Lesson Plan Lasting Legacy: Mayor Menino Boston Votes: 2013 Mayoral Election A Political Platform: Itâ€™s Your Turn Plan Your Platform Official Ballot
All the Way: A Synopsis The Assembled Parties: All the Way All the Way: A Short Chronology LBJ At the Turning Point The Southern Civil Rights Movement
A Glossary of Terms Gallup Poll on Civil Rights: 1964/2013
2 6 7 10 12 14
15 16 17 18 18 19 20 20 24 24 25 28 32
WELCOME Hello Teachers! We are excited to share the Toolkit for All The Way, the contemporary political drama by Robert Schenkkan that opens the A.R.T.’s 2013-14 season. All The Way examines “accidental President” Lyndon B. Johnson’s fight to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to win the Presidential election. With Boston Mayor Menino retiring after 20 years in office, we see the Boston mayoral election as the perfect opportunity to make connections between students’ civic engagement and a period of history that created the landscape of contemporary American politics. We hope that this arts-integrated lesson plan, and its supporting articles, will get students thinking about how local government works in their city; not just on a political level, but also on a personal and ethical level. In order to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, LBJ had to make compromises, face ethical and moral dilemmas, and do his fair share of persuasion (both sweet-talking and not-so-sweet-talking). Those in charge of our cities and communities, at the government level, are people. They need to relate to each other as people, in order to get things done! As always, A.R.T. teaching artists are available to help facilitate the lesson plan within this Toolkit. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’d like to know more about what the A.R.T. Education Department has to offer! Hope to see you at the theater soon!
The A.R.T. Education Staff 1
LESSON PLAN OBJECTIVE
Use the contemporary political drama All The Way as a lens to explore local politics and the election process. Taking the 2013 Boston Mayoral election as a current, local example, students will create their own ‘single-issue’ mini-campaigns. In the process, they will look at major issues facing their community and the compromises, ethical considerations, and negotiations necessary to effect change in the political arena.
BACKGROUND Robert Schenkkan’s fast-paced American drama All The Way focuses on Lyndon Johnson’s path to the 1964 Presidential election. LBJ pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress while attempting to appease both the Southern Democrats, his former allies who were resistant to civil rights legislation, and African-American civil rights activists like Dr. Martin Luther King, who wanted little compromise on the latest civil rights legislation. The play dramatizes the impact of the human factor in political power and the complexities of forging compromise in politics. This lesson plan uses arts-based learning to examine key issues of the Boston Mayoral election and promote civic engagement among high school students by dramatizing students’ issue-based campaigns, allowing them to rehearse their participation in the voting process, and increasing understanding of the impact of politics on their everyday lives.
CONNECTIONS TO MASSACHUSETTS GUIDING PRINCIPLES Guiding Principle 1: An effective English language arts and literacy curriculum develops thinking and language together through interactive learning. Guiding Principle 4: An effective English language arts and literacy curriculum develops students’ oral language and literacy through appropriately challenging learning. Guiding Principle 5: An effective English language arts and literacy curriculum emphasizes writing arguments, explanatory/informative texts, and narratives.
• The All The Way Toolkit • Optional video projection & computer access: view videos, create PowerPoint presentations.
PROCEDURE Day One: 1. Values exercise: By moving to one corner of the room or another, students will perform a series of visual votes, starting simple and moving to more complex, political issues a. Do you believe in love at first sight? b. Do you believe all men are created equal? c. Do you believe democracy works? d. Do you believe gay marriage should be legal in all 50 states? e. Do you believe women should earn the same pay as men if they do the same work? f. Do you believe your tax dollars should be spent on: i. Education? ii. Job creation/growing the economy? iii. Get-out-the-vote initiatives? iv. National defense/the military? v. Affordable housing? g. Do you believe public schools should be segregated by race? h. Do you believe all adults should have the right to vote? 2. Then visualize 1964-era polls about civil rights legislation support, so students can see how the vote they just made contrasts with how Americans divided on race and voting rights issues at that time. 3. Explain that All The Way’s subject, the events of 1963-64, made a huge impact on how politics work today. Give an overview of the pre- and post-’64 election parties (both major parties had moderate, conservative, and liberal constituencies – afterward, the Republican party became more conservative, the Democratic party became more liberal, and middle-of-the-road voters were deemphasized in both parties). i. Play an object-passing game to demonstrate the challenges of passing legislation without party members who are willing to meet in the middle. Using a ball or similar object, start with a scattering of students on the right, left, and in the center of an open classroom or outdoor space. Pass the object across the room without making eye contact with the person your receive from or pass to, and without making noise to communicate. Move more and more people out of the middle and off to the right and left. How do those changes affect the ease/difficulty of passing the object? 4. Introduce the Boston Mayoral (or other current, local) election. Watch videos of candidates explaining their platforms. Students read quotes from candidates regarding the big issues. 5. Brainstorm a list of the big issues in your community. Focus on some that might’ve come up in the candidate quotes/videos. Students will write and then present brief explanations of how they would address one of the issues.
