Civil Rights Movement

Jessie Henricks


The Civil Rights Movement is an important event for the United States society because it lead the country into a equal and free place. Many African Americans did not have the same opportunities or rights as the white people, segregation was present everywhere. Because of this there was a lot of protests, both violent and non-violent against the separation of racial groups. Many African Americans mobilized and participated in various organizations. This helped the United States to become a more diverse and unified country, it also lead the US into a new, equal and just society.

The Civil Rights movement was important to the history of the United States and the world, showing that discrimination was unjust and wouldn't be tolerated in the country, while setting an example for oppressed people everywhere.

Tatics and Strategies

The Civil Rights Movement's success was based on a strategy of civil disobedience,and mass boycotts.

Black power in many ways signified everything non-violence was not, racial hatred, violence and extreme self-reliance. The two approaches did have many similarities in their long term objectives. Both approaches demanded complete equality not just In theory but also in practice. They were the most different in the methods used to achieve the goal of equality and also time, they were prepared to wait for progress to be made.

The philosophy of non-violence was based on religion and common sense. To succeed non-violent protests needed not just the support of the black population but the population to be actively participating (black churches). When Montgomery activists wanted to organize a bus boycott they turned to their ministers for leadership. Their actions under the leadership of Martin Luther King set the tone for future peaceful civil rights protests. King preached love, self-sacrifice and the restoration of black dignity during the boycotts. Blacks had to prove to the northern whites that they were worthy and being denied their constitutional rights as American citizens.

Black power meant different things to different people. Black power and the nonviolent civil rights movement had much in common. Both wanted to uplift their race politically and economically. Unlike non-violence its reach was deeper fundamentally changing black culture. At black powers core there was black unity, self determination and pride in black culture. Distinctive hairstyles, soul music and sole theology were just some of the things made popular by the philosophy of black power. Malcolm X created the ideological basis for the black power philosophy with his constant demand for black pride and self-sufficiency.

Important Groups

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African American civil rights organization, their leader was Martin Luther King Jr. As a principal organization of The Civil Rights Movement, SCLC used nonviolent direct action to end legal and social discrimination against African Americans. The SCLC organized and sponsored many protest marches and demonstrations during the late 1950's and 1960's. It was the hope that these actions would secure racial desegregation, voting rights and other gains for African Americans. The SCLC emerged in the wake of a successful boycott of the busses in Montgomery, Alabama by the cities black citizens in 1955. As one of its first actions, the group led 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington DC. , which brought in an estimated twenty five thousand people.

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was one of the earliest and most influential Civil Rights organization in the United States. During its early years, the NAACP focused on legal strategies designed to confront the critical civil rights issues of the day. They called for federal anti-lynching laws and coordinated a series of challenges to "state-sponsored segregation" in public schools. Even though other civil rights groups emerged in the 1950's and 60's, the NAACP remained at a high role within the movement, co-organizing the 1963 March On Washington.

Top 5 events

-On December 1st, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man, causing a bus boycott by the black community. The boycott led the U.S. supreme court to outlaw racial segregation on public busses in Alabama. It also started more nonviolent protests in other cities.

-On August 28th 1963, 20,000 blacks and whites gathered a the Lincoln Memorial to hear speeches against racism. Among the many that were given included Martin Luther Kings "I have a dream" speech. They marched and protested non-violently, MLK's speech strongly called for an end to racism and civil and economic rights.

-In September 1957, the Little Rock Central High School board voted on school integration. This was the first major confrontation between state rights and the Supreme Courts integration decision. Eighteen African American students were chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School to comply with the Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of education decision.

-On September 15th 1963 a Birmingham black church as bombed, resulting in deaths of four black girls. 11 year old Denise McNair and three 14 year olds, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins were killed when a dynamite bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. The church had been the place where many civil rights rallies and meetings had been held. After the tragedy it became a focal point drawing many moderate whites into the Civil Rights Movement.

-In August 1955 Emmett Till, a 14 year old black young boy was murdered for whistling at and flirting with a white woman. His mother after seeing his remains decided to have an open casket funeral so everyone could see what racist murders had did to her son.