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Beyond IntegrationThe Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-1980$
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J. Michael Butler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627472

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627472.001.0001

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The Movement Evolves

The Movement Evolves

Chapter:
(p.50) Chapter Two The Movement Evolves
Source:
Beyond Integration
Author(s):

J. Michael Butler

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627472.003.0003

The 1964 transfer of Reverend W. C. Dobbins to an Alabama church changed the nature and the focus of the continuing black freedom struggle. Reverend H. K. Matthews asserted himself as the leading spokesman for area blacks and confronted the persistence of de facto racism in an increasingly hostile racial climate, despite formation of the Pensacola Biracial Committee in the aftermath of the downtown sit-ins. The local movement evolved after the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965) ended de jure segregation to address minority employment, poverty, and the institutionalized forms of cultural discrimination that permeated county schools. The biracial committee, which became the Pensacola Human Relations Commission in 1966, intensified the class-based divisions which plagued the black community in Northwest Florida. As the 1960s concluded, Rev. Matthews formed the Escambia County Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and focused the organization’s attention on the alleged racism of the Escambia County Sherriff’s Department and the existence of Confederate imagery in area public schools.

Keywords:   Reverend W. C. Dobbins, Reverend H. K. Matthews, De facto racism, De Jure segregation, Pensacola Biracial Committee, Pensacola Human Relations Commission, Escambia County Sherriff’s Department, Confederate imagery, Escambia County Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

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