APC: Freedom Riders
In 1947, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) planned a "Journey of Reconciliation," designed to test the Supreme Court's 1946 decision in the Irene Morgan case, which declared segregated seating of interstate passengers unconstitutional. An interracial group of passengers met with heavy resistance in the upper South. Some members of the group served on a chain gang after their arrest in North Carolina. The Journey of Reconciliation quickly broke down. To test the president's commitment to civil rights, CORE proposed a new Journey of Reconciliation, called the "Freedom Ride." The strategy was still the same: an interracial group would board buses destined for the South. The whites would sit in the back and the blacks in the front. At rest stops, the whites would go into blacks-only areas and vice versa. The Freedom Ride left Washington DC on May 4, 1961. It was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17, the seventh anniversary of the Brown decision. Unlike the original Journey of Reconciliation, the Freedom Ride met little resistance in the upper South. Despite the violence, the Freedom Riders were determined to continue. The bus company, however, did not want to risk losing another bus to a bombing, and its drivers, who were all white, did not want to risk their lives. After two days of unsuccessful negotiations, the Freedom Riders, fearing for their safety, fled to New Orleans, appearing as if the Freedom Ride was over. At that point, however, a group of Nashville sit-in students decided to go to Birmingham and continue the Freedom Ride. More Freedom Riders arrived in Jackson to continue the Freedom Ride, and they were arrested too. Freedom Riders continued to arrive in the South, and by the end of the summer, more than 300 had been arrested. The Freedom Riders never made it to New Orleans. Many spent their summer in jail, while some were scarred for life from the beatings they received. Yet, their efforts were not in vain. They forced the Kennedy administration to take a stand on civil rights, which was the intent of the Freedom Ride in the first place. In addition, the Interstate Commerce Commission, at the request of Robert Kennedy, outlawed segregation in interstate bus travel in a ruling, more specific than the original Supreme Court mandate, that took effect in September, 1961. The Freedom Riders may not have finished their trip, but they made an important and lasting contribution to the civil rights movement.

SMR: “Black Power”
The rise of Malcolm X as a spiritual and racial leader sparked the need for rapid social change and confrontation. Rather than integrating with Whites, Malcolm X preached that Blacks should be proud of who they are and they should not have to change to be accepted. Blacks therefore renounced skin bleaches and straightening their hair, and they started giving their children African names, celebrating Kwanza, and embracing soul music. Malcolm X presented his separatist beliefs by advocating racial solidarity and uplift, self-sufficiency, and self-help. His methods of “Black Power” were far from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s. MLK Jr. insisted that Blacks protested peacefully, while Malcolm X lived by the slogan “If ballots don’t work, bullets will. If someone puts a hand on you, send him to the cemetery.” These tactics were not as successful as Martin Luther King’s, because they endorsed violence toward other people. Malcolm X and his followers were notorious for shootouts with the police, which left many of Malcolm X’s followers dead or in prison. Rather than gaining support from Whites and other Americans, Blacks soiled the good name that Martin Luther King, Jr. had started to build. However, a positive outcome that came from Malcolm X was his belief that Black’s should embrace being Black. James Brown sang songs about the greatness of being different. Jesse Jackson, the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, lead students in prayer, repeating that they were African-American and they had to be respected, for they were beautiful and proud. The impact of Malcolm X’s very blatant riots for civil rights reverberated with many civil rights activist groups and shaped their protest movements.

CHE: Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society
Though the assasination of President John F. Kennedy devastated Americans’ morale and caused nation-wide depression, the President Lyndon B. Johnson’s consequential inaguration was not a poor result for the United States. President Johnson envisioned social reforms in his “Great Society” plan for domestic improvement programs. The program included civil rights laws as well as social welfare plans to eradicate poverty. The Elementary and Secondary School act funded over one billion dollars of aid to needy school children, and the Higher Education Act provided the first federal scholarships to undergraduate college students; similarly, intellectual growth was supported by the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, which provided federal funding for those involved in the arts who contributed to society. The overall standard of living was improved by the Water Quality Act, the Clean Waters Restoration Act, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Omnibus Housing Act, all which placed importance on better living even for those of lower economic classes. Johnson recognized the issues with the immigration Quota Act of 1924, and decided that immigration laws should not limit immigrants by country but by overall annual entrance. In 1967, Vietnam War expansion caused the plans to lose attention; nevertheless, those components carried out between 1964 and 1967 contributed to significant successes.