The Civil Rights Movement

By Noah Caringella

To what degree has the civil rights movement contributed to making the United States a more equal and just society?

The Civil Rights Movement was one of the most important movements for the rights of all humans as a whole. It was a revolutionary movement, and not just for African Americans. It opened up doors for other movements involving human rights including, but not limited to, gender equality, gay marriage, and transgender rights. All of these things still effect people today. The movement also helped the American people to become much more open minded, and less likely to judge someone on something that they can't change, which is a big deal considering the fact that just 200 years before we were hanging people because they might be doing something that we disagree with.

The movement also became a good example of how well peaceful protest works. It showed that people can be very violent when they are afraid of change, but it also showed that even though people were literally beating an entire race, they won because they didn't fight back. This is a very powerful message that can, and will, inspire future movements that face violations of our most basic human rights.

Examples of Peaceful Protest

Tactics and Strategies for Equality

Martin Luther King Jr. was a very important leader in the Civil Rights movement. He lead many protests, and gave many speeches. One of the more prevalent protests that he lead was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This boycott, started when Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white person, was a very important part of the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. It showed that, if black people were persistent and peaceful, they could win against the white people, and that the white people were not invincible against the black people.

During the Civil Rights movement, many black activist groups formed. These groups include the NAACP, CORE, the SCLC, SNCC, and the Freedom Riders, and a few others. These are all examples of well organized groups that used peaceful protest, as advised by the great MLK. These groups used many different types of peaceful protest. Some of these methods were sit-ins, boycotts, marches, hunger strikes, and just general protests with signs.

A few of the marches that MLK helped organize were the March on Washington (August 28, 1963), and the Selma to Montgomery Marches (March 1965). These marches were vital in showing the power and dedication of the African Americans. The marches show these things because, while the African Americans were opposed by angry and violent white people, they did not fight back. This is a very powerful thing, this violence met with non-violence. This is what made the difference in the movement, this is what made it so strong and successful.

Top Five Events of the Civil Rights Movement

1. The "I Have a Dream" Speech: This speech was very influential and made the solid reinforcement for the non-violent approach that ultimately lead to the success of the movement. This is why this event is the most important of the movement.
2. The Montgomery Bus Boycott: This boycott was the most important boycott of the movement. It is one of the most important events of the movement because it helped to push the movement forward with much more momentum that it had before.
3. The Selma to Montgomery Marches: These marches were important because they showed the solidarity and strength of the African Americans. They faced a lot of adversity and violence along the way, and it took a lot of strength to overcome that.
4. 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing: This bombing was a racially motivated attack on a Baptist church 18 days after the "I Have a Dream" speech. The event is important because it killed a few little girls and burned down a place of worship. This shocked the country, and definitely made the African Americans seem more human, and less threatening.
5. The Letter from Birmingham Jail: This letter even further inspired the people that followed MLK to pursue the non-violent approach. The fact that even from jail MLK could inspire so much is a very good show of character.

Profiles of the NAACP and the CORE

1. NAACP: This acronym stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. They fought for Civil Rights on a legal front, working through the court system. The group was founded in 1909. The headquarters is in Baltimore, MD.

2. CORE: Founded in 1942, the acronym for this group stands for the Congress of Racial Equality. This group focused manly on peaceful protests, specifically sit-ins. The headquarters' are in Arizona and in Michigan.