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Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965$
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Davis W. Houck and David E. Dixon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781604731071

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604731071.001.0001

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Charlotta Bass

Charlotta Bass

February 12, 1961, First Unitarian Church, Los Angeles, California

Chapter:
(p.148) Charlotta Bass
Source:
Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965
Author(s):

Davis W. Houck

David E. Dixon

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781604731071.003.0018

Born on February 14, 1874, in Sumter, South Carolina, Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass was known for her very public and outspoken stance on such issues as school desegregation, Klan vigilantism, restrictive housing covenants, and unfair hiring practices. Bass challenged D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation in court, an event that regionally galvanized her racial credentials. Despite losing the lawsuit, she parlayed the experience into speaking engagements around the country. One such speech was delivered on February 12, 1961 at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles, California. This chapter presents Bass’s speech, in which she cited some of the African Americans who made significant contributions to the nation’s history. She also talked about the basic problem besetting blacks—getting beyond second-class citizenship—and argued that international Cold War attitudes were responsible for the racism and anti-labor and anti-free speech legislation in America.

Keywords:   speech, Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass, D. W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation, First Unitarian Church, Los Angeles, African Americans, second-class citizenship, Cold War, racism

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