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Civil Rights Movement DBQ

Directions: The following question is based on the complementing documents 1-7.


1. Evaluate what factors caused the Civil Rights Movement and how different AfricanAmerican groups responded to the discrimination. Were their efforts effective in
establishing racial equality?
Historical Context: The Civil Rights era marked a period of oppression and racism for
African-Americans within the United States. Many leaders arose from the black community
in hopes to gain freedom and equality. Following the Civil Rights Movement, a series of acts
were passed giving African-Americans them rights as citizens-some more than others.
Document 1

"By th' way, what's that big word?", May 15, 1962
Ink, crayon, and white out over pencil with scraping out
Published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 15, 1962

Document 2

Document 3
Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's
economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the
merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these
promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement
for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went
by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed,
returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and
the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us.
We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our
very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national
community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self
purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves:
"Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?"
We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for
Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economicwithdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best
time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

-Martin Luther King, Letter From a Birmingham Jail (1963)

Document 4
The black revolution is the struggle of the nonwhites of this earth against their white oppressors.
The black revolution has swept white supremacy out of Africa, out of Asia, and is getting ready
to sweep it out of Latin America. Revolutions are based upon land. Revolutionaries are the
landless against the landlord. Revolutions are never peaceful, never loving, never nonviolent.
Nor are they ever compromising. Revolutions are destructive and bloody. Revolutionaries don't
compromise with the enemy; they don't even negotiate. Like the flood in Noah's day, revolution
drowns all opposition, or like the fire in Lot's day, the black revolution burns everything that gets
in its path.
-Malcom X, Gods Judgement of White America (1963)
Document 5
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or
Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in
Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to
pay any poll tax or other tax.
-Amendment XXIV, Section1

Document 6

-Black Panther Party founded by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.

Document 7
SEC. 2. No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall
be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any
citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.
-Transcript of Voting Rights Act (1965)