Why did the civil rights movement run into difficulties in the 1960’s?
The following will examine why the civil rights movement run into difficulties in the 1960’s. The difficulties that the civil rights movement experienced included violence, hard to solve problems, failure in Chicago and different organisations fighting. In this essay I will be discussing how these complications run into difficulties in the 1960’s. The first cause for the difficulties was that president Jonson ignored a report. The report that he did ignore was the cornel report.
The government had to act due to the riots. So president Johnson starts an enquiry, the enquiry finished in 1967 which was called the cornel report. The conclusion of the report was the reasons for the violence are because of the social and economic problems which occurred in the ghettos. This requires money to solve problems, which means the government has to intervene. However president Johnson ignored the report, this caused violence to increase.
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The reason why he chose to ignore the report was due to the fact that the elections where taking place and so he wanted the white citizens vote, furthermore if he is seen as being of assistance to the black citizens then he will be considered as a communist which will cause him to lose more votes. To summarise why the civil rights movements run into difficulties in the 1960’s was because the president ignored the report as he was only thinking about himself, this can be portrayed as being self absorbed and due to this it resulted in additional violence.
I think that this is quite important because it displays the president’s selfishness. The second cause of these difficulties was that the government took money for the Vietnam war. This money was taken from the ghettos which was meant to be used to assist deprived African Americans but later the president decided to use it to invest guns, tanks, food, bombs ect which where required for the war. The relationship between Martin Luther King and the government begun to lead to a disappointing out come.
Their relationship conducted to this consequence due to the fact that Martin Luther King begun to get increasingly angry as black Americans where not getting the assistance which was required, therefore he felt as though he had to say something to President Johnson but Martin Luther King was in dichotomy as he did want to tell the president that only when a war is taking place, Black Americans are considered equal but in reality they are not equal also there is no reason for America to get involved in the war so why is the government using the money that can be used to help poor African Americans in the ghettos.
On the other hand he didn’t want to criticise the government because Martin Luther King believed that no further action or change will occur if he treats the government in this manner. In April 1967, Martin Luther King launched a scaling attack on President Johnson where he crucified him verbally by saying that the war was uncivilised; it took money away from where it was essential in addition black Americans cannot be considered equal when the government wants them to be equal.
The presidents reaction to this was to make sure that no further assistance is given to Martin Luther King due to the criticism and the money went to the war and not the ghettos. To summarise why the civil rights movement run into difficulties in the 1960’s was due to the fact that the Vietnam war required money and the only place where money could have been obtained was from the ghettos which was supposedly meant to help underprivileged African Americans, however Martin Luther King disliked this idea therefore he criticised the president and due to this disapproval, the president decided not to allow any further change.
I think that this is more important than the president ignoring the report, as it displays that one cause of the difficulties was because the president got criticised and therefore he did not want to give any additional assistance for the future. The third cause was that the black citizens rejected Martin Luther King in the North. This was because he didn’t understand that people are not concerned with formal desegregation or right to vote. They were concerned with social and economic problems which displayed no signs of preventions.
In addition the people knew little about Martin Luther King’s exploits and achievements in the South. They didn’t share his Christian outlook and where less religious than he is also they where less convinced with the idea of a non-violent protest. To summarise why the civil rights movement run into difficulties in the 1960’s was because people in the North have not heard about Martin Luther King, they didn’t understand what he has managed to achieve in the South. They only knew that changes happened in the South due to crisis being occurred, which where displayed in the media.
The media did not demonstrate that Martin Luther King had caused these crisis to arise so that action will take place and therefore this lead to the rejection of Martin Luther King in the North. I think that this is very important than the government taking money from the ghettos because it shows that Martin Luther King was prepared to make change occur but the Northerners rejected him. The fourth cause was Martin Luther King’s incorrect tactics in Chicago. In January 1966 Martin Luther King took his strategies of non violence to the north to try to address the problem of segregation. Chicago was selected as the target.
There were major problems to overcome in making this conversion from the south to the north. Martin Luther King had not fully thought through the tactics he intended to utilize and Richard Daley, the Mayor of Chicago, was unlikely to react to demonstrations in the same way as Connor or Clark. The divisions between the SCLC and the local Chicago activists made organisation complicated. The demonstrators entered an all White area called Marquet Park, they were faced by racist abuse and cruelty. In the face of the disturbances, Daley made vague commitments to promoting integrated housing, but the reality was that little changed in Chicago.
In the aftermath of his failure in Chicago, Martin Luther King turned in other directions. His concerns became increasingly focused on the economic plight of the poor of all races and at the time of his death in 1968 he was planning a “Poor People’s March”. in the meantime, the civil rights movement had moved in new and different directions. Due to all the chaos caused, Martin Luther King was portrayed as a nazi and communist. He believed that even though there wasn’t a positive outcome, he managed to gain moral high ground however he didn’t understand that even this was not achieved as the citizens of the north where not going to stay quite.
