1969-1973 -- Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement: Building Community, Local Organizing and the Language of Peace

A decade of dramatic legal victories forever changed the public face of the South.  In 1970, not only were all remaining school districts finally integrated, the wizards and henchmen of the Ku Klux Klan began serving time in federal prisons.  In southern towns and cities, black people could take their meals in white-owned restaurants, spend the night in motels and hotels, and borrow books from the public library. An atmosphere of violence still pervaded America, even while Americans turned their attention from the Civil Rights Movement to the escalating conflict in Vietnam. Against this background, a few people of faith continued the struggle for social justice and reconciliation.

  • 1969: The Supreme Court decision in Alexander vs. Holmes County Board of Education orders the desegregation of Southern schools. (Public school districts could no longer avoid compliance with Brown vs. Board by using the phrase “all deliberate speed” as a stalling mechanism.
  • 1969: The W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research is founded at Harvard University.
  • 1969: During a December police raid on his home, Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, is shot and killed while asleep in bed.
  • On February 7, 1970, nineteen students are arrested outside of Plain, Mississippi while demonstrating and handing out copies of “Demands of the Black Community,” drafted by a local pastor and activist named John Perkins.
  • “Freedom Summer 1971,” an experiment in activism shared by young, conservative, Californian white evangelicals and militant black students from Michigan is pronounced a failure by program organizer John Perkins
  • 1971: The Rev. Jesse Jackson founds Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity), an influential movement emphasizing African-American economic advancement and education. 
  • 1971: Fifteen African American members of Congress form the Congressional Black Caucus to present a unified African American voice in Congress. 
  • 1972  Congress passes the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.
  • 1972 On January 25, Shirley Chisholm became the first major-party African-American candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Quotes from interviews associated with this scene are listed below. To see excerpts from interview transcripts, click on the associated Excerpts link below each quote.

"And so they tortured us in that jail. And that’s when I said to God, 'If you allow me to get out of here alive... then I want to preach a Gospel that is stronger than my race... I want to preach a Gospel that could reconcile black and whites together.'" John Perkins
"The churches were a bastion of segregation." Spencer Perkins

Find below primary and secondary resources located in the Project on Lived Theology's Civil Rights Archive associated with this Scene. Click on a title to see the full record.

sort icon
1972 Eleanor Blau 30-Year-Old Christian Commune in Georgia Thrives Under Adversity
1971 Richard Aubrey McLemore A History of Mississippi Baptists, 1780-1970
Dr. Neil McMillen
Fannie Lou Hamer
An Oral History with Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer
1976 Fannie Lou Hamer Autobiography of Fannie Lou Hamer
1968 Unknown Biography of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer
1966 Unknown Biography: Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer
Will D. Campbell
Myron A. Marty
Book Review: 40 Acres and a Goat: A Memoir
Unknown Campbell (Clarice T.) Papers
Unknown Cassette Transcription: Tom Dent Collection
Richard Aubrey McLemore
C.B. Hamlet, III
Chapter Eleven: Mid-Twentieth Century
1962 Ed King Ed King: Background Manuscript Material for CR Movement
1978 L. C. Dorsey Fannie Lou Hamer
1970 John Egerton Fannie Lou Hamer
Amistad Research Center Fannie Lou Hamer 1917-1977: Papers, 1966-1978, n.d.: Register
Amistad Research Center Fannie Lou Hamer 1917-1977: Papers, 1966-1978, n.d.: Register
1972 Fannie Lou Hamer Fannie Lou Hamer to Dr. Matthew Walker
2012 Paul Gaston Government by Demonstration: Righting Virginia's Wrongs
1999 Paul Gaston Honor to the Class of '69: Reflections on Affirmative Action: Its Origins, Virtues, Enemies, Champions, and Prospects
1969 Edward J. Pendergrass Information about "Ordered Desegregation of Public Schools" and the Use of Church Property for Private Schools
Charles Marsh
John Perkins
John M. Perkins in Conversation with Charles Marsh: Let Justice Roll Down
1972 Unknown Religion: A Bigger NCC?
1972 Unknown Religion: Methodist Malaise
1971 Unknown Report on the International Walk for Development (Untitled Document)
1990 Spencer Perkins Spencer Perkins's Unpublished Autobiography Chapter: "Body Punches"
1990 Spencer Perkins Spencer Perkins's Unpublished Autobiography Chapter: "I'm on the Freedom Side"
1990 Spencer Perkins Spencer Perkins's Unpublished Autobiography Chapter: "Line in the Dirt"
1990 Spencer Perkins Spencer Perkins's Unpublished Autobiography Chapter: "Philippi"
1973 R.A. McLemore The Executive Secretaries of the Convention Board of the Mississippi Baptist Convention
1989 Charles H. Lippy Twentieth-Century Shapers of American Popular Religion
1968 Unknown Untitled Magazine Article - Fannie Lou Hamer's Speech in Cincinnati, Ohio
1989 Unknown Will D. Campbell