The Civil Rights Movement

by Emily Parton

The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement aimed to create a better future for African Americans by eliminating segregated schools, facilities, bathrooms, buses, and also discrimination they suffered from whites. Protesters used both violent and nonviolent methods of protesting.

The movement has given blacks full equality and changed many people's views on equal rights, but racism remains a prevailing issue in American society today. Changing the law was and never will be able to change whites' attitudes toward blacks. There will invariably be racism and discrimination.

Strategies and Tactics used in the Civil Rights Movement

Multiple strategies and tactics were used in the Civil Right Movement to eliminate segregation, including nonviolent protests. One of the strategies used were sit-ins. CORE used sit-ins, a form of protest first used by union workers in the 1930's. Using these protests, CORE successfully integrated many restaurants, theaters, and other public facilities in Chicago, Detroit, Denver, and Syracuse.

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat while riding on the bus to a white man, news of the boycott spread and African American leaders throughout Montgomery gave their support. On December 5, 1955, 40,000 African Americans who were inspired by Rosa Parks boycotted the Montgomery bus system- 75% of Montgomery's bus riders were African Americans. The boycott was immensely successful because the buses were almost put out of business.

Many different groups of protesters were established, such as the SCLC. Student leaders under Ella Baker, director of the SCLC, established the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which played a key role in desegregating public facilities in dozens of southern communities. The SNCC also sent volunteers into rural areas of the Deep South to register African Americans to vote. When a few SNCC members headed to Mississippi, several were threatened and beaten, and three were murdered by the local officers there.

The Civil Rights Movement was so extreme that many people, both whites and African Americans, died for what they believed in so that others would have the chance to live a better life. Despite this fact, racism and discrimination still thrive today.


"Unsung Heroes"

Emmet Till

Emmet Till was an ordinary African American boy who lived during the Civil Rights Movement and liked to pull pranks. When visiting his relatives in Money Mississippi, he was brutally murdered for flirting with a white woman four days earlier. Two men had shoved Emmet into their truck and took him to a shack where the men nearly beat him to death, gouged out his eyes, shot him in the head, and then threw his body covered in barbed wire into the river. After Emmet was found, his assailants were charged with murder and even admitted it. They were never brought to justice, however, and both later died of cancer.

George Lee

George Lee was a Reverend who ran a local grocery store and a printing business. When he was driving home on Mothers' Day, he was hit by gunfire from a passing car. Two black drivers
took him to the hospital where he later died of his wound. The sheriff refused to investigate. In the end, a coroner's jury ignored the evidence that Lee was murdered and ruled that he died of unknown causes.

Song of the Civil Rights Movement: We Shall Overcome

African Americans (and some whites) passionately believed that they would truly overcome segregation and racism. This composer of this song (We Shall Overcome) was convinced that
the truth would set them free. This truth that "All Men Are Created Equal" was one of the most influential slogans of the Civil Rights Movement. The whole reason people even settled in America was to gain freedom of speech, religion, and equality. African Americans truly believed that they would overcome. They were not afraid, according to the song, because the cause they were fighting for was worth more than dying.