Mit ‘Martin Luther King’ getaggte Beiträge

>> Weiterentwicklung der Grund- und Menschenrechte: Das Civil Rights Movement


>> Link zu Prezi „The Civil Rights Movement“


>> Link zum Quiz „The Civil Rights Movement“


>> Link zu The Movement for Black Lives – Platform



What the Afro-American sociologist and historian William Eduard B. Du Bois had said long ago, unnoticed, now loomed large after the end of WW2 in 1945: „The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line.“
In 1946, US-President Truman appointed a committee on Civil Rights which recommended that Congress pass laws against lynching and to stop voting discrimination, and suggested new laws to end racial discrimination in jobs. Truman issued an executive order directing that the armed forces, segregated in World War II, institute policies of racial equality. The order may have been prompted by the need to maintain black morale in the armed forces, as the possibility of war grew. It took over a decade to complete the desegregation in the military.
In a series of suits against racial segregation in the schools, the US Supreme Court finally, in 1954, struck down the „separate but equal“ doctrine that it had defended since the 1890s. In Brown vs. Board of Education the Court ruled out the separation of schoolchildren, as it „generates a feeling of inferiority … that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.“ In the field of public education, it said, „the doctrine of ’separate but equal‘ has no place.“ By 1965, more than 75 percent of the school districts in the South remained segregated.
Still, it was a dramatic decision – and the message went around the world in 1954 that the American government had outlawed segregation. In the United States too, it was an exhilarating sign of change.

What to others seemed rapid progress to many blacks was apparently not enough. At the end of 1955, in the capital city of Alabama – Montgomery – Mrs. Rosa Parks, a forty-three-year-old seamstress who had been active in the NAACP, decided to sit down in the „white“ section of a bus and was arrested. Montgomery blacks called a mass meeting. They voted to boycott all city buses. Car pools were organized to take people to work; most people walked. The city retaliated by sending many leaders of the boycott – among them Rosa Parks – to jail. White segregationists turned to violence. Bombs exploded in four Negro churches and one at the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK). The 27-year-old Atlanta-born minister was one of the most prominent leaders of the bus-boycott. But the black people of Montgomery persisted, and in November 1956, the Supreme Court outlawed segregation on local bus lines.
On February 1, 1960, four students at a Negro college in Greensboro, North Carolina, decided to sit down at the Woolworth’s lunch counter downtown, where only whites ate. They were refused service, but would not leave, and returned, joined by others, day after day. In the next two weeks, sit-ins spread to fifteen cities in five southern states. In the next twelve months, more than fifty thousand people, mostly black, some white, participated in demonstrations of one kind or another in a hundred cities, and hundreds of people were put in jail. But by the end of 1960, lunch counters were open to blacks in Greensboro and many other places.

