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During the mayoralty of one of New York City's most liberal mayors, Robert F. Wagner (1954-1965) the city faced a great deal of racial turmoil. Despite its reputation as a bastion of liberalism and the mayor's efforts at making New York a place where harmonious race relations existed, Wagner found himself under siege by numerous racial protests. In 1963 a coalition of civil rights groups, including the Brooklyn chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, the NAACP, and the Urban League of Greater New York initiated a sit-in at Mayor Wagner's office demanding a halt to all construction sponsored by the city until all discriminatory hiring practices were "eliminated." CORE also began demonstrating at construction sites throughout the city demanding that the state and city governments and the Building and Construction Trade Council hire African Americans. In July of 1963, CORE forged an alliance with a group of Brooklyn ministers and led a huge protest at the construction site of the Downstate Medical Center where over 700 people were arrested becoming, "jailbirds for freedom" in an attempt to force the state to hire blacks and Puerto Ricans construction workers. (2) The most dramatic civil rights protest in New York City took place on February 3, 1964 when civil rights groups launched a one-day boycott of the public school system over the issue of school integration. The school integration protest, led by the Rev. Milton A. Galamison, managed to keep close to a half million children out of the public schools in an attempt to force the New York City Board of Education to come up with a plan and timetable to integrate the school system. The event was so dramatic that it caught the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King who congratulated the demonstration leaders for their efforts for bringing New York City's racism to the attention of the nation. (3)

Essais et sciences humaines
1 juillet
Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier, Inc.

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