Rights, Diversity, & Adult Learning

International Human Laws and Civil Rights

International Human Laws set precedence in the U.S. by providing the courts with an outline of what is the norm, or commonly expected (accepted). According to the U.N. (United Nations), an international organization that promotes unification of countries, the impact on national systems from international human rights laws is great. National courts often look at international and regional human rights norms when deciding how to interpret and develop national law.

Freedom Struggles

Jim Crow Laws (1880)

Jim Crow Laws enforced segregation, so long as it is was equal. Separation of Blacks and Whites were admissible under the law so long as the facilities (restaurants, schools, etc.) were equally equipped.

Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896)

Homer Plessy a light skinned African American man affiliated with an organization known as "Citizens Committee" set out to test the equality laws. He purchased a first class ticket and boarded the train. He told the conductor he was Black and was instructed he had to move. He refused and was arrested.

Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)

Elementary student Linda Brown was not allowed to attend her neighborhood school because she was African American. While she was not the only child who was denied admission, her case and several other similar cases with the assistance of Thurgood Marshall went to the Supreme Court.

Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955)

African Americans in Montgomery, AL were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus. Instead they had to sit in the back of the bus. Rosa Parks was seated in the first row of the colored section of an overcrowded bus. She was asked to give her seat up to a White and move. She refused and the bus driver had her arrested. African Americans joined together and boycotted the busing system.

Relation of Freedom Struggles and Human Rights

All of the events listed violated the Declaration of Human Rights. Article 1 of the D.H.R. states that everyone is born free in equality and rights. Rosa Parks, Linda Brown, and Homer Plessy were not treated equal nor did they have any rights, they were seen as inferior. Article 3 of the D.H.R. says that all people has the right to life, liberty, and security of person. Rosa Parks and Homer Plessy were not afforded these opportunities.

Civil Rights vs. Political Rights

Both rights are protected under the Declaration of Human Rights. Civil Rights aligns with the basic human needs. Civil Rights involve equality and nondiscriminatory practices. Political Rights involve things like fairness under the law, the right to a speedy trial. Other political rights include Freedom of Speech or Expression, which allows people to state their opinions without fear of recourse of the law.

Affirmative Action and Diversity

Affirmative Action and Diversity go hand in hand in equality and share a relationship, however they are different. Affirmative Action is backed by federal laws and requires employers solicit, recruit, and hire those from the community who are qualified regardless or sex, race, religion, etc. Traylor (2009) stated while affirmative action focuses on taking positive steps to get individuals into the organization, diversity works to change the culture of that organization. Instead of just changing the representation of their workforce, organizations dedicated to a diverse workforce realize the value in a mixture of varying cultures, backgrounds and experiences.

The Link

If not for the numerous trials and tribulations related to search for equality the U.S. may not be the U.S. that it is known today. Land of the free, home of the brave only rings true for the latest portion of this country's existence. Adult learners of the early-mid 1900's were not afforded the same opportunities left to their descendants. Today's learners are able to study this countries dark past, and embrace the new changes. In 1950 Blacks and Whites would not be allowed to interact and share ideas. Today they work side by side and rely on each other for support.


Traylor, K. (2009). The Multicultural Advantage. Retrieved from http://www.multiculturaladvantage.com/recruit/eeo-employment-law/affirmative-action-diversity.asp

United Nations (2015). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/