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HomeVideoThe Desegregation Of Huntsville | American Experience | PBS

The Desegregation Of Huntsville | American Experience | PBS

When NASA arrived in Huntsville, Alabama in 1960, it brought new financial opportunities to the city. But for African Americans, the space boom only heightened the disparities of segregation.

Enter John and Joan Cashin in January of 1962. With a small group of like-minded black professionals, they formed the Community Service Committee, which led to a mass movement of sit-ins, poster walks, and boycotts. The CSC saw the Rocket City’s dependence on federal money was a vulnerability they could exploit to integrate the city.

John Cashin called it psychological warfare—and by July of 1962 the CSC’s creative tactics paid off. With little of the violence that had met civil rights demonstrations across the state, Huntsville was the first city in Alabama to begin desegregation.

Diane McWhorter

Special Thanks:
Roy Clem (APTV)
Sonnie Hereford IV
Rocket City Civil Rights
Keith Ward

Learn more about NASA and the space program in the 1960s in CHASING THE MOON. More about the film, including where to watch the full documentary: