PERRY COUNTY: Over in adjacent Perry County, February 1st is their first "Freedom Day." Led by local farmer Albert Turner along with SCLC and SNCC field secretaries James Orange and George Best, 600 people march to the courthouse in Marion (pop. 3,800). Some 115 are allowed inside to fill out the voter application and take the literacy test. Students test the town's white-only businesses for compliance with the Civil Rights Act. Some businesses serve Blacks, others continue to refuse. (Turner, who is the main organizer and head of the Perry County Civil League, later joins the SCLC field staff and eventually becomes SCLC's Alabama Director.)
In the largest protest in the nation's history up to that time, more than 250,000 marchers gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963, to demand legislation ending discrimination in education, housing, employment, and the courts. Initiated by A. Philip Randolph, international president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, president of the Negro American Labor Council, and vice president of the AFL-CIO, the march also received leadership support from the heads of the five leading civil rights organizations: Roy Wilkins (1901–1981) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Whitney Young, the National Urban League; James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), who was imprisoned in Louisiana and represented at the march by Floyd McKissick; Martin Luther King Jr. the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); John Lewis, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); and Bayard Rustin, who organized the first freedom rides in 1947. The final speaker, Martin Luther King Jr., exhilarated the crowd with his "I Have a Dream" speech.
NAACP Mississippi first field secretary Medgar Evers (1925–1963) was assassinated on June 12, 1963. The tragedy occurred the day after President John Kennedy asked Congress for a comprehensive civil rights bill, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the following year.
Inside city hall and over at the county courthouse, the white power-structure cannot agree on how to handle the direct action campaign that SCLC has just publicly announced. Newly elected Mayor Smitherman, a local refrigerator salesman, is a "moderate" segregationist. He hopes to attract northern business investment — Hammermill Paper of Pennsylvania is considering Selma as the location for a big new plant, but they will shy away if "racial troubles" shine a spotlight of negative media on the town. Smitherman has appointed veteran lawman Wilson Baker to head the city's 30-man police force. They and their supporters believe that the most effective method of countering civil rights protests (and avoiding bad press) is to "" as Police Chief Laurie Pritchett did in .
What Was the 1964 Freedom Summer Project?
Collier-Thomas, Bettye, and V. P. Franklin, eds. Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement. New York: New York University Press, 2001.
African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–1968) - Wikipedia
Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, fought hard to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was the most far-reaching and comprehensive civil rights legislation Congress had ever passed. It banned discrimination in public accommodations and the workplace but did not address police brutality or racist voting tests. To fight against black voter discrimination, the SCLC organized a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The six hundred protestors reached the Pettus Bridge but were pushed back by police violence and tear gas. The attack was dubbed Bloody Sunday. President Johnson was ultimately forced into action, calling on Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
King returns to Selma on Thursday, January 14, to address a large mass meeting at First Baptist. He declares Monday a "Freedom Day" when direct action is to commence with a mass march to the courthouse by voter applicants. "." Volunteers will also apply for "white-only" city jobs, and integration teams will attempt to implement the Civil Rights Act by demanding service at segregated facilities — the first such action since students were the previous July.
Party of Civil Rights - | National Review
The early 1960s saw civil rights veterans and union organizers joining students to both train people in the discipline of nonviolence and reproduce sit-ins across the country. Under the inspiration of Ella Baker, the SCLC sponsored the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1961 members of SNCC and CORE joined forces to reignite Freedom Rides in the South as a way to test the 1955 Browder decision that officially outlawed segregated interstate transportation. Students faced an overwhelming flourish of violent attacks by whites. Activists were beaten, riders were caught in burning buses, and it was all broadcast across the world. Freedom Riders had achieved success, but white resistance was resilient.