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Mr. Flowers's English Class
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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights - California Progress Report

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights - California Progress Report | ACRM for ELASS | Scoop.it
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human RightsCalifornia Progress ReportThis week's 47th commemoration of the Bloody Sunday March of 1965 marks a new phase in the civil rights movement.

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Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks | ACRM for ELASS | Scoop.it

The roots of the bus boycott began years before the arrest of Rosa Parks. The Womens’ Political Council (WPC), a group of black professionals founded in 1946, had already turned their attention to Jim Crow practices on the Montgomery city buses. In a meeting with Mayor W. A. Gayle in March 1954, the council's members outlined the changes they sought for Montgomery’s bus system: no one standing over empty seats; a decree that black individuals not be made to pay at the front of the bus and enter from the rear; and a policy that would require buses to stop at every corner in black residential areas, as they did in white communities. When the meeting failed to produce any meaningful change, WPC president Jo Ann Robinson reiterated the council’s requests in a 21 May letter to Mayor Gayle, telling him, ‘‘there has been talk from twenty-five or more local organizations of planning a city-wide boycott of busses’’(‘‘A Letter from the Women’s Political Council’’).

 

A year after the WPC’s meeting with Mayor Gayle, a 15-year-old named Claudette Colvin was arrested for challenging segregation on a Montgomery bus. Seven months later, 18-year-old Mary Louise Smith was arrested for refusing to yield her seat to a white passenger. Neither arrest, however, mobilized Montgomery’s black community like that of Rosa Parks later that year.

 

King recalled in his memoir that ‘‘Mrs. Parks was ideal for the role assigned to her by history,’’ and because ‘‘her character was impeccable and her dedication deep-rooted’’ she was ‘‘one of the most respected people in the Negro community’’ (King, 44). 

 

The bus incident led to the formation of the Montgomery Improvement Association, led by the young pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The association called for a boycott of the city-owned bus company. The boycott lasted 382 days and brought Mrs. Parks, Dr. King, and their cause to the attention of the world. A Supreme Court Decision struck down the Montgomery ordinance under which Mrs. Parks had been fined, and outlawed racial segregation on public transportation.

 

 

"Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956)." King Institute Home. The Martin LutherKing Jr. Research and Education Institute, 1999. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. 

 

 

Read the passage above and answer the following questions:

 

1. Name two of the changes the WPC asked for from the Montgomery bus system.
2. Was Rosa Parks the first African-American woman to be arrested for challenging segregation on the buses?
3. Why did Dr. King thing Rosa Parks was the ideal candidate for challenging segregation?
4. What group was created as a result of Parks being arrested? Who was the head of the organization?
5. How long did the bus boycott last? What was the final decision of the Supreme Court in regards to segregation on buses?

 

 


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Aaliyah Lawson's curator insight, March 3, 2015 7:49 PM

This is when the Montgomery bus boycott really began. Rosa Parks really made that come about. When she refused to give up her seat on the bus.

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Fannie Lou Hamer - BetterWorldHeroes.com - Biography

Fannie Lou Hamer - BetterWorldHeroes.com - Biography | ACRM for ELASS | Scoop.it
BetterWorldHeroes.com - Featuring portraits of 1000 heroes for a better world by Robert Alan Silverstein, integrated into over 3000 FREE printable resources on more than 60 social issues.

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Freedom Riders

Freedom Riders | ACRM for ELASS | Scoop.it

The mob was already waiting for James Zwerg by the time the Greyhound bus eased into the station in Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Looking out the window, Zwerg could see men gripping baseball bats, chains and clubs. They had sealed off the streets leading to the bus station and chased away news photographers. They didn't want anyone to witness what they were about to do.

Zwerg accepted his worst fear: He was going to die today.

 

Only the night before, Zwerg had prayed for the strength to not strike back in anger. He was among the 18 white and black college students from Nashville who had decided to take the bus trip through the segregated South in 1961. They called themselves Freedom Riders. Their goal was to desegregate public transportation.

 

He was drawn to the Freedom Rides after he was assigned a black roommate while attending Beloit College in Wisconsin. He grew to admire his roommate and was shocked to see how the young man was treated by whites when they went out in public together. So he volunteered to be an exchange student at Fisk University in Nashville, an all-black college, for one semester. He wanted to know how it felt to be a minority.

 

Zwerg's parents were unaware of the changes taking place in their son. They were enraged when they opened their local newspaper the day after he was attacked and saw the now-famous picture of their battered son on the front page.

 

Zwerg's anguish was compounded by his father's weak heart. He suffered a heart attack after he learned his son was attacked by a mob, and his mother had a nervous breakdown. "I had a tremendous amount of guilt," he says.

Even as the years passed and he was featured in documentaries and history books, Zwerg's parents never gave their approval.

 

After he stepped off the bus, Zwerg says, the crowd grabbed him.

In "Parting the Waters," Taylor Branch wrote that the mob had swelled to 3,000 people and described what happened to Zwerg: "One of the men grabbed Zwerg's suitcase and smashed him in the face with it. Others slugged him to the ground, and when he was dazed beyond resistance, one man pinned Zwerg's head between his knees so that the others could take turns hitting him.'"

 

Yet in the midst of that savagery, Zwerg says he had the most beautiful experience in his life. "I bowed my head," he says. "I asked God to give me the strength to remain nonviolent and to forgive the people for what they might do. It was very brief, but in that instant, I felt an overwhelming presence. I don't know how else to describe it. A peace came over me. I knew that no matter what happened to me, it was going to be OK. Whether I lived or whether I died, I felt this incredible calm."

 

Zwerg blacked out and didn't wake up until he was in a car. The mob had continued to beat him after he was unconscious. Being unconscious saved his life, he believes now. His body was relaxed, so it took the punishment better than if he had stiffened up to protect himself. Incredibly, no Freedom Riders were killed during the mob attack.

 

Even after he was taken to a nearby hospital, Zwerg learned later, he was not safe. "A nurse said she drugged me the first night because there was a mob coming within a block of the hospital to lynch me," he says. "She didn't want me to be aware of anything if they got me."

 

Zwerg entered the ministry after the beating. But he left in 1975, dejected by the politics of his job.

 

He never found the bond he experienced with the other Freedom Riders. "Each of us was stronger because of those we were with," he says. "If I was being beaten, I knew I wasn't alone. I could endure more because I knew everybody there was giving me their strength. Even as someone else was being beaten, I would give them my strength."

 

 

Read the passage above and answer the following questions:

 

1. What was the goal of the Freedom Riders?
2. Why was Zwerg drawn to the Freedom Riders?
3. What happened to Zwerg when he got off the bus?
4. Why did the nurse drug him while he was at the hospital?

5. Why do you think his parents did not support him?


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