How Civil Rights Changed Us

By: Breanna Natho

How it was Then, and How it is Now

The civil rights movements have greatly contributed to how our country and society are today. There is still racism in our country of course, and no one is sure it will ever go away. But it is nothing compared to what it used to be back then. It was worse back then. There are still shootings and hurtful words against blacks today and there are still people that are just as racist as they were back then. But shootings and killings and other things are not completely pointed towards blacks today like back then. In the 50's and 60's blacks were completely excluded. They were forced to live a separate life from white people. They had separate bathrooms and drinking fountains. They were forced to sit in the back of the bus and give up there seats for white people. Whites were always superior to blacks.

The Civil Rights Movement was a success because they were peaceful about everything they did they were never violent. The people of the movement would get arrested for the simplest things such as Rosa Parks, just for not giving up her bus seat to a white man. But they took the arrests without arguing and stuck together until they made a change and were heard by the people in our country. They fought for what they wanted but they did it the right way which led to success. In the end they did win. Given the right to vote was a huge success and the right to share the buses and be treated more equally. To not have to live separate lives. It's still a process today but it has gotten much better and they are treated as citizens today and have all the rights that whites do including equal protection.

Strategies Used

African Americans used many strategies during this moment. For example they choose to never use violence. They boycotted, marched, created groups or agencies like the freedom riders, encouraged blacks to vote and more. these strategies are what finally let them win and gain rights.

An example is the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Montgomery bus boycott took place in Montgomery, Alabama. This is when African Americans refused to ride city buses. They did this to protest the segregated seating, in which they would be forced to give up their seats to white people. This took place from December 5,1955 to December 20,1956. People would walk miles to work everyday so they didn't have to take the bus.

They also marched. For example, the children's march, where thousands of children skipped school to protest on the streets of Birmingham, Alabama in May of 1963. Another famous march is the march on Washington. This was one of the largest marches where over 200,000 Americans gathered in Washington D.C to protest for jobs and freedom. This is also where Martian Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream Speech." This was a turning point because so many people showed up when they thought not many would. They choose to march and protest peacefully as well never using any violence so they had no good reasoning to get in trouble for it.

Another thing they did is create many groups or programs. Some were to encourage blacks to start voting or at least get registered to vote. Others were to help segregation in public facilities, schools, and buses. Such as the freedom riders. They were sent south to help desegregate buses and to encourage blacks to vote or be registered to vote. Or the CORE which encouraged voting and managed to desegregate many public facilities.

White people on the other hand did not use very good strategies. They chose violence and hate over peace. In attempting to "control" the blacks protesting they did things like spray them with fire hoses like they did with the children who did children's march. Or when they released there cop dogs on them and children were bit. Also things like shooting them or beating them over people protesting.

Unsung Heroes of The Movement

George Lee was a minister who ran a small grocery store in Belzoni, Mississippi. He started a part of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.) He lead the voter registration drive for that association. He urged blacks to pay the poll tax and register to vote. He died in 1955, trying to make a difference. He said he knew his time was limited but he was determined. He was shot in the face while driving home, half his face was blown off and two blacks took him to the hospital where he died shortly after. William Moore was a white man, who stood up for what he believed in. He believed that blacks were equal. He wasn't really part of any organization but liked to try to make a difference on his own. He walked a lot, and protested on his own. He was killed by gunshot at close range on a one man march from Baltimore to the state capitol in Annapolis. He was killed protesting segregation and standing up for what he thought was right.

Most Important Groups

Two of the most important groups of the civil rights movement in my opinion are, CORE and The NAACP. The CORE was called the Congress of Racial Equality. It was founded in 1942. However it mostly flourished in the mid 1960's. CORE mostly focused on desegregating public accommodations in northern cities. They became participants in the freedom rides and the black power movement. They used their skills to get people to register to vote and gain national attention for civil rights activists. It helped gain rights for blacks. The NAACP was founded in 1909 by a group of whites hoping to counter the influence of Booker T. Washington. They sought to bring about legal solutions to the race problems. It was mostly a success in the mid 1950's. They were a part of mostly everything including getting blacks to vote, and desegregating America and ensuring equality.