Civil Rights in America
By Madalyn Cauble
The Civil Rights Movement: What's The Point?
The Civil Rights Movement is one of the most important parts of American History. Before the movement, African Americans were treated very poorly and were forced to live under segregation and cruel laws. There was even a set of laws in the South called the Jim Crow Laws, all put in place to make sure that blacks would have less rights than whites. White Americans often felt superior to African Americans, and cruel acts such as beatings and lynchings were not uncommon. Most places were segregated, meaning that there would be different venues for both African Americans and White Americans to make sure that they never had to mingle.
However, tired of being segregated and controlled by Whites, African Americans started to stand up and take back their rights. From the 1950s - 1960s, protest marches and boycotts sprung up all across the country. Both Whites and Blacks joined together to stand up for the rights that African Americans had always deserved. As the protests went on, realization spread across the country, and people began to understand that Blacks and Whites are equal. Laws were passed, and soon segregation became a distant memory. Although racism does still exist, it is much more uncommon than it once was, and people have become much more understanding and kind to people of all racial backgrounds. Now, thanks to the Civil Rights Movement, all Americans, no matter their race, have equal rights.
Protests and Boycotts: Strategies Along The Road To Freedom
Another strategy that was used was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on the bus to a White person, the Black community in Montgomery exploded in uproar. They decided to boycott the city bus system until the buses were desegregated.This meant that for about a year, African Americans throughout the town stopped using the bus system all together, and instead walked or carpooled to work. The buses lost so much business that many of them ran empty or didn't run at all, and many White businesses lost a lot of their customers. After about a year, bus desegregation laws were passed, meaning that the African American community had taken a huge step towards equal rights.
Some other strategies of the Civil Rights Movement were brought about by MLK, including marches and his famous influential speeches. He led the African American community in marches through various cities across the country, mostly in the South, and they protested for voting rights and equality. These marches were very popular, but often received a violent backlash from the police, who resulted to using tear gas and even arresting the protesters. However, many of these marches ended up leading to successful advances in the movement, as they helped the African Americans' voices to be heard, and helped to change the minds of White people all over the country. MLK's speeches were also a very good tactic of the movement, especially his "I Have a Dream" speech, which is still one of the most famous speeches in American history. This really helped to get the message for racial equality across, and caused people to become emotionally involved in the movement.
All of these tactics and strategies were very beneficial to the Civil Rights Movement, and without them, it is impossible to know how successful the movement would have been. The use of nonviolence helped the protesters to stay consistent with their faith and their beliefs, while also getting their message across in a way that didn't cause too much of a conflict. The bus boycott was also a very successful strategy, as it helped the African American community to take a huge step towards desegregation. Lastly, MLK's marches and speeches left a lasting impact on the world, and will inspire millions for generations to come. These tactics and strategies of the Civil Rights Movement made a very strong impact on the country, and helped African Americans exponentially.
Protesters in Washington
A group of African American and White protesters in 1963 during a march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. They were protesting for desegregation and equal rights.
Walking to Work
During the bus boycott in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, many Black citizens were forced to walk to work because they had no other travel options available to them.
Emmett Till was 14 years old when he visited the town of Money, Mississippi from his hometown of Chicago. He was kidnapped and lynched by two white men just for whistling at a white woman. In this picture, you can what Emmett looked like before and after the lynching.
Protesters in Washington
Walking to Work
Top 5 Events of the Civil Rights Movement
2. Montgomery Bus Boycott: This was one of the first real protests of the Civil Rights Movement, and it made a huge difference by making bus segregation illegal. This really helped to kick-start the protest movement, while also showing that peaceful protests worked and could make a difference.
3. MLK's "I Have a Dream" Speech: This incredibly influential speech that occurred on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is still one of the most famous speeches of all time. It helped people to gain an emotional understanding of the movement, while also raising awareness about what the African Americans were fighting for.
4. The Little Rock 9: These 9 African American students were the first to be integrated into a formerly all-white school. Although they faced many violent protests and discrimination, they ended up being successfully integrated with help from the government, and showed that combining Blacks and Whites was possible. This also helped to start the Civil Rights Movement, and showed that the government was invested in desegregation.
5. Brown vs. The Board of Education: This was the case that made school desegregation possible. It showed that it was possible for people to integrate, and helped inspire people to make a difference.
Important Groups of the Civil Rights Movement
The NAACP was founded in 1909 by a group of White people who wanted to end racial discrimination and hatred in America, while also promoting equality for all people. The headquarters of the association are in Baltimore, Maryland. Throughout the entire Civil Rights movement, this association was active in desegregating the South, and helped with cases as important as Brown vs. The Board of Education. Although at one point the NAACP lost their leadership role in the movement, they still stayed involved in planning strategies and tactics for the movement, even arguing with MLK at times. This association is still around today, promoting equality for people of all racial backgrounds.
CORE (The Congress of Racial Equality):
CORE was founded in Chicago in 1942 by James L. Farmer and other important Civil Rights leaders. CORE opposed the Jim Crow Laws and racial segregation, and fought for African Americans' right to vote. they worked very hard to desegregate Chicago schools, and helped with a lot of other Civil Rights protests including the Freedom Summer and the March on Washington. After the movement, CORE's involvement with the Civil Rights decreased, and they are no longer an active Civil Rights organization.