It's the Civil Rights!

It's the 90's

Civil Rights Today

The Civil Rights Movement has definitely impacted today's society. There is no doubt that the poverty and the freedom for struggling races hasn't been resolved. Not only is racism and discrimination illegal, but it's not as popular or mainstream as it was in the late 60's and 70's. The non-violent protests of MLK and many others were very successful at pointing out the wrongs of society. Progress was surely made, however racism and discrimination was still prevalent just not as public.
Unfortunately people of different races, beliefs, and sexual orientations are discriminated against. The movement, rather has shifted focus in today's society. Now, the LGBT is struggling for equal rights as everyone else. While they are slowly making some progress, some of society is still discriminating against them. However, today's society is much more accepting and open-minded than they were in the 60's and 70's so we will see what the future holds for the present-day struggling groups and minorities.

Violence vs Non-Violence:

There were many methods used during the Civil Rights Movements including sit-ins, protests, marches, etc. The two most general methods used however, were violence and non-violence. The Black Panthers believed that the method of non-violence used by Martin Luther King Jr failed at any progress or push toward changes in their struggling lifestyles. The two founders, Huey Percy Newton and Bobby Seale were willing to speak out for any minority group even though they considered themselves an African-American party. They also believed that violence was the answer to progress in this movement and they were not afraid to use it to get what they wanted.
The Black Panther Party (BPP) essentially had four desires: equality in education, housing, employment, and civil rights. They also had a 10-point plan to accomplish these desires. This 10-point plan included things like freedom, full employment, end to police brutality and black people, education, and, many more. They planned to use violence or any method that they could to ensure they would accomplish these things. The FBI caught on to the movements of the BPP and wasn't happy. They began organizing the murders of BPP leaders like John Huggins, using letters to provoke conflict between BPP leaders, and organizing campaigns stating the the BPP was a threat to National Security. These acts and more of the FBI eventually succeeded in putting an end to the BPP Movement. The BPP was a small group and a small part of the Civil Rights Movement, but they were successful in bringing more attention the issue and gaining support.
Non-Violence was the other main method of the movement and probably the most common as well. As most people know, Dr King was famous for this very thing. He used the non-violent method in every approach to the Civil Rights Movement. King's non-violent approaches were inspired by Gandhi and his non-violent protests. Millions of African-American led by King, took the streets for peaceful protests, civil disobedience, and some boycotts. In Birmingham, Alabama protestors were not only beat with sticks by white people and police, but they were also struck with tear gas, fire hoses, and trampled with horses. Violence from police and whites was not uncommon toward blacks during this time; however, those who were protesting non-violently never fought back physically nor verbally. King was involved in many non-violent acts like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, The Birmingham Campaign, The March on Washington, and more. All of these methods helped progress the movement and bring us to where we are today. Some would say that the non-violent methods were even the key to the Civil Rights Movement.

Top 5 Events of the Civil Rights Movement:

  1. Jackie Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers MLB team: This was important not just because he was a black man joining a MLB team, but also because his bravery to do so was inspiring. While his joining outraged many, it inspired many more because he not only had the courage to do so but also a strong enough love for the game that he would allow himself to become a target for those who disagreed.
  2. The Little Rock Nine at Central High School: This was important because these were the first nine kids to enroll at an all-white high school. It took them several days just to get into the school and attend class because of the dangerous crowds that gathered outside of the school each day that they were there and the harassment they received each day they arrived. Eventually they made it in and at first with temporary guards, but once the guards left the harassment didn't stop. This brought a lot of attention to the issue.
  3. Montgomery Bus Boycott: This was important because African-American people boycotted bus transportation and found other means of transportation for an entire 381 days. This was actually a big economic issue because a majority of the bus occupants were African-Americans, so this drew a lot of attention and definitely had an affect on the bus transportation economics.
  4. Bombing of Birmingham Church: This was a very, very important and eye-opening event in the Civil Rights Movement. Four girls were killed at their church after choir practice one day by a bomb planted by KKK members. This was said to be a big turning point for many people during this time because not only were these four young, innocent girls but they were at church and that crossed the line.
  5. Selma to Montgomery March: This 54-mile march was led by Dr King himself and was created to support black voter registration. Not only was this a long, exhausting march but the participants were yelled at, beaten, and attacked throughout. They were obviously participating in a non-violent march, so they kept on without returning any aggression back to the attackers. This looked very good on the participants and very bad on the attackers because the marchers were not returning any of the violence or negativity and just took it which was sad and eye-opening to many.

Two Important Groups of the Civil Rights Movement:

  1. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). This group was very popular and well-known throughout the Civil Rights Movement because it was led by Martin Luther King Jr in 1957 and he was involved in many events of the movement. The SCLC was governed by an elected board which was different from other groups during this time because other groups recruited individuals. The SCLC belived fully in non-violent protests and means, and they also believed that churches should be involved in advocacy of boycotts and other non-violent protests. So naturally, they were involved in just about all of the non-violent events during the movement like the Citizenship in Schools, the Albany Movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, etc.
  2. Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). This group was founded by James Farmer in 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. The CORE also sought to apply non-violent tactics in the Civil Rights Movement. They had over 53 chapters throughout the US by 1961 and continued to grow especially on college campuses. The CORE helped organize the Freedom Riders event in which eight men were sent on a journey through southern states to put an end to segregation in interstate travel. CORE also helped to desegregate schools in the South during this time, helped organize the famous Washington march, the March in Cicero, the Freedom Summer, and much more. This group amongst others had a definite impact during the Civil Rights Movement.