Talk:African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–68)

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Presidential administrations[edit]

I think this goes on a bit too much about the Kennedys and recommend deleting the following:

"In 1966, Robert Kennedy undertook a tour of South Africa in which he championed the cause of the anti-apartheid movement. His tour gained international praise at a time when few politicians dared to entangle themselves in the politics of South Africa. Kennedy spoke out against the oppression of the native population. He was welcomed by the black population as though a visiting head of state. In an interview with LOOK Magazine he said:

At the University of Natal in Durban, I was told the church to which most of the white population belongs teaches apartheid as a moral necessity. A questioner declared that few churches allow black Africans to pray with the white because the Bible says that is the way it should be, because God created Negroes to serve. "But suppose God is black", I replied. "What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?" There was no answer. Only silence.—Robert Kennedy , LOOK Magazine[74]" To me, these two paragraphs belong in his article, not here.Parkwells (talk) 20:54, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

In addition, President Lyndon Johnson should be given more credit for achieving passage of the 1964 and 1965 civil rights legislation - tell more about how he worked with Congress to do what he believed was the right thing. It's my understanding that his expertise was critical to achieving passage of this legislation.Parkwells (talk) 20:52, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Generally agreeing with you, although the RFK South Africa trip may be worth mentioning—more secondary literature on its effect in the US is needed. (I wish the article discussed more connections to Africa, such as the Independence of Ghana (link), the "Year of Africa" and probably many other events unknown to me.) Also if we have space in the article for blockquotes from JFK, LBJ & RFK ... and MLK praising JFK ... and CSK praising MLK ... maybe we have space for some more contentious voices. No disrespect to any of the preceding.
Relatedly here are some relevant new articles related to things that happened in 1963: Baldwin–Kennedy meeting, Council for United Civil Rights Leadership, Birmingham crisis. Hopefully there will be time soon for greater depth of research on the March on Washington and subsequent Civil Rights Act (which was already 'in play' by June 1963). The opening of this article from 17 June 1963 provides some interesting context, although I wouldn't necessarily include it on the page here. Better yet, check out this search of the Google newspaper archive. shalom, groupuscule (talk) 21:50, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
I believe the South Africa trip is worth mentioning; the points are just to be a summary overview so it could be trimmed; further, a little more detail could be added as to the 1964 Civil Right Bill; this is how we wrote it in JFK's article (Legacy): "President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy's successor, took up the mantle and pushed the landmark Civil Rights Act through a bitterly divided Congress by invoking the slain president's memory." As for the March on Washington, any additional detail one might want to add, could be copied over from MLK, Jr. where it is detailed and well cited. That's another thing, this article needs better inline citing. Kierzek (talk) 01:36, 19 June 2013 (UTC)


African-American Civil Rights Movement
Rustin Young Ryan Farmer Lewis.jpg
Four leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. From left: Bayard Rustin, Andrew Young, (N.Y. Cong.William Ryan), James Farmer, and John Lewis in 1965.
Date 1955-1968
Location United States, especially the South
Goals End of racial segregation
Methods civil resistance, civil disobedience
Result Civil Rights Act of 1964
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures

Thoughts? --Երևանցի talk 02:19, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

This is a valiant effort and I appreciate your constructing it, but to be honest I feel it's a little too simplified—to the point of being counterproductive—and also takes too much of a particular POV. Also, I think we could come up with a better image for the lead (I realize you're using the one that's there now). Maybe some people on their feet? Maybe some women? Maybe not a white guy right in the middle? Yeah. groupuscule (talk) 07:34, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't insist this particular version to be in the article. That is why I started this discussion. I agree that the infobox is nowhere near being perfect and it needs to improved before going up. I share your opinion about the picture. --Երևանցի talk 02:50, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Arkansas "Relatively Progressive"?[edit]

In the Little Rock section, someone added "Little Rock, Arkansas, was in a relatively progressive Southern state." I deleted the reference to Arkansas being "relatively progressive." Someone then reverted my change. This isn't important enough for me to engage in a round revert/counter-revert but I think it's a misuse of language to apply the adjective "progressive" when it's a case of Arkansas not being quite as bad as Mississippi or Alabama. At the time in question, Arkansas maintained a thoroughly segregated school system, enforced Jim Crow segregation of public facilities throughout the state, and systematically denied blacks the right to vote. The fact that segregation in Arkasas was not enforced as violently as it was in some other southern states did not make Arkansas "progressive" or even "relatively progressive." It made Arkansas less bad, but that's not the same as "progressive." Brucehartford (talk) 18:26, 16 December 2013 (UTC)


>> Legacy of civil rights leaders source of fights(Lihaas (talk) 16:11, 16 February 2014 (UTC)).