ENGAGE Day Two: 6. Take list of brainstormed issues, divide class into several groups and assign each one of the issues. See page 13: A Political Platform: It’s Your Turn! 7. Each group will develop a ‘single-issue’ candidate with a platform addressing the assigned issue. Using the PowerPoint outline included in the toolkit, students will sketch out a presentation that explains the issue, illustrates why the current approach to the issue isn’t working, proposes their candidate’s solution to the issue (and why it’s the best solution), and lays out a timeline for achieving the proposed solution. Students will then create a PowerPoint for presentation in Day Three, either in class (if time allows) or for homework. (Explain that each PowerPoint slide should include basic information that the students will expand on in a spoken stump speech on Day Three.)
Day Three: 8. Students will present their campaign issue platform PowerPoint and speeches. 9. Cut out the ballots from pages 14-15. For at least TWO platforms, write in a concession - a change you want the party to agree to in order to win your vote. You could ask the party to lower the price tag of the proposal, speed up the timeline of the proposal, add something that will benefit you, or even remove someone from their party. Distribute the ballots to groups. 10. Game in which students will negotiate the terms of their proposed bills with other groups. 11. Students will vote by anonymous ballot. 12. Debrief (during debrief, volunteers count votes, announce the results at the end).
LASTING LEGACY: MAYOR MENINO After two decades, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino will not seek reelection this fall. A career politician, Menino served five terms as a City Councilor, representing the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, followed by five terms as Mayor. With a degree in community planning from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and a reputation for focusing on the basic elements that made up a thriving city, it is no surprise that he is nicknamed the “Urban Mechanic.” His accomplishments, some of which have had an effect well beyond the greater Boston area, include: • Boston Main Streets, an urban revitalization program focused on design, technical, and financial support for small businesses and central commercial districts launched in 1995. • social justice advocacy, including early advocacy for same sex marriage; • sustainability initiatives, including expanding bicycle lanes, introducing green building standards, and implementing single-stream recycling; • and school improvements, including support of statewide education reform and collaborative partnerships with non-profits and college that offer students more resources, leading Boston to receive the Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2006. But a long political career is rarely without its critics. Menino has been accused of cronyism: in the city’s licensing and zoning practices, in the attempted sale of more than 200 acres of public parkland for private development, questionable behavior during his mayoral reelection campaigns, clumsy speech patterns (earning him another nickname, Mumbles), and overlooking the big picture in favor of a focus on small details. Menino and his wife Angela have been married nearly 50 years and have two children, Thomas, Jr. and Susan, He was born in Readville, a section of the Hyde Park neighborhood that brushes up against the town of Dedham, on December 27, 1942. His parents were both of Italian descent, and his father worked as a factory foreman at Westinghouse Electric. The household encompassed three generations, with his grandparents living on the first floor. Menino graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a Catholic school in Jamaica Plain, and took night classes at Boston College while working for an insurance agency—he later earned an associate degree in business management, completing his bachelor of arts in community planning while serving as a City Councilor in 1988.
BOSTON VOTES 12 candidates will appear on Bostonâ€™s preliminary mayoral ballot on September 24. To run, each candidate had to collect and submit 3,000 valid signatures by May 21. Two dozen people submitted signatures, and half have withdrawn or been eliminated. Here is information on the top seven candidates, based on recent voter polls. The other candidates are Charles Clemons, Bill Walczak, Charles Yancey, David James Wyatt, and John Barros. Unlike in national elections, the preliminary mayoral vote is not separated by party: regardless of political affiliation, the two candidates who receive the most votes go headto-head in the election on November 5.
