By Robert W. Widell Jr.
Birmingham, Alabama looms huge within the historical past of the twentieth-century black freedom fight, yet thus far historians have typically missed the years after 1963. right here, writer Robert Widell explores the evolution of Birmingham black activism into the Nineteen Seventies, supplying a worthwhile neighborhood viewpoint at the "long" black freedom fight.
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Extra resources for Birmingham and the Long Black Freedom Struggle
In fact, it was during the period when its complaints and lawsuit were pending that CEJO was most active. Committee members took to the streets to protest delays in the legal proceedings, helped organize similar lawsuits at other Birmingham area companies, and stood their ground when they felt that a proposed settlement in the case was insufficient. At the same time, they branched out to lend their support to a wide variety of efforts intended to address issues of concern to African Americans—issues that ranged from police brutality to independent politics to inadequate hospital care.
Similarly, in their testimony at trial, numerous committee members told of being offered opportunities for advancement that they turned down. These opportunities were often hardly worthy of that description; usually black workers were offered a job that was more physically demanding and paid only a few cents per hour above their existing wage rate. 17 The committee’s persistence was further evident in its members’ unwillingness to accept remedies that they believed to be counter to their goal of full equality in the workplace.
We had somewhat of an Auxiliary Board that was supposed to have been representing the COMMITTEE FOR EQUAL JOB OPPORTUNITY 23 black employees. We had somewhat of a Board of Operatives that was supposed to have been representing the white employees. But neither one of them had any power. 34 A moment of serendipity, then, became one of great significance, but only because there was a group of black workers at ACIPCO who were poised to take advantage of the opportunities it presented. 35 The group decided to begin filing complaints with federal officials in hopes that someone outside the company would listen and remedy the situation.
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