The Civil Rights Movement

By: Jessica Brown


The Civil Rights movement has changed the lives of many people and impacted the United States greatly. Through many years of being harassed, beaten, falsely accused, ignored, shot, or lynched, civil disobedience protestors, and strong-moving speech givers, finally reached the hearts of citizens everywhere. Although laws were passed by the Supreme Court in 1954 outlawing segregation of public education facilities for blacks and whites at the state level, racial segregation didn't actually come to an end until after The Civil Rights Act of 1964, putting a halt on all state and local laws requiring segregation; the movement finally ended in 1968.
In the following flyer, I will discuss and describe the tactics and strategies that were used during the civil rights movement from 1954 to 1968, photographs from the movement, two unsung hero's, and two important groups form the civil rights movement.

Feature Article

During the Civil Rights Movement many different tactics and strategies were used for the common goal of African American men and women to have equal rights; no more segregation! It aimed to give African Americans the same citizenship rights that whites took for granted. Some of the tactics that many of these people, fighting for their rights, used were, moral suasion, litigation, civil disobedience, economic boycott, grass roots organizing, solicitation of corporate sponsors, and use of television.
Moral suasion is an appeal to morality in order to influence or change behavior. In the Civil Rights Movement, moral suasion was one of three major prongs of the movement, the others being legal action and collective nonviolent protest. Civil disobedience played a major role in the movement. Civil Disobedience was the refusal to obey certain laws or governmental demands for the purpose of influencing legislation or government policy, with nonviolent acts/techniques such as boycotting, picketing, and nonpayment of taxes.
Under the system of segregation used on Montgomery buses, white people who boarded the bus took seats in the front rows, filling the bus toward the back. Black people who boarded the bus took seats in the back rows, filling the bus toward the front. Eventually, the two sections would meet, and the bus would be full. If other black people boarded the bus, they were required to stand. If another white person boarded the bus, then everyone in the black row nearest the front had to get up and stand, so that a new row for white people could be created. This was corrupt and people knew it; the Montgomery Bus Boycott campaign began on December 1st, 1995. The campaign lasted up until December 20th, 1996 when the United States Supreme Court declared that the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses were unconstitutional.

Selective Elements

1. -Emmitt Till was an African-American boy, the age of 14, who was taken from his home in the middle of the night, brutally beaten, shot in the head, and anchored to the bottom of a river. This all happened because he was reportedly flirting with a white woman, and because of the color of his skin, this was no where near acceptable. His mother, who had raised him mostly by herself, insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket to show the world the brutality of the killing of her son. "The open-coffin funeral held by Mamie Till Bradley exposed the world to more than her son Emmett Till's bloated, mutilated body. Her decision focused attention not only on American racism and the barbarism of lynching but also on the limitations and vulnerabilities of American democracy".
-Medgar Evers was a black civil rights activist who became active in the civil rights movement after returning from overseas military service in World War II and completing his secondary education. He became field secretary for the NAACP. In the early morning of June 12, 1963, just hours after President John F. Kenedy nationally televised Civil Rights Address, Evers pulled into his driveway after returning from a meeting with NAACP lawyers. Emerging from his car and carrying NAACP T-shirts that read "Jim Crow Must Go", Evers was struck in the back with a bullet fired from an Enfield 1917 rifle; the bullet ripped through his heart. He staggered 30 feet before collapsing. He was taken to the local hospital in Jackson where he was initially refused entry because of his race, until it was explained who he was; he died in the hospital 50 minutes later.
2. "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around" was a famous freedom song; a song sung by participants in the African-American Civil Rights Movement to the movement. They are also called "Civil Rights anthems" or, in the more hymn-like cases, "Civil Rights hymns." Freedom songs were a way of life during the Civil Rights Movement. The songs contained many meanings for all participants. Songs could embody sadness, happiness, joy, or determination among many other feelings. Freedom songs served as mechanism for unity among the black community during the movement. The songs also served as a means of communication among the participants when words just were not enough.
Music of the civil rights era was crucial to the productivity of the movement. Music communicated unspeakable feelings and the desire for radical change across the nation. Music strengthened the movement, adding variety to freedom progression strategies. Music was highly successful in that the songs were direct and repetitive, getting the message across clearly and efficiently. Melodies were simple with repeating choruses, which allowed easy involvement within both black and white communities furthering the spread of the songs message. There was often more singing than talking during protests and demonstrations, showing how powerful the songs really were.