Civil Rights Movement

Kayna Nicholas


Many people would say that, today, the United States is the freest country in the world, and maybe they’re right. America has equality among its citizens, people of all races and genders are free to be themselves and do as they please. However, America has definitely not always been this way. In fact, not even 50 years ago, colored races --specifically blacks-- underwent so much hate, discrimination, and mistreatment that it was almost like slavery was never abolished. Blacks were murdered frequently for no reason but the color of their skin, they could not go to the same restaurants as whites; they even had to drink out of different water fountains and go to different restrooms. It was this mistreatment and discrimination the sparked the Civil Rights Movement.

The Civil Rights Movement was a long period of time in which blacks and (some) whites all united to do marches, protests, and boycotts in order to end discrimination against colored people in America. Many different groups were formed, many protests were held, meetings of all kinds, all with a common goal in mind: end discrimination in America. Slowly, the work of these Civil Rights activists started paying off, and laws started changing for the better. The work done during the Civil Rights Movement changed America forever. Without the Civil Rights Movement, there would be no equality and justice for blacks in our society today. Thanks to the work of blacks and whites during this era, the Civil Rights Movement made America the place it is today.

Successful Strategies

One of the major points and most effective method used during the Civil Rights Movement was the idea of non-violence. Martin Luther King Jr. taught that nonviolence is, “the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation for such method is love.” Many civil rights groups believed that using violence would only result in hate, retaliation, and revenge from whites. Activists of this movement avoided violence at all costs, and always tried to go about protest and rebellions in the most peaceful manner possible, which proved to be very effective. Nonviolent tactics made it harder for whites to be angry and vengeful towards blacks as the movement started gaining speed and laws were being changed. Because of this tactic, the Civil Rights Movement was a success.

Another majorly effective tactic during the Civil Rights Movement was voter registration. Following the Civil War and 15th amendment, African Americans earned the right to vote, or they were supposed to anyways. Whites made it nearly impossible for blacks to vote, using tactics such as poll tax, literacy tests, and impossible tasks (reciting the entire constitution). Voter equality activists held many marches and even went down to the rural south to try and set up voting booths for blacks. After a peaceful march got interrupted and turned violent by a posse of state troopers got captured on national television, the tables began to turn. Soon, President Johnson was passing a series of laws to protect the voting rights of all races. The amount of black voters went from six percent to 59 percent in the South, showing that all the marches, protests, and efforts of the voter activists caused a major shift in the Civil Rights Movement.

Another game changing tactic used during the Civil Rights Movement was marches, sit ins, and boycotts. Without these three the things, the Civil Rights Movement could not have been successful. Many marches, boycotts, and sit ins were organized by activist groups, single people, and communities, and they proved to be pivotal in the whole of the movement. Not only did they show Americans what was going on with the Civil Rights Movement, they actually made whites look very bad. Many peaceful marches were held, only to be disrupted by police who would senselessly beat and kill these protesters. Whites watching the news would see this type of brutality and be more inclined to make a change, such as what happened with the voter protection act. Hundreds of marches and sit ins occurred, and they gained hundreds of people's support each time. Without these marches, sit ins, and boycotts bravely done by blacks and whites, we might still be the same today as it was back then.

Pivotal People

Daisy Bates: Many people have never heard of Daisy Bates, but she was the brains behind a game shifting project during the Civil Rights Movement. Daisy was a journalist, publisher, lecturer, and civil rights activist. Bates main goal in her quest for equal rights was desegregating schools. After moving to Little Rock, Arkansas, Bates and her family decided to start a newspaper, ending up in them owning a printing press. Also shortly after moving to Little Rock, Bates got involved with the local NAACP branch, and this is when she decided to focus on the problem of education. She was appointed to be the leader of the Little Rock Nine after people realized her intense dedication to the integration of schools. After she was appointed the leader, she used this role to mentor and advise the Little Rock Nine students. Bates organized all the arrangements of how the kids would get to school, how they would act in school, and how they would get home. Bates majorly contributed to the success of the Little Rock Nine, and the Civil Rights Movement as a whole.

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Bruce W. Klunder: Bruce W. Klunder was a white Presbyterian minister that was majorly involved in civil rights. Klunder was born in Oregon and graduated from Yale Divinity School before moving to Cleveland and becoming the assistant executive secretary at a local Christian University. While in Cleveland, Klunder gained an intense interest in the Civil Rights Movement, and wanted to do anything he could to help. He quickly joined the CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and ended up heading the local chapter. Klunder led a huge sit-in in Sewanee, Tennessee, and frequently led pickets and protest. He specifically protested for fair housing and desegregation of public facilities. Klunder was killed by a bulldozer while he and 1,000 other protesters tried to stop the construction of a segregated school in 1964. Bruce W. Klunder was one of few white men that really made a difference, or even tried to make a difference, during the Civil Rights Movement.

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Game Changing Groups

NAACP: NAACP stands for the The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP was probably the most well known and biggest civil rights group throughout the Civil Rights Movement. The NAACP was founded in 1909 after a series of race riots broke out and a couple of journalists met up to try and make a change. NAACP focused on the ending all racial hate and racial discrimination. Their mission was “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.” Throughout the Civil Rights Movement, the NAACP made major strides towards trying to make lynching illegal as well as other legal matters. Their main focus was to try and change discrimination in the legal system.

CORE: The Congress of Racial Equality was one of the “Big Four” groups during the Civil Rights Movement. CORE has been recognized as one of the most influential groups during the Civil Rights Movements. CORE was founded in 1942, and primarily started with 50 members: 28 men and 28 women. The group was about one-third blacks and two-thirds white. CORE established many chapters in many different cities in order to be more effective. CORE’s main goal was to end Jim Crow segregation, job discrimination, and improve voting rights using nonviolent techniques. CORE made major strides towards racial equality.