Brown V Topeka Board of Education, 1954
May 1954: Oliver Brown uses the Supreme Court ruling to take the city of Kansas to court – for forcing his daughter to attend a blacks only school a mile away, instead of being able to go to a whites only school 7 blocks away.
The NAACP supported the case.
They argued that ‘separate but equal’ wasn’t true of separate schools as it sent a message of inequality to black children.
At first the court ruled in favour of the Board of Education. The NAACP appealed and…
1954: the Supreme Court declared that all segregated schools were unconstitutional.
This provoked an extremist reaction from the KKK – calling desegregation ...view middle of the document...
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat.
Rosa Parks was arrested and charged with a violation of the Montgomery city bus segregation ordinance.
The NAACP and Alabama State College mobilised. They distributed propaganda and gathered support.
Martin Luther King, a local pastor, offered to let his church be used as a campaign headquarters.
Black people boycotted the buses on the first day of RP’s trial. They demanded:
A first-come-first-seated policy
That drivers should be polite to blacks
That black drivers be employed
This was refused so a one-day boycott became a year-long one.
90% of the black community.
75% of the bus company’s business.
Black people had a car-pooling system and used taxis to keep the boycott going.
Laws were brought in by the Montgomery police in order to make the boycott more difficult, and many black people were arrested.
MLK was arrested for the first time in Jan 1956. In the same month his house was bombed.
The conflict gained national media attention.
The MIA & NAACP took the case to the federal district court.
The City took the case to the Supreme Court, but they agreed with the district ruling.
Desegregated buses began running Dec 1956.
Change of laws due to the loss of income.
A success for MLK and his peaceful protest/passive resistance approach
United black people.
What was achieved?
Segregation still on interstate buses as well as segregation in other public areas
What problems remained?
The murder of Emmett Till, 1955
Mississippi, 1955: Emmett Till (14, black boy, from Chicago) was murdered.
Had a white girlfriend in Chicago - Didn’t understand this was unacceptable in the southern states.
Visiting his great-uncle.
Dared to whistle at a white shopkeeper.
Three days later his murdered body was discovered.
He had been shot in the head and beaten and mutilated until he was unrecognisable.
His mother insisted on an open casket funeral so that the entire world could see what had been done to him – she was horrified.
Despite being threatened by the KKK, Emmett’s great-uncle identified the shopkeeper’s husband as the man who’d abducted the boy.
However, a jury took just one hour to find the man, Roy Bryant, not guilty of murder or kidnap.
2 months after the trial, Roy Bryant admitted to the killing in an interview to a magazine for which he was paid $4000. However, he was never arrested and died in 1994.
The murder of Emmett Till shocked many people and made them even more aware of the scale of violence existing in the south.
Little Rock, 1957
The governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, was determined not to let desegregation happen.
He ordered the National Guard to keep the peace at the school.
Daisy Bates organised a police escort for the 9 – but failed to get in touch with Elizabeth Eckford.