THE CAN YOU DECIDE
Daniel Conley Age: 54 Status: Married, 2 children Job: Suffolk County District Attorney Neighborhood: West Roxbury Priorities: Great schools, safe neighborhoods, economic opportunity
Which of these candidatesâ€™ issues are important to you? What do you notice in common between what the candidates hope to achieve, and what is unique to specific candidates? Are there any other issues youâ€™d like to see become a part of campaign conversations?
Michael Ross Age: 41 Status: Single Job: City Councilor Neighborhood: Mission Hill Priorities: Economic innovation, public safety
Rob Consalvo Age: 43 Status: Married, 3 children Job: City Councilor Neighborhood: Hyde Park Priorities: Safe neighborhoods, strong schools, holding banks accountable for foreclosed homes
DI DAT E S Charlotte Golar Richie
Age: 54 Status: Married, 2 children Job: Vice President, YouthBuild USA Neighborhood: Dorchester Priorities: Schools, affordable housing, employment
John Connolly Age: 39 Status: Married, 2 children Job: City Councilor
Felix Arroyo Age: 34 Status: Married Job: City Councilor Neighborhood: Jamaica Plain Priority: Economic investment in Bostonâ€™s neighborhoods.
Neighborhood: West Roxbury Priority: Better public schools
Age: 46 Status: In a long-term relationship Job: State Representative Neighborhood: Dorchester Priority: Advocate for working people
A POLITICAL PLATFORM: IT’S YOUR TURN Now it’s your turn to try your hand at politics! Working in small groups, you will tackle one of the important issues you came up with as a class. Think about the issue you’ve been assigned—it’s big, right? What are the smaller problems that make up the big issue? For example, if your issue was nutrition for young people, smaller problems might include unhealthy school lunches, lack of affordable, fresh produce in your neighborhood, or lack of knowledge about what food is healthy and what isn’t. Write down several smaller problems within the big issue, then agree on which problem you’ll propose to fix with your platform. Now that you’ve chosen a problem to solve, how will you do it? Think about two factors that really matter to voters: how much a solution costs, and how much time it will take to complete a solution. How might somebody else solve the same problem? Why is your solution the best choice? Try to craft a solution that benefits you as a young person in your city. Using the Plan Your Platform worksheet (and PowerPoint, if available), decide how you plan a brief presentation about your issue and the solution you propose—this is your platform. The Plan Your Platform worksheet should be a simple outline for a more detailed speech about your proposal. Give your group a political party name and also name your proposal—choose a short, memorable phrase. Present your platform! Now is the time to convince your constituents (classmates) to vote for your solution to a problem. Give a brief, confident speech based on your worksheet. If you’re able to create a PowerPoint presentation, use it to complement your speech and really drive your message home. Once each group has shared its platform, everyone will fill out a ballot. Write in the party and platform name for each group, then decide whether you want to vote yes or no on each platform. If other groups’ proposals include concessions assigned by your teacher, use these extra objectives as negotiating tools: think about ways to make deals in which each party can achieve at least one of their objections. If they agree to the concession, someone in the party should write their initials under the concession. If someone asks you to make a concession, it’s decision time: will you agree to the concession (and explain how you can still make your proposal work with the changes) or refuse, and lose that person’s vote? For this exercise, you must get a yes vote from at least half of the voters in order for your proposal to pass. How much will you compromise your ideas and your values in order to succeed?
PLAN YOUR Keep it simple: put instructive visuals and key words or phrases on your presentation slides. Most of the information about your platform will come from your speech. You want the slides to support what you say about your platform, not distract from your speech with too many images or too much text. There are prompts at the top of each sample slide: use these as guides for what you want to place in each slide, but leave that text off the slides when you create them in a program like PowerPoint.
1 - The BROAD problem I want to tackle is:
2 - The issue within that problem that I am addressing here is:
PLATFORM! 3 - The solution I propose is:
5 - The timeline for achieving my solution is: (think realistically about how long your project will take. Estimate as best you can.) This solution will be implemented in ____ years.
4 - My proposal is: HIGH COST? LOW COST? (select one) The estimated cost of my proposal is: $___________ (Estimate as best you can. Do you need to build anything or hire anyone? Does it involve a simple act in the community or use resources that already exist?)
City of ____________ Initiatives INSTRUCTIONS TO VOTERS: To vote for a measure, darken the oval next to the word Yes or the word No. If you require a CONCESSION on a platform before you agree to vote YES, briefly explain your concession on the ballot next to the measure in question, and get the representative to initial the concession. If the representative refuses to agree to your concession, vote NO on the measure.