Subtitle/ Date Proposal[edit]

The subtitle of this article currently refers to "(1955-1968)", yet the actual years covered clearly go back to 1954 (the year of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision). Indeed, we could say coverage goes back to 1951, the year the first of the Brown v. Board lawsuits were filed. The Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement History and Timeline lists additional reasons for marking 1951 as the beginning of the modern movement. I propose that the title be amended either to 1951 or 1954. GPRamirez5 (talk) 23:22, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Article split is suggested[edit]

I came to this article because I saw that it needed some reformatting of very long sections, giving more columns and less length to the page. My edits took a very long time to load so I took the time to read parts of it. I (as a non-expert reader who has only general knowledge of the subject) saw that it remains sketchy in areas but it is overly long taken as a whole. I would recommend that the regular authors give consideration to splitting it into two or more smaller articles to facilitate adding more vital information on the subject without making an article which is so long that it jams computers which depend on dial-up or slow DSL. So I am going to tag it as needing a split.Trilobitealive (talk) 01:02, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

For a general overview article about a world-historic movement spanning more than a decade, I don't think it's particularly long at all. It's shorter than the article for World War I, shorter than the article on the Vietnam War, and even shorter than the article on Elvis Presley (!) GPRamirez5 (talk) 02:42, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
Agree with GPRamirez5. The page isn't that long if you count only the readable prose, which is Wikipedia's gauge for measuring a page. And the topic is of such high importance that having one page instead of asking the student or researcher to click on many links to obtain their information (much less to keep and guide their attention through such a process) seems more appropriate. Randy Kryn 20:04 13 October, 2014 (UTC)
I agree the article should be kept intact as one page. Kierzek (talk) 21:13, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
At 100K of "readable prose", the article may be a good candidate to be split. See WP:SIZESPLIT. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 21:24, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
Hi. How did you get the 100kB? I did this last week with 'Federalist Papers', and it took about half an hour to remove everything (all the references, pictures, lists, link brackets, and the rest) so I hesitate to do it again. And it is a general overview page, so splitting it would be diluting the material (I usually consider that a certain percentage of readers will never go to a suggested link, but that is just surmise on my part). Randy Kryn 22:33 13 October, 2014 (UTC)
I use User:Dr pda/prosesize.js. Details at User:Dr pda/prosesize. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 02:58, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Let me define my reason for this proposition. I didn't suggest you split to dilute the info, reduce readability or reduce access, but rather to allow division of a long article into smaller ones which would be easier to load on dialup or slow DSL and allow needed additional information to be added without overburdening the reader. Most logical thing to me, wearing my gnome hat and not my content editor hat, would be a timewise split. Perhaps a split into two articles 1954-1960 and 1961-1968? However you folks vote is fine with me, don't count me as a voter, just the person who pointed this out.22:53, 13 October 2014 (UTC)Trilobitealive (talk) 22:54, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
When you put it like that, Trilobitealive, I'm intrigued. One can argue that the period 1963-1965 should be it's own article: there's an extraordinary amount of scholarship focused on events in these years, and the pace of history is remarkable (three major events- George Wallace's "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door", JFK's Civil Rights Address, and the assassination of Medgar Evers-all take place within a single day in 1963).
Additionally, given that the classic documentary series Eyes on the Prize goes up to the 1980s, and since civil rights is always a major issue in America (especially today in light of Ferguson), and given the strong scholarly case for the Long Civil Rights Movement, there's justification for articles covering the movement post-1968...Of course, that could be a major undertaking. GPRamirez5 (talk) 13:00, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
If, and that's a longshot because I think this page is fine for what it's covering, the page becomes divided, a span from 1954-1962, and then from 1963-1968, seems reasonable. It shouldn't stop at 1965, because the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement was one of the era's major movements (see my comment in section below). The successful movements of the era were few in number, just a handful. A Civil Rights Movement is just that - a unified nonviolent action creating a national dialogue which then changes a longstanding legal policy. After the Chicago Open Housing Movement in 1966, which led directly to the achievement of its goal in 1968, the leaders of the movement went into the 1967 anti-Vietnam War movement, and from there the organized movement to alter national legal policy never again focused on one issue. Most historians count Memphis and the Poor People's campaign as movement actions, but, arguably, neither was really a movement or a success. My point is that if editors are actually going to divide this article the discussion would have to be at which chronological points. But as of now my 'vote' or suggestion is not to divide it, although it does need work for accuracy and inclusion. Randy Kryn 17:52 15 October, 2014 (UTC)
Agreed for the short-term. Although my interest, long-term, was not contraction, but expansion. The recognition of a pre-1954 movement by Wikipedia is itself an acknowledgement of "The Long Civil Rights Movement" concept, so recognition of a post-1968 movement follows from that. There isn't any consensus on the 1968 date, as PBS, the Virginia Historical Society, and the National Civil Rights Museum all portray the movement extending into the 1970s. There is also no consensus on nonviolence as a defining characteristic, as evidenced, most recently, by Charles E. Cobb's book This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed.
With that said, I think no split should be considered until we reach at least 250k bytes (roughly the current size of the Vietnam War article). GPRamirez5 (talk) 18:54, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Given this article currently ends at 1968, and that has been the ending point, per long term consensus, then when it is split at some point, I believe it should be at that year; so: (1896-1953) - this one should be tweaked accordingly, no need for the overlap; (1954-1962), (1963-1968). Kierzek (talk) 19:19, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I oppose splitting the article because most people will get only a narrow slice of the story. I have seen zero complaints about download times and think if a person will quit if it takes 10 more seconds to load, that person is unlikely to have enough interest to study a shorter article. Rjensen (talk) 08:07, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

