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But across the South as a whole segregation is still the rule rather than the exception, and in the Deep South rigid segregation remains almost universal.
And even if a business owner or public official is willing to integrate, states, counties, and cities have laws requiring segregation see Birmingham Segregation Laws for examples. Nor is it possible to repeal state and local segregation ordinances one by one, or file separate court cases to overturn them in all the myriad jurisdictions.
Only national legislation on the federal level can permanently eradicate overt, legally-required, segregation by repealing all segregation laws at a stroke and making equal access to public facilities a matter of national law enforceable in federal court. The adjacent city of Bessemer is majority Black and overwhelmingly poor.
Racial segregation of public and commercial facilities throughout Jefferson County is absolute, legally required, and ruthlessly enforced. The dominant political boss is Eugene "Bull" Connor, the Commissioner of Public Safety in charge of the police and fire departments.
Violence, and the threat of violence, are pervasive. In the six years between andBlack churches and the homes of Black leaders are bombed 17 times. Jewish synagogues are also bombed. A year later, Klansmen randomly snatch a Black man from the street, castrate, and kill him. Beatings, rapes, vandalism, and other forms of abuse and terrorism enforce white-supremacy.
But there are some who are not intimidated. ACMHR sinks deep roots in the Black community of Birmingham-Bessemer, holding a regular mass-meeting every Monday night, month after month, year after year.
With undaunted courage, Shuttlesworth and the other ACMHR activists carry forward their fight for freedom from racist oppression. Following the successful Montgomery Bus Boycottthey force integration of Birmingham buses.
When he tries to enroll his children in a white school, he is brutally beaten with chains. King and other Movement leaders ponder the strengths and weaknesses of the Albany Movement and the lessons learned from that seminal effort in large-scale nonviolent direct action against segregation.
Walker to prepare a battle plan for Birmingham. To generate such strong national awareness that the Kennedy administration will be forced to actively defend the civil rights of Americans regardless of their race. To mobilize enough popular support in the North to break a Southern filibuster, and pass a national civil rights act to overturn all segregation laws everywhere, and outlaw all forms of overt racial discrimination nation-wide.
Our goal in Birmingham was larger than ending segregation in one Southern city. It was our hope that our efforts in Birmingham would dramatize the fight and determination of Afro-American citizens in the Southern states and that we would force the Kennedy administration to draft and push through Congress a comprehensive Civil Rights Act, outlawing segregation and racial discrimination in public accommodations, employment and education.
Filling the jails will put direct economic pressure on the city which has to feed and guard the prisoners and at the same time strengthen the Black boycott of the downtown businesses and the politically powerful store-owners.
The demonstrators are expected to be adults and college students who will commit to staying at least 5 or 6 days in jail before being bailed out.
The SCLC leaders are under no illusions about the dangers ahead. As Shuttlesworth sums it up: On the last day of March, Dr. King meets in New York with singer Harry Belafonte and other Northern supporters to raise financial resources for bail money, and organize political support to pressure Kennedy and Congress.
During the campaign that follows, Belafonte plays a key role, devoting his full energies to coordinating and mobilizing efforts across the country for the Birmingham Movement and a new civil rights bill.
Nightly mass meetings begin to mobilize the community around the campaign, the boycott of downtown merchants is declared, and volunteers trained in the tactics and strategies of Nonviolent Resistance step forward to begin lunch counter sit-ins the following day.
The racial "moderates" want to emulate the Albany strategy of defusing the Movement and preventing harsh national publicity by avoiding arrests and dramatic confrontations. The hard-liners led by Bull Connor with the backing of Alabama Governor George Wallace want to utterly suppress Black aspirations through intimidation, violence, and jailing anyone who dares question the established order.If you can, it's a good idea to view someone else's cover letter sample for inspiration.
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