June 30, 1958
Supreme Court Upholds Membership Privacy in NAACP v. Alabama
The Supreme Court agreed with the NAACP in a dispute with the state of Alabama over privacy rights. After the success of the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott, white officials in Alabama wanted to punish black organizations, with the NAACP being the biggest target. Referring to the Association's involvement with the Boycott and its role in funding and providing legal assistance to black students' seeking admission to the state university, Alabama charged that the NAACP was: ". . . causing irreparable injury to the property and civil rights of the residents and citizens of the State of Alabama for which criminal prosecution and civil actions at law afford no adequate relief . . . ."
Alabama demanded the NAACP release its membership lists in accordance with a law. The NAACP refused and a state court held the organization in contempt. This effectively shut down NAACP operations in Alabama during the appeal process.
Eventually the Supreme Court ruled that the NAACP had the right to keep its membership lists private, and the contempt charge was dropped. Ironically, this Supreme Court ruling would later be used by Ku Klux Klan groups in an attempt to shield their members from civil lawsuits.
June 29, 1958
Birmingham's Bethel Street Baptist Church Bombed
Early on the morning of Sunday, June 29, 1958, a bomb exploded outside the church on the north side of Birmingham, Alabama, in one of the segregated city's African American neighborhoods. The church's pastor, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, was a civil rights activist working to eliminate segregation in Birmingham. The church was a frequent target ever since an earlier bombing in 1956. Will Hall, who was on watch that night discovered a paint can containing lit dynamite and carried it into the street before taking cover as it exploded. Holding between fifteen and twenty sticks of dynamite, the paint can exploded, blowing a two-foot hole in the street and breaking windows of houses. The church's stained glass windows, still being repaired from an earlier bombing, were also damaged. Police told church leaders there were few clues as to the culprit's identity or motive, but a passerby reported seeing a car full of white men in the area shortly before the bomb was discovered. "This shows that America has a long way to go before it can try to be called democratic," Rev. Shuttlesworth said.
June 28, 1964
Organization of Afro-American Unity Founded by Malcolm X
The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) was a Pan-Africanist organization founded by Malcolm X to fight for the human rights of African Americans and promote cooperation among Africans and people of African descent in the Americas.
"That’s our motto. We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary. We don’t feel that in 1964, living in a country that is supposedly based upon freedom, and supposedly the leader of the free world, we don’t think that we should have to sit around and wait for some segregationist congressmen and senators and a President from Texas in Washington, D. C., to make up their minds that our people are due now some degree of civil rights. No, we want it now or we don’t think anybody should have it."
June 26, 1964
Sherriff Parades Police Dog at Court House in Batesville, Mississippi
A group of Negro citizens was attempting to register to vote at the Panola County Courthouse in Batesville today, Sheriff Earle Hubbard walked into the registration office with a German shepherd dog and stood the dog up on his hind legs to demonstrate its height to the clerk. Present in the office were Mrs. Colonier Butler, Mrs. Velma King, and Mr. Wolford Thomas. Other witnesses were Greene David Swearengen (age eighteen) and George Leslie, (age twenty), volunteer registration workers who were standing in the hall outside of the office at the time. All our residents of Batesville.
When Deputy Brewer had seen the Negroes enter the court house he had gone immediately to the jail and return with the sheriff and the dog. Greene Swearengen saw the sheriff go first to his car and strap on a gun.
While Mrs. Butler, Mrs. King, Mr. T. T. Johnson and Mrs. Gladys Toliver were attempting to register, several white men – including the sheriff, deputy Brewer, and the tax assessor J.V. Still — gathered around local volunteers Swearengen and Leslie and begin questioning them.
Tax assessor Still, after having explained to the sheriff that Leslie was the "boy" who had brought "them" into the courthouse, warned Leslie he would be in trouble when the outsiders left at the end of the summer. "'Those folks' will only be around for a short time but you have to leave here," he added.
Photo is not directly related to this incident but shows volunteers in Batesville, Miss., in 1964. Batesville was one of many locations throughout Mississippi that housed Freedom Schools organized by COFO and SNCC.
