Civil Rights Movement

Swaran Nagi


The Civil Rights movement gave African Americans the freedom to do everyday activities. All across America, segregation was normal and equality for all residents of the United States did not exist. Blood, sweat, and tears went into trying to make America a free and equal nation. Everything between 1955-1968 was segregated, even after the late 60's segregation did not disappear but the amount of it went down. Everything from schools to buses and washrooms to tables at restaurants were seperated.

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The Civil rights movement started because of years of violent and non-violent conflicts, which went back to the kidnapping enslavement of African Americans to work mostly in the South on plantations. Abolitionists mostly practiced non-violent refusal between colonization and the Civil War. After Rosa Parks was arrested, the idea of non-violent protests became even more popular. Direct protest became the number one strategy for abolitionists. Sit-ins and boycotts also became popular. Martin Luther King's Montgomery bus boycott was effective because with black riders, the bus companies would lose revenue since over half their commuters were African Americans. Sit-ins became common because with so many people in one establishment, businesses could not sell to people in the store.

The Brown versus Board did help a lot because they were multiple cases that made more and more Americans question their ideas on human equality. The people that did try to exercise the right to equality in the Brown versus Board cases kept them going. The "Little Rock Nine" did not stay at Central High School for very long, but when Eisenhower sent in troops to Little Rock, it became a number one priority that the President would enforce the Supreme Court rulings.

Support from around the world helped the Civil Rights movement as well. News channels in Europe began reporting on the ideas of segregation. Photos of police dogs attacking demonstrators were seen in Britain, France, Canada, and Germany. After new reports in Europe and the word began spreading globally about the USA using segregation, Congressmen and Senators finally realized segregation was bad and it made the USA look very bad.

The Civil Rights movement was never keen on huge violent protests because that would never get freedom of equality anywhere. They realized that nonviolence is the key to solving segregation because violence will give the African Americans a bad name. Peaceful protests always got more attention. Sit-ins made a direct contact with the issue and because of them, businesses had to give in.

Selective Elements

Top 5 Events

  • Emmett Till murder - A 14 year old boy who was from Chicago was visiting family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped, brutally beaten, shot, and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two white men, J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, are arrested for the murder and acquitted by an all-white jury.
  • Rosa Parks - As a member of the NAACP, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" bus to a white passenger, which was forbidden in the south at the time. Because of her arrest, the Montgomery black community launched a bus boycott, which would last more than a year.
  • "Little Rock Nine" - Trying to stop segregation, nine black students are blocked from entering Central High School in an attempt to integrate school. President Eisenhower sent federal troops and the National Guard to protect the students.
  • "Freedom Riders" - Over the spring and summer of 1961, student volunteers, black and white, began taking bus trips down into the south to test out new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel facilities. It was sponsored by CORE and the SNCC, which involved over 1,000 students.
  • Student sit-ins - Four black students from NCATC began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Even though they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. Because of the refusal of service, this event brought about many more non-violent protests.

Redemption Song - Bob Marley

Every line in the Redemption Song tells a story about the hardships African Americans had to go through to finally get the rights to do everyday activities. The beat itself makes you believe the song is a happy and cheerful song, which it kind of is in a way. After the Civil Rights Movement, more and more people started to believe that segregation is bad and African Americans could finally celebrate. This song, and many others like it, shine a light on the positive changes America has made.

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