Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965

By Juan Williams

The 25th-anniversary variation of Juan Williams's celebrated account of the tumultuous early years of the civil rights movement

From the Montgomery bus boycott to the Little Rock 9 to the Selma–Montgomery march, hundreds of thousands of standard those who participated within the American civil rights move; their tales are informed in Eyes at the Prize. From leaders similar to Martin Luther King, Jr., to lesser-known figures corresponding to Barbara Rose John and Jim Zwerg, each one guy and lady made the choice that somethinghad to be performed to prevent discrimination. those relocating money owed and images of the 1st decade of the civil rights stream are a tribute to the folks, black and white, who took half within the struggle for justice and the fight they persisted.

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In Washington, President Kennedy summoned Justice division employees individuals and his brother, Robert, now lawyer common, to the White residence for an emergency breakfast assembly at 8:30. “The breakfast used to be within the sitting room open air the president’s bed room within the mansion,” recalls Burke Marshall. “The president used to be nonetheless in his pajamas. It was once the 1st time the president had had the matter of great racial problems … Our suggestion to the president used to be that he will not be use troops except it used to be unavoidable. ” The president and lawyer common determined to arrange federal marshals to visit Alabama if helpful. The violence opposed to the liberty Riders used to be being given overseas press insurance and the Kennedys have been fascinated by their snapshot as they ready for an upcoming summit with Soviet optimal Nikita Khrushchev. The president positioned a decision to his former crusade supporter, Alabama governor John Patterson. however the governor wouldn't take the president’s calls. His aides acknowledged he had long past fishing. lawyer common Robert Kennedy has a note with Assistant legal professional basic Burke Marshall. In Birmingham, reporter Robert Shackne interviewed Jim Peck, whose head was once seriously bandaged. “Mr. Peck, you may have evidently been injured … What occurred to you? ” requested Shackne. “I used to be crushed two times the day before today through hoodlums,” acknowledged Peck. “Once aboard the bus and as soon as within the terminal in Birmingham. ” while requested how vast his accidents have been, Peck spoke back, “Well, it's fifty stitches, and that’s loads of stitches. ” “And nonetheless and all, you will proceed? ” the reporter requested. “I imagine it truly is quite very important at the present whilst it has develop into nationwide information that we proceed and express that nonviolence can be triumphant over violence,” acknowledged Peck. The bus corporation, besides the fact that, was once reluctant to threat having one other of its autos bombed, and the corporate drivers—all white—refused to hold the liberty Riders. for 2 days the riders negotiated with the bus corporation, yet eventually gave up. They headed for the Birmingham airport, fearing for his or her safeguard. Simeon Booker, an Ebony reporter, referred to as Robert Kennedy from the airport, and Kennedy later noted the “terror” he heard in Booker’s voice. The riders made it adequately onto the airplane and flew to New Orleans. however the Freedom experience was once no longer over. a gaggle of scholars skilled from the sit-ins in Nashville, 8 black and white, determined to visit Birmingham to proceed the liberty experience. “If the liberty Riders have been stopped due to violence,” stated Diane Nash, “I strongly felt that the way forward for the circulation was once going to be minimize brief. The influence may were that each time a move begins, all [you need to do] is assault it with mammoth violence and the blacks [will] cease. ” Nash conscientiously chosen the scholars who could visit Birmingham and warned them of the violence they could come across. “We have been proficient we must always be keen to simply accept death,” stated Susan Herman, then a twenty-year-old Fisk collage scholar and one of many ten who went to Birmingham.

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