I'm inclined to leave it as a single article based on the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" principle. At least until people start to complain about the download time. That said, if it's going to be broken into sections, it seems to me that there are four (rather than two) clear historic sub-periods:

1. 1951-1959, with the events leading up to Brown v. Board of Education, the reactions and resistance to Brown and then the bus boycotts that were in large part inspired by Brown.

2. 1960-1961, with the student-led sit-ins and Freedom rides.

3. 1962-1966, the community-organizing, mass-movement direct-action period, including Albany, voter-registration, Birmingham, March on Washington, St. Augustine, Freedom Summer, Civil Rights Act, Selma, March to Montgomery, Voting Rights Act, and ending with the Meredith March and Grenada Movement.

4. 1966-1968 (or later), political organizing & elections, Poor People's Campaign, King assassination, and so on. I've always considered the Black Power Movement to be an aspect of the larger Civil Rights Movement (though I recognize that many disagree with that) so that would also be in this period.

But, as I said, my preference would be to leave it as a single long article. Brucehartford (talk) 02:23, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Chicago Open Housing Movement[edit]

I've purposely kept away from doing much editing on the main article, or even reading it. But one of the things that stands out on the page - and this was pointed out to me a year or more ago - is that there is no section on the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement. I think the Open Housing Movement is considered a major movement by the main civil rights historians, and was one of SCLC's successful 1960s movements. For it was a successful movement, although not considered a success by some (and I don't understand how they've come to that conclusion). The law which emerged as a result of it - a law introduced after Dr. King's death to assure passage - became the last great Civil Rights Act of the 1960s. It probably should have a section of its own, or at least a footnote and a link, or maybe an entry in the 'See also' section. I won't write it, but might do some editing if it appears. It would make the page longer though (see above discussion about excess page length, which brought me to the page again). Randy Kryn 4:14 14 October, 2014 (UTC)

On scanning the page to do a minor edit I noticed that the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement is mentioned, but as a failure. This was a successful movement, was brought to a successful conclusion, and does deserve its own section imnho. Any discussion? Thanks Randy Kryn 16:14 23 November, 2014 (UTC)
Failure may be too strong a term, but the outcome was definitely ambiguous. See the Stanford King Encyclopedia entry, also Eyes on the Prize episode "Two Societies" GPRamirez5 (talk) 19:34, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Capitalizing "Civil Rights Movement" in the name of this article[edit]

Can anyone tell me why we capitalize "Civil Rights Movement" in this article? Data from books ([1], [2], [3]) suggests that this is not necessary. Dicklyon (talk) 01:35, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Dicklyon and I also had an interesting discussion on my talk page on this issue, which got me thinking. Glad you brought it here for more comments. To me the 1950s-1960s Civil Rights Movement is a proper name, akin to 'American Revolution', 'French Revolution', 'World War II', and the 'American Civil War'. Although each of these was made up of thousands of events, they can and are classified as one event, epic fights or epic transitions from one long-standing social agreement to another. The Civil Rights Movement from 1955 to 1968 was run, strategized, and organized by a small group of people. It was a culmination of both the hopes and work of people who came before it, and a melding with information brought forward by Mohandas Gandhi. It run fairly smoothly from one named and focused event and right to another - the legal desegregation of public transportation, of education, of the use of public businesses and space, of the voting booth, and of real estate transactions. It set out to do certain things, and did what it set out to do. It learned as it progressed, and the nonviolent tactics and strategies used were designed to create national dialogues, to change social agreements which had been in place for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and did so by putting forward a series of contexts in which people could express and confront their emotions, fears, and societal habits. It worked, and, for instance, segregated drinking fountains now look like an insanity where once they were accepted as "just the way it is" by blacks and whites. It took a very few years to change all of that . Hence the proper name, capitalized, and rightfully honored since that interesting and hopefully not unique era. Randy Kryn 12:44 17 December, 2014 (UTC)
Right, we were hoping to get other input here. Randy, I have no problem with you thinking of this as an event to be honored with a proper name. But this is wikipedia, and MOS:CAPS says that we don't use caps that way. We only capitalize as proper name those things for which sources make it clear that they are proper names. I don't see anything like evidence for such an interpretation here. If anyone has such evidence, let's bring it up. If not, let's just go with our house style. Dicklyon (talk) 21:38, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Lacking any other input, we should really have all these articles at lowercase, per MOS:CAPS. Randy wants to make this harder, since he just moved a bunch of others back to uppercase. Nobody here seems to care, but maybe I'll let it rest for a week and see. Dicklyon (talk) 04:47, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

I moved two other articles (the Civil Rights Movement timeline, and the first in this series of pages, the 1896-1954 page) that you changed. I've just now changed this section head name ("Caps" wouldn't alert people that you are intending a name change, to me a name change on the order of changing 'American Civil War', 'United States Constitution' or 'French Revolution') to reflect what the discussion is about, but as yet no formal vote has been proposed. Even your sources listed as the first item in this section show a large percentage of mentions capitalize 'Civil Rights Movement'. The names of these three articles (and if you've changed more, please alert us) should, imnho, stay as they are, as capitalization of the movement's name has been Wikipedian style ever since these and other articles about the larger event have been written. Randy Kryn 12:32 18 December, 2014 (UTC)
At some point we'll need to do a WP:RM, which will list this issue for those who care about titles and style more generally. I wanted to start by seeing if there's anyone in this topic area with info that I missed when I discussed it with you already on your talk page. So far, looks like nobody else has info to share. Dicklyon (talk) 16:45, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Your own links in your first comment here, although limited, themselves provide enough evidence that the capitalization of the movement (as a unit) is a very common occurrence. On the page where you are involved in discussing the capitalization issue it seems that any suggested guideline (not a "this or nothing" policy) will include changes only if there is no other major option which backs up the present title. The names of the pages which include the capitalization have been capitalized since they were first written. Templates and categories include the capitalization. It has been Wikipedia style for this particular topic since day one. It would need, I would think, a very clear consensus to go forward with your preference. Randy Kryn 19:49 19 December, 2014 (UTC)
I expect it would have a very clear consensus. We can see. Dicklyon (talk) 20:16, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

