Week of June 11-17
1963—President John F. Kennedy declares during a nationwide radio and television address that segregation was “morally wrong” and told the U.S. Congress it was “time to act” (pass legislation) to end all segregation of the races. That statement and similar ones endeared Kennedy to millions of African-Americans. However, a few months after making the declaration, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. But most of his legislative ideas would be implemented by his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson.
1963—Displaying the tenacity of the segregationist mentality dominant in the South in the 1960s, Alabama Gov. George Wallace, with the aid of state troopers, stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block two Black students from integrating the school. But when the Deputy U.S. Attorney General returned later in the day with a force of National Guardsmen, Wallace stepped aside and Vivian Malone and James Hood were allowed to register.
1840—The world’s first anti-slavery convention took place in London, England. The aim of the gathering was to unite abolitionists worldwide. However, the effectiveness of the convention was harmed by a decision to exclude female delegates.
1886—The Georgia Supreme Court upholds the will of former slave owner David Dickson who had left over $300,000 to a child he fathered by raping a 12-year-old Black girl. The ruling made Amanda America Eubanks the wealthiest Black person in America. She would later marry one of her White first cousins.
1963—Medgar Evers, Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP, was assassinated in front of his home by White supremacist Byron de la Beckwith. All-White juries twice refused to find De la Beckwith guilty although the evidence was overwhelming. Finally, in 1995, Beckwith was convicted of killing the civil rights activist. Beckwith died in prison in 2001.
1967—The United States Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that Virginia’s law banning interracial marriages was unconstitutional. The decision was a death blow to similar laws throughout the South. However, Alabama did not officially remove its “anti-miscegenation” law from the books until 2000.