This story of Atlantas role in the civil rights movement, along with the accompanying timeline and bibliography, were written by Clarissa Myrick-Harris, . and Norman Harris, . of OneWorld Archives. Readers for this material include Dr. Vicki Crawford of Clark Atlanta University, Dr. Andy Ambrose of the Atlanta History Center, and Brenda Banks of the Georgia Archives. Editorial changes have been made by ARCHE for purposes of length and style.
Supporters pray for the Freedom Riders, activists who rode public interstate buses into the south in the 1960s to bring light to the lack of enforcement of the Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia and Boynton v. Virginia Supreme Court decisions, which ruled against segregated buses and deemed them unlawful under the constitution.
Assessing the movement is difficult. It produced unexpected policies, such as the establishment of affirmative action, especially in the areas of employment and higher education admissions. It benefited blacks in other ways, too. As they acquired confidence in their ability to organize and to effect political change, they gained greater pride in their cultural strengths and accomplishments, notably (but not only) in the fields of music, dance, film, and sports. The work of black artists, such as photographer Gordon Parks, painter Jacob Lawrence, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and novelist Toni Morrison, received widespread notice and critical praise. In popular culture—films, television shows, ads—ugly stereotyping of black people and black culture became far less widespread. The movement also helped to increase the numbers and percentages of African Americans in middle-class jobs, and the armed forces took steps to end discriminatory recruitment and promotion procedures and to develop integrated forces.
The Million Man March drew an extremely large share of the nation's television audience, as well as laudatory comments from many national leaders, including President bill clinton and former general Colin L. Powell.
The civil rights movement captured the nation's attention in 1963, and musicians proved no exception. The marches, protests and tragedies of 50 years ago influenced some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, including Aretha Franklin , Bob Dylan , Harry Belafonte and Mavis Staples . We've gathered more than 150 songs for a special NPR Music Radio channel that commemorates this important moment in our nation's history. Several of the songs we chose were part of the movement, sung by protestors at rallies, while others were inspired by the events of the era — such as Neil Young songs answered by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The stream includes many genres of music from across the last five decades that draw direct inspiration from that historic year.