I find Randy's argument for capitalizing "Civil Rights Movement" for the same reason we captalize "Civil War" and "French Revolution" to be quite persuasive. Therefore, I support keeping the capitalization as it is. Brucehartford (talk) 16:22, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

I think if you look at WP:MILTERMS you'll see that capitalizing "Civil War" and "French Revolution" is standard and accepted, and is within WP style because those are accepted terms that are consistently capitalized in sources. It says "The general rule is that wherever a military term is an accepted proper name, as indicated by consistent capitalization in sources, it should be capitalized." But in the case of "civil rights movement", and our descriptive titles constructed using that term, sources are mixed, but greatly leaning toward lowercase. The threshold of "consistently capitalized in sources" is not even nearly approached, as you can see at the links I started with. Lacking new info on a broad class of reliable sources better than books, I think this is pretty decisive. Dicklyon (talk) 07:37, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Where is the article for "African-American Civil Rights Movement (1968-Present)"?[edit]

I see African-American civil rights movement (1896–1954) and African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–68). Where is the article for "African-American Civil Rights Movement (1968-Present)"? Did it end in 1968? If not, is it not considered notable enough for inclusion in Wikipedia? If not, where is it? Perhaps it is under a different name, although that would lose the continuity of the preceding two historical articles. Tks. Benefac (talk) 03:24, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

It would be (1969 - Present). Such a page would have to spell out which civil rights weren't won by the '60s Movement. Between 1960 and '68 America, via the activities of the Movement, desegregated public places, transportation, voting registration offices, schools, and real estate transactions. What constitutional rights regarding inequality were left to obtain? To me the last real 'movement' was the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement, with the anti-war movement being next up on Dr. King's and James Bevel's agenda (both worked it in 1967) until both left it for differing reasons. Then again, you can start the page, and it will likely be expanded by others. I personally don't see what constitutional rights were left to win regarding civil rights (women's and gay rights followed later, but would they be classified in the article you're proposing or are you thinking just of racial issues?), although equality in quality of education was on the unfulfilled agenda. Randy Kryn 12:23 17 December, 2014 (UTC)
The closest thing currently is the Post-Civil Rights Era in African-American History page, which could use some work. It should probably draw more from this short history. As you can see from that, there are numerous legal challenges and actions surrounding the classical civil rights acts since 1968, and even an additional Civil Rights Act of 1991.
The question of exactly what civil rights are and are not is contested and evolving across history, and redefinition via reform is precisely the purpose of a social movement. Prior to Brown v. Board of Education, it was not understood to be a civil right to have desegregated education. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it was not agreed on that desegregated public accommodations were a civil right - to the contrary, the federal courts understood it to be an infringement on the civil right of the business owner and customers to freedom of association, and at best a "social right" not civil right for the segregated Negro.
If we were to go by a strict definition of civil rights, then education would not be included at all, because education and employment, under traditional legal theory are also social rights, not civil rights. This is why the term "civil rights movement" has always been fairly arbitrary, although favored by conservatives. Even moderates associated with the movement, including LBJ and MLK, said that it blurred the line between civil rights and broader human rights. This is why most activists at the time- and increasingly scholars today - prefer the term Freedom Movement.GPRamirez5 (talk) 15:17, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 27 December 2014[edit]

– Per MOS:CAPS, wikipedia avoids unnecessary capitalization; per WP:NCCAPS we use sentence case for titles. Caps are not needed for these, as they are not proper names, and "civil rights movement" is not a proper name, as evidenced by widespread lowercasing in reliable sources, as well as by guidance in common style guides such as Chicago Manual of Style that specifically use "civil right movement" as an example of what NOT to capitalize. The discussion above at Talk:African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–68)#Capitalizing "Civil Rights Movement" in the name of this article did not reveal any new reasons to believe these are proper names, just that they are important and deserve respect, which I'm sure we all agree with; WP does not use caps for that purpose. Dicklyon (talk) 07:31, 27 December 2014 (UTC)