The Civil Rights Movement

By: Bethanee Pagels

How Has The Past Contributed To Our Future?

When you ask someone about Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, they will instantly think of the Civil Rights Movement. This movement has changed the way our society is today in so many ways. During the Civil Rights Movement the blacks were segregated and would be arrested for going into a white diner, or even looking at a white in the wrong way. Now it's OK to do all of those things, nobody gets arrested, and there is no such thing as a black or white diner.

There was a Method to Their Madness!

During the Civil Rights Movement there are many different strategies and tactics that were used. The African Americans and even some Americans were involved in Civil disobedience, Boycotts, Sit-ins, and marches.

The first one was Civil Disobedience, this means that they refused to obey certain laws, demands, and commands made by the government. During the Civil Rights they used civil disobedience by not listening to the segregation laws. One example of this is Rosa Parks, it was a law that African Americans had to give up their seat to a white person if no other seat was available. When Rosa Parks wouldn't give up her seat to the white bus rider, she was arrested and put into jail. This inspired many African Americans to take a stand, and is one of the main contributors to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

A boycott is when someone or a group of people withdraw from a commercial or social relations, this is most commonly used as a protest. After Rosa parks was jailed the bus boycott began. This boycott lasted more than a year, and helped to inspire blacks elsewhere. The leader and spokesperson of the boycott was Martin Luther King JR. He believed that the non-violent tactics would work best and nobody would get hurt during it.

A sit in is when a person or a group of people occupy a place for protest. During the Civil Rights Movement, there was a group of four African American college students. They walked into a white only diner and asked for a coffee, they were denied service. When they were denied the service they decided that they would patiently sit, they were threatened and intimidated, but they still sat there patiently. In some cases of sit ins people would through food at the protesters.

March's played a big role in the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King JR. was the leader of most of the march's. The biggest and most effective march during the Civil Rights Movement was the march on Washington. This march attracted more than 200,000 participants. It was during this march that Martin Luther King JR. gave his famous "I have a Dream" speech.

Unsung Heros

Medger Evers

Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist who organized voter registration efforts, boycotts, and demonstrations of companies that practiced discrimination. Due to his high position in the NAACP, Medger Evers became a targhet for those who opposed racial equality and desegregation. Not only was he threatened on numerous occasions but so was his family. They experienced many threats and violent actions over the years, including a firebombing of their house in May 1963. Things suddenly changed for Medgar Evers and his family, at 12:40 a.m. on June 12th, 1963 Medgar was shot in the back in the driveway of his home. He died less than an hour later at a nearby hospital.

An investigation of the murder quickly unearthed a prime suspect: Byron De La Beckwith. Beckwith was w white segregationist and founding memeber if Mississippi's Whit Citizen Council. Beckwith denied shooting Evers, even though the rifle was found near the crime scene and was registered to Beckwith, the rifle was also covered in his fingerprints. Several witnesses placed Beckwith in the area of the murder. Beckwiths excuse for the rifle being near the crime scene was, that it was stolen. He had witnesses to testify that he was somewhere else on the night of the murder. 31 years after Evers death. Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of murder.

Emit Till

Emit Till was only 14 years old when he was accused of flirting with a white woman. Four days later, two white men kidnapped, beat him, and shot him in the head. When Emit Tills body was found his mother insisted on seeing him, when she saw how mutilated the body was she insisted on having an open casket funeral. The men were tried for murder, but an all-white jury acquitted them. Tills murder and open casket funeral galvanized the emerging Civil Rights Movement.

Top 5 Events

  1. Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott: This event was important because it was the start of it all. If Rosa Parks would've given up her seat things now would be a lot different.
  2. The Little Rock 9: This event was important because this was the first time that black children were allowed to be enrolled in an all white school. The Little Rock 9 struggled through it but in the end, if they never went to this school, things would have been a lot worse.
  3. Medgar Evers murder: Medgar Evers murder played a big role in the Civil Rights Movement. His trial was the very first time that a white man was convicted of murder of a black man.
  4. King Assassinated: When Martin Luther King JR. was assassinated everything changed. The civil rights movement was almost over and the whites wanted to try and overcome the blacks once again.
  5. " I have a dream" Speech: This speech really opened the eyes of thousands as to what our world should and could look like if we didn't segregate.