McCain Library and Archives/The University of Southern Mississippi – New York Times_______________________________________
The sheriff then asked Leslie for his name, age, address, drivers license, and car registration. Leslie answered all these questions. The sheriff also asked Leslie whether his mother were on welfare and whether he was employed. When Leslie said no, the sheriff turned in to the crowd of whites and remarked, "Boy, 20 years old and not working."
Deputy then asked Greene Swearengen his name, age, and address.
Swearengen left the courthouse when Carl Pomerance of Valley Stream, New York, another voter registration worker, came in to tell him that Deputy Brewer had said to move the car. John Shatterly of Cincinnati, Ohio another volunteer worker who had brought people to the courthouse to register that morning, also moved his car. The group, including prospective voters and volunteers, left around noon when the courthouse closed.
Transcribed verbatim from unsigned COFO document - crmvet.org
June 25, 1964
Multiple Attacks on Civil Rights Activists in St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida was a center of Civil Rights Movement actions and corresponding violent opposition throughout the month of June, 1964. On this day, 75 white segregationists attacked a group of 100 African Americans attempting to wade into the ocean at a local "white beach" in St. Augustine, Florida. Later that afternoon, over 200 white segregationists chased and violently attacked civil rights marchers downtown. Many civil rights marchers had spent the afternoon rallying at the site of St. Augustine's Slave Market Square, where enslaved black people had once been bought and sold. When the march began, white residents gathered nearby easily evaded police and physically attacked the marchers. Committed to non-violent activism, the marchers fled to try to escape. In the end, nearly fifty marchers were injured, and fifteen were treated at the city's hospital.Adapted and quoted directly from the Equal Justice Initiative - click image to see full story
June 24, 1964
Multiple Incidents Throughout Mississippi
SNCCs Freedom Summer campaign of 1964 sent hundreds of volunteers throughout Mississippi to live in black communities and promote voting rights and education via Freedom Schools. But violent opposition continued all summer. Below is a snapshot of just one day - 5 of 16 incidents reported to the Jackson office of SNCC.
2am: A car driven by whites circled noisily around the negro community for about two hours, hurling bottles at cars and into homes. Seven incidents were reported to the police, but they never arrived on the scene.
2am (6-25): Williams Chapel, near the home of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, Negro candidate for Congress, was firebombed. Volunteer firemen quickly had the fire under control. The church was a center of voter registration activity.
30 voter registration workers from Greenville made the first efforts to register Negro citizens in Drew and met with open hostility from local whites. Verbal abuse and threats were hurled at them from circling cars and trucks, some of which were equipped with "vigilante" gun racks. One white man stop his car and said, "I've got something here for you," brandishing a gun.
At least five fire bomb threats have been reported in the two days since the Monday night bombings in McCom
A Negro man was hit twice in the head by gunfire, white following a car driven by two white men who had just fired into a Negro café on Valley St. The wounded man, Marion Tarvin, 26, was released from University Hospital with a bullet still in his scalp.
Quoted directly from Incident reported to the Jackson office during a 24 hour period
June 23, 1963
Detroit Walk to Freedom
At least 135,000 people marched down Woodward Avenue, Detroit’s main thoroughfare in what was considered the largest civil rights gathering in history, overshadowd 2 months later by the March on Washington. In a jam packed Cobo Hall Arena, Martin Luther King, Jr. declared the earlier march as “the largest and greatest demonstration of freedom ever held in the United States.” When, near the end, King thundered, “I have a dream,” audience members responded to the call and shouted, “Go ahead!” — and on he went. Some of his dream stanzas were nearly identical to those he would proclaim later in Washington; some more poetic, others less so. One seemed unique to that place. At one point, King spoke directly to a predominantly black Detroit audience that had endured decades of bank red-lining, exclusionary covenants and other Northern forms of de facto segregation. “I have a dream this afternoon that, one day right here in Detroit, Negroes will be able to buy a house or rent a house anywhere that their money will carry them and they will be able to get a job.”
