Civil Rights and the Press
HIST 1302 Research Paper: Civil Rights and the Press
“The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, if you only know how to use it.”
- Sherlock Holmes, in “The Adventures of the Six Napoleons” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
PROMPT: Many historians consider the media to be of vital importance to the African American Civil Rights Movement. How did the media impact the African American Civil Rights Movement? How did the press influence American opinion in the movement? How did this influence lead to changes in law and society?
Use the sources below and your knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement to take a position, form a thesis, and write a well-organized paper explaining the impact of the media on the African American Civil Rights Movement. You may also address (in a LIMITED form) how the media still affects the United States today, BUT KEEP THIS LIMITED!!! You MUST choose from the sources provided below. You may NOT use any outside sources. You must cite your sources in MLA format – in your text, and in a works cited page. Divide your sources in your works cited page as Primary and Secondary. You must use at least one primary source in your paper and at least one secondary source. You must use at least 5 sources and your paper should be at least 3 pages long, double-spaced. DO NOT USE OTHER SOURCES. A minimum of sixty points will be deducted for using sources outside of these listed and provided below. Ninety percent of this paper should be your words and your analysis. Do not quote a source for more than one sentence.
Your grade will be based on the following: Historical Accuracy (60%), Construction of Thesis & Argument (20%), Use and citation of Sources (20%). Grammatical errors will result in points being deducted from your paper.
1. Letter from a citizen to a Congressman concerning Selma and Voting Rights Act: https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/mrs-e-jackson-in-favor-of-voting-rights/
2. Media Coverage of Birmingham Children’s March, Comparing news from Birmingham to others in the nation and the impact: http://apr.org/post/how-media-covered-civil-rights-movement-childrens-march
3. Media Coverage of Birmingham, comparing Birmingham news to New York Times – oral history interview: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/06/18/193128475/how-the-civil-rights-movement-was-covered-i n-birmingham
4. Journalists discuss coverage of the Civil Rights Movement: http://articles.latimes.com/1987-04-05/news/mn-380_1_civil-rights-movement
5. Letter from a student involved in Freedom Summer of 1964 to his parents about the movement and the media coverage: http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15932coll2/id/17966/rec/2
6. YouTube: NBC News “Hope and Fury: MLK, the Movement and the Media” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pll_5s10ils
7. Political Cartoon about Selma: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/00652223/
8. Book with essay by Julian Bond of SNCC describing the media attention at Selma – should be cited as an anthology of essays. He participated in some events of the movement. https://www.granburyisd.org/cms/lib/TX01000552/Centricity/Domain/278/Julian%20Bond%20The%20 Media%20and%20the%20Movement%20with%20Source.pdf
9. Influence and history of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: https://www.npr.org/2015/02/16/385756875/the-politics-of-passing-1964s-civil-rights-act
10. Article from The Atlantic, describing television coverage of the Civil Rights Movement https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/televisions-civil-rights-revolution/554639/
12. Excerpt from The Race Beat on Till Trial: https://www.granburyisd.org/cms/lib/TX01000552/Centricity/Domain/278/Till%20Trial%20from%20The%20R ace%20Beat%20with%20Source.pdf
13. Excerpt from The Race Beat on Ole Miss: https://www.granburyisd.org/cms/lib/TX01000552/Centricity/Domain/278/Ole%20Miss%20Race%20Beat%20 Excerpt.pdf
14. Any case information from www.oyez.org
Civil Rights and the Press
The media played a vital role in the African American Civil Rights Movement. The press was instrumental in shaping public opinion and, as a result, helped bring about changes in law and society. The media helped raise awareness of the issue of civil rights and galvanize support for the movement. Through news coverage, editorials, and opinion pieces, the media helped bring the issue of civil rights to the forefront of public discourse. The press was not always supportive of the civil rights movement, however. In the early days of the movement, many newspapers and other news outlets were dismissive of its goals and leaders. This began to change as the movement gained momentum and achieved some success. As the movement continued to grow, the media began to take it more seriously and give it more coverage. This increased coverage helped bring even more attention to the issue of civil rights and build support for the movement. The media played a critical role in the African American Civil Rights Movement by raising awareness of the issue, shaping public opinion, and helping to bring about changes in law and society.
According to Hill 311, many historians consider the media vital to the African American Civil Rights Movement. The media played a critical role in raising support for the movement throughout the 1960s by promoting civil rights events (Hill 311). The press influenced American opinion in the movement, leading to changes in law and society. This influence was largely due to the commercial success of soul music, which the culturalists deemed too white and the Panthers too alienating. As a result, the media profoundly impacted the African American Civil Rights Movement. The media played a critical role in raising support for the movement throughout the 1960s by promoting civil rights events. The press often reported on civil rights events as they happened, which helped to raise awareness and support for the movement. The media also played a role in shaping public opinion about the movement. In particular, the media helped to paint a picture of African Americans as victims of discrimination and violence. This portrayal helped to garner sympathy and support for the civil rights cause. The press also played a significant role in influencing American opinion in the civil rights movement. The media often took sides in the debate, and this had a profound impact on public opinion. For example, when the media reported on the violent suppression of civil rights protesters, this often led to increased support for the movement (Hill 312). Similarly, when the media highlighted the civil rights movement’s successes, this often led to increased support. The media also had a significant impact on the civil rights movement by helping to change laws and society. The media also helped to change public opinion about civil rights, which led to changes in society. For example, the media helped to desegregate public schools and workplaces.
Many historians consider the media to be vital to the African American Civil Rights Movement. The media was able to help bring many of the significant events of the civil rights movement to light, which helped the nation to progress towards more equality (Alabama Public Radio). However, some believe that things may have progressed much more slowly if the media had responded differently. One of the turning points for how the media covered the civil rights movement was when Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times came down to Birmingham. He covered the hatred, segregation, and problems in the city. Many people in the city were shocked because that wasn’t the image they got of Birmingham reading the local papers (Alabama Public Radio).
The media played a paramount role in the African American Civil Rights Movement by influencing public opinion. The press helped to bring attention to the issue and urged Americans to support the cause (Fresh Air). The estrangement between the two men grew as the ’60s went on, culminating in King’s assassination in 1968 (Fresh Air). The passage of the Act also had lasting implications for voting patterns in the American South. The Republican Party gained strength due to white backlash to the law. Over time, the Party became almost entirely white. The media’s coverage of the Civil Rights Movement was thus instrumental in shaping the course of history.
The press was influential in shaping public opinion and helping to create pressure on the government to change the laws that discriminated against African Americans (All Things Considered). The media also provided a platform for African American activists and leaders to share their stories and rally support for the cause. The coverage of the Civil Rights Movement by the media helped bring about changes in law and society (All Things Considered). African American newspapers were also an important part of the Civil Rights Movement. These papers provided a source of information and news for African Americans who were often excluded from mainstream media outlets. The papers also helped to build a sense of community and solidarity among African Americans across the country.
The media played a vital role in the African American Civil Rights Movement by influencing public opinion and helping to bring about changes in law and society. Television created an idealized figure of the “civil-rights subject” who was an exemplar of citizenship and responsibility (Alexis C. Madrigal). The media was on the lookout for “moderate” white southerners to associate with images of furious and maltreated black people. The perception of these events led to a false break in the larger perspective on black freedom struggles. In reality, the early civil-rights leaders and the later ones were fighting for many of the same goals.
In conclusion, the media played a major role in the African American Civil Rights Movement by influencing public opinion and helping to bring about changes in law and society. The coverage of the movement by the press was instrumental in shaping the course of history. The media provided a platform for African American activists and leaders to share their stories and rally support for the cause. The media’s coverage of the Civil Rights Movement helped bring about changes in law and society that improved the lives of African Americans.
Alabama Public Radio. How The Media Covered The Civil Rights Movement: The Children's March. 25 April 2013. 13 April 2022 https://www.apr.org/arts-life/2013-04-25/how-the-media-covered-the-civil-rights-movement-the-childrens-march.
Alexis C. Madrigal. When the Revolution Was Televised. 1 APRIL 2018. 13 April 2022 https://app.jasper.ai/docs/edit/4723bf81-c159-4300-8f9f-a266b1ad1866
All Things Considered. How The Civil Rights Movement Was Covered In Birmingham. 18 June 2013. 13 April 2022 https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/06/18/193128475/how-the-civil-rights-movement-was-covered-in-birmingham.
Fresh Air. The Politics Of Passing 1964's Civil Rights Act. 16 February 2015. 13 April 2022 https://www.npr.org/2015/02/16/385756875/the-politics-of-passing-1964s-civil-rights-act.
Hill, Patricia S. "Media, Culture, and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle." Journalism History 28.1 (2002): 51.
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