The Civil Rights Movement

By: Madison Munyon

Has the Civil Rights Movement contributed to the US today?

Historically the Civil Rights Movement promoted rights such as voting, being treated "equal", and getting the same rights as the white men. These "rights" primarily involved African Americans during the movement. Today in the U.S. there is equal treatment amongst African American's and white men; although, there is still cases where this equality is not present. For example, Trayvon Martin a young black man was carrying skittles in a concealed bag walking home in Orlando, Florida and got shot and killed because the man behind the gun was suspicious as to what the young man had in the bag. There is many cases where African American's are not treated equal, but as a whole - equality is definitely represented. For example, the current president - the 44th of the United States, is African American. Individually racism still exists in some, which poses a threat to equality but overall the population of African American individuals with equal treatment in comparison to a white guy is prevalent.

Strategies used in the movement.

During the movement the usage of non-violence was very heavily. Non-violence basically meant that the black's refused to obey certain rules and laws, to sway the government in creating an alternative law. For example, the Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. The African American's refused to be transported on the buses because they did not believe the segregated seating was just. This non-violent protest lasted 381 days and despite going to jail, being fined and finding new means of transportation, the segregation of buses was then integrated the bus system due to the perseverance of the African Americans. They were very motivated by Martin Luther King at the time who was a young black pastor who preached love, wisdom from God, and self sacrifice.
Beside using non-violent resistance, African Americans also targeted local or specific goals using marches, "sit-ins", "freedom rides", and boycotts. With these several strategies it was crucial to have all the local support from other African Americans to enhance the success of these movements against white people and the unjust laws. To get reform blacks seeked white liberals and the federal government. King also enforced going to jail instead of paying bail. It was considered a "badge of respect" to be imprisoned as a black.

"Unsung Hereos"

One of the many unsung hereos was Emmett Till. Emmitt was a 14 year old african american boy who lived in Chicago, Illinois. He resided in Money, Mississippi visiting family when he was murdered. Emmett was reported to have flirted with a white woman of the age of 21 at a grocery store. After this scenario Emmett was taken to a barn, beaten, shot, and had his eyes gauged out. His body was then taken to Tallahachie river and disposed of with a cotton gin fan tied around his neck with a 70 pound weight to hold his body down. When the body was returned to Chicago his mother ordered an open casket so that the world could see the brutality of the killing. This open casked posed the reconsideration of American racism, lynching barbarism and the vulnerability of american demoncracy.

"Unsung heroes"

Jimmie Lee Jackson was one of the many unsung hereos during the civil rights movement. Jimmie was a civil rights activist who resided in Marion, Alabama. He was also a deacon in a baptist church. While participating in a peaceful voting rights march he was beaten by troopers and shot by a state trooper, he died eight days later. His death posed inspiration for the Selma to Montgomery marches; a movement that helped retain voting rights for african americans in Alabama and across the South.
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Sam Cooke- A Change Is Gonna Come

In this Civil rights song Sam Cooke is singing about living in a tent and not necessarily having a stable place to call home or even a safe one. Cooke also then explains that its hard to live and you get the sense that he doesn't want to anymore based on his struggles in life but he also then states that he is afraid to die because he doesn't know whats beyond the sky. (I'm assuming he questions whether there is a heaven or hell or anything really at all). He then sings that he isn't allowed to hang around at