ASALH’s Dr. S. Carroll Buchanan Film Series
administered by Robert Fitzgerald
” Rise “ is episode five of the six-part series, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
This episode, focusing on the period between 1940 and 1968, examines the long road to civil rights, beginning in World War II, when African Americans who helped fight fascism abroad came home to face the same old racial violence.
Mass media—from print to radio and TV—broadcast these injustices to the world, helped plant seeds of resistance. In December 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, heralding the dawn of a new movement of quiet resistance, with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as its public face.
Before long, masses of African Americans practiced this nonviolent approach at great personal risk to integrate public schools, lunch counters and more. As the civil rights movement scored one historic victory after another, non-violence was still all too often met with violence—and activists like Malcom X and Stockley Carmichael appeared on the scene.
By 1968, Dr. King, the apostle of non-violence, would be assassinated, unleashing a new call for “Black Power” across the country.