Civil Rights leader and Mississippi director of C.O.R.E. (Congress of Racial Equality) Dave Dennis breaks down while giving a eulogy at James Chaney’s funeral. Chaney was one of the three civil rights workers brutally murdered by the Ku Klux Klan on June 21, 1964 during the Freedom Summer movement in Mississippi for trying to get black residents in the state to register to vote. The other two workers were Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both of whom were white Jews from New York. All three men’s bodies were disposed of in an earthen dam and weren’t discovered until August 4, 1964.
“Dave Dennis’ speech was a turning point in the summer because everybody wanted him to say the usual things that you would say at a funeral. And Dave Dennis just couldn’t do it. He challenged the people at the memorial and he challenged the whole movement.” -Bruce Watson, author
On this day in 1965, a civil rights march took place from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama; it became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. At this stage, the Civil Rights Movement had been in motion for over a decade and already achieved legislative success with the Civil Rights Act. However the focus of the movement now became making the promise of equal franchise guaranteed in the Fifteenth Amendment a reality. While African-Americans exercised the right to vote in the years after the amendment’s passage in 1870, discriminatory measures like literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses were soon implemented across the country to deprive them of the vote. Thus in 1965 civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. made voter registration the core of their efforts, centering the campaign on the particularly discriminatory Selma, AL. On March 7th - 'Bloody Sunday’ - as the six hundred unarmed marchers were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were descended upon by state troopers who viciously beat the protestors. The violence encountered by these peaceful marchers, which was captured on television and broadcast around the world, led to national outcry and caused President Johnson to publicly call for the passage of his administration’s proposed voting rights bill. After securing the support of federal troops, another march was held on March 21st, and with the protection of soldiers the marchers managed to arrive in Montgomery after three days. The marchers were met in Montgomery - the epicentre of the movement and the site of the 1954 bus boycott - by 50,000 supporters, who were addressed by King. Their efforts were rewarded when, in August of that year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act that ensured all Americans could vote. This was one of the crowning achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Selma to Montgomery march is commemorated as one of the most important moments of the struggle.
“We are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. The burning of our churches will not deter us. The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us. We are on the move now…not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. We are moving to the land of freedom” - King’s 'Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March’ - 25th March, 1965
Last summer, when arguing in court in favor of Senate Bill 206, a harsh law that would force at least one of Wisconsin’s abortion clinics to close its doors, a state official compared ending a pregnancy to buying a fancy car.
Reminder that reproductive rights are about more than abortion; the nonconsensual sterilisation of trans people, disabled people, working class people and people of colour is a reproductive rights issue
Dec. 1, 1955: Rosa Parks Is Arrested for Refusing to Give up Bus Seat
On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, leading to her arrest and sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
For many, this day became a symbolic start for the civil rights movement.
americanexperiencepbs‘s acclaimed “Eyes on The Prize" series covered all the major events of the civil rights movement.
On the accompanying site, read the national press during the boycott and browse through photos of Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even ordinary citizens who participated in this historic campaign for equality.
Photo: Rosa Parks’ booking photo upon being arrested on December 1, 1955.
After Canada passed a bill in February making gender identity a protected class under human rights law, Sen. Don Plett proposed an amendment that would make “sex-specific” facilities, including restrooms, an exception. In response, trans rights activist Brae Carnes took matters into her own hands.