All posts by Woodstock Whisperer

Attended the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969, became an educator for 35 years after graduation from college, and am retired now and often volunteer at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts which is on the site of that 1969 festival.

Montgomery Alabama December 1955

Montgomery Alabama December 1955

Alabama, for better or worse, is typically seen as the the epicenter of the late 20th century's civil rights movement. Of course, what happened there had happened or was also happening in other states. Rosa Parks, her refusal to yield her seat, the subsequent fine, and the bus boycott were a recipe for other strategies. Here's Montgomery December 1955.

Montgomery December 1955

Montgomery Alabama December 1955
Martin Luther King, Jr in front of boycotted bus.
Monday 5 December 1955: The courts found Rosa Parks guilty and fined her for refusing to give up her seat a city bus. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by Martin Luther King Jr., began on this day. Most of the 50,000 African Americans living in Montgomery supported the boycott by walking, bicycling and car-pooling. The one-day boycott was so successful that the organizers met on Monday night and decided to continue. They established the Montgomery Improvement Association to organize the boycott and elected the King  as president. Jo Ann Robinson served on the group’s executive board and edited their newsletter. [NYT article re the start of the boycott>>>Montgomery Bus Boycott]
Montgomery Alabama December 1955
Thursday 8 December 1955 : Black taxi drivers charged ten cents per ride, a fare equal to the cost to ride the bus, in support of the boycott. When city officials learn of the tactic an order went out to fine any cab driver who charged a rider less than 45 cents.(NYT article re refusal to settle boycott>>>No settlement]
December 17, 1955: Martin Luther King, Jr and other Montgomery Improvement Association representatives met with white leaders in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the bus dispute. The boycott, initially launched as a one-day statement of protest, had been going on for nearly two weeks at this point.
December 30, 1955: Montgomery Mayor W. A. Gayle urged Montgomery citizens to patronize city buses or risk losing the bus company's business. [NYT article re ongoing boycott and price increase>>>January. Boycott continues.]
Montgomery Alabama December 1965
On June 5, 1956, a lower federal court ruled that any law requiring racially segregated seating on buses violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment guarantees all citizens, regardless of race, equal rights and equal protection under state and federal laws.

Montgomery Alabama December 1965

 

The city appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. On November 13 it ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional. The city appealed certain parts of the decision, but on...

Montgomery Alabama December 1965

December 17, 1956 the court refused to reconsider its ruling. On December 20 the Montgomery Improvement Association voted to end the boycott and on December 21 the boycott ended. It had lasted 381 days.

	

December 5 Music Contrasts

December 5 Music Contrasts

What was #1 on Billboard sometimes offers an interesting contrast and December 5 in the 60s does just that. From Bonanza‘s TV star Lorne Greene singing his cowboy song Ringo, to the fresh-faced California Beach Boys in concert, to a group of “hippies” singing about confusion and distrust of the status quo.

December 5 Music Contrasts

Lorne Greene
December 5 Music Contrasts
Lorne Greene on Bonanza
December 5 – 11, 1964: “Ringo” by Lorne Greene #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. A "one-hit-wonder" the song only stayed at #1 for a week. Lorne Greene stuck around as a successful actor much longer.

Though there was an acgtual outlaw Johnny Ringo, the song's story is not an accurate one.  The country song became a hit on both the pop and easy listening charts before the country charts. That was unusual.  Don Robertson and Hal Blair wrote the song.  

The fact that a certain very popular band had a very popular drummer by the same name encouraged RCA to release the song.

Beach Boys

December 5 Music Contrasts
Beach Boys 1965
December 5, 1964 – January 1, 1965:  The Beach Boys Beach Boys Concert was the Billboard #1 album. It would stay there nearly a month. Brian had not yet decided to go psychedelic.

The concert album was not quite as "live" as one would have thought. Vocals are overdubbed. Most of the album was part of a 1964 Sacramento concert (as advertised), but a couple of the songs were from December 1963.  There were other studio enhancements as well. 


Keep in mind that Beatlemania and the British Invasion were at their height by December 1964, but the Beach Boys' popularity kept this album #1 for four weeks!

Buffalo Springfield

December 5 a contrast in music
Dewey Martin, Jim Messina, Neil Young, Rich Fury, and Stephen Stills
December 5, 1966 – On this date, the Buffalo Springfield recorded “For What It’s Worth." It will be released on January 9, 1967.  They did not write it as an anti-war song, but it became one nonetheless and an anthem to many of the Baby Boomer generation.

For a larger explanation about the song's origins, see Sunset Strip Riots

A very thorough piece on the song >>> For What It’s Worth, explained

 

Sarah Roberts

Sarah Roberts

On  February 15, 1848 5-year-old Sarah Roberts (“a colored child..., a resident of Boston, and living with her father.”) had applied for admission to her nearest school. The school committee refused her application “on the ground of her being a colored person.”

Rather than walk past the five White schools to get to her assigned Black school, Sarah Roberts “went into the primary school nearest her residence, but without any ticket of admission...and was...ejected from the school by the teacher.”
Sarah's father Benjamin sued.

Roberts v. The City of Boston

Sarah Roberts

On December 4, 1849,  the case of Roberts v. The City of Boston began. Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw presided.
Sarah Roberts
Charles Sumner was the lawyer for Sarah Roberts
Abolitionist,and later United States Senator Charles Sumner and Robert Morris, a young Black abolitionist, represented Sarah Roberts. Their argument asserted that all persons, regardless of race or color, stand as equals before the law in Massachusetts.
Sarah Roberts
Robert Morris represented Sarah Roberts
In April 1850  Shaw decided in favor of the Boston Board. Shaw discounted the objection to the extra distance that Sarah had to walk as  trivial. "In Boston," he pointed out, "more than one hundred thousand inhabitants live within a space so small … it would be scarcely an inconvenience to require a boy of good health to traverse daily the whole extent of it." In light of this, he concluded, the extra distance that Sarah had to walk did nothing to make the committee's decision "unreasonable, still less illegal."
Sarah Roberts
cover to Sarah’s Long Walk about Sarah Roberts and others
Stephen Kendrick and Paul Kendrick wrote Sarah's Long Walk (2004) (click >>> Sarah's Long Walk)
Five years later, on April 28, 1855, Massachusetts desegregated the state’s public schools with a law that stated: “no distinction shall be made on account of the race, color, or religious opinions, of the applicant or scholar.”
Despite that progress, on May 18, 1896, the US Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson upheld the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities (including schools) under the doctrine of "separate but equal."
It was another 58 years, on May 17, 1954, that the US Supreme Court overturned Plessy and unanimously ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. It was a victory for NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall, who became the first black US Supreme Court justice.