In the spring of 1961, a group of whites and blacks boarded a bus in Washington, D.C., traveling together, headed for New Orleans. These were the first of the Freedom Riders, trying to break the pattern of segregation in interstate travel. Such segregation had long been illegal, but the federal government never enforced the law in the South. The president now was John F. Kennedy, but he too seemed cautious about the race question, concerned about the support of southern white leaders of the Democratic party. The buses never got to New Orleans. In South Carolina, riders were beaten. In Alabama, a bus was set afire. Freedom Riders were attacked with iron bars. The southern police did not interfere with any of this violence, nor did the federal government. FBI agents watched, took notes, did nothing.
Despite the racist violence, veterans of the sit-ins formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), dedicated to nonviolent but militant action for equal rights. They organized further Freedom Rides. All over the Deep South – where the atmosphere of slavery still lingered – the young people of SNCC, mostly black, a few white, were moving into communities in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas. Joined by local black people, they were organizing to register people to vote and to protest against racism. When black civil rights leaders planned a huge march on Washington in the summer of 1963 to protest the failure of the nation to solve the race problem, it was quickly embraced by President Kennedy and other national leaders, and turned into a friendly assemblage. Martin Luther King’s speech there thrilled 200,000 black and white Americans – „I have a dream.“
As the “Mississippi summer” of 1964 approached, SNCC and other civil rights groups working together in Mississippi, and facing increasing violence, decided to call upon young people from other parts of the country for help. They hoped that would bring attention to the situation in Mississippi. In that summer of 1964 racist violence resulted in three civil rights workers, James Chaney, a young black Mississippian, and two white volunteers, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner being beaten with chains, and shot to death.
Congress and government began reacting to the black revolt and the world publicity. Civil rights laws were passed. They promised voting equality as well as employment equality. In 1965, President Johnson sponsored and Congress passed an even stronger Voting Rights Law, this time ensuring on-the-spot federal protection of the right to register and vote. The effect on Negro voting in the South was dramatic. In 1962, a million southern blacks (20% of those eligible) registered to vote. In 1964 the number was 2 million – 40%. By 1968, it was 3 million, 60% – the same percentage as white voters.
But the blacks could not be easily brought into „the democratic coalition“ when bombs kept exploding in churches, when new civil rights laws did not change the root condition of black people. In the spring of 1963, the rate of unemployment for whites was 4.8 percent. For nonwhites it was 12.1 percent. According to government estimates, one-fifth of the white population was below the poverty line, and one-half of the black population was below that line.
The nonviolence of the southern movement was effective because it appealed to national opinion against the segregationist South. But, according to the black militant Malcolm X, it was not enough to deal with the entrenched problems of poverty in the black ghettos in the North. In 1910, 90% of Negroes lived in the South. By 1965, mechanical cotton pickers harvested 81% of Mississippi Delta cotton. Between 1940 and 1970, 4 million blacks left the country for the city. By 1965, 80% of blacks lived in cities and 50% of the black people lived in the North. „Black Power“ was the new slogan – an expression of distrust of any progress given or conceded by whites. After Malcolm X was assassinated as he spoke on a public platform in February 1965, he became the martyr of this movement. Hundreds of thousands read his autobiography. He was more influential in death than during his lifetime. In the months and years after the assassination, in the black ghettos of the country, came the greatest urban riots of American history. In August 1965, the black ghetto in Watts, Los Angeles, erupted in the most violent urban outbreak since World War II. It was provoked by the forcible arrest of a young Negro driver and the clubbing of a bystander by police. According to the report of the National Advisory Committee on Urban Disorders there were eight major uprisings, thirty-three „serious but not major“ outbreaks, and 123 „minor“ disorders in 1967 alone. Eighty-three people, mostly black civilians, died of gunfire. „The „typical rioter,“ according to the commission, was a young, high school dropout but „nevertheless, somewhat better educated than his non-rioting Negro neighbor“ and „usually underemployed or employed in an unskilled job.“ He was „proud of his race, extremely hostile to both whites and middle-class Negroes and, although informed about politics, highly distrustful of the political system.“ The report blamed „white racism“ for the disorders, and identified the ingredients of the “explosive mixture which has been accumulating in our cities since the end of World War II”:
The killing of Martin Luther King in April 1968 brought new urban outbreaks all over the country, in which thirty-nine people were killed, thirty-five of them black. Evidence was piling up that even with all of the civil rights laws now on the books, the courts would not protect blacks against violence and injustice:
• In the 1967 riots in Detroit, three black teen-agers were killed. Three Detroit policemen were tried for this triple murder. The defense conceded that the policemen had shot two of the blacks. A jury exonerated them.
• In Jackson, Mississippi, in the spring of 1970, on the campus of Jackson State College, a Negro college, police laid down a 28-second barrage of gunfire, using shotguns, rifles, and a submachine gun. Four hundred bullets struck the girls‘ dormitory and two black students were killed. A local grand jury found the attack „justified“ and U.S. District Court Judge Harold Cox (a Kennedy appointee) declared that students who engage in civil disorders „must expect to he injured or killed.“
Founded in Oakland, California in October 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense created a Ten-Point Program that called for „land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.” Further demands among others, were full employment for black people and an “education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society” as well as exemption from conscription for African-American men. The Black Panther Party’s most widely known programs were its armed citizens‘ patrols to evaluate behavior of police officers and its Free Breakfast for Children program. However, the group’s political goals were often overshadowed by their confrontational tactics against police.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party and its estimated 10,000 members “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,” and he supervised a massive Counter-intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) of surveillance and infiltration and many other tactics designed to undermine Panther leadership and to incriminate party members.

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Im Mai 1968 kam eine schon jahrelang andauernde Bewegung von Protesten zu einem Wendepunkt. Beteiligte an dieser Bewegung wurden in den Jahren und Jahrzehnten danach als 68er oder Alt-68er bezeichnet. Was hat die Menschen damals zum massenhaften Protest bewogen? Es waren mehrere, teils miteinander verbundene, teils aber auch voneinander unabhängige Bereiche der Gesellschaft, mit denen zahlreiche Menschen unzufrieden waren und in denen sie für Veränderungen eingetreten sind. Einen guten Überlick über einige der wichtigsten Beweggründe für die Protestbewegungen in den 1960er Jahren, die im Mai 1968 ihren Höhepunkt in Westeuropa erreichten, liefert der folgende Podcast mit dem Titel >>> Zeit der Proteste – die 68er zum Anhören (18 Minuten)

Medaillengewinner bei den Olympischen Spielen 1968Es gab die Benachteiligung der afroamerikanischen Bevölkerung in den USA und das Civil Rights Movement, das sich beginnend in den 1950er Jahren gegen die racial segregation richtete. Ein erster Erfolg dieser Bewegung war die Entscheidung, dass getrennte Schulen für Weiße und Schwarze in den USA den Grundsätzen der Verfassung widersprechen. Das entschied der  Supreme Court im Jahre 1954. Weil sich aber allein aufgrund dieser Entscheidung die Benachteiligung der Afroamerikaner in den USA nicht wesentlich verbesserte, erhielt das Civil Rights Movement immer mehr Zulauf. Diese Bewegung reichte von religiös motivierten Menschen, deren bekanntester Vertreter Martin Luther King Jr. war, über sogenannte Freedom riders, weiße US-Amerikaner, die sich mit dem Kampf der Afroamerikaner solidarisierten bis hin zur Black Panther Party for Self Defense, die sich für ein militantes Vorgehen „by any means necessary“ gegen alle Benachteiligungen der afroamerikanischen Bevölkerung aussprach.

>>> Das Civil Rights Movement und die Geschichte von Martin Luther King Jr. zum Anhören (16 Minuten)

Im Laufe der 60er Jahre nahm die Zahl der Studierenden stark zu, erstmals kamen in großen Zahlen Jugendliche an die Universitäten, deren Eltern keine Akademiker waren. V.a. im deutschsprachigen Raum waren die Universitäten traditionell stark von politisch rechts bis rechtsextrem eingestellten Männerbünden und Burschenschaften geprägt. Gegen die Benachteiligung weiblicher Wissenschafterinnen entwickelte sich unter weiblichen Studierenden Widerstand, weiters richtete sich der Protest der Studierenden gegen Professoren, die ein Naheverhältnis zu nationalsozialistischen bzw. rechtsextremen Ideologien hatten. Die Studierenden forderten Mitsprache an den Universitäten und richteten sich gegen den „Muff von 1000 Jahren – unter den Talaren“. Auch überkommene Moralvorstellungen betreffend das Verhältnis der Geschlechter wurden einer Kritik unterzogen. Dabei wurde beispielsweise gegen das Verbot für Studierende in Studentenwohnheimen, die Nacht gemeinsam mit der Freundin zu verbringen, protestiert.

Ein Radiobeitrag zu einem der Idole der 68er, dem Argentinischen Arzt und Revolutionär >>> Ernesto Che Guevara zum Anhören (17 Minuten)

Die Zeitschrift „Der Spiegel“ beschäftigt sich mit den Studierendenprotesten in den 60er Jahren in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland:

>>> Proteste in den 60er Jahren in der BRD

>>> Der Tod des Demonstranten Benno Ohnesorg am 2. Juni 1967

Auch abseits der Universitäten stellte eine immer größer werdende Zahl von Frauen die gesellschaftliche Rollenverteilung von Männern und Frauen in Frage. Frauen verlangten nicht nur formal-juristische Gleichberechtigung, wie sie z.B. im österreichischen Eherecht nicht vorhanden war, wo es hieß: „Der Ehemann ist das Oberhaupt der Familie.“ Sie forderten eine wirkliche Verbesserung der Möglichkeiten der Berufsausbildung und des Zugangs zu Universitäten, eine Legalisierung des Schwangerschaftsabbruchs, den Ausbau von Kinderbetreuungseinrichtungen und die Anerkennung gleichgeschlechtlicher Partnerschaften. Bis heute werden Frauen, die auf die Benachteiligung in der Gesellschaft hinweisen, von gewissen Kreisen  als „Emanzen“ bezeichnet.

Weniger in Deutschland und Österreich, dafür umso mehr in Italien und Frankreich breitete sich die Bewegung auch auf die (Industrie-)arbeiter/innen aus, die nicht nur für einen größeren Anteil am gesellschaftlichen Reichtum, also für Lohnerhöhungen kämpften, sondern insgesamt die Befehlsgewalt von Vorgesetzten in den Unternehmen in Frage stellten und sich mit den Anliegen der Studierenden solidarisierten.  Ein Generalstreik der Gewerkschaften in Frankreich im Mai 1968 wurde von Staatspräsident Charles De Gaulle mit der Verhängung des Ausnahmezustands beendet.

US-Soldaten demonstrieren gegen den Krieg gegen VietnamWeltweit gab es seit dem „Tonkin-Zwischenfall“ im Jahr 1964 und dem Eingreifen der US-Regierung in den Vietnamkrieg mit massiven Luftangriffen und einer halben Million US-Soldaten eine weltweite Protestbewegung gegen ebendiese westliche Einmischung in den Vietnamkrieg. Auch hier gab es sehr unterschiedliche Teilnehmer/innen,  darunter olympische Goldmedaillengewinner, katholische Priester, Wehrdienstverweigerer und Studierende an vielen Universitäten und schließlich auch immer mehr Soldaten der US-Armee, die sich teilweise weigerten, in den Krieg geschickt zu werden. >>> Die Studierendenbewegung in den USA und der Vietnamkrieg zum Anhören (20 Minuten)

Die Anti-Kriegsbewegung hatte in den USA eine große Überschneidung mit dem Civil Rights Movement, u.a. deshalb, weil unter den Soldaten, die nach Vietnam entsendet wurden, überproportional viele Afroamerikaner waren. Dem amtierenden Weltmeister im Schwergewichtsboxen, Muhamad Ali, wurde im Jahr 1967 sein Titel aberkannt, weil er den Kriegsdienst in der US-Armee in Vietnam verweigerte.

In dieser Dokumentation geht es um die Geschichte des Civil Rights Movement in den USA in den 1960er Jahren vom Beginn der gewaltlosen Bewegung von Martin Luther King Jr. bis zur Entstehung der Black Panther Party for Self Defense:

Martin Luther King Jr. formulierte am 4. April 1967, ein Jahr bevor er ermordet wurde, seine Kritik am Krieg, den die Regierung der USA in Vietnam gegen die dortige Bewegung des Vietcong führte. In seiner Predigt, gehalten in der Riverside Church in New York, zeigt Martin Luther King Jr. Zusammenhänge zwischen dem Civil Rights Movement und der Bewegung gegen den Vietnamkrieg auf. >>> Martin Luther Kings Rede „Beyond Vietnam“ (1967) als PDF

Hier können Ausschnitte aus seiner Rede „Beyond Vietnam“ angehört werden:

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