Adapted from Detroit's Forgotten. "Dream," Washington PostRead King's full Address at the Freedom Rally in Cobo Hall, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford
June 22, 1964
3 Homes Bombed in McComb, Mississippi as Freedom Summer Begins
On June 22, 1964, Curtis Jr. witnessed a truck pass the Bryant house several times before a bomb was tossed and exploded on the front lawn. Because of the numerous bombings and threats, Curtis Jr. was on watch that evening. Police Chief George Guy conducted the investigation surrounding the dynamite explosion of the three NAACP members’ homes on Monday night June 22, 1964. The homes of NAACP members, Fred Bates, C. C. Bryant and Corine Andrews were targeted. Chief Guy stated he interrogated dozens of suspects regarding the bombings and was unable to come up with any direct connections involving any individuals responsible for the bombings. Guy further stated that the organization known as the Ku Klux Klan had some members, in his opinion, who were very radical and they had expressed themselves by taking the law into their own hands. Guy went on to further say: “Any fanatic minded person could have carried out this mission…possibly some fanatic that was seeking excitement could have done this.” Deputy Sheriff Stanley Boyd confirmed he did not know of anyone connected or having anything to do with the bombing. However, Boyd would not be surprised “if it was planned by the Negroes there in McComb for publicity purposes.”Quoted directly from C.C. Bryant: A Race Man Is What They Called Him, Judith E. Barlow Roberts
June 21, 1964
Civil Rights Workers Murdered In Mississippi
Civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Shwerner disappeared on the back roads of Philadelphia, Mississippi. Their bodies were found six weeks later. Shwerener and Goodman arrived in Mississippi to answer the call of the SNCC, for the Freedom Summer campaign. The two were sent off with Chaney to investigate the bombings of a black church. All three were arrested on suspicion of arson, and taken to jail by Sheriff Lawrence Rainey and Deputy Cecil Price, both KKK members. Evidence later showed that a KKK conspiracy to murder them was forming. The three were released after dark and run off the road by several cars full of Klan members. They were kidnapped, shot, and buried in a dirt dam at a fishpond. In 2005, Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was prosecuted and convicted of the murders of all three men.Quoted directly from This Week in Civil Rights History - NYSUT
June 20, 1940
NAACP Leader Elbert Williams Lynched in Brownsville, Tennessee
Williams was abducted from his home in Brownsville, Tennessee, by a group of white men led by the local sheriff and the night marshal. Three days later, Mr. Williams’s lifeless and brutalized body was found in the nearby Hatchie River. He was thirty-one years old. Discrimination and violence had prevented African Americans from voting in Brownsville since 1884. By 1940, black people made up seventy-five percent of the 19,000 people living in town, and they wanted their voices to be heard. In May 1940, members of the Brownsville chapter of the NAACP organized a voting rights drive. Elbert Williams was one of its leaders. As a result of the harassment, violence, and murder of its leaders, the Brownsville NAACP dissolved in 1940, and a new chapter was not formed until 1961.Quoted directly from the Equal Justice Initiative - click to see full story
June 19, 1865
Juneteenth - Celebratory End of Slavery
Union soldiers arrive in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War is over and slavery in the United States is abolished. A mix of June and 19th, Juneteenth has become a day to commemorate the end of slavery in America. Despite the fact that President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was issued more than two years earlier on January 1, 1863, a lack of Union troops in the rebel state of Texas made the order difficult to enforce. Some historians blame the lapse in time on poor communication in that era, while others believe Texan slave-owners purposely withheld the information.Quoted directly & image from History.com
June 19, 1964
Civil Rights Act Passes Senate
46 Democrats and 27 Republicans joined forces to approve the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 73 to 27. President Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964. prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations (Title II); in state and municipal facilities, including schools (Titles III and IV); and—incorporating the Powell Amendment—in any program receiving federal aid (Title V). The act also prohibited discrimination in hiring and employment, creating the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate workplace discrimination (Title VII).103Quoted directly from History, Art & Archives, United States House of Representatives
June 18, 1964
"Swim In" at Monson Motor Lodge, St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida was home of several civil rights actions including a "Swim In" event at the Monson Motor Lodge Restaurant on protesting hotel segregation. Hotel owner, James Brock, poured acid in the pool and all were soon arrested. The adjacent restaurant was also a target of many sit-in attempts by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. See the NPR story which includes a short interview with two of protesters. The events caught the ire of President Johnson and attention of Congress which approved the Civil Rights Act the very next day after an 83-day filibuster in the U.S. Senate.https://www.npr.org/2014/06/13/321380585/remembering-a-civil-rights-swim-in-it-was-a-milestone
June 17, 1966
"Black Power" Slogan Promoted by Stokely Carmichael
James Meredith, who played the lead role in desegregating the University of Mississippi in 1962, led a March Against Fear, otherwise known as the Meredith March, from Memphis, TN to Jackson, MS. After he was shot, Movement organizers flooded to Memphis to continue the march (Meredith eventually re-joins many days later).
Stokely Carmichael, the new head of SNCC took over the lead and on this day in 1966 in Greenwood, Mississippi, he delivered the speech popularizing "Black Power" as an answer and next step to "Freedom Now!" The Meredith March is considered by many activists as the key pivot point when the Movement shifted from an all-inclusive non-violent philosophy to one that emphasized black power, self-defense and self-determination that eventually led to the formation of the Black Panther Party.
June 16, 1944
George Stinney Executed in South Carolina
George Stinney Jr., a ninety-pound, black, fourteen-year-old boy, was executed in the electric chair in Columbia, South Carolina. Stinney faced a sham trial virtually alone. No African Americans were allowed inside the courthouse and his court-appointed attorney, a tax lawyer with political aspirations, failed to call a single witness. The prosecution presented the sheriff's testimony regarding George's alleged confession as the only evidence of his guilt. An all-white jury deliberated for ten minutes before convicting George Stinney of rape and murder, and the judge promptly sentenced the fourteen-year-old to death. George Stinney remains the youngest person executed in the United States in the twentieth century.
Seventy years later the conviction was reversed, finding that George Stinney was fundamentally deprived of due process throughout the proceedings against him, that the alleged confession “simply cannot be said to be known and voluntary,” that the court-appointed attorney “did little to nothing” to defend George, and that his representation was “the essence of being ineffective.” The judge concluded: “I can think of no greater injustice.” Learn more here.Quoted from: https://calendar.eji.org/racial-injustice/jun/16
June 15, 1963
Medgar Evers Funeral
Over 4,000 people attended the funeral Medgar Evers' funeral in Jackson, Mississippi Evers had been an important leader in the Mississippi Freedom Movement working to integrate the University of Mississippi; as a field secretary in Mississippi for the NAACP; and as an organizer of the lunch counter sit-ins with Tougaloo college students.http://cds.library.brown.edu/projects/FreedomNow/do_search_single.php?searchid=64
June 14, 1965
450 Arrested In Jackson, Mississippi March
450 people, including many from Lanier High School in Jackson, were arrested while attempting a silent 1-mile march the Sate Capital. Many were transported in flatbed trucks to the State Fairgrounds and housed in livestock pens.
June 13, 1967
Thurgood Marshall Appointed To U.S. Supreme Court
Thurgood Marshall became the first African American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall was an NAACP lead attorney on many historic cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. Marshall Served 24 years on the Supreme Court. In the 1980’s the court became more conservative . When Marshall retired in 1991, he criticized the direction the court was taking. He died two years after his retirement. Law libraries, colleges, and airports have been named in his honor.
June 12, 1963
Medgar Evers Assassinated in Mississippi
NAACP activist, Medgar Evers, was shot and killed in his driveway outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi. Evers was the first NAACP field secretary in Mississippi, the lead civil rights leader in the most racially violent state in the U.S. Just days before, Evers said in a speech: “I would die, and die gladly, if that would make a better life for them [my children].”
June 11, 1963
University of Alabama Desegregated
Alabama Governor, George Wallace, stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama barring two black students from entering. During his campaign Wallace promised to do whatever was necessary to uphold segregation. A federal judge had ordered that Vivian Malone and James Hood be admitted to the University. President Kennedy ordered in the national guard to create a path for the two to enter.Adapted from This Week in Civil Rights History - New York State United Teachers
John F Kennedy Announces the Civil Rights Bill
Later that evening, President Kennedy announced that he would be sending civil rights legislation to Congress.
