detainees like de los Santos whom they could help. At the same time, they could publicize the fact that it wasn’t just criminals who were being deported, as the Obama administration kept insisting. “We realized we could be more effective if we just went straight to the source,” Abdollahi says. Doing so would flip the script on immigration agents; the activists would be taking advantage of their undocumented status and thus could be detained and deported. Deportation was unlikely, because they were Dreamers without serious criminal records. Even so, this would make the risk they’d taken in Charlotte look like nothing. But Saavedra, Abdollahi, and Martinez had been growing more fearless, and more radical, since they’d met." -- Los Infiltradores: How three young undocumented activists risked everything to expose the injustices of immigrant detention—and invented a new form of protest
posted by MartinWisse
on Jun 29, 2013 -
Why the students at one prominent South African university, once a model of racial harmony, chose to resegregate.
"UFS hadn’t remained segregated after apartheid’s end—it had integrated and then resegregated later. I wanted to know why the white students raised those ancient flags, and why the black students had left Karee. I uncovered a tale of mutual exhilaration at racial integration giving way to suspicion, anger and even physical violence. It seemed to hold powerful implications well beyond South Africa, about the very nature of social change itself. In our post–civil rights struggle era, we tend to assume progress toward less prejudice and more social tolerance is inevitable—the only variable is speed. But in Bloemfontein, social progress surged forward. Then it turned back."
posted by bookman117
on Jun 24, 2013 -
In December 2012, school district officials informed the family of Coy Mathis, a girl who was assigned male at birth, that she would no longer be allowed to use the girls' bathrooms at school. The Mathis family filed suit. Today, they won
. [more inside]
posted by not that girl
on Jun 23, 2013 -
Starting on Jan 14th, 1963
, with George Wallace's pledge for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" there followed a year that included 930 demonstrations and over 20,000 arrests, the year ended with a conversation between Martin Luther King Jr
. and President Lyndon Johnson on December 3rd, only two weeks after the assasination of John F. Kennedy.
It was the beginning of a long struggle, Susan Glisson, director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi said it well with the statement, "It took grass roots — women and children and men — to lead the effort for social change, and it was much harder in Mississippi than other places. And that story needs to be told. It's not just this easy, Martin stood up and Rosa sat down and everybody's free." [more inside]
posted by HuronBob
on Jun 5, 2013 -
, the only white person present at the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, friend of Klansmen, and iconoclast preacher, has died at age 88. [more inside]
posted by willF
on Jun 4, 2013 -
A confidential Justice Department memo
concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
posted by Malor
on Feb 4, 2013 -
Gomer Pyle got married to his partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, last week.
Jim Nabors, aka Gomer Pyle of Mayberry and of the U.S.M.C., also of many records featuring his inimitable voice, particularly this rendition of "The Impossible Dream,"
, and the national anthem,
married his partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, last week in Seattle.
[First link opens a news window, which can be loud.] [more inside]
posted by goofyfoot
on Jan 30, 2013 -
"Better known as the “Jane Roe” in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade
, Norma McCorvey
has led a conflicted life. Forty years ago, she was at the center of the court decision that famously legalized abortion. Today, she is a zealous anti-abortion advocate
." Why did McCorvey turn against the cause she once championed? Tracing the life of an Accidental Activist
posted by zarq
on Jan 24, 2013 -
Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jan 3, 2013 -
Gideon Oliver spoke to me of the devastating effect this kind of surveillance has had on activists. “People fear that detectives are following them around. They panic. It’s a movement-dismantling tactic.” Most Occupy protesters are new to activism and are emotionally unprepared to deal with this kind of intimidation. Nor, so far as I have seen, are they inclined to seek the advice of older activists who were under surveillance in the 1960s and 1970s, before the protections of the original Handschu Decree, which prohibited political spying, were put in place. Those activists nevertheless found ways to continue their political work.
From an article on the NYPD's Intel Division
. [more inside]
posted by eviemath
on Oct 23, 2012 -