Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Day the President Was Shot

The day President John F. Kennedy was shot we lost First Lady 

Jacqueline Kennedy, who did not die on Friday, November 22, 1963, but the nation lost her as our First Lady, half of the power couple that would end Jim Crow laws in America.

Jacqueline Kennedy : Historic Conversations on Life
with John F. Kennedy Book with AUDIO Interview
8CDs Boxed set [Hardcover] [Audio CD] (Jacqueline Kennedy)

It started out as such a special day at our school. We were assembled in the auditorium to watch the television coverage of President and Mrs. Kennedy's visit to Dallas. All the students were excited because they were just up the road  from us in Dallas, so close. At the time, I was attending an overcrowded, all-black public school, established under Jim Crow, laws  and traditions, typical of the era. Because we were looking forward to the end of segregation, our enthusiasm for this young president and his wife was very high in my school, as it was in other black schools and communities across the nation. "Nearly 100 years after the Civil War was supposed to end slavery," said my grandmother, Bigmama. "It may be near."

Young people in my school and old people at home  expected President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to do something for us, to help us in some way. There was finally hope in the White House with this young and seemingly modern, forward-thinking couple, following Dwight Eisenhower, who would not commit to civil rights, except in the most superficial way. 

Down with the old ways of thinking about race, we thought. and in with new race relations in America. We saw the end to Jim Crow in focus. When I think back on it, we kids were far too optimistic about our future. But that did not stop us from preparing for it. We studied, read and dreamed higher than our parents permitted themselves to dream. We kids thought it was time for change, especially after Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Woolworth Sit-ins, the Freedom Riders and other demonstrations. We even questioned our parents about their lack of ambition. We were so dumb that we did not see the road our parents had prepared for us.

As kids, we were not sure what form the President and First Lady's help would take, but we had our expectations that President Kennedy would help us get rid of Jim Crow laws and that his the First Lady would encourage him in this endeavor. We kids knew Jim Crow laws were meant to keep us in a certain place in society. "A low place," my grandmother said.

The white only and colored only signs of segregation, cloaked in antiquated separate but equal laws meant to keep the races apart, were painted on and hung in every public building and city park in town, and ours was not the only town in America that was segregated. In addition, segregation in housing, employment, education and other services were segregated in most of the rest of the nation's cities and small towns.

Rosa Parks & Martin Luther King
Montgomery Bus Boycott
My mother read a lot and made me read. She kept up with news on court decisions she thought may affect my education--Brown v the Board of Education and others. She respected Thurgood Marshall and thought he was good looking. I thought so, too. 

My mother took national magazines, black and mainstream, and black newspapers from cities around the country that covered protests, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, sparked by Rosa Parks and led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember the Houston Informer, which is still in business, believed to be the oldest black newspaper published west of the Mississippi River in 1893. We had newspapers from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and other places. My mother read them all.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott began in December 1955 and lasted for more than 300 days. 

We had gotten our first television by then, but there were virtually no news broadcasts, only fifteen minutes devoted to local news, which in our community was dominated by farming news. Fifteen minutes was all that was devoted to national news in the evening, as well. However, national news was committing most of their time to civil rights demonstrations.

Perhaps we kids and the grownups, too, were thinking President John F. Kennedy understood our predicament better than some of the past presidents. It wasn't like Kennedy was black or brown, but his religion made him different. And even if his religion was different from ours and he was also white and rich, we still felt he had more in common with us than the rest who had lived in the White House, except, maybe, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, both of whom were poor.

My mother said Mr. and Mrs. Truman were so poor they never owned their own home. That was poorer than us. We owned our own home. When Mr. Truman was done in Washington, he and Bess retired to her mother's home in Independence, Missouri, now the location of the Truman Presidential Library and Museum. 

My father, a World War II (WWII) veteran of the Pacific Theater, said President Truman, a World War I veteran, integrated the military after WWII. My father said Mr. Kennedy, also a WWII veteran, was in a position to do a lot more on "this race situation" because Kennedy knew what it was like to be different and discriminated against. After all, tolerance for his Irish-Catholic religion and background was still low in the United States, especially in the Deep South., where Kennedy was regarded no higher than the black people he pledged to help.

We gave Lincoln credit for freeing the slaves, but that was so long ago and who  knows what went on back then? What was supposed to change still had not changed in 100 years.

Black, brown  and other marginalized people still were not able to vote, get a decent education, receive health care, secure a good-paying job, order a meal in a restaurant or use a public restroom. The system was built on Jim Crows laws that were against most people of color. From our perspective, the Civil War had not ended, otherwise the efforts of Rosa Parks and the rest would be unnecessary. Black people were still slaves, only free to go home to their segregated neighborhoods at the end of the long workday with hardly any money to show for it.

Irish Brigade, Confederate Army

We were tired of waiting and Mr. Kennedy and the First Lady gave us reason to hope for change.

The First Lady's input was important in the White House, we thought. She was a young mother, who could surely sympathize with children being abused on television by the policemen. Her input in the White House against these actions had to be important. My mother's input was important in our household decisions. The First Lady would influence Mr. Kennedy's decisions to favor us, we so naively thought, unaware of the woman's real life and personal disappointments.

We were confident in President Kennedy because he came from an Irish-Catholic family that did not have special privileges when they arrived in Boston in the mid-1800s. My mother read that Kennedy's father, Joseph, had been a bootlegger before he got rich and became respectable. One of my grandmother's brothers-in-law had been a bootlegger, too. To us kids the Irish were no different from us. There was so much that we kids did not know about the social conditions in the United States, including the fact that some Irish fought in the Confederate Army.

"No Irish" Sign
Boston Sign Company 1915

Although the Irish were persecuted well into the twentieth century, Kennedy became our first Irish-Catholic president. None of us kids knew about back-room deals or political maneuvering that made this happen, but we heard grownups talking about how his religion hindered him, even if he was rich.

"Money can't change some things," my mother always said.

Lights went down in the quiet auditorium and teachers standing in aisles shushed us. This was their president, too. The television was sitting on the stage at the front. Its black-and-white screen was so small, most of us behind the second row couldn't see the actual pictures, but the feeling was as if we were there peering through a tiny window to the action in Dallas. The room was electrified,  not with noise or motion, but with a still and silent exuberance that each of us felt. What a beautiful afternoon for a parade, I thought--sun shining, cool, no clouds, not a hint of rain or anything else to spoil the mood. 

Jacqueline Kennedy
It was particularly important that the First Lady didn't get rain to ruin her hairstyle and clothes. She wore dresses and suits that every want-to-be-classy woman and girl in America, including my mother and me, tried to imitate. "Simple is always best when it comes to clothes," my mother advised. "Good fit, strong seams and no fuss." To black women, the First Lady's most important features were her sable hair and brown eyes that sparkled without being blue. And Jacqueline Kennedy was gorgeous with her thick, dark brown hair with natural color that did not look like it came from a bottle.

Oh, we knew Mrs. Kennedy was a rich white woman living in the White House and we knew our lives could never be like hers. Somehow African American women contented themselves with identifying with Mrs. Kennedy's articulation, charm, carriage, attire, intellect and uncomplicated presentation. We could achieve Jackie's look with ease, we thought, an amazing look without the appearance of trying too hard like so many actresses we saw in Hollywood films. Today, all American women are fortunate to have a role model in Michelle Obama, similar to the example set by Jacqueline Kennedy half a century ago.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy gave us a form of glamour with substance that we, as black women, could copy and pass on to our daughters, like my mother tried to pass on to me and I tried to pass on to mine. No matter what Jackie Kennedy wore, however simple, the clothing looked like it belonged on her, which made her seem at ease and real--a wife, a mother, a homemaker and former career woman--a photojournalist before she married then Senator John F. Kennedy in 1953.

In November 1963, however, the First Lady still wasn't feeling well, my mother told me the night before the Dallas visit...something about losing her baby back in August of the same year. His name was Patrick, just two days old when he died. My mother had read about the baby's death. She read a lot. She bought magazines, newspapers, reference books and other reading materials that kept her current on everything from news to fashion to science to art and all else that seemed to affect our lives or not. She was interested.

The loss of the First Lady's baby son saddened my mother, who knew the pain of losing a child. My little brother was seven when he died. His name was John. He had been very, very ill that morning, much more so than other times. My mother was crying when she told me to go on to school. She said she had to take him to the doctor and she didn't want me to worry. I didn't want to leave them but I did. I was nine and sitting in Mrs. Davis's fourth grade class when my cousin came to the school to get me. I knew when she came into the room my brother had died. It was written all over her face as she placed my sweater around my shoulders. I slipped my arms in and followed her out of the classroom. Neither of us said a word. It was a cool Fall day that, in itself, held no hint of death in the air.


