Two Societies

Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) come north to help Chicago's civil rights leaders in their nonviolent struggle against segregated housing. Their efforts pit them against Chicago' s powerful mayor, Richard Daley. When a series of marches through all-white neighborhoods draws violence, King and Daley negotiate with mixed results.

In Detroit, a police raid in a black neighborhood sparks an urban uprising that lasts five days, leaving 43 people dead. The Kerner Commission finds that America is becoming "two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal." President Lyndon Johnson, who appointed the commission, ignores the report.

January, 1966: SCLC joins forces with the Chicago civil rights movement to form the Chicago Freedom Movement.

July 10, 1966: After a rally at Chicago's Soldier Field, King leads 5,000 marchers to City Hall, where he posts a list of demands on the door. The list calls for improved schools, housing and employment opportunities. A meeting on July 11 with the mayor is unsuccessful.

July 12-15, 1966: Rioting occurs on the south and west sides of Chicago.

July/August, 1966: The Chicago Freedom Movement conducts multiple marches into white neighborhoods.

August 26, 1966: King and Mayor Daley sign an agreement: the city promises to enforce its open-housing laws -- in return, King drops plans to march into segregated neighborhoods, including the all-white neighborhood of Cicero. Others disagree with the pact and march into Cicero on September 4.

July 23, 1967: In Detroit, five days of civil disorder begin after police raid an after-hours club in a black neighborhood.

July 24, 1967: President Johnson orders federal troops to Detroit.

July 28, 1967: The president announces the formation of the Kerner Commission to investigate the causes of racial unrest in American cities. It presents its findings in early 1968.

July 30, 1967: The last of the Army paratroopers leave Detroit. The disorder has left 43 dead, 7,200 arrested and hundreds homeless.

Key interviews:
Albert Raby, convenor, Coordinating Council of Community Organizations
Andrew Young, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Ed Marciniak, director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations
Nancy Jefferson, Chicago resident and local community organizer
Jesse Jackson, SCLC
Bob Lucas, director, Chicago CORE, leader of the march into Cicero
George Romney, governor of Illinois
Roger Wilkins, chief of community relations services, the US Justice Department, sent by President Johnson to accompany federal troops into Detroit
Arthur Johnson, former executive secretary, NAACP, Detroit
John Nichols, deputy superintendent, Detroit police department
Eleanor Josaitis, Archbishop's committee for human relations, Detroit

Links Exerpts from the Kernan report