To summarise the reason why the civil rights movement run into difficulties in 1960’s was due to the fact that Martin Luther King did not understand the social and economic problems in the north he only believed that racism was present and because of this the social and economic problems had taken place, but this was not the reason, the reason why there where social and economic problems was because of the poverty trap which had prevented the African Americans from getting a well paid job that can support them as well as their families.
I think that this reason is more important than the previous factor because it illustrates that the citizens in the north had rejected Martin Luther King as they didn’t understand who he was and therefore moral high ground was not obtained which lead to the chaos created in Chicago. The final cause of the difficulties was the rise of black power. There had been divisions in the civil rights movement since its inception. These gained in pace in the mid-1960’s. the ideas of Black Power did not form a coherent ideology in the same way as Martin Luther king’s ideas of non violence.
Martin Luther King’s tactics had been a valid strategy in the context of the legal racism of the south and had operated to undermine the discrimination. It had been clear from the events in Chicago that these methods were not relevant to the problems of discrimination in the north. Therefore, northern black Americans were looking for ideas that were appropriate to their position and Black Power seemed to offer answers to their social, economic and political problems. Many of the ideas Black power were derived from the teachings of Malcolm X. e had been involved in pretty much a lot of crime as a young man, but whilst in jail he had converted to Islam, changed his name from Malcolm Little and had become a member of the Nation if Islam. He was an inspirational speaker and his ideas included the following elements: a belief that blacks should distance themselves from white society and not attempt the integration advocated by Martin Luther King and his followers. He believed that blacks should develop their own organisations and self-help completely separate from those of white society.
These ideas of segregation were derived from Marcus Garvey whom Malcolm X’s parents had admired. A belief that non-violence in the face of white aggression was not an appropriate response. He argued that when blacks were faced with white oppression then armed self-defence was permissible. However, although he preached this position, he himself never directly engaged in violence, which was led to come debate as to whether he was merely using the language of violence to achieve concessions from the authorities.
In 1964 Malcolm X parted from the Nation of Islam and was assassinated the following year by members of the Nation of Islam. In 1966, James Meredith decided to march from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi in an attempt to encourage voter registration under the new Voting Rights Act. Meredith was shot by an unknown assailant and unable to continue the march. A number of black organisations decided to complete the march. These included SCLC, SNCC, CORE, NAACP and the National Urban League.
Events reinforced the divisions between these various groups: NAACP and the National Urban League did not participate because of disagreements with the SNCC. Other divisions also emerged between the SCLC and SNCC and CORE. A month before the Meredith March, Stokeley Carmichael had become the new leader of SNCC. Under his leadership, SNCC was to become increasingly radical. As the March made its way through Tennessee and Mississippi, two rivals sets of slogans begun to be chanted.
Followers of the SCLC maintained their call from “Freedom Now”, but increasingly, the shout of “Black Power” could be heard from the SNCC and CORE supporters. There Meredith March therefore marked a shift from the non-violent tactics of Martin Luther King to a more radical phase of action. To summarise why the civil rights movement run into difficulties in the 1960’s was due to Black Power because they where seen as an influential organisation that was able to obtain requirements for equal rights by using violence.
The use of the violence inflicted an assortment of riots and chaos in the towns which resulted the civil rights movement into a failure. I think that this is the most important cause and that it is more important than Martin Luther King’s incorrect tactics because due to the Black Power Martin Luther King’s march in Chicago was seen useless as the black Americans believed that their rights cannot be attained by the use of non violence so therefore they turned to violent actions which showed that they can get what ever want by using violence.
In conclusion, the reason why the civil rights movement run into difficulties in the 1960’s was due to various factors. These factors included president Johnson ignoring reports because he wanted the white Americans to vote for him and if he was seen assisting the African Americans then he will be considered as a communist this will result in him gaining less votes; lack of government action was the second factor, as the government used the money for the Vietnam war that was preliminary meant to be used for the ghettos.
Martin Luther King disliked this idea and therefore criticised the president, and then the president came to the decision of not assisting the black Americans again because he got criticised due to his actions; the third factor was that the black northerners rejected Martin Luther King and they did not follow his idea of moral high ground which lead to violent in the towns; Martin Luther King’s incorrect tactics in Chicago was the fourth factor, as he didn’t understand that the poverty trap caused the social and economic problems and not due to racism and the final cause was Black Power, as Malcolm X said that you have to fight for what you want. Malcolm X didn’t exactly say that violence will obtain what is required but this implies that by the use of violence you can get what you want. All these factors display why the civil rights movement run into difficulties in the 1960’s it also gives the historian additional information about the influential figures of 1960’s America.