Five Great Things of the 1960's

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The 1960s brought tremendous turmoil for both the Civil Rights and Gay Liberation Movements. African Americans combated segregation throughout the south and other parts of the country and demonstrated against unfair treatment in all aspects of life. The GLBT community was also facing severe police harassment that would culminate in the Stonewall Riots by the end of the 5

decade. Grant Gallup, and African American civil tights activist makes a perceptive connection between the two groups during the sixties. He states, "many of us who went south to work with Dr. King in the sixties were gay. A lot of gay people who could not come out for their own liberation could invest the same energies in the liberation of black people" (Rimmerman 19). The trying 1960s brought about significant progress in laying the groundwork for future gains of both movements. The Freedom Summer of 1964, also called the Mississippi Summer Project, was a concerted effort launched to register African American voters in Mississippi. The state had the lowest African American voter registration in the country. They had been kept away from the polls because of institutionalized discrimination toward poor, uneducated African Americans. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and complicated registration processes, as well as blackmail, harassment, and intimidation tactics all kept African American voters away from the polls. White supremacists targeted volunteers, many of whom were white. Many were assaulted and some even killed. The project ultimately failed to register the voters it had hoped to but became a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. The media attention garnered from the events gave priority to urgent issues that had been largely ignored. One such issue was interracial marriage. At that time there were over a dozen states with active miscegenation laws; one of them was Virginia. In the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia, the law prohibiting marriages of mixed race was deemed...
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