Race Riots and Non-Violent Demonstrations 1865–1968


Map Code: Ax01991

After emancipation in 1865, southern states introduced laws (Black Codes), restricting black civil rights. These racially divisive laws, (known as ‘Jim Crow’) disenfranchised and subordinated blacks. There was a surge in violent white supremacist movements, such as the Ku Klux Klan. Until the 1958–68 Civil Rights movement, characterized by non-violent boycotts and civil protests, there was no effective redress against the racial violence (including anti-Chinese and Italian riots) that peppered the US landscape. The New Orleans and Memphis race riots in 1866 were amongst the earliest, with white mobs attacking an orderly black protest convention (New Orleans) and black businesses and homes (Memphis). White mobs perpetuated violent resistance against the civil rights movement, such as the Birmingham riot of 1963, a protest directed at civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights movement promoted racial harmony and non-violence, rather than discord, symbolized by the sit-ins organized by the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

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