Civil Rights Movement

Posted: December 01, 2016

The civil rights movement was formed with aim of fighting for the rights African Americans so as to ensure equality. The civil period and the successive unification of the American states brought with it abolition of slavery. The free peoples were entitled to freedom but they had no equal rights to the white majority. Life for people of color in the south was very harsh as they experienced harassment and did not receive equal treatment. As much as they enjoyed freedom they had no political rights such as voting and holding political offices. Slavery was thus succeeded by racial serration whereby African Americans were the most disadvantaged since they were not allowed to share facilities with whites.  There were laws known as ‘Jim Crow’ which prevented them from sharing with whites train cars, theatres, bathrooms and even classrooms. Racial oppression led to the rise of civil rights movement which sought to fight against segregation and unequal treatment in favor of blacks.

The civil rights movement rose in 1954 and was in active until 1968. This came right after the Supreme Court of the United States formulated a dogma which promoted segregation because it enhanced separation while stressing on equality (History n.p.). For that reason, the predicaments of colored people become internationally known as well as drew national attention. The era of the civil rights movement which took more than a decade saw the rise of civil rights activists who employed the use of civil noncompliance as well as peaceful protests so as to bring about transformation. The movement was made up of African Americans and its leaders during the period became prominent. The fruits of their actions were seen through civil rights reforms such as the civil rights act of 1968 and the voting rights act of 1965. It was a long treacherous journey in which activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Andrew Goodman were assassinated.

Elizabeth Eckford was among the first African American students to be admitted in 1957 in Little Rock Central after it was desegregated.  She went to school alone since she had not been notified about the new meeting place. With the intensity of segregation at the time she was not allowed by the Arkansas National Guard to enter the school even after trying twice since they had order from Governor Faubus Orval (Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture n.p.). She was protested upon by a mob of white people who shouted that they did not want to integrate with the blacks. She faced them and pushed her way through them and proceeded to sit on a bus bench. Faced with the same situation, unlike Eckford I would have confronted the mob and sought their audience. I would use the opportunity to articulate how all human beings are equal and how they are on the wrong side of history.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s involvement in the civil rights movement is emphasized by most American history texts because of the role he played during the Montgomery Bus boycott which took 381 days (History n.p.). He was also assassinated by firearm because of his role in the civil rights movement. On the other hand, Malcolm X’s impact is highlighted because he was a key leader of the activism through the Nation of Islam and changed his name to X in effort to deny identity from slavery masters. He conflicted with other blacks who assassinated him for religious and philosophical views that were not meant to promote the pan African nationalism.

MLK’s “I have a dream” speech which was improvised was successful and very motivational during the March on Washington. It fits and brings out the emotional tension and seriousness of the context. Furthermore, it was a literary device foreshadowing the coming years. The civil rights movement was successful thus there is a higher possibility that change could have taken longer were it not for the violence witnessed through assassinations and harassment. The assassination of MLK led to the civil rights act of 1968 which ensured the success of the movement and its decline. 

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