Following WWII, African Americans coming home from the War expected to be hailed as heroes. But this was far from the truth. A new wave of anger from being treated like second class citizens and the shift in the American judiciary system towards truly equal rights lead to the ability for African Americans to gain equal rights in the United States.
The Brown V. Board of Education case of 1954 declared that segregated schools were inherently unequal and must be integrated. The South is in uproar over this and Governors actively resist the ruling. In 1957 with the help of the NAACP legal team, Nine black students attempted to attend Centers Highschool in Little Rock, Alabama. The Governor called upon the Alabama National Guard to prohibit the "Little Rock Nine" from entering the school. This direct challenge to the Federal Government forced the 101st airborne to enter the state and escort the children to the high school.
The Little Rock Nine attended Central High School until they graduated, and the next year, Alabama closed all of its' public schools, not reopening them until 1972. The challenge to the Federal Government also defeated Alabama attempts at undermining federal power.
"Governor Faubus says the guardsmen are on duty to preserve peace and maintain order.
Certainly that is one of his responsibilities as governor.
There is little room for doubt that public sentiment in Arkansas supports Governor Faubus. A majority of the people not only in Arkansas but throughout the South are opposed to the integration of the schools...
...Their attitude is not one of revolt or arbitrary refusal to bow to authority which always they have respected and upheld. But underlying it is a deep sense of injustice and a determination too often underestimated and widely misunderstood...
...As the President pointed out, you do not change people's hearts merely by laws. He might have added, nor by mere law can you expect to change overnight a region's deep-rooted way of life."
This excerpt from The Birmingham Post-Herald is attempting to illustrate and informing the reader of the other sides perspective, the perspective of the Governors and his supporters, but does not go as far as attempt the persuade the reader to those ideas. This article is intended for people who believe that school integration was being prohibited by the Governor purely to challenge the Federal Government. It gives these readers a second angle to view the situation from.
"The situation in Little Rock has put a hard line around the amorphous but firm resistance of the South to the Federal court order for integration into the hitherto all-white schools. Perhaps, in the long run, the blundering procedure of Gov. Orval Faubus may precipitate resolution of the remaining legal questions delaying the inevitable death of segregation in public schools...
...Of course the Federal government is not going to arrest the governor, nor march in troops to force a high school doorway. The South, as well as the North, is a country of law and its respect for the law will prevail..."
This editorial by The Boston Globe reports on this issue with a very harsh and punching tone in an attempt to persuade the reader that the situation in Little Rock is in violation of law and it will eventually be set straight. This is also interesting because it talks about how the Federal government would never march troops into Little Rock, but as history tells us, that's completely false.
The Non-Violent Protest movement was incredibly important to the Civil Rights Movement. Non-Violent Protests would consist of Black or White Men and Women attempting to enter segregated places, dine in segregated restaurants, or stage sit-in's at diners. Groups like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee trained them not to react to violence perpetrated against them, and taught them to defend themselves or others if they were attacked. This system of self-defense only gave protestors the moral high ground and allowed for these types of protests to be extremely successful.
These sit-in movements helped raise the segregation issue to the attention of many Americans, and with the help of Whites and Blacks alike, economic boycotts and sit-ins forced many business to succumb to integration. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 later made it completely illegal to operate a business segregated.
"Nashville, April 19 -- A dynamite bomb shattered the home of a Negro integration leader in Nashville today and touched off a protest march on City Hall by 2,500 Negroes demanding an end to racial intimidation and violence.
Mayor Ben West told the Nashville marchers that "you also have a responsibility. You all have the power to destroy this city so let's don't have any mobs."
West drew cheers when he said "I appeal to all citizens to end discrimination, to have no bigotry, no bias, no discrimination."
The Negro marchers, led by students, marched in columns three and four abreast, circling the Davidson County Courthouse. Then they held a prayer session on the Courthouse steps. They dispersed quietly after West's remarks."
This article by the Los Angles Times shows how effective Non-Violent protests were at capturing the moral high ground and also proved how deeply ingrained segregation had become with southern society, that a person was willing to bomb a persons home who disagreed with them.
"Six downtown Nashville department, dime, and drug stores opened their lunch counters to Negroes for the first time Tuesday and served them without incident under terms of a bi-racial agreement reached after weeks of secret negotiations...
...The agreement... included a local news blackout by radio and television stations and newspapers. No word of the desegregation was broadcast or published locally. Merchants and Negro leaders hoped the local blackout would forestall incidents...
..."It's a gamble," [a Nashville] store manager said. "But we felt the community is better prepared for integration than it has ever been."
Among the stores which desegregated lunch counters, one official said: "There's no turning back now. There's no trial period or anything. This is it.""
This excerpt by the Chicago Tribune shows the point of view of the store owners, who were so scared that the town would turn against them by desegregating their shops, that they required a contract in which there would be a media blackout over this new revelation.