‘The Black Panther Party - Speech by John Hulett / Interview with Stokely Carmichael / Report from Lowndes County’, Socialist Workers Party, United States, 1966.
This pamphlet is about the first Black Panther Party in Lowndes County, Alabama that inspired the more well known BPP to form in Oakland, California.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on this day, January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. King, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and African American Civil Rights Movement leader, combated racial inequality up until his assassination on April 4th. However, his words continue to inspire many today.
Listen to Martin Luther King’s Address at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963 in memory and celebration.
this day in 1929, the future civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Born as Martin King, he and his father
changed their names in honour of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. King
entered the ministry in his twenties and first came to national
attention for his leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. This
event is considered by many to be the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement,
which saw a national struggle to end discrimination against African-Americans. King was one of many leaders, but became the face of
the movement for his nonviolent tactics and powerful oratory. In 1963,
during the March on Washington, King delivered the crowning speech of
the movement - the ‘I have a dream’ speech. Beyond his role in combating
racial inequality, King also focused on tackling poverty and advocating
peace, especially during the Vietnam War. On April 4th 1968, King was
shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. He lived to see
the legislative achievements of the movement - the 1964 Civil Rights
Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act - but tragically was unable to continue
the push for full equality. The movement King set in motion continues to
be fought today; the United States is still not a completely equal
society and systemic discrimination persists. However, thanks to Martin
Luther King, America is closer to fulfilling King’s dream of a truly
free and equal society. Since 1986, a national Martin Luther King Day is
celebrated on the third Monday in January.
Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been one of the most influential civil rights organizations in the history of the United States. They are best known for their campaign against the separate but equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson. The organization’s activism helped lead to the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The NAACP fought for a federal antilynching law, publicized the injustices of Jim Crow statutes, and provided a platform for thousands of African Americans to speak up for their rights.
this day in 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old black seamstress from
Alabama, refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white man. A member
of the NAACP, Parks was returning home from a long day at work when the
bus driver ordered her to give up her seat on the full bus for a white
man. No stranger to civil rights activism, she was
subsequently arrested for civil disobedience in defying the state’s Jim
Crow racial segregation laws. Through this act of
defiance, Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, during which time
African-Americans - under the leadership of a young, charismatic
reverend called Martin Luther King Jr. - refused to use the city buses,
arguing that they should be integrated per the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
The boycott was successful in forcing Montgomery to end its
discriminatory segregation laws, and marked the beginning of the main
phase of what is now known as the Civil Rights Movement. From
Montgomery, African-Americans across the United States went on to lead
sit-ins, freedom rides, and political marches, in an attempt to bring an
end to segregation laws which had oppressed their community for so
long. These activists were all indebted to Rosa Parks - known as the
‘mother of the Civil Rights Movement’ - for her simple act of defiance,
firmly asserting her humanity and her rights as an American citizen. As
the movement grew, Parks remained an influential symbol and leader of
the movement, which ultimately brought an end to legal segregation and
forced Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights
Acts. As for Parks herself, the affair of her arrest and the subsequent
boycott caused her to lose her job and made her a victim of harassment
and threats. She moved to Detriot and in 1965 began to work in the
office of Congressman John Conyers. In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded the
Congressional Gold Medal for her role in transforming American race
relations, and upon her death in 2005 she lay in state at the U.S.
Capitol. Today, 60 years on, we remember Rosa Parks’s personal bravery, the successes of the movement she inspired, and the steps yet to be taken as the struggle against systemic racism continues.
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I
was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more
tired than I usually was at the end of a working day…No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in”
Rev. Channing E. Phillips, (left) Rabbi Arthur Waskow, and Topper Carew on April 4, 1969 the night of the first Freedom Seder.
The Freedom Seder was Passover Seder held in the basement of Lincoln Temple, a black church in D.C. Up to 800 Jewish citizens and African Americans attended the Seder which was started by Rabbi Arthur Waskow as a sign of Jewish solidarity with the African American Civil Rights movement. As Topper Carew an attendant at the Seder is quoted as saying, “Both the Jewish community and the black community have suffered great atrocities, and so the fact that we were coming together was a very important and powerful idea.”
this day in 1965, African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated aged 39. Born as Malcolm Little in Nebraska in 1925, his family were forced to relocate when the Ku Klux Klan threatened his father, who was active in the black nationalist movement. Malcolm’s father was ultimately murdered by white supremacists - but the white police insisted it was suicide - and the family disintegrated. The young Malcolm dropped out of school and became involved in crime, eventually going to prison for burglary in 1946. While imprisoned, he was exposed to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, who argued that the white man is the devil and cannot live peaceably with blacks, who should establish a separate black nation. Malcolm was powerfully affected by this ideology, and changed his last name to reject the ‘slave’ name he had been given. After his release from prison, Malcolm X became a preacher in New York, calling for black self-defence against white aggression. His eloquent advocacy of black nationalism and the neccessity of securing civil rights “by any means necessary”, including violence, made him a respected, but also feared, figure. Malcolm X was feared by white and black Americans, as some civil rights activists worried that his more radical message threatened the strategy of non-violence espoused by Martin Luther King Jr.. While his fame contributed to the Nation of Islam’s growing popularity, Malcolm began to split from the organisation, disillusioned by Elijah Muhammad’s hypocrisy and alleged corruption. He formally left the organisation in 1964, and visited Mecca, an experience which tempered his rhetoric and led him to abandon the argument that whites are devils. At this point, Malcolm changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, returning to America influenced by socialism and pan-Africanism and more hopeful for a peaceful resolution to America’s race problems. As he was preparing to speak at a rally for his recently-founded Organisation of Afro-American Unity at the
Audubon Ballroom in New York City, Malcolm X was shot 15 times by three members of the Nation of Islam. In death, his legacy loomed large over the civil rights movement, and African-American activists increasingly urged black power for black people. Malcolm X remains one of the most famous and respected figures of the civil rights movement, and his seminal autobiography is considered one of the most important books of the twentieth century.
“We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into
existence by any means necessary.”