A North Carolina native, Ella Baker played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement and in forming the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at Shaw University.
Subject: Civil Rights Movement
Governor James B. Hunt appointed Justice Henry Frye, in 1983, to the North Carolina Supreme Court. He thus became he became the first African American to sit on the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the Brown v Board of Education (1954) declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Following the Brown ruling, North Carolina enacted legislation that undermined the Supreme Court ruling. In August 1954 and in response to the Brown decision, Governor William B. Umstead created a “Governor’s Special Advisory Committee on Education,” with Thomas Pearsall, a prominent Rocky Mount farmer and businessman and former North Carolina Speaker of the House, as chairman. Along with Pearsall, the advisory committee included twelve whites and three blacks.
Most North Carolinians believe the Civil Rights Movement occurred strictly in the 1960s, with the start of the Sit-Ins at the Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina. The movement, however, began much earlier, and one can argue that its roots lay in the Civil-War period.
Griggs v. Duke Power Company was a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971. It concerned the legality, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, of high school diplomas and intelligence test scores as prerequisites for employment. The court ruled unanimously against the intelligence testing practices of the Duke Power Company. In his opinion, Chief Justice Warren Burger argued that employers can use intelligence tests only if "they are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job performance."
Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20, 1971, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education dealt with the desegregation plan adopted by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Chief Justice Warren Burger rendered the opinion of the court, and its decision was unanimous. The product of several years of NAACP litigation, the Swann decision lent the imprimatur of the Court to busing as a solution to inadequately desegregated public schools.
On February 1, 1960, four African-American students of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University sat at a white-only lunch counter inside a Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth’s store. While sit-ins had been held elsewhere in the United States, the Greensboro sit-in catalyzed a wave of nonviolent protest against private-sector segregation in the United States.
Reginald Hawkins was as an boisterous and confrontational desegregation activist of the 1950s and 60s. His passionate avocation for racial equality propelled him to the national civil rights spotlight and helped to dismantle segregation in North Carolina and the South.
Realizing desegregation was unavoidable, Charlotte School Board members ordered four black students to attend four non-integrated schools in the area. Dorothy Counts, one of the four students, was assigned to Harding High School and required to report there on September 4, 1957. While escorted by Reginald Hawkins, Counts was heckled, hissed, and spat upon while walking to the school.
Residential segregation is the phenomenon of individuals of a particular ethnicity inhabiting dwellings in a particular area. Though residential segregation of whites and African-Americans was enforced by law in many major U.S. cities, government enforcement of residential segregation in the United States ended after the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the 1948 case Shelley v. Kraemer. Residential segregation has nevertheless persisted as a sociological phenomenon in the United States, even after its legal basis has ended.