PUBLIC PROTEST AND THE ROLE OF YOUTH - THE CIVIL RIGHTS
MOVEMENT AND BEYOND
Public Protest and the First Amendment: The Voice of the People
Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago John Marshall Law School
Chicago, IL January 13, 2017
Discuss Public Protest as a feature in the
development of our country Review the role of young people in and importance to
the success of the Civil Rights Movement Note the significant role of young people in a number
of late 20th and early 21st Century movements Discuss the importance of providing both a voice for
and ear to the youth of a community
FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the
press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
WHY PUBLIC PROTEST?
If I were to remain silent, I'd be guilty of complicity. Albert Einstein
AND STATED ANOTHER WAY
Confrontation is not bad. Goodness is supposed to
confront evil. Fred Shuttlesworth
AND WHO WAS FRED SHUTTLESWORTH?
SO TO THE ISSUE AT HAND.
At workshops over the past few years, I have
maintained that Public protest has long been a significant means by
which Americans have communicated their hopes and wishes and displeasure to leaders
The youth of our nation often served as the foundation of the protests the foot-soldiers of the movements
AMERICAS LEGACY OF FIRST AMENDMENT PUBLIC PROTECTS
America has a long history in which its citizens have
used the protections of the First Amendment to engage in public protest to advance a particular point of view or idea
1913 WOMENS SUFFRAGE MARCH
AND THE OUTCOME
Article [XIX] (Amendment 19 - Women's Suffrage Rights)
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
AUGUST 8, 1925 KU KLUX KLAN MARCH ON WASHINGTON
AND THE IMPACT OF THE MARCH?
Prior to the march, Klan members felt besieged by
changes in America as the country was becoming more pluralistic
Immigrant groups of Jews, Greeks and Italians were assimilating throughout the land
Women were voting African-American men were attending colleges and
entering larger parts of the workforce
AND WAS THE MARCH A SUCCESS?
Organized to counter reports of faltering enrollment,
this konklave succeeded in attracting national attention but marked the peak of Klan power in the 1920s.
History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6689
VETERANS BONUS ARMY PROTEST OF 1932
AND WHEN TROOPS MOVED IN TO REMOVE THE PROTESTERS
"The reaction to it was, we can't let that happen again Tom Allen, Author
AMERICANS RESPOND TO THE IMAGES.
Four years later, The WWI vets received their bonuses. In 1944, Congress passed the GI Bill to help military
veterans transition to civilian life, and to acknowledge the debt owed to those who risk their lives for their country.
WHEN, IN 1942, JAPANESE-AMERICANS WERE ROUNDED-UP AND PLACED IN CAMPS
PROTESTS WERE SOMETIMES LONELY VOICES
"If you harm them, you must harm me. I was brought
up in a small town where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened the happiness of you, and you, and you!"
Colorado Governor Ralph L. Carr
AND SOME OF THE PROTESTS CONCERNED LOCAL PRACTICES
Here in Chicago, protestors demonstrate against racial discrimination at the White City Roller Rink (63rd and South Parkway, later King Drive) in 1949
THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT EVOLVES
In the second half of the twentieth century, a number of factors contributed to the development of the Civil Rights movement. Among them:
Men who had served in the military during World War II, fighting in foreign lands for freedom and the rights of Europeans and Asians, returned to the United States , unwilling to be treated as lesser citizens
Fellow soldiers, who in many instances had their first exposure to African-Americans as equals, began to question existing laws and practices
LEGAL CHALLENGES LED THE WAY
In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka(1954) , the United States Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional and inherently unequal.
In Browder v. Gale (1956), a lawsuit filed during the Montgomery bus boycott on behalf of Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, Mary Louise Smith, and Jeanette Reese against W.A. Gayle, mayor of Montgomery, the Supreme Court ordered the State of Alabama and the city of Montgomery to desegregate its buses
IN SEPTEMBER 1957, NINE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS INTEGRATE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL IN
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
THE DAILY GREETING
IN NEW ORLEANS, RUBY BRIDGES INTEGRATES WILLIAM FRANTZ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
NOVEMBER 14, 1960
AND, IN 1968, AFTER PRINCE EDWARDS COUNTY, VIRGINIA VOTED AGAIN NOT TO FUND PUBLIC
THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT HAD LED THE WAY
Much of the energy and determination to continue the struggle for dignity and fairness that had been ignited as soldiers who had fought for the United States during World War II and returned to a nation that treated them as less than citizens was focused in Montgomery where Bus passengers who paid equal fares were required
to sit in the back of the bus Entry to the rear of the bus was sometimes facilitated
by passengers having to pay at the front; exit the bus; and then re-enter through a rear door
Seated African-American passengers were required to surrender their seats to white passengers when requested
MOTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT ROSA PARKS AND CLAUDETTE COLVIN
CLAUDETTE COLVIN ?
On March 2, 1955, a full nine months before Rosa Parks took her famous stand, Colvin, a then 15-year-old girl, boarded a city bus with her friends, taking a seat behind the first five rows, which were reserved for whites. Colvin boarded a city bus with her friends, taking a seat behind
the first five rows, which were reserved for whites. When the driver shouted, "I need those seats!" Colvin's friends
dutifully moved to the back, but she stayed put. A couple of stops later, city police were there to meet the bus.
Still Colvin refused to leave her seat. The police dragged her from the bus and Colvin was charged
with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer in addition to breaking the city's segregation law. 28
WHAT HAPPENED TO HER?
After booking, she was thrown in the city's adult jail. On her day in municipal court, Colvin was found
guilty of all charges by a hostile judge. In Montgomery Circuit Court, three months after
Colvin's arrest, a judge dismissed charges of breaking the segregation law and resisting arrest, but left the assault charge intact.
SO WHY HAVENT I HEARD OF HER?
By dismissing those two charges, the judge ensured
that Colvin had a serious police record that could harm her future, but she could no longer appeal to challenge the Jim Crow regulations.
Local black leaders held off on calling for a boycott, and instead raised money for her appeal.
AS AN ASIDE
Over the years, it has become a regular notion in the discussion of the bus boycott to state that Rosa Parks was chosen to be the focus or face of the movement and lawsuits because she presented a more acceptable appearance given the norms of the time. Often cited is the fact that Colvin became a teenaged-mother, giving birth to a son fathered by a married man. It should be noted that her son, Raymond, was born 3/29/56, a full year after her refusal to surrender her seat (3/2/55).
AND A FEW MONTHS LATER..
SUPPORTING THE BOYCOTT.
The boycott itself did not just involve domestics and adults, but also many young people:
SPREAD OF THE CHALLENGE TO ADDITIONAL UNJUST PRACTICES
Just as the objection to disparities in the quality of education had led to legal challenges in Little Rock and New Orleans, discrimination was also noted in Public transportation Housing Public accommodations (restaurant, hotels, theaters)
FREEDOM RIDES PROTESTING SEGREGATION LAWS RELATING TO INTERSTATE