Nearly 54 years ago, on September 2nd 1963, Alabama Governor George Wallace issued an executive order to forcibly halt federally-mandated public school integration. State troopers encircled Tuskegee High School, and the school was shut down completely for a week until five federal judges ordered the state to reopen it. Today, we look back at three stories that look at different aspects of race and civil rights in America.
Sit-ins: The new approach to desegregation — Illinois Public Media
During a speech on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Rev. Charles Jones spoke about the usefulness of sit-ins as a method of improving civil rights, including his own involvement with a sit-in started by Chapel Hill High School students. Even though this was a new approach for desegregation, it was not a new form of protest. Listen.
Interviewing in Montgomery, AL in 1965 — Studs Terkel Radio Archive
On March 25th, 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators to the steps of the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery. Studs Terkel showed up that morning to talk to participants, including 104-year-old William Franklin Pasco, who had been born into slavery. Later, he also interviewed a white cabbie who defended Governor George Wallace. Listen.
Affirmative action in hiring and admissions — Pacifica Radio Archive
The term “affirmative action” was first used by John F. Kennedy in a 1961 Executive Order, and has been a controversial approach to addressing discrimination. This audio documentary presents a history of affirmative action programs, and contains archival material from Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, and a discussion of the Bakke decision that allowed race to be a factor in college admission policies. Listen.