PARTY NAME: PLATFORM NAME: YES NO CONCESSION: __________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ INITIALS: ____
PARTY NAME: PLATFORM NAME: YES NO CONCESSION: __________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ INITIALS: ____
PARTY NAME: PLATFORM NAME: YES NO CONCESSION: __________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ INITIALS: ____
All the Way: A Synopsis On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas and Lyndon Johnson takes the oath of office as president. With the country still in shock, LBJ, mindful that he is an accidental president, moves to shore up confidence in his new administration by vowing to carry on the Kennedy legacy: in an address to congress he dedicates himself to the passage of the Kennedy Civil Rights Act that is languishing in the committees of congress. Liberal Democrats like Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey are surprised: LBJ is best known as a consummate political operator, certainly not an idealist. Is LBJ for real? LBJ moves to reassure Humphrey, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders like Roy Wilkins that he is serious about passing the bill. Also concerned are southern politicians like Sen. Richard Russell, Sen. James Eastland and Rep. Howard “Judge” Smith. Their southern caucus seeks to preserve segregation at all costs and is startled that LBJ, a Texas native, has taken this stand. Sen. Russell, LBJ’s mentor and close friend seeks to reassure them that LBJ is just appeasing the liberals but will “do the right thing in the end” and gut the bill just like he did with the 1957 Civil Rights Act. What follows from January to July 1964 is a covert intrigue-filled battle as LBJ attempts to gain the necessary votes for the bill. His way is blocked by Russell, Eastland and other senators who hold powerful committee chairmanships and try and stall the bill. In a series of deft maneuvers, LBJ attempts to thwart their interference. At the same time, King and other leaders in the civil rights movement argue about what to do to secure voting rights which is not a part of the Civil Rights Act. Activists like Bob Moses and Stokely Carmichael come up with the idea of Freedom Summer: Sending hundreds of White and Negro volunteers to Mississippi to register voters. NAACP leader Wilkins fears a bloodbath but King supports the bold plan. History has recorded the outcome of what Lyndon Johnson at the Democratic National Convention
happened that summer, as LBJ moved to pass the civil rights bill and the civil rights workers in Mississippi fought peacefully to secure voting rights. But at the time, there was grave doubt that these efforts would meet with success. In addition, as LBJ is set to face election in November 1964 only months away, he is then met with a series of huge challenges. Rarely has a president faced so much in such a brief moment of history: • A threat in the Democratic party primaries by the segregationist governor of Alabama, George Wallace’s run for president.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being arrested, Montgomery, AL, 1958
Photo by Charles Moore
• Bombings, violence and the crisis posed by the deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. • FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s attempts to derail civil rights progress by a smear campaign against Martin Luther King. • The incident in the Gulf of Tonkin which created a political and foreign policy crisis over Vietnam right before the election. • A challenge at the Democratic convention to the all-white Mississippi delegation by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party which seeks to gain to Negro representation. As the election approaches, LBJ tries to steer a middle course between achieving the goals of civil rights progress and yet holding together the democratic coalition with Southern Segregationist Democrats in order to get elected. What follows is a watershed moment in history featuring the end of an era and the shift to the political alignments of today. The play examines the personal sacrifices, moral compromises and political cost of achieving this monumental shift.
ALL THE WAY: A Short Chronology of Events 11/22/63 JFK is assassinated. LBJ becomes president. He has one year until he must face election on his own. 11/27/63 LBJ vows he will pass JFK’s Civil Rights Bill which has been stalled in congress. 2/64 The Civil Rights Bill is submitted to the House and the Senate. Segregationist Southern Senators led by Senator Richard Russell delay it with committee maneuvers and then mount a filibuster to block its adoption. 2/64 Frustrated with the lack of progress on voting rights for Negroes, civil rights organizations plan Freedom Summer to register voters in Mississippi. April- Dec. 1964 FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover mounts a smear campaign against MLK to undermine King and the civil rights movement. April-May 1964 Alabama Gov. George Wallace gets 30% of the vote in the northern primaries of Wisconsin, Indiana and Maryland. This puts pressure on LBJ to placate segregationist concerns. 6/10/64 The Senate votes to end the filibuster and allow the civil rights bill to go forward. This is the first time in history that a filibuster has been broken on a civil rights bill. 6/21/64 Three civil rights workers in Mississippi, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, go missing. LBJ moves to investigate their disappearance. 7/2/64 LBJ signs the 1964 Civil Rights Bill and it becomes law. 7/13/64 Barry Goldwater is chosen as the Republican candidate for President. This marks a historic shift to the right by the GOP. 8/2/64 The U.S.S. Maddox is attacked by North Vietnamese boats off the coast of North Vietnam. LBJ gets the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed and this escalates America’s greater involvement in Vietnam. 8/4/64 The bodies of the three, murdered civil rights workers are discovered buried on a farm in Mississippi. 8/21/64 At the Democratic Convention, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party attempts to seat Negro delegates instead of an all-white delegation. This results in the threat of a walkout by southern delegates. 10/7/64 Martin Luther King wins the Nobel Peace Prize. This results in an escalation of J. Edgar Hoover’s campaign against King. 11/3/64 LBJ defeats Goldwater by 16 million votes, the largest landslide in history. Goldwater wins five states in the deep South, signaling a shift in party alignment there.
