Nonviolence Spreads in the South, 1957–61

  • James A. Colaiaco


Until the Montgomery bus boycott, the battle for civil rights in the South was led by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Founded in 1909, the NAACP resorted to a combination of public education, legislative lobbying and court action in an effort to attain equality for black Americans. Its strategy sought to undermine the legal basis of segregation by plodding away, case by case, through the courts. During the 1940s and 1950s, the Association won a series of important victories, placing it in the forefront of the civil rights movement. In 1944, the United States Supreme Court upheld the right of blacks to vote in Southern primaries by banning all-white primary elections. In 1946, in Morgan v. Virginia, the Court prohibited segregated seating on buses engaged in interstate travel. In 1948, it outlawed racially restrictive covenants in housing. Two years later, it upheld the right of blacks to enrol in publicly supported institutions of higher learning. The greatest NAACP triumph was the 1954 United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, declaring racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. This landmark decision overturned the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine formulated in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which had given legal sanction to segregation.


Attorney General Civil Disobedience Justice Department Indian Leader United States Supreme 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Anthony Lewis, Portrait of a Decade: The Second American Revolution, (New York, 1964), p. 29.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Francis M. Wilhoit, The Politics of Massive Resistance, (New York, 1973), pp. 285–7.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Gene Sharp, Gandhi as a Political Strategist, (Boston, 1979), p. 15.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    August Meier, Elliott Rudwick, & Francis L. Broderick, eds, Black Protest Thought in the Twentieth Century, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis, 1971), p. 276.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Howell Raines, My Soul is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered, (New York, 1977), p. 18.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    James Farmer, Lay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement, (New York, 1985), pp. 187–8.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Adam Fairclough, ‘The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Second Reconstruction, 1957–1973’, South Atlantic Quarterly, 80 (Spring 1981), p. 178.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Harry S. Ashmore, Hearts and Minds: The Anatomy of Racism from Roosevelt to Reagan, (New York, 1982), p. 248.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    James M. Washington, ed., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., (San Francisco, 1986), pp. 197–200.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Louis E. Lomax, The Negro Revolt, (New York: 1963), p. 106.Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    William R. Miller, Martin Luther King, Jr.: His Life, Martyrdom, and Meaning for the World, (New York, 1968), p. 91.Google Scholar
  12. 20.
    Pat Waiters, Down To Now: Reflections on the Southern Civil Rights Movement, (New York, 1971), p. 79.Google Scholar
  13. 21.
    Cleveland Sellers, The River of No Return, (New York, 1973), p. 36.Google Scholar
  14. 23.
    James C. Harvey, Civil Rights During the Kennedy Administration, (Hattiesburg: Miss., 1971), pp. 6–7.Google Scholar
  15. 26.
    Steven F. Lawson, Black Ballots: Voting Rights in the South, 1944–1969, (New York, 1976), p. 253.Google Scholar
  16. 28.
    Carl M. Brauer, John F. Kennedy and the Second Reconstruction, (New York, 1977), p. 43.Google Scholar
  17. 31.
    James Farmer, Freedom — When? (New York, 1965), p. 69.Google Scholar
  18. 34.
    August Meier & Elliott Rudwick, CORE: A Study in the Civil Rights Movement, (Chicago, 1975), p. 139.Google Scholar
  19. 35.
    Victor S. Navasky, Kennedy Justice, (New York, 1971), p. 73.Google Scholar
  20. 37.
    Edwin Guthman, We Band of Brothers, (New York, 1971), p. 155.Google Scholar
  21. 38.
    Herbert S. Parmet, JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (New York, 1984), p. 255.Google Scholar
  22. 40.
    Lerone Bennett, Jr., Before the Mayflower: A History of the Negro in America, 1619–1964, rev. ed. (Baltimore, 1964), p. 325.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© James A. Colaiaco 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Colaiaco
    • 1
  1. 1.BaldwinUSA

Personalised recommendations