1960 UC Berkeley students participate in a Civil Rights protest at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles

 

UC Students travel to LA

 

A busload of UC Berkeley students arrived at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on July 10, 1960, to support the Democratic National Convention's adoption of a meaningful civil rights platform.  The trip was organized by the recently formed left-leaning student political party, SLATE.

The Democratic Party's 1960 civil rights plank

 

The Democratic convention adopted a civil rights platform that pledged support for an end to discrimination in voting, education, lunch counters, employment, and housing.  It promised to use the powers granted by the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 "to secure the right to vote;" "to take whatever action is necessary to eliminate literacy tests and . . . the poll taxes as requirements for voting," The platform also supported "peaceful demonstrations" and called for every school affected by the Brown decision "to submit a plan providing for at least first-step compliance by 1963."

First major civil rights protest of the sixties

 

The reverends Martin Luther King, Ralph J. Abernathy and other national civil rights figures led a march of 5,000 people to the Convention at the LA Memorial Coliseum.  This march was the first modern-day civil rights protest at a national convention of either party, and its success helped spur King and others to join the Southern students' lunch counter sit-ins in the South.  King and several others were arrested at an Atlanta sit-in, but only King was jailed. 

 

Senator John F. Kennedy, prior to running for the presidential nomination, had paid little attention to civil rights issues.  Seeing the protests outside the Coliseum and hearing the impassioned pleas of some of the delegates for a strong platform on civil rights, Kennedy responded by asking brother Bobby to pressure the local judge in Atlanta to release King.  

By March, 1960, black students were sitting in at dozens of Southern lunch counters, and their supporters  were organizing sympathy boycotts of Woolworth and Kress stores in the North.  The widespread publicity given to these events and the successful protests at the Democratic Convention led to the creation of a strong national civil rights movement.

July 10, 1960, Los Angeles, CA.  Thirty-one year old Reverend Martin Luther King and Roy Wilkins, Executive Director of the NAACP.

DemCon6small.jpg

King and Wilkins in front of banner by Charles White, noted black artist.

DemCon7small.jpg

The head of the protest march. 

Kids, too

UC Berkeley grad student and SLATE President Aryay Lenske signing up participants for something.

The crowd assembles to march to the LA Memorial Coliseum.

King speaks to the protest crowd.

Bay Area group entertains crowd with protest songs.

I'm here because mommy said its important for my future.  It's hot out here!  Where's the ice cream you promised? 

Picketer Evelyn (Nebby Lou) Louise Crawford, writer and daughter of noted Bay Area civil rights activists Matt N. Crawford and Evelyn Graves Crawford.