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Florida Gulf Coast University Civil Rights Movement Discussion


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Module 12 Discussion: The Double V Becomes Reality

Click the link below to watch the third episode, “Ain’t Scared of Your Jails (1960-1961), from the fourteen part documentary, Eyes on the Prize, which originally aired on PBS in 1987. This award-winning television series documents the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, when activists used nonviolent resistance as a means to end decades of racial segregation, political and economic exclusion, and second class citizenship in the South.


1. U.S. Representative and civil rights leader Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., responded to a reporter who asked him, “I take it, then, that you are advocating Negroes in New York to stay out of these national chain stores?” with “Oh no, that’s not true. I’m advocating that American citizens interested in democracy to stay out of chain stores.” What do Powell’s body language, tone, and diction in this scene of the documentary convey about the Civil Rights Movement?

2. How did Mayor Ben West’s paradigm shift in response to the student sit-ins in Nashville help pave the way for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and ultimately, the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

3. When talking about spending time in jail for demonstrating, one of the activists explains how the prison guards ordered a black inmate named Peewee to beat him, saying, “Do you remember when your parents used to whip you and say, “It’s gonna hurt me more than it hurts you?’ It hurt Peewee more than it hurt me.” What did the activist mean? Why did beating the activist hurt Peewee?


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