"It ought to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his color. In short, every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated. But this is not the case….JFK in History
June 10, 1963
SNCC Workers Visit Badly Beaten Freedom Riders in Winona, Mississippi
SNCC activists reach Winona, Mississippi the day after Freedom Riders were viciously attacked the day before. One SNCC volunteer manages to get into the jail where Annell Ponder is held, reporting: "Annell's face was swollen...she could barely talk. She looked at me and was able to whisper one word: FREEDOM."
Fannie Lou. Hamer – a mostly unsung GIANT of the Civil Rights Movement, later spoke of her beating in Winona.
I'm never sure any more when I leave home whether I'll get back or not. Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I'll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I'm not backing off.
June 9, 1964
Bloody Tuesday - Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Black marchers, led by Rev. T. Y. Rogers, were protesting against segregated drinking fountains and restrooms in the county courthouse when nearly 100 were arrested and over 30 men, women and children were brutally beaten - 'Bloody Tuesday': Tuscaloosa remembers ordeal
June 8, 1964
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s 3rd book, Why We Can’t Wait, published
Also, on the same day…
Civil Rights Workers attacked in Mississippi
3 Civil Rights volunteers from New York, Louis Asekof and Andre Martin, graduate students of Brandeis U, and lawyer, Renee Jonas, were roadblocked near McComb, Mississippi, forced into the underbrush at gunpoint, and beaten with brass knuckles by two other men for 8-minutes
June 5, 1905
Nashville Streetcar Boycott begins
African Americans in Nashville responded to Jim Crow laws separating black and white passengers on streetcars by initiating a successful boycott. Protesters operated their own streetcars for two years.
June 5, 1956
Aurelia S. Browder, Susie McDonald, Claudette Colvin, and Mary Louise Smith Win Bus Desegregation Case
US Federal Court ruled in Browder v. Gayle that Alabama's racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional – the case eventually wins at the Suptreme Court later that year. These 4 young women, included 15-year old Claudette Colvin, who was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a crowded, segregated bus - many months before Rosa Parks. These women challenged bus segregation in Alabama in the face of both blatant racial and gender discrimination.
June 3, 1946
Irene Morgan wins at Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation on interstate bus travel unconstitutional in Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia. More than a decade before Rosa Parks, Irene Morgan did the same thing on an interstate bus. NAACP attorney, Thurgood Marshall argued successfully. Unfortunately, most southern states refused to abide for nearly 20 more years.
June 2, 1964
Election in Mississippi
The Student Voice, the print voice of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) cover the election. Most blacks in Mississippi were still prevented from voting.
June 1, 1921
Tulsa Race Massacre
The Black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was left nearly destroyed following several days of violent attacks by white mobs outraged that Black residents had organized to protect a Black man from lynching. The catalyst was a false accusation that a Black teenage boy attacked a white woman in an elevator. Tulsa's Greenwood District, known as "Negro Wall Street," was considered one of the wealthiest Black communities in the nation in 1921.
A white mob, reacting to armed blacks who were protecting the accused, arrived at the jail with firearms, and several white people were killed or wounded in the ensuing gunfight. When the Black men returned to Greenwood, white rioters followed and attacked the community, burning forty city blocks, killing hundreds of Black residents, and displacing many more. The New York Times reported:"Twenty-five thousand whites, armed to the teeth, were raging the city in utter and ruthless defiance of every concept of law and righteousness. Motor cars, bristling with guns swept through your city, their occupants firing at will." Some researchers estimate that as many as 300 Black people were killed in the violence.
Resources Used – common sources used to find daily posts
This Day in Civil Rights History, Williams and Beard, NewSouth Books, 2009
A History of Racial Injustice - The Equal Justice Initiative
Timeline - SNCC Digital Gateway
This Week in Civil Rights History - New York State United Teachers
Civil Rights Movement Archive - CRMVet.org
Timeline of the Civil Rights Movement - Wikipedia
Civil Rights Movement Timeline - History.com
US Civil Rights History - On This Day
On June 1, 2020, in part as a response prompted by the George Floyd murder and subsequent re-awakening of the general public to the history of racist struggles, I started a daily practice of finding a relevant moment in Freedom Rights Movement anniversary history. I've found this both personally cathartic – engaging in daily consciousness of the ongoing struggle over the past 400 years – as well as potentially useful for future students.