Stanley Branche (1933-1992) was a civil rights leader from Pennsylvania who worked as executive secretary in the Chester, Pennsylvania branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and founded the Committee for Freedom Now (CFFN). In the early 1960s, he and George Raymond partnered to challenge minority hiring practices of businesses and initiated large civil rights protests against de facto segregation of schools which led to Chester being labeled the "Birmingham of the North". He worked with Cecil B. Moore to desegregate Girard College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He left the civil rights movement in 1965 and ran multiple businesses. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Chester in 1967 and twice for U.S. Congress in 1978 and 1986. In 1989, he was convicted of participating in an organized crime collection scheme.
Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.
Chester is a city in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. With a population of 33,972 at the 2010 census it is the largest city in Delaware County. Incorporated in 1682, Chester is the oldest city in Pennsylvania and is located on the western bank of the Delaware River between the cities of Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware.
George Raymond was president of the Chester, Pennsylvania branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1942 to 1977. He was integral in the desegregation of businesses, public housing and schools in Chester and led civil rights demonstrations in 1964 which earned Chester the nickname "the Birmingham of the North".
Branche served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 127th Regimental Combat Team in the Korean War. He was decorated three times. After the war, he attended the Combs College of Music and the Pennsylvania Institute of Criminology with the intent to be a policeman.
A paratrooper is a military parachutist—someone trained to parachute into an operation, and usually functioning as part of an airborne force. Military parachutists (troops) and parachutes were first used on a large scale during World War II for troop distribution and transportation. Paratroopers are often used in surprise attacks, to seize strategic objectives such as airfields or bridges.
The 82nd Airborne Division is an airborne infantry division of the United States Army, specializing in parachute assault operations into denied areas with a U.S. Department of Defense requirement to "respond to crisis contingencies anywhere in the world within 18 hours." Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division is part of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The 82nd Airborne Division is the U.S. Army's most strategically mobile division. Some journalists have reported that the 82nd Airborne is the best trained light infantry division in the world. More recently, the 82nd Airborne has been conducting operations in Iraq, advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces.
The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.
In 1962, Branche's wife Anna introduced him to George Raymond, president of the Chester branch of the NAACP. Branche was initially assigned to the campaign to desegregate the Great Leopard Skating Rink.Branche and Raymond partnered to successfully challenge the minority hiring practices of large department stores, clothing shops, shoe stores and other specialty shops in downtown Chester.
By the fall of 1963, Branche became frustrated with the gradualist approach of Raymond and the NAACP. He resigned and created a new activist organization named the Committee for Freedom Now (CFFN) along with Swarthmore University students and Chester parents to end de facto segregation of public schools and improve conditions at predominantly black schools in Chester.
In 1962, Branche and the CFFN focused on improving conditions at the predominantly black Franklin Elementary school in Chester. Although the school was built to house 500 students, it had become overcrowded with 1,200 students. The school's average class-size was 39, twice the number of nearby all-white schools.The school was built in 1910 and had never been updated. Only two bathrooms were available for the entire school.
In November 1963, CFFN protesters blocked the entrance to Franklin Elementary school and the Chester Municipal Building resulting in the arrest of 240 protesters. Following public attention to the protests stoked by media coverage of the mass arrests, the mayor and school board negotiated with the CFFN and NAACP.The Chester Board of Education agreed to reduce class sizes at Franklin school, remove unsanitary toilet facilities, relocate classes held in the boiler room and coal bin and repair school grounds.
Emboldened by the success of the Franklin Elementary school demonstrations, the CFFN recruited new members, sponsored voter registration drives and planned a citywide boycott of Chester schools. Branche built close ties with students at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania Military College and Cheyney State College in order to ensure large turnouts at demonstrations and protests.Branche invited Dick Gregory and Malcolm X to Chester to participate in the "Freedom Now Conference" and other national civil rights leaders such as Gloria Richardson came to Chester in support of the demonstrations.
In the spring of 1964, huge protests over multiple days ensued which resulted in mass arrests of protesters. The mayor of Chester, James Gorbey, issued "The Police Position to Preserve the Public Peace", a ten-point statement promising an immediate return to law and order. The city deputized firemen and trash collectors to help handle demonstrators.The State of Pennsylvania deployed 50 state troopers to assist the 77-member Chester police force. The demonstrations were marked by violence and charges of police brutality. Over six hundred people were arrested over a two-month period of civil rights rallies, marches, pickets, boycotts and sit-ins.
Branche acted as press spokesman, community liaison, recruiter and chief negotiator. Governor William Scranton convinced Branche to obey a court-ordered moratorium on demonstrations.Scranton created the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to conduct hearings on the de facto segregation of public schools. All protests were discontinued while the commission held hearings during the summer of 1964.
In November 1964, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission concluded that the Chester School Board had violated the law and ordered Chester School District to desegregate the city's six predominantly African-American schools. The city appealed the ruling, which delayed implementation.
In June 1964, Chester city leaders formed the Greater Chester Movement (GCM), an umbrella organization intended to coordinate activities of groups working toward the improvement Chester. When President Lyndon Johnson initiated his War on Poverty, the GCM became a conduit through which federal dollars were distributed in Chester.
In 1965, Branche formed the Black Coalition Movementand worked with Cecil B. Moore to desegregate Girard College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Branche and seven others were arrested when they tried to trespass in the school.
Branche was arrested approximately 225 times during civil rights protests.
By 1965, Branche left the civil rights movement, moved to Philadelphia and ran several businesses.Branche ran for mayor of Chester in 1967 and for Congress in 1978 and 1986.
In 1985, Branche partnered with the activist lawyer William Kunstler to file a lawsuit on behalf of MOVE member Louise James in an attempt to force Philadelphia District Attorney Ed Rendell to investigate the Wilson Goode administration's controversial bombing of the MOVE headquarters in West Philadelphia.
Branche was convicted in 1989 and was sentenced to five years in Federal prison for extortion.A key piece of evidence was an FBI recording of Branche and George Botsaris, a leader of the "Greek mob" in Philadelphia.
The civil rights movement in the United States was a decades-long struggle with the goal of enforcing constitutional and legal rights for African Americans that other Americans already enjoyed. With roots that dated back to the Reconstruction era during the late 19th century, the movement achieved its largest legislative gains in the mid-1960s, after years of direct actions and grassroots protests that were organized from the mid-1950s until 1968. Encompassing strategies, various groups, and organized social movements to accomplish the goals of ending legalized racial segregation, disenfranchisement, and discrimination in the United States, the movement, using major nonviolent campaigns, eventually secured new recognition in federal law and federal protection for all Americans.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that American state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, even if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," and therefore violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, the decision's 14 pages did not spell out any sort of method for ending racial segregation in schools, and the Court's second decision in Brown II only ordered states to desegregate "with all deliberate speed".
Rutledge is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 784 at the 2010 census, down from 860 at the 2000 census.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC, which is closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King Jr., had a large role in the American civil rights movement.
A sit-in or sit-down is a form of direct action that involves one or more people occupying an area for a protest, often to promote political, social, or economic change.
William Warren Scranton was an American Republican Party politician and diplomat. Scranton served as the 38th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1967.
The Greensboro sit-ins were a series of nonviolent protests in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960, which led to the Woolworth department store chain removing its policy of racial segregation in the Southern United States. While not the first sit-in of the Civil Rights Movement, the Greensboro sit-ins were an instrumental action, and also the most well-known sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement. They are considered a catalyst to the subsequent sit-in movement. These sit-ins led to increased national sentiment at a crucial period in US history. The primary event took place at the Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth store, now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.
The Birmingham campaign, or Birmingham movement, was a movement organized in early 1963 by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to bring attention to the integration efforts of African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama. Led by Martin Luther King Jr., James Bevel, Fred Shuttlesworth and others, the campaign of nonviolent direct action culminated in widely publicized confrontations between young black students and white civic authorities, and eventually led the municipal government to change the city's discrimination laws.
The Albany Movement was a desegregation and voter's rights coalition formed in Albany, Georgia, in November of 1961. Local black leaders and ministers, as well as members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded the group. In December 1961, at the request of some senior leaders of The Albany Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) became involved in assisting the Albany group with organizing protests and demonstrations meant to draw attention to the continued and often brutally enforced racial segregation practices in Southwest Georgia. However, many leaders in SNCC were fundamentally opposed to King and the SCLC's involvement, as they felt a more democratic grassroots approach aimed at long-term solutions was preferable for the area than King's tendency towards short-term, authoritatively run organizing.
Clara Shepard Luper was a civic leader, retired schoolteacher, and a pioneering leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. She is best known for her leadership role in the 1958 Oklahoma City sit-in movement, as she, her young son and daughter, and numerous young members of the NAACP Youth Council successfully conducted nonviolent sit-in protests of downtown drugstore lunch-counters, which overturned their policies of segregation. The Clara Luper Corridor is a streetscape and civic beautification project from the Oklahoma Capitol area east to northeast Oklahoma City and was announced by Governor Brad Henry.
James Henry Gorbey was an American politician and judge from Pennsylvania. He was a Republican member of the Chester City Council from 1956 to 1963 and served as mayor of Chester, Pennsylvania from 1964 to 1967 during huge civil rights protests in Chester. Gorbey was a judge of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas from 1968 to 1970 and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1970 to 1977.
The St. Augustine movement was a part of the wider Civil Rights Movement in 1963–1964. It was a major event in St. Augustine's long history and had a role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Samuel Wilbert Tucker was an American lawyer and a cooperating attorney with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His civil rights career began as he organized a 1939 sit-in at the then-segregated Alexandria, Virginia public library. A partner in the Richmond, Virginia, firm of Hill, Tucker and Marsh, Tucker argued and won several civil rights cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, including Green v. County School Board of New Kent County which, according to The Encyclopedia of Civil Rights In America, "did more to advance school integration than any other Supreme Court decision since Brown."
Golden Asro Frinks was an American civil rights activist and a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) field secretary who represented the New Bern, North Carolina SCLC chapter. He is best known as a principal civil rights organizer in North Carolina during the 1960s which landed him a reputation as "The Great Agitator", having been jailed eighty-seven times during his lifetime.
The Biloxi wade-ins refers to three protests that were conducted by local African Americans on the beaches of Biloxi, Mississippi between 1959 and 1963, during the civil rights movement. The demonstrations were led by Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. in an effort to desegregate the city's 26 mi (42 km) of beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This was a local effort, without involvement from the state or national NAACP.
Marnesba Tillmon Tackett was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement known for her role in working for school desegregation in Los Angeles, California.
This is a timeline of the American civil rights movement, a nonviolent freedom movement to gain legal equality and the enforcement of constitutional rights for African Americans. The goals of the movement included securing equal protection under the law, ending legally established racial discrimination, and gaining equal access to public facilities, education reform, fair housing, and the ability to vote.
John J. McClure was an American politician from Pennsylvania who served as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate for the 9th district from 1929 to 1937. He was a major force in the Republican Party in Delaware County, Pennsylvania and a political boss who controlled one of the oldest and most corrupt political machines in U.S. history. In 1933, McClure was found guilty in federal court and sentenced to 18 months in prison for vice and rum-running but his conviction was overturned on appeal.