Civil Rights Movement

By Demitra Hamilton

What Was Happening?

There was a lot going on during the Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1968. Blacks knew they were being treated poorly and were ready for a change. All they wanted was to be treated equally and they were willing to make this change happen no matter what the cost.

"Separate but equal" was not what it was supposed to be. Segregation in schools, restaurants, restrooms, buses, and everything else was not working. The facility's were very clearly not equal. The Civil Rights Movement is the reason blacks can now sit where they want on a bus without having to move or be arrested. This article will go more in depth with how the black community went about gaining their much deserved racial equality and desegregation.

A Closer Look

First, let's talk about a very important person involved in the civil rights movement. There were obviously a lot of people involved but there were some people who really stepped up and acted like true leaders. We've all heard the name typically along with the phrase, "I Have A Dream." This was one of his most important speeches he gave during the March on Washington. His name, Martin Luther King Jr. King was very focused on racial equality and everything he could to help the cause as much as he could. He was the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference- an organization that organized non-violent protest in different areas. He gave speeches all over the place and helped organize many marches and other demonstrations. On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated on the balcony at his hotel. There were riots and demonstrations in multiple cities because of his assassination. A couple other important people would be Malcolm X and Rosa Parks. There were also civil rights activists that wanted nothing more than racial equality.
Now, during the Civil Rights Movement there were a lot of organizations formed and involved. One of those organizations, mentioned above, is the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). They were focused on organizing non-violent protests. Obviously, this organization began spreading through churches. Another organization that was key to the Civil Rights Movement was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). They were more involved with the legal aspect of the issue. They were the people getting trials and pushing for laws to be changed. The NAACP was involved in the huge case, Brown vs. Board of Education. One more organization was the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). CORE also found non-violent protest to be a good way of gaining equality. They also began to look into the political side of things also. These organizations, along with many others were very important for making this country a more equal and just place for everybody.
Non-violent protest has been brought up a lot and here are just a few examples of ways they put that into action. In a picture below you see a group of blacks sitting at a counter. These were called sit-ins. Groups of blacks would go sit at the counters of restaurants and cafe's, where they were not allowed to sit, and not move. They would sometimes be beat by whites and they would still just sit there. They would sit until they were arrested and a new group would come and sit down right afterwards. This, along with other ways of protesting, made jails become very crowded. Another example was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. After Rosa Parks was arrested for not moving on a bus, the bus boycott began. Blacks stopped riding buses and found alternative ways of getting around. They were showing the bus companies how much money they would lose if blacks stopped riding buses. This was a way of trying to get buses desegregated. There were also many marches that were organized through towns and speeches that were given where activist were attacked, beaten, had dogs released on them, and even fire hoses turned on them. Still, they would not fight back.
All of these people, organizations, and events lead this country to where we are now. Racial equality and desegregation exists now because of the Civil Rights Movement. Even though it is still a struggle in some places, I can now sit next to people of a different race in my school without it being a problem. They now have equal rights and can do all the things anybody else can in this country.

Medgar Evers

Medgar was a civil rights activist in Mississippi. After applying University of Mississippi Law School and being denied, he volunteered to help the NAACP get a lawsuit against the school. The lawsuit failed but Medgar ended up becoming the first field secretary for the NAACP. He recruited new members for the organization and organized voter registration efforts, demonstrations, and boycotts. Since he was so active in the fight for racial equality and desegregation he was a big target to opposing whites. Medgar and his family received multiple threats and violent actions. On June 12, 1963, he was shot in the back in his driveway and died at the hospital.

James Reeb

James was a Unitarian Universalist minister in Boston, Massachusetts and civil rights activist in Washington, D.C. He had a wife and four children. The surprising thing about him is that he was a white man that supported racial equality and desegregation. During a march in Selma, Alabama, James was beaten nearly to death by a group of white segregationist's on March 9, 1965. He suffered severe head injuries and died two days later in the hospital.