My mother, Littie Nash, wrestled with Jim Crow racism during the 1950s and 1960s, while giving me the life of a little princess with imagination and without the luxury of having a lot of money...Littie did not waste compliments on me or anyone else. She reserved accolades to celebrate real accomplishments, not just because I dragged myself out of bed before noon on Saturday or because I made an 'A' on my report card. "Some things you have to do," she said. "And those things pass, not without notice, but without an all-day hullabaloo."

To support my efforts, my mother sponsored piano, ballet, tennis and swimming lessons, dance performances, recitals, literary and classical music club memberships, summer camps, school trips and science fair exhibits, still managing to squeeze out of our tight budget money for the dentist to install braces on my teeth. It took a great deal of courage to live with dignity and raise me to have aspirations. About my upbringing, Littie got it right, although I took detours of my own along the way. Read more at: Great Mothering in Jim Crow's World.

Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's
It was a nice day for the president and his wife to visit Texas. I thought of all the kids in all the other states watching this parade and being jealous that the president was here instead of there, where they were, like I was wishing I was in Dallas watching the actual parade instead of the little jerky motions on that tiny screen on the auditorium stage. This day would document an era in American history to change the direction of my future.

Suddenly, with this president, I had a future, for which I could prepare and look forward, a future described to me by my mother, who pushed me toward a light that was brighter for me than it had been for her. Who knew that day would end the way it did? Who knows how any day will end?

I document my family's legacy in much of my writing and in my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's, about life with my mother and her mother, Bigmama, during the civil rights movement. My father was there, too, but he was busy working hard to help my mother pay for things she wanted for me. I realize now that my mother wanted the same things for me that First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wanted for her children, a happy and prosperous life. 

Images of the president's parade were interrupted at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Walter Cronkite's came on trying to deliver the sad news and to calm the grieving nation, while he, himself, choked back tears. I was glad the screen was small and I couldn't see it well. I didn't want this news. Then someone pulled the plug on the television. The screen went black except for a tiny white glow in the middle that faded away slowly. Staring at the fading beam, no one dared to move. We didn't know what to do; just sat there staring at the little black hole on the stage that was once  a window to the future.

The late Walter Cronkite outlines his feelings of that day and many other memories from his career in a Collector's Edition DVD, Walter Cronkite Remembers.

After school, I walked home in silence, confused. All of my classmates were silent, too, also confused, some angry, cursing invisible strangers and swinging fists at the air. What would we do without our President? Could that have been the way the freed slaves felt when President Lincoln was assassinated? Now what? More of the same? How long? Why? Was this all that would be left of the protests of the past? A sputtering out of all our efforts? What about Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King? What were they thinking now? How would we recover?

Was it selfish of me to take so personally the loss of this man I did not know? What must his family be feeling now? It had not occurred to me, at first, that a family was now without a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, friend...more alone than we were. How alone must the First Lady and their children be feeling? All I remembered for days to come was her bloodied pink suit that he had worn the entire day. What sorrow she bore.

I could imagine how that family felt because I had experienced the loss of my brother. My mother could imagine because she had experienced the loss of her son. After my little brother died, our house turned into a lonely shell for quite some time. We watched my mother going through the motions of living until she was able to live again with her great pain. She never talked about her grief with me, perhaps with Bigmama or my father, but not with me. I never talked about my grief with her, afraid I would hurt her more by bringing up my brother's name. We just went about life the best we could without him and wondered what life would have been like had he been there with us.

I feel the loss of my brother to this day, as I am sure my mother did until the day she died. Unlike the first family, the world was not here to share our losses with us. But what real good can the world's caring make? Somewhere deep in the privacy of the heart, hurt just hurts, whether the world is there to share it or not. In pain, there is little company that matters; maybe a smile or a nod acknowledging its presence. I don't know. Pain is like birth and death. You do them alone. No one can know how another person really feels. They can only imagine.

Jacqueline Kennedy : Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy Book with AUDIO Interview 8CDs Boxed set [Hardcover] [Audio CD] (Jacqueline Kennedy)
As much pain as she was feeling, four months after the assassination of her husband, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy sat with Arthur Schlesinger and recorded Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy. The document of her husband's legacy produced 8.5 hours of interviews on eight CDs with a 400-page, illustrated hardcover transcript.

The late former First Lady talked in great detail about her personal life with the president and revealed secrets of their lives and relationship. At the time of the interviews and recording, Jacqueline Kennedy had decided that her words should not be released before 2011. Mrs. Kennedy's daughter and author, Caroline Kennedy, wrote the Foreword to her mother's collection; the introduction was written by historian, Michael Beschloss. The former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's previously archived, taped interviews and photographs are now available to the public. Order below:

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© 2011 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rosa Parks & Jim Crow Laws: A Brief History

Jim Crow laws danced off stage when Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Little Rock Nine, Woolworth Sit-ins, Freedom Riders and the rest of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement  forced U.S. race relations to change.

