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Student movements

Trumpet of Conscience, The

The Trumpet of Conscience features five lectures that Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered in November and December 1967 for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Massey Lectures. Founded in 1961 to honor Vincent Massey, former Governor General of Canada, the annual Massey Lectures served as a venue for earlier speakers such as John Kenneth Galbraith and Paul Goodman. The event, sponsored by the University of Toronto’s Massey College, is broadcast each year on the CBC Radio One show “Ideas.” Prior to King’s assassination, the book was released under the title Conscience for Change, through the CBC. After King’s death in 1968, the book was republished as The Trumpet of Conscience, and included a foreword written by Coretta Scott King. The book reveals some of King’s most introspective reflections and his last impressions of the movement.

Tallahassee's Inter-Civic Council presents demands; boycott gains momentum

C. K. Steele and Tallahassee’s Inter-Civic Council confer with the city manager, call for first-come, first-served seating on buses, more courteous treatment, and the hiring of black drivers. Despite the decision by city officials not to prosecute the two Florida A&M students, the bus boycott in Tallahassee gains momentum.

Freedom Summer

Although the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had labored for civil rights in rural Mississippi since 1961, the organization found that intense and often violent resistance by segregationists in rural areas of Mississippi would not allow for the kind of direct action campaigns that had been successful in urban areas such as Montgomery and Birmingham. The 1964 Freedom Summer project was designed to draw the nation’s attention to the violent oppression experienced by Mississippi blacks who attempted to exercise their constitutional rights, and to develop a grassroots freedom movement that could be sustained after student activists left Mississippi.

Freedom Rides

During the spring of 1961, student activists from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) launched the Freedom Rides to challenge segregation on interstate buses and bus terminals. Traveling on buses from Washington, D.C., to Jackson, Mississippi, the riders met violent opposition in the Deep South, garnering extensive media attention and eventually forcing federal intervention from John F. Kennedy’s administration. Although the campaign succeeded in securing an Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) ban on segregation in all facilities under their jurisdiction, the Freedom Rides fueled existing tensions between student activists and Martin Luther King, Jr., who publicly supported the riders, but did not participate in the campaign.

Jackson, Jesse Louis

In 1966, Jesse Jackson began to lead Operation Breadbasket, a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) program in Chicago. Often seen as Martin Luther King’s protégé, Jackson quickly earned a place among King’s inner circle. Although King found Jackson’s ambition troubling at times, SCLC executive vice president Andrew Young called Jackson “a natural-born leader” (Frontline, “Interview with Andrew Young”).

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded in April 1960 by young people dedicated to nonviolent, direct action tactics. Although Martin Luther King, Jr. and others had hoped that SNCC would serve as the youth wing of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the students remained fiercely independent of King and SCLC, generating their own projects and strategies. Although ideological differences eventually caused SNCC and SCLC to be at odds, the two organizations worked side by side throughout the early years of the civil rights movement.

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