The 1960’s was a decade that forever changed the culture and society of America. The
1960’s were widely known as the decade of peace and love when in reality, minorities were
struggling to gain freedom from segregation. The war to gain freedom for all minorites was a
great obstacle to overcome.
On February 20, 1960 four black college freshmen from the Negro Agricultural and
Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina quietly walked into a restaurant and sat down at
the lunch counter. They were protesting the Jim Crow custom that blacks could be served while
standing up but not while they were sitting at the lunch counter. The students quietly sat there
politely asking for service until closing time. The next morning they showed up again
accompanied by twenty five fellow students. By the next week their sit down had been repeated in
fourteen cities in five deep south states. In the weeks to follow many new protests arose. After a
black woman was beaten with a baseball bat in Montgomery, Alabama, 1,000 blacks silently
marched into the first capital of the Confederate states to sing and pray. Six hundred students
from two colleges walked through the streets of Orangeburg, South Carolina with placards that
exhibited phrases like “We Want Liberty” and “Segregation is Dead.” By late June some kind of
public place in over one hundred and fifty different cities across America had been desegregated.
John F. Kennedy was never able to gain enough support to pass a civil rights bill during
his short time in office, but Lyndon Johnson drawing on the Kennedy legacy and the support of
the nation succeeded in passing the bill. The bill passed 71 to 19, four more votes than required.
By early 1965 a new black leader had arose, whose name was Malcolm X. His gospel was
hatred and his motto was; “If ballots won’t work, bullets will.” Malcolm X was a former pimp,
cocaine addict, and thief. He started a militant, all black group called the Black Panthers. On a
bright Sunday in a ballroom in Manhattan in full view of 400 blacks Malcolm was murdered.
Three men casually walked down the aisle; and from eight feet opened fire with sawed-off double
barreled shotguns. Malcolm was killed by a pair of point blank range shots to the chest.
On March 12, 1965, U.S. Highway 80 was blocked by sixty state troopers who stood in a
wall three deep 400 yards past the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which crosses the Alabama river. When
black marchers came within 100 yards the troopers were ordered to put on their gas masks. At
twenty five yards the marchers stopped. Seconds later the command “troopers forward” was
barked. The troopers moved in a solid wall pushing back the front marchers. At 75 yards the
troopers were joined by posse men and deputies with tear gas canisters, in seconds the road was
swirling with clouds of smoke. The mounted men brought out bull whips and began beating the
marchers. Never in history had the American public...