Discuss the varieties of white resistance to the civil rights movement and which were most effective in slowing the drive for equalityDiscuss the varieties of white resistance to the civil rights...
Discuss the varieties of white resistance to the civil rights movement and which were most effective in slowing the drive for equality
Whites in southern states organized Citizens' Councils, a formal and patriotic sounding name for resistance to integration and civil rights. This organizing of society to promote social resistance to change was quite effective. Same as after the Civil War, when it was proven that you can conquer a people, but you cannot change their minds by that act alone. Slavery was ended, racism was not. That would take generations and is not yet complete, if it ever will be.
Another effective example of white resistance to civil rights happened in Mississippi during Freedom Summer, when white and black volunteers from the North were coming to the state to register black voters, and the State Patrol and local police departments coordinated their efforts and shared information about the civil rights workers so they could harass, ticket and arrest them whenever possible. This was only effective in the short term, however, as murders of some of the activists brought in increased FBI presence.
The Ku Klux Klan was the most famous form of resistance to civil rights legislation in the South. Intimidation kept many blacks from the polls or otherwise speaking out. Since people could be in the Klan anonymously, they acted without any fear of repercussion. In many cases, prominent local citizens were Klan members and even if caught, they knew that local juries would do little to them in court.
The Klan soon became their own worst enemy as the terror grew worse and the protesters looked largely innocent. The FBI took charge of investigations against the Klan and the public joined the side of the protesters after seeing them oppressed in Little Rock and Montgomery. Poll taxes and segregation in general proved to be higher barriers to equality, as these were legally sanctioned and segregated schools were often underfunded when compared to white schools in the same areas. Both poll taxes and segregation were later found to be unconstitutional.
There were many forms of white resistance to the civil rights movement that slowed the drive for equality. One form of resistance was the formation of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. This group worked to terrorize and intimidate African-Americans. This group was linked to many bombings of African-American institutions as well as the lynching of African-Americans.
Another form of resistance was the passage of laws and the development of policies designed to restrict the freedoms of African-Americans. Jim Crow laws led to segregation of many public facilities. Examples of segregation included separate railroad cars for African Americans and whites as well as separate schools for the races. Seating sections on buses were segregated, and there were separate drinking fountains for each race. The establishment of the literacy test and the poll tax made it more difficult for African Americans to vote.
In my opinion, the most effective thing that was done by white southerners was the tactic used by Police Chief Laurie Pritchett of Albany, Georgia.
When protests came to Albany, Pritchett had his police handle black protestors gently and respectfully. They simply took the protestors to jail. This was in great contrast to the actions of police chiefs like Bull Connor, who is famous for the use of violence against protestors.
The Pritchett approach made it very hard for protestors to get support. There was little sympathy for them because they were not being mistreated.