Civil Rights

By: Matt Reed

Moving toward equality

The civil rights movement brought the plight of the average black citizen to the front of every discussion of significance and importance. Leaders of the movement such as MLK, and Malcolm X became household names, though not always in the friendliest terms. The movement was the big push toward the equality of all peoples, and the freedom of a persecuted race. The stories and hardships that have been told, and are still told today only further perpetuate the struggles this race of people overcame.

Approach and Exucution

The movement could not have achieved anything without the guidance and organization efforts from the leaders and groups trying direct this revolution. One of the many names you have most likely heard in your lifetime is Martin Luther King. He preached peace, unity, and a nonviolent, christian approach to the protests. Public protests were common in Kings presence, often walking at the head of several thousand strong crowds.

Sit-ins were essential in many of the protests, the fact that sitting wasn't illegal, there was nothing wrong with merely sitting on the floor. Protesters would walk into segregated establishments and buildings of political interest, plant their butts, and wait. This doesn't sound like it would be very effective, but imagine your entire restaurant covered in completely by sitting protesters, refusing to move. You wouldn't be able to get anything done.

Many times the movement would promote they're views through picket signs. They would show up at places and crowd the streets in front of them, visually and verbally voicing their opinion and what they were fighting for. This would first and fore mostly be a distraction to those who were at work inside, but also slow the pace at which commuters could move in that area, getting even more attention.

Finally, and maybe the most inspirational of all the tactics was the mass gathering of those very protesters and revolutionaries to hear their leaders speak. Thousands would gather to hear the speeches and inspirational words of those very men that would organize and lead the marches and protests. It was at one such gathering that MLK gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.

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Ella Baker

Born in Virginia Ella Baker is mostly unknown to the common person. Though she held important roles in shaping a couple of the largest groups, and shaping the foremost leaders. Her efforts as a field secretary then as a director of branches for NAACP helped shape a movement across america.

She co-founded the organization "In Friendship" to fight Jim Crow laws in the south after being inspired by the Montgomery bus boycotts. Baker moved to Atlanta to help organize Martin Luther King's new organization SCLC. She also organized a voter campaign called Crusade for Citizenship. This is Just a few of the many examples of all that she did for the movement.

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie was born in a sharecropping family and worked on plantations until she and 17 others traveled to a nearby city to vote, and were met with violent resistance. This ended up getting her fired from the plantation she had worked at for 2 decades. This however launched her into a her efforts toward a blossoming civil rights movement.

She later founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. More known for her impassioned speech she gave on the efforts she makes to register and vote, this made national broadcasts. She coined the phrase “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired", which seemed to embody the national movement.