The Civil Rights Movement

By Hailey Fredenburg

Increasing equality and justice in the U.S.

In this article I am going to enlighten you on how the civil rights movement greatly affected equality and justice in U.S. The civil rights movement had a huge affect on the U.S. and is still affected by the decisions we made then, now. There were many contributing factors that lead the civil rights movement to its success. From the bold move made by Rosa Parks to the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. There were many different strategies and tactics that were expressed during the civil rights movement, some very successful others not as affective. Along with these strategies were different groups. These groups were very useful because most of the groups had the same overall goal but different strategies in which they wished to achieve that goal. Throughout this article you will also explore some of the most influential events of the civil rights movement. You will also take a peak into the lives of some very important leaders and also martyrs who little may they know their deaths greatly affected the movement. Each and everyone of these topics mentioned affected the success of the movement in its own way.

The game plan of the civil rights movement

During the civil rights movement there were many different tactics and strategies that African Americans and their groups used to acquire higher equality and justice in society. During the civil rights movement their were specific individuals as well as groups that were formed that contributed to the success fullness. Each of these people/groups had a method to their madness! These tactics and strategies that were used were the key to their success. The main tactics and strategies used during the civil rights movement were boycotts, protests, sit ins, moral suasion,litigation and Civil disobedience.

Rosa Parks is well known for the boycott she started in 1955. The Montgomery bus boycott is one of the most well known events that occur during the civil rights movement. This was a period of time in which a mass amount of people withdrew from riding the public bus system. They did this in order to punish or make a point to the public. The African Americans that were involved in this were protesting in order to become more equal. This act can also be known as an economic boycott. The African Americans made up the majority of people who rode the bus. Instead of riding the bus they car pooled and rode in taxis. This boycott was very successful because it put the bus stations at a loss of money/costumers.

The CORE also known as the Congress of Racial Equality was a group who used the tactic sit-ins, and were very successful. A sit-in is where a group of African Americans go into a desegregated restaurant and asked to be served, often times they are denied service due to their skin color. If denied service the group will sit inside the restaurant until they are served or forcibly withdrawn from the restaurant. A strategy they used during this time was moral suasion which is the strategic use of guilt to generate moral behavior. In other words this group would shame the restaurant owner into integration. This was a very successful tactic and not only integrated restaurants but it was successful in integrating theaters and other public facilities.


Litigation was a huge part of the civil rights movement and the long lasting affects it had on the U.S. Litigation is the process of taking legal action. There were many different situations in which legal action was taken in order to making the U.S. more equal and just. For instance the Brown vs. Board of Education was a set of three trials in which segregation involving education was tried. The result of these trials was that in the form of education "separate but equal" does not apply. This was a huge break threw for African Americans and they slowly integrated African Americans into schools. Another legal action that took place was the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This outlawed the qualifications put in place by whites such as literacy tests, in order to keep African Americans from voting. It also gave the federal government oversight in state voting laws. Some would argue that litigation was the most important tactic used in the civil rights movement because it implemented laws and had a legal force. Although each tactic and strategy had its own unique effect on the movement.

Lastly civil disobedience or also known as passive resistance was the main way many groups and individuals lead others in the civil rights movement. Civil disobedience was the act of refusing to obey authority in a non-violent way to force concessions. Martin Luther King Jr. preached passive resistance. Civil disobedience is the hopes to set a moral example and teach the public that it is okay to disobey the law if it is for something you believe is morally wrong. This was such a large part of the civil rights movement, they didn't think violence would get them far they thought that it would just give African Americans a bad rap. By choosing non-violence resistance they were being the bigger person and hoping that others would catch on and act the same way.

5 events shaping the civil rights movement

During the civil rights movement there were many factors that influenced the success of moving towards equality. Some of these things were influential people such as Martin Luther King who lead African Americans with the value of non-violent resistance. Also martyrs of the movement which were people who were killed unjustly and no punishment was dealt to their murderer. The death of these victims would raised awareness to others about the severity of inequality. Also other court cases and actions of individuals would lead to success in the movement. Did you ever ask yourself what events had the biggest impact on the civil rights movement? Well I did and I have came up with a list. At the top of the list I would put the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955. This is when Rosa Parks decided to stand up for herself and not give up her seat to a white women. Rosa Parks was a shy and noble women but she had enough and stood up for herself. This action caused her to be put in jail. Rosa Parks action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott a 13 month massive boycott that ended in the supreme court ruling that segregation on public busses was unconstitutional. I ranked this first because it was the first big uproar of the civil rights movement that was successful in the supreme court and caused a change in law. Next I would rank the Brown Vs. Board of education, this consisted of three court rulings that eventually lead to the Supreme Court deciding that in the form of education "separate but equal" has no place because this segregation "generates a feeling of inferiority". On May 17, 1954 this law was put in place. In relation to this law being enforced came the Little Rock School Integration In 1957. This was where 9 African American students were recruited to enroll in Central High School In order to slowly integrate African Americans into an all white school. There were many problems that arose with this action from the 9 not being let in the school to having to contacts the police and national guard. I ranked this third because I felt that it caused a lot of awareness to the public and it was progress. Ernest Green was the first black student to graduate from Central High School. Next at fourth I would rank the murder of Emmett Till. Emmett Till was a 14 year old boy who was brutally murdered by Roy Bryant and Jacob William. Emmett Till was murdered for supposedly saying sexual taboo to a white women working in a store he was at. His mom was devastated when she was informed about her child's murder. The men who murdered him admitted to it and faced no punishment by law. Emmett's mother felt it was her duty to hold a open casketed funeral in order to reveal the ugliness of racism. Emmett's murder would not be forgotten. I ranked this fourth because this was an event that opened up the eyes of the public. It did not create or input any new laws but it caused the public to become more involved with the civil rights movement. Lastly I ranked Martin Luther King's I had a dream speech. This speech MLK is most well known for because it encouraged African Americans to persevere in a non-violent way with the civil rights movement. He inspired the African Americans to have determination and not give up because God is with them and freedom doesn't come free. I ranked this last because it had less of an effect compared to the other events that I motioned but it played a huge role in motivating the AA to stay involved and perservere

Civil Rights Groups taking action

There were many different civil rights groups that contributed to raising awareness to the equality and justice of African Americans. Though each of the groups had the same initial goal in mind, there was a large amount of diversity throughout the groups. Some groups contained all African Americans, other groups were interratial. Some groups were student run others founded by particular individuals. Also there were ones that were faith based. The NAACP and the CORE are two groups I would like to further discuss with you.
The NAACP or also known as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded by George Lee and his friend Gus. This group consists of African Americans. Their goal was to improve the lives of African Americans by pursuing the right to vote. Some things they did include holding meetings, printing leaflets, and encouraging blacks to pay poll taxes. This group was the oldest and largest civil rights group and it addressed inequality through legal actions. The NAACP had some breakthrough's in their time such as the exclusion of blacks from juries and how it violated their right to be protected under the law, that segregation on interstate busses was unconstitutional and that state law schools had to admit qualified African Americans into their schools.
The CORE also known as the Congress of Racial Equality was founded by James Farmer and George Houser in Chicago. Their main goal was to desegregate restaurants. They would get African American groups together to go to segregated restaurants and if denied service they would use sit ins as a form of non-violent protest. A sit is where the group will sit inside a restaurant and refuse to leave. This was a way of shaming restaurant owners into desegregation and it was a successful tactic. The CORE successfully integrated restaurants, theaters, and other public facilities.