I remember the Movement, but more from a local kind of standpoint. MLK was on tv all the time; but, I remember more about what my folks would talk about at the kitchen table, and from an activist family perspective.
I remember my g-aunt Chic and her husband's visits to our house to recruit my mom and dad, and sometimes my oldest sister and her friends--to do something in particular for them (on behalf of their many Civil Rights affiliations). Of them being members of the *local branch* of this organization or that, and what they'd need to do as part of their organization--as a kid, I remember a lot of that. I remember my parents occasionally feeling conflicted when it came to Aunt Chic's recruiting my big sis--they'd feel some worry about her safety--while my big sis would be *down* with it all, and as my sis said many years later, she'd felt *honored* to do it.
From the national standpoint, what I know about the CRM is what I learned from books, scholarly articles, songs, and made-for-tv movies (even though MLK did visit with my g-aunt and her circle of activists a couple of times). Those visits, though, were kept hush-hush (related to school deseg successes here in Az).
I was a kid during those days, and sheltered (segregated) from most of the direct hardship associated with desegregation. Fact is, from the local standpoint, my parents didn't care for the desegregation/integration aspect of the CRM; instead, they just wanted a breakthrough regarding a larger share of their tax dollars going into certain things that would make our lives easier to live (streets, street *lights*, garbage pickup, sewer improvements, more money into our local segregated schools); otherwise, they liked the separate aspect of Negro life in Phx.
Of course, they were not alone in not being sold on desegregation/integration, neither. Phx's Negro community was made up of former Arkansans, Texans, Oklahomans, and Mississippians who'd found life a whole lot less stressful in Az. than where they had escaped from.
No ... i have no memories of such things. None at all. My Mother was a Single Mother with a bunch of babies, and the memories i have all revolve around caring for my Brothers and Sisters, home life. My Mother kept us very close, obviously quite sheltered from the goings on in the world. I never even thot of being Black (color) as a child. I was a grown woman, living in a whole nuther city from my Momma, before I knew anything about racism ... up close and personal. No, i knew nothing ... nothing of Marcus Garvey, the NOI, Black Panthers, CRM, even our Beloved Martin ... i only knew of him because of a picture that hung on our wall, with him and the Kennedy Brothers ... the "ask not what your country can do for you" one ... lol ... i have no memory of his death ... it wasn't playing on our television over and over again ... if we had one ... my Mother was never involved, to my knowledge, with such groups, activists and stuff ... shoooooo ... she worked so hard to care for all of us, keep us close to her bosom, clothed, fed, sheltered and safe ... there was not much time for anything else ... that's kinda the way i see it.
Most all i have learned, has come in the past 15 years .... the biggest part ... right here at destee ... from yall ...
In the year of 1950 I was born and raised in the south. My parents were from the south as well. I've witnessed and experienced the raw kind of racism--not sugar-coated or soft peddled like I see it done in the north, but raw and real.
I am my mother's daughter, unafraid to speak out about injustices and always doing for "my" community.
My father was more quiet. I love my father no less though, because I understood at a very young age, the trials and challenges that he faced as a Black man, a man who had witnessed the deep degree of hatred for Blacks by ignorant southern whites, starting at such a young age living in Georgia and being forced to see things that no child should see or feel. As a man, he was less vocal in public and less apt to share his thoughts in mixed race company about racism. Understandable--Black men were still being lynched at that time. So, when I was old enough and able, I became my father's voice and fiercest supporter.
I was raised up during the Civil Rights Movement. I experienced the struggle for justice. I grew up under Jim Crow laws. My mother took me to a freedom rally when I was little and I was able to see Martin Luther King, Jr. give a speech in my community. I didn't know at the time what an icon he would become, but I knew that his presence was special and would change things for Black people.
As a teen, I had a mad crush on Huey Newton...thought that man was as fine as I'd ever seen and I knew there was something special about the BPP too. They were scarey because they weren't typical Black people at that time who thought it best to be mute. They not only challenged the "establishment", they were ready to put their money where their mouths were and that was exciting to me, as a young woman with a budding warrior spirit.
In 1964, the Supreme Court decided it was time to force states to implement their 1954 decision in Brown v. Topeka Bd. of Education. The death of Jim Crow laws was caused when the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was passed and enacted. I and about 20 or so other Black kids, desegregated an all-white high school in an all-white community. It was there that I discovered my attitude, my courage and my voice. The school tried to punish me for speaking my truth and resistance to its rules, but my mother wasn't having that so although there were small prices I had to pay like going to summer school to get my grades caught up, they didn't destroy me nor silence me.
We had a television and every night on the news you could depend on some report about MLK, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X or the BPP. That was during a time when Black families ate dinner together and had family time together. Watching the news was a nightly ritual in my house. Be aware too, this was also during the time of the Vietnam War when the U.S. still drafted young boys to the military, which was another cause for stress in Black families who had sons old enough to be drafted. Black families dreaded the mail for fear that a letter from the government would be delivered. Many Black families that I knew of, including my own, received that letter--it was a scarey time for all.
Fashion and music began to take on a different form--protest music became popular among Blacks and we sang it loud and proud. Afros, bell bottoms, mini-skirts and platform shoes were worn by Black people who were becoming more conscious about themselves and we strutted like peacocks proud to display our new-found "blackness". We were a beautiful sight to behold. The teachings of people like Marcus Garvey and the Hon. Elijah Mohammed were topics of intellectual debates. More Black preachers like Dr. King used the church pulpits to "free" the congregation from mental slavery and tried to instill in us the courage to fight against prejudice and discrimination and to rock the vote.
Black studies and Black caucuses found a birthplace on college campuses and exploded everywhere. College was a feeding ground for NEW Black knowledge and awareness and political savvy. Research and books being published by Black scholars was huge.
On predominantly white college campuses, Black faculty and Black students worked hand-in-hand to demand that the institution hire and admit more people like them and to provide support services designed for them.
At that time, Black student athletes fought against racial exploitation in favor of graduation.
These are just a few of my experiences. I'm sure others have stories they can share.