Jim Crow Minstrel Character Singing & Dancing To Racist Music
Jim Crow Minstrel Character
Singing & Dancing
To Racist Music

Jim Crow laws are dead; Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Martin Luther King and other civil rights protests saw to it.

However, the Civil Rights Movement did not gain America racial harmony. In the 1950s and '60s, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Brown v the Board of Education, Woolworth's Sit-ins, Freedom Riders and so many others battled discrimination and violence left over from the growth of Black Codes established to control slaves and free persons of color. Jim Crow laws were modeled from Black Codes .and used to strangled America throughout the Civil Rights Movement. 

Is it true that Jim Crow is still alive today in a different form in post-racism America?

No Food or Latino Allowed Beyond this Sign
Signs of the Times
Throughout literary history, it can be seen that Jim Crow was not just the stage character's name or music, but represented a symbol of fear in the hearts of African Americans and other white and nonwhite ethnic groups. These black codes and laws ruled the South, North, East, Mid-West and West into the Twentieth Century. Although there was no legal framework in American law to discriminate legally against ethnic groups other than African Americans, Jim Crow laws spread discriminatory treatment across all racial and color lines.

Race, Ethnicity, and Minority
Housing in the United
States by Momeni,
(Google Affiliate Ad)
Today, black codes and Jim Crow laws translate into hate crimes against Hispanics, the largest group in the United States against whom hate crimes are perpetrated. The FBI is reporting that 66% of hate crimes in this country are committed against Hispanics. It is estimated that the percentage would be higher if undocumented residents reported more hate crimes against them. Their fear of being discovered and removed from this country keeps them from reporting hate crimes against them. Hispanics, especially the undocumented from Mexico, believe they are easy targets because of their lack of U.S. citizenship and language. 

Jim Crow laws, prejudice and discrimination were not reserved for black Americans. Segregation was prevalent in most communities where color, features, accent, religion and customs were different. People were separated for housing, services, accommodations in public facilities and even music on the radio. 

The Politics of Ethnicity  in Settler Societies:  States of Unease
The Politics of Ethnicity 
in Settler Societies: States 
of Unease by Pe 
(Google Affiliate Ad)
The politics of ethnicity  began to form in Early American settlements, making it common all over the nation to see signs in businesses: No Mexicans, No Indians, No Jews, No Japs, No Niggers, No Italians, No Filipinos, No Chinese, No Irish, No Colored of Any Kind served here. Many times, people have a prejudice against a language or dialect. Understanding prejudice is the first step to eliminating the disease.

Learn a new language to combat language-based racism and prejudice.

One way to combat language-based racism is to learn to speak another language or to learn the music of other cultures that have become prevalent in your region. This will welcome the group and also expand your range of racial tolerance and understanding. If you can communicate with a person, you are able to develop empathy for them and realize you have more in common and you may have realized.Also, there are studies indicating that learning Spanish or another foreign languages will help fight the onset of Alzheimer's disease. 

My part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama, the major subject in my book, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's, said, "Integration was a matter of economics. They were losing too much money not serving us. When you weigh money against anything in this country, money will probably win."
In the 1830s, Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice, a white New York stage performer, painted his face with black cork and gave birth to the Jim Crow minstrel character, copied for decades. Rice gave Jim Crow laws a face, name, voice, music and song. Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice was born in 1808, the year U.S. African slave importation became illegal (but did not stop) and died in 1860, before southern slaves were freed. 

In the 1830s, Rice a failed performer, stole his act from a black man he saw singing and dancing for his own entertainment. 

Rice transformed what he saw into a character to commercialize, blackened his face and limbs with burnt cork--far darker than human skin. He perfected his blackface act of dance, music with a racist ditty to a white audience in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, theater to rave reviews. Rice carried Jim Crow dance and music to white theaters throughout the United States--North and South--and to Europe, spawning copiers. Jim Crow music ensembles gave birth to a new genre of entertainment in America and the world, the minstrel show, which followed African Americans into every other medium of entertainment to come, including radio, movies, television and stage and did not end until after the Civil Rights Movement.

