Patriot's History: Civil Rights, LBJ, Antipoverty (Chaps 18-19)

Blowin' in the Wind, Peter Paul and Mary
Now We Are Free, Enya
We Shall Overcome, Pete Seeger
Rock of Ages, Highland Baptist Church Choir

Summary
The fifties civil rights successes used free enterprise:
strategic boycotts got the businessmen to realize
that blacks had influence. But radicals turned violent,
and LBJ responded with a bigger government.

Chapter
'Invisible,' the black, said Ellison. The KKK
had dropped in ranks, but Plessy versus Ferguson held sway
in racist Southern Jim Crow laws. Up North were hypocrites
who segregated church and schools while being advocates
for civil rights. As Eisenhower quietly deferred
the issue, Mr. Brown brought suit -- the Highest Court assured
his daughter's right to ANY school, and now the "separate
but equal" farce was done. Or was it? In a desperate
response, the "Southern Manifesto" tried to reinstate
the status quo. At Little Rock, the troops arrived to segregate
at Central High, and Ike sent other troops to integrate
(how futile to allow big government to legislate
morality!). Then Rosa Parks refused to give her seat
away, and Martin Luther King resisted with discreet,
nonviolent techniques: a boycott in Montgomery
wreaked havoc on the busline (showing how effectively
free enterprise, not force, can set things right). And King appealed
to human goodness, righteous indignation: never yield
from moral goals, America will navigate the heights.
In '57 came the starting legal blow for Civil Rights.
~
Despite the best intentions in the civil rights
enactment, there was little change, as Southern whites
resisted. So the battle carried on. When four
young men requested service at a Woolworth's store
in 1960, novel ways to demonstrate
began: the sound of "freedom rides" would resonate
throughout the nation, and the "sit-in" interfered
with business. Once again a market force appeared
to work. But racists still refused to let it be,
and many martyrs gave their lives in '63:
black leader Medgar Evers; then the Baptist Church
of Birmingham was bombed, four children killed. The search
for cowardly attackers more than often failed.
In Birmingham, when demonstrators were assailed
by cops and dogs and clubs and gas, the Reverend King
used eloquence and television news to bring
the message to the nation from his prison cell,
to show the truth about brutality, to tell
about his 'dream.' With strains of "We Shall Overcome"
on Selma streets, some blacks, refusing to succumb
to pacifism -- Malcolm X and radical
Black Muslims -- scoffed at King and turned to physical
displays of violence. In '65, in Watts
(L.A.) Black Panther riots offered caveats
for more to come. The second Act for Civil Rights
was more accepted by the public, greater heights
of Constitutional protections were achieved.
But once again came tragedy. A nation grieved
for Martin Luther King, as thoughts of Kennedy
returned. The sixties also carved a legacy
of massive spending on an anti-poverty
campaign - pretentiously the "Great Society" -
that took a struggling class and built dependency
on government. With Lyndon Johnson's victory
in '64 (free-market anti-communist
Goldwater looking like a bombing jingoist
in dirty ads), the road was clear for LBJ,
with little business common sense, to throw away
our public funds on "Health and Welfare," Vista, "Aid
to Families with Dependent Children" -- a charade
of social "progress" that for married folks would pave
a path more broken than the era of the slave.

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