Leadership: Oliver Hill – II

Lead: Some civil rights leaders became masters of the sound bite, making their contribution in public protest. Not so Oliver Hill. He chose legal weapons to take apart the institutions of white supremacy.               

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.              

Content: Leadership is not always a visible, public exercise. In the twentieth century civil rights movement a variety of stratagem was applied. Some went for public demonstrations. Oliver Hill, following the lifelong approach of his mentor at Howard University Law, Dean Charles Hamilton Huston, went after the legal apparatus that sustained segregation. From their Richmond law firm Hill and his associates litigated scores of cases during the 1950s and 1960s, never losing one.

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Leadership: Oliver Hill – I

Lead: In the leadership ranks of the twentieth century civil rights movement, few equal the contribution of Oliver Hill. His quiet, unobtrusive legal and personal tenacity helped break the back of massive resistance.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

Content: Oliver Hill was born in 1907 and grew up in Richmond and Roanoke Virginia and in Washington, D.C. He attended Howard University and Howard Law School where he and other students, including his classmate and friend, future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, came under the pervasive influence of Dean Charles Hamilton Huston. Huston imparted to his students his lifelong dream of taking apart, root and branch, the legal apparatus of discrimination against blacks in twentieth century America.

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Jamestown Journey: Separate but Equal

Lead: In 1892 a New Orleans shoemaker tried to roll back the onrushing tide of resurgent white supremacy and lost.

Intro.: Dan Roberts and A Moment in Time with Jamestown - Journey of Democracy, tracing the global advance of democratic ideals since the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

Content: Homer A. Plessy was born a month before the Union Navy took New Orleans out of the Civil War in 1862. His parents were free, French-speaking, Roman Catholic blacks, part of a racial and social mix that lent that port city such a rich cosmopolitan flavor. In few places in the pre-war Deep South were people of color offered the chances for advancement they had in New Orleans and in the two decades after the South's defeat these opportunities continued to grow.

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Luncheon Racism II

Lead: Simple but bold action by four college students in Greensboro, North Carolina in February 1960, refocused the civil rights movement on discrimination in public accommodations.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

Content: Perhaps no part of the elaborate structure of white dominance in the era of Jim Crow was more irritating to African Americans than the intricate edifice of petty segregation. Separate and usually very unequal sleeping and eating facilities, restrooms, drinking fountains, and public transportation were a constant reminder to blacks of their second class status. Overcoming such bigotry was difficult and victories such as the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott in the mid-1950s were few.

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Luncheon Racism I

Lead: In early February 1960, the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, became a powerful symbol the in the fight against racial segregation in the American south.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Late in the afternoon on February 1st, four students from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College – Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair and David Richmond - staged a “sit in.” Three of the four were freshmen, all still teenagers, were respectfully dressed in coats and ties, and one, ROTC student Franklin McCain, was still in uniform. Carrying their schoolbooks, the students entered the Woolworth’s on South Elm Street and purchased a few school supplies, and then proceeded to the “whites only” lunch counter where they sat down and politely asked for service which as they anticipated, was denied. One of the students later told the UPI, “We believe, since we buy books and papers in the other part of the store, we should get served in this part.”

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Freedom Summer

Lead:  In 1964 the efforts of Civil Rights activists to register African American voters in Mississippi became known as the “Freedom Summer.”

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: After the landmark “Brown” Supreme Court decision, Civil Rights groups worked hard to end segregation and political discrimination in the deep South. There such practices were deeply entrenched and changes were strongly resisted by many whites. In the summer of 1964 a coalition of civil rights organizations including CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, sometimes known as SNCC (snick),  focused their efforts on Mississippi – since just 6.7% of blacks were registered to vote. That number was intentionally kept small in a large part due to institutional obstruction such as requiring African Americans to pay poll taxes and pass tests that were not required of white voters.

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Integration Comes to Little Rock

Lead: Opposition to the desegregation of Central High School was the beginning of a decade of resistance in the south.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

                Content: In 1954 the Supreme Court of the United States decided in Brown vs. The Topeka Board of Education that separate but equal schools were unconstitutional. In the wake of the subsequent decree that instructed parties to pursue desegregation with "all deliberate speed," the Little Rock, Arkansas School Board, a fairly progressive body at that time, began planning to desegregate the schools.

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Selma, Alabama, 1965 – III

Lead: In 1965 the town of Selma Alabama was the scene of protests and brutal repression. The results: a march to Montgomery and a new Voting Rights Bill.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Martin Luther King, Jr. was convinced that the greatest ally the civil rights movement had lay in the consciences of white people. For too long the white majority had made gestures, had thrown rhetoric in support of liberty and justice, but had acquiesced in the face of bigotry and ideas of white sovereignty. King knew that a frontal assault by blacks on the high wall of institutional prejudice would not succeed. Nonviolent tactics were designed to enflame those white consciences.

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