All the Way: LBJ at the Turning Point During Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, he would pass the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Great Society legislation that would do more to alleviate poverty in America than any other legislation in American history. But looking at the career of Lyndon Johnson one is faced with a central irony: That the man who would become the champion of civil rights was mainly known prior to his presidency as one of the slickest, most pragmatic operators in the history of American government. As Johnson’s biographer Robert Caro observed: “Johnson’s ambition was uncommon—in the degree to which it was unencumbered by even the slightest excess weight of ideology, of philosophy, of principles, of beliefs”. But he was far more complicated and conflicted than that as his presidency would eventually show.
Early Years Born in poverty in rural Texas, Johnson’s father was a struggling businessman who passed on to him a belief in the values of business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit. His father was also elected to legislature and Johnson thus observed first hand the intrigues behind the processes of government. His mother, on the other hand, tried to impress upon him the value of ideals and progressive thinking. After graduating from college in 1927, Johnson taught children at the Welhausen School in Cotulla some ninety miles south of San Antonio. After having signed the Higher Education Ladybird and Lyndon Johnson with Eleanor Roosevelt Act of 1965, Johnson looked back at his experience as a teacher: “I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little Welhausen Mexican School, and I remember even yet the pain of realizing and knowing then that college was closed to practically every one of those children because they were too poor. And I think it was then that I made up my mind that this nation could never rest while the door to knowledge remained closed to any American.”
House and Senate Career Johnson’s ambition led him eventually to seek elected office and he was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1937. He became an assiduous courtier of the powerful, particularly House Speaker Sam Rayburn and President Franklin Roosevelt. He soon showed that he could be extremely effective politically. One of his big achievements President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson at the White House. was helping to pass the rural electrification bill in Congress that did much to alleviate rural poverty. In his first election to Senate in 1948 there was huge controversy surrounding the final election tally: After a primary election against three democratic candidates and then a runoff election that had to be decided by a special committee vote, Lyndon Johnson emerged the winner by just one vote. There was widespread controversy and even charges of fraud but they came to nothing. Still he was tagged with the moniker “Landslide Lyndon” thereafter. During the 1950’s Lyndon Johnson worked his way up to the position of majority leader of the Senate through a series of expedient political moves and by attaching himself to key mentor figures. Most prominently, Richard Russell, one of the most powerful men in the senate. Russell was an ardent if diplomatic segregationist and the leader of the conservative coalition who had been preventing any change in the federal civil rights laws. Through Russell’s influence Johnson became Senate Majority leader in 1954. But all along Johnson had higher ambitions: to be president of the United States. Towards this end he also courted liberal members of the Senate like Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey and tried to win their confidence by passing legislation supportive of their goals whenever possible. Although Johnson rarely spoke out on the particular issue of civil rights, he was responsible for the passage of the 1957 civil rights bill. He managed to gain both good will from Senate liberals for undertaking to pass it and approval from Senate segregationists for greatly weakening it. In the end though, Liberals felt that under Johnson’s senate leadership, the bill was watered down to such an extent until it was virtually useless in enforcing any civil rights legislation in the south. As Roy Wilkins, the head of the NAACP, described Johnson’s handling of the bill:
EXPERIENCE “By the time he was done with it there was less to it than the shadow of a crow that had died of starvation.” About one thing there was no doubt: Johnson’s ability to influence and persuade people into doing what he wanted. He was probably the most powerful leader in the history of the Senate and his technique of persuasion, known as “the Johnson treatment”, was legendary. As described by journalists Robert Novak and Rowland Evans in their book Lyndon Johnson: The Exercise of Power. “The Treatment could last ten minutes or four hours. It came, enveloping its target, at the Johnson Ranch swimming pool, in one of Johnson’s offices, in the Senate cloakroom, on the floor of the Senate itself — wherever Johnson might find a fellow Senator within his reach. Its tone could be supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint and the hint of threat. It was all of these together. It ran the gamut of human emotions. Its velocity was breathtaking, and it was all in one direction. Interjections from the target were rare. Johnson anticipated them before they could be spoken. He moved in close, his face a scant millimeter from his target, his eyes widening and narrowing, his eyebrows rising and falling. From his pockets poured clippings, memos, statistics. Mimicry, humor, and the genius of analogy made ‘The Treatment’ an almost hypnotic experience and rendered the target stunned and helpless. “ Vice Presidency In the Democratic primary process of 1960, Johnson lost out on the presidential nomination for the presidency to John F. Kennedy. Although he considered Kennedy a lightweight and felt enormous resentment, he nevertheless accepted the vice presidential slot on the ticket. The experience was apparently humiliating for Johnson; He felt isolated from the avenues of power that he had controlled as Senate Majority leader and the Kennedy brothers seemed to keep their distance from him whether out of political rivalry or personal dislike.
LBJ Becomes President When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November, 1963, most in the civil rights movement and in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party held out little hope for Lyndon Johnson to pursue with any avidity the goals of the civil rights movement. But people knew little about who Lyndon Johnson was outside of the political arena and what he might do with the full powers of the presidency at his disposal. There was another side to Johnson not evidenced much in his political career except in his general support for Roosevelt’s new deal policies. To those having a more intimate knowledge of Lyndon Johnson’s character, one could see two different impulses: One, to better the lot of America’s disadvantaged, and two, to pursue a pragmatic path of personal, political success. Now we look back and his place in history as a civil rights champion is assured. But when Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency in 1963, at that turning point in the history of civil rights in America, it was unclear which of those impulses that he would choose. It is that period of his decision that the play All The Way illuminates.
The Johnson Treatment in action.
EXPERIENCE 1964: The Southern Civil Rights Movement at the Crossroads A Jim Crow Society After the Civil War there was a brief period of voting rights, political enfranchisement and integration in the southern United States. But with campaigns of terror and the passage of racist Jim Crow laws, the rights of African Americans were soon taken away. Basic inequities were enshrined into law and custom: • Poll taxes, bizarre literacy requirements, and threats to block registration kept African American voters from the polls. • Separate but unequal access to schools, water fountains, restaurants, movie theaters, buses, sports facilities and other public accommodations. • Job discrimination was institutionalized by jobs being restricted to white applicants only, less pay for the same work for African American workers and exploitation or unfair treatment having no redress process. • Housing discrimination and neighborhood segregation was institutionalized by law. • Violence and legal Injustice: Biased trials for African Americans were common via witness intimidation, all-white juries and the overriding of trials by lynching. By the 1960’s, the south was still a segregated society in which African Americans had almost no political power to change things. In the national political party structure of the day, race as an issue cut across party lines: The Democratic Party had both liberal members in the north and southern segregationist members in the south. Republicans, although generally more liberal on racial issues, were also divided among liberal and conservatives on race issues. There were attempts to change laws on the federal level, but these met with little success because of political party alliances. In addition, a significant number of southern Senators who occupied powerful committee chairmanships blocked almost all legislation to intervene and override the Jim Crow laws in the south. And then there was the Filibuster rule in the Senate which allowed unlimited debate unless two thirds of the Senate approved moving a bill to a majority vote. Even in extreme cases where bills did manage to get to the Senate floor, the threat of unlimited debate prevented most civil rights legislation from ever being voted on.
Beginnings of the Civil Rights Struggle: 1950s–Early 60s
After World War II a variety of factors such as Negro service in wartime, emigration of large numbers of African Americans to the north and the discrediting example of racism in Nazi Germany combined to create more favorable conditions to challenge segregation in the south. African American civil rights organizations like SCLC, NAACP, CORE, SNCC and the Urban League—with leaders like MLK, Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, Stokely Carmichael and Whitney Young—began to be set up to tackle different aspects of discrimination. Soon issues like school integration, public accommodations, voting rights and legal system reform, began to be challenged in key campaigns: • 1954: Brown vs. Kansas Board of Education: The NAACP brought a legal challenge to segregation in the schools. • 1957: Montgomery Bus Boycott: Martin Luther King and the SCLC protested segregation on buses. • 1960: Sit-ins in Nashville, Greensboro and Atlanta: Students sought to integrate public accommodations like lunch counters. • 1961: Freedom Riders: On buses traveling from Nashville to Mississippi, CORE organized riders to integrate interstate travel. • 1963: Birmingham: Martin Luther King and SCLC demonstrated to integrate public accommodations. • 1963: March on Washington: King and all the major civil rights groups staged a huge demonstration for civil rights in Washington, D.C. All these protests were guided by the philosophy of non-violence. Based on the ideas and the campaigns by Gandhi, the civil rights groups called attention to injustice by peaceful protests. In many cases, southern law enforcement officers like Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor in Birmingham, Alabama, met these non-violent protests with extreme violence. Media accounts seen by the American public of the violent reaction by southern authorities became a major tactic for exposing the hatred and violence at the core of southern segregation. But the most basic civil rights for African Americans in the south were still not secured.
Civil rights protestors in Albany, GA, July 25, 1962 AP Photo/Horace Cort
Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, and President Lyndon Johnson in the Oval Office on January 18, 1964. Getty Images
1964: Turning Point: Civil Rights and Johnson’s Presidency In November, 1963, when Lyndon Johnson took office, the nation was poised at a crossroads. The Democratic Party controlled both the House and the Senate and a Supreme Court, who were all disposed to favor civil rights reform. Martin Luther King’s campaign in Birmingham had exposed the violence that kept African Americans from gaining full civil rights and polling of the American public said they favored reform. Ultimately, Johnson’s passage of the Civil Rights Act in July 1964 and then the passage of the Voting Rights Act in August 1965, changed the South forever. The 1964 civil rights bill outlawed all laws by the states that maintained segregation. This meant the end of white and colored drinking fountains and bathrooms, segregated restaurants, libraries and universities. The Voting Rights Act then outlawed all state laws and practices that prevented African American voter registration like poll taxes, complicated literacy requirements and intimidation. Most importantly, there were enforcement provisions in the law to prevent evasions of compliance: a procedure called pre-clearance identified counties in the United State that had not achieved minimum levels of minority voter registration and forced local authorities to have to clear any new voter rules with the Justice Department. Within a few years African American registration throughout the South greatly increased and the last bulwarks of institutionalized legal racism in the South disappeared.
Martin Luther King, Jr.â€™s 1963 March on Washington was a major turning point in US Civil Rights, and a crucial catalyst of the societal changes reflected in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. US government photo
A GLOSSARY OF Civil Rights TERMS The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed in 1909 with a mission “to ensure the social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination.” Concentrating on legal challenges, its campaigns for desegregation culminated in the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that declared school segregation unconstitutional. In 1955, NAACP activists helped organize the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the principal civil rights organizations of the 1960s. SNCC played a major role in the sit-ins and freedom rides, the 1963 March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. In the later 1960s, led by fiery leaders such as Stokely Carmichael, SNCC focused on “black power” and protesting against the Vietnam War. In 1969, SNCC changed its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee to reflect its move away from a strictly nonviolent stance.
Freedom Summer (also known as the Mississippi Summer Project) was a campaign launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African-American voters as possible in Mississippi, which had historically excluded most blacks from voting.
Freedom Summer was organized by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a coalition of the Mississippi branches of the four major civil rights organizations (SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and SCLC). Most of the impetus, leadership, and financing for the Summer Project came from the SNCC. Robert Parris Moses, SNCC field secretary and co-director of COFO, directed the project.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was formed by Southern Black clergy to further civil rights for African-Americans, and led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Their successful actions included the 1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott, and 1963’s Birmingham integration campaign and the March on Washington. SCLC’s advocacy of nonviolent protest was controversial among some Black community leaders who felt that direct action encouraged violence by those opposed to civil rights.
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) was an American political party created in Mississippi in 1964. It was organized by with assistance from SNCC and COFO to challenge the legitimacy of the white-only Mississippi Democratic Party at the Democratic Convention of 1964.
The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is a civil rights group that had a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. The group applied principles of nonviolence as a tactic to challenge racial segregation in the United States. In the South, CORE’s direct action campaigns opposed “Jim Crow” segregation and job discrimination, and fought for voting rights.
A GLOSSARY OF Legislative TERMS A filibuster is a parliamentary procedure used to extend debate, allowing a member to delay or prevent a vote on a given proposal. In the U.S. Senate, senators may speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless cloture is invoked. Used by Southern segregationists in the Senate to block civil rights legislation.
Cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. The cloture rule originally required a supermajority of two-thirds of all Senators. Over the years it has proven difficult to achieve cloture; the Senate tried to invoke cloture 11 times between 1927 and 1962, failing each time. Filibuster was heavily used by Democratic Senators from Southern states to block civil rights legislation.
A discharge petition is a means of bringing a bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without a report from a Committee and usually without cooperation of the leadership. Used when the chair of a committee refuses to let a bill leave the committee and the full House will not be able to consider it.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is charged with conducting hearings prior to Senate votes on confirmation of federal judges. The committee also has broad jurisdiction over matters relating to federal criminal law and the various civil rights bills in the 1960s. As such, the committee, chaired by Sen. James Eastland of Mississippi, could use extended committee deliberation to keep legislation from coming to the floor.
House Rules Committee: Rather than being responsible for a specific area of policy, like most other committees, it is in charge of determining under what rule other bills will come to the floor. As such, it is a powerful committee and can be used to keep legislation from being considered. In the 1950s and 60s House Rules chairman Howard “Judge” Smith used this power to block civil rights legislation.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, enacted on July 2, was landmark legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public.
The farm bill is the primary agricultural policy tool of the federal government. Farm bills can be highly controversial and can impact international trade, environmental conservation, food safety, and the well-being of rural communities. The agricultural subsidy programs mandated by the farm bills are the subject of intense debate within the U.S.
The Poverty Bill: The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was central to Johnson’s Great Society campaign and its War on Poverty. The Act included several social programs to promote the health, education, and general welfare of the impoverished, including Head Start, food stamps and Job Corps.
Women’s Rights in the 1964 Civil Rights Bill: The prohibition on sex discrimination was added by Howard W. Smith, the House Rules Committee chair who had strongly opposed the Civil Rights Act. It is seen as a cynical attempt to defeat the bill by appealing to congressmen opposed to civil rights for blacks and women. But Smith’s amendment passed, becoming the main means of challenging inequality in the workplace for women.
The gallup poll on civil rights: 1964 & 2013 After conducting a visual vote based on your studentsâ€™ values, try modeling these Gallup poll results from October 1964 and June 2013. Each pie chart breaks down a poll by percentage and number of students to represent each, based on a 20-student class.
October 1964 Gallup Poll Do you think the Kennedy-Johnson administration has gone too far or not far enough to help the Negroes in the past few years?
Do you agree with those who say the Negroes should stop their demonstrations now that they have made their point, even though some of their demands have not been met, or with those who say they have to continue demonstrating in order to achieve better jobs, better housing, and better schooling?
What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?
After the visual vote on student values and poll results, ask the group:
2013 Gallup Poll Do you generally favor or oppose affirmative action programs for racial minorities?
How do you perceive the language used in the Gallup polls? Does the wording used seem to be trying to influence the answers of those polled? How has that language changed? Were you surprised by any of the poll results or by your classâ€™ values? Why? The 1964 Gallup polls you examined were conducted weeks before Lyndon B. Johnsonâ€™s presidential election. Considering that context, are you surprised by any of the poll results?
Thinking back on your lifetime, fo you civil right for blacks in America have improved, stayed the same, or worsened?
If your class answers the questions from 2013, are your responses different from the poll results? Why might that be? Remember, these polls are conducted nationally, with the aim of polling a realistic cross-section of American society.
Thank you for participating in the
A.R.T. Education Experience! For any questions on how to implement the information and activities in this Toolkit, or to schedule an A.R.T. teaching artist to visit your classroom and assist in administrating the enclosed lesson, please e-mail the A.R.T. Education and Community Programs department at:
email@example.com All the Way Educational Toolkit Supervising Editor Brendan Shea Editor and Designer Georgia Young Designer Robert Duffley Contributors Tom Bryant, Leslie Gehring, Ryan McKittrick
This is the American Repertory Theater's Toolkit for the 2013 production of All The Way.