The Civil Rights Movement began long before Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was not long off the back roads as a rural attorney on the Eighth Judicial circuit traveling in his buggy hitched to his horse, Old Buck. He traveled 400 miles and stayed away from from home working ten weeks at a time stopping for court sessions in seven towns. On the road, he cut his speech-making teeth in tiny courtrooms and loved every minute of it.

Lincoln, a young self-educated lawyer and family man had ambitions. By 1844, he had won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives where he became acquainted with anti-slavery movements and the danger of perpetuating slavery and slave codes into western U.S. territories. Able to stop slavery, Lincoln was not able to stop the slave code from becoming the framework for the body of legislation later to be represented by Jim Crow laws.

Jim Crow in minstrel shows represented the stigma being fought by Sojourner Truth and others before Rosa Parks' generation of civil rights activists was born. Outliving slavery by 100 years, Jim Crow lived into the 20th century. As tensions grew, southerners kidnapped Jim Crow from stages and transformed the character into the preferred role for African Americans and imitators of black culture. Jim Crow made its way from theater stages to legislation, becoming a model, subverting gains African Americans were promised after the Civil War. Andrew Johnson and Abraham Lincoln did not share views on slavery or civil rights for freemen.

The Emancipation  Proclamation:  A Brief History  with Documents
The Emancipation Proclamation:
 A Brief History with Documents 
by Voren (Google Affiliate Ad)
Lincoln entered the presidential race in 1860 to fight the spread of slavery into the Western Territories. On January 1, 1863, during his presidency, Lincoln authored and issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order freeing slaves in the U.S. South. By that time, northern states had already freed their slaves. The intent of the document was to prevent the further spread of slavery and to avoid black codes and job discrimination growing in Northern states in response to labor competition by freed slaves. These battles were still being fought when Martin Luther King  wrote letters from jail in the 1950s and, in the opinions of some Americans, still be fought today.

Executive Order Emancipation Proclamation
Executive Order
Emancipation Proclamation
Four months after Union armies defeated Confederates at the Battle of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address at the Soldiers' National Cemetery dedication in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 

Eventually, Lincoln led the Union to victory and dismantled the institution of  human bondage in the United States. Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, an event covered in The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant.

Abraham Lincoln was shot  just five days later during the play, Our American Cousin.

Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Confederate sympathizer, descendant of Jewish-Portuguese thespians and a stage actor himself, John Wilkes Booth shot the president at the Ford Theater

With the popularity of blackface minstrel shows being at their height, Booth was certainly familiar with blackface minstrel shows. In fact, his nationally acclaimed  older brother, Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, was said to have blackened his face and performed in minstrel shows early in his career.

What better way for a young student to be introduced to the history the United States than through the study of the nation's important documents. These lessons are fun, as well as informative later on when the student prepares for college entrance examinations. Also, these documents may be useful in preparing for US Citizenship Tests. 

Reconstruction President Andrew Johnson, had been Lincoln's vice president. When Johnson became president, he vetoed The Civil Rights Act of 1866, which declared, "all persons born in the United States are now citizens, without regard to race, color, or previous condition." Much of the spirit and language in the new law was drawn directly from  Lincoln as illustrated in his Emancipation Proclamation and alluded to in his Gettysburg Address. 

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 passed, in spite of President Andrew Johnson's veto. Passing the law did not accomplish its intent. Johnson's failure to protect the rights of former slaves resulted in the failure of Reconstruction. In the meanwhile, racist groups in the South began writing their own laws to maintain racial status quo, leading to the creation of Black Codes or Jim Crow laws and the further spread of the infamous blackface minstrel show. 

Stepin Fetchit & Will Rogers
Stepin Fetchit & Will Rogers
Play Clip: Judge Priest
Fox Studios (1934)

Black entertainers who were made to blacken up before taking the stage, later were allowed to play roles in early Hollywood without blackface, as long as their characters were dopey with shiftless attitudes and slurred unintelligible speech. Characterizations such as these were unacceptable to black people, but were retained for many decades, requiring a fight to be waged against Jim Crow in order to remove the degrading portrayals from the silver screen.

Race Relations in Southern California gives a closer look at racism and discrimination against black women in early movies and Southern California female professionals.

After the Civil War, the Reconstruction Congress passed The Civil Rights Act of 1866, which  declared, "all persons born in the United States are now citizens, without regard to race, color, or previous condition." This statement remained only a statement on the books through many decades of protest and resistance, while American society was allowed to create a system of legal discrimination, backed up by groundless biological assertions, and to sort out its demons on its own terms, in its own time.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 passed over President Andrew Johnson's veto. Much has been said about the inaction of Andrew Johnson after the Civil War, when the United States was scheduled to enter a period of Reconstruction. This period was meant to be used to rebuild the nation and phase African Americans, both former slaves and free black persons, fully into society. As new citizens of the United States, former slaves could make and enforce contracts, sue and be sued, give evidence in court, and inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property. Persons who denied these rights to former slaves were guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction faced a fine not exceeding $1,000, or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both. 

Strange Fruit: 
Plays on Lynching 
by American Women
Lynching by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) became a key ingredient in the enforcement of the Jim Crow system in most parts of the officially segregated South and, to a large degree, universally enforced in the unofficially segregated North. When the KKK undermined the civil rights of former slaves, Reconstruction failed to guarantee their protection. Female African Americans who suffered retaliation for speaking out for their civil rights became victims of lynching, which led to a female outcry in the late Nineteenth Century against racially motivated lynching in the United States.

The 1896 Supreme Court decision, Plessy v Ferguson, legalized separate but equal when a black man lost his case against the railroad for refusing him a first-class seat in the white section of the train. The ruling laid a foundation for Jim Crow discrimination and segregation in accommodations, services, public education, housing, hiring, health, equal protection, representation and everything else.

Rosa Parks Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa Parks
Montgomery Bus Boycott

To reduce Jim Crow laws to a pile of rags in back of the stage, it took thousands of civil rights protests and activists of all races, including, Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Woolworth Sin-ins, Diane Nash, the Freedom Riders and others taking on Jim Crow, some whose names are unrecorded; others who died in the battle.

The ills of Jim Crow laws began to be rolled back 100 years later by President Lyndon Johnson when he signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965Until another President Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Jim Crow held a firm hold on race relations in the United States. This Act reversed and prohibited employment discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, or religion; and prohibited public access discrimination, leading to desegregation of everything that had been legally segregated by Plessy v Ferguson in 1896.

The death of Jim Crow laws had finally begun with the signing of this new law that began under President Johnson's predecessor, President John F. Kennedy, whose position Vice President Johnson had inherited after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. Unlike President Andrew Johnson nearly 100 years earlier during Reconstruction, President Lyndon Johnson, during the Civil Rights Movement, put teeth into his new law and backed up its proclamations with inspirational words, as well as federal troops.

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My mother, Littie Nash, wrestled with Jim Crow racism while giving me the life of a little princess with imagination and without the luxury of having a lot of money...Read more at: Great Mothering in Jim Crow's World.
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Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks:
Rosa Parks: A Biography
 (Kindle Edition)

And don’t forget about the kids! Kindle Fire and  products provide an excellent opportunity for parents to build a digital library for their children with a digital reader, affordable enough for each child to have their own.  

Kindle provides a wide choice in children’s reading and rich color pictures books like Rosa Parks - A Short Biography for Kids (Kindle Edition) by Jonathan Madden, an introduction to civil rights hero, Rosa Parks, is.a short biography, written and designed for kids, summarizing her protest to end Jim Crow segregation in the South. http://www.sunnynash.blogspot.com/ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Sunny Nash

Bigmama Didn't Shop
At Woolworth's
by Sunny Nash
Sunny Nash is author of Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's, chosen by the Association of American University Presses as one of its essential books for understanding race relations in the United States, Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's (Texas A&M University Press) is also listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg Center in New York and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida.

Sunny Nash's book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, began when she was writing columns for Hearst and Knight-Ridder Newspapers in the 1990s. The columns were comprised of stories from her childhood in the Jim Crow South with her part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama, her parents, relatives, friends, teachers and others in her life. She had no idea that these little vignettes would garner so much interest nationwide. But they did. With that, a managing editor at Texas A&M University Press, Mary Lenn Dixon, saw the merit in compiling these stories into a book and approached Nash about creating a manuscript of selected articles for review and eventual publication.

Sunny Nash's Publications List includes music biographies of jazz guitarist, Kenny Burrell; jazz trumpeter, Clark Terry; and R&B singer-songwriter, Ben E. King for the African American National Biography by Harvard and Oxford, edited by Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn Higginbotham. Nash's work also is collected in The African American West, A Century of Short Stories; Blacks in the American West and Beyond--America, Canada, and Mexico: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography; Reflections in Black, A History of Black Photographers 1840 - Present; Ancestry; African American Women Confront the West: 1600-2000; Black women in Texas history; Companion to Southern Literature; Texas Through Women's Eyes: The Twentieth-century Experience; Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy; African American Foodways; Southwestern American Literature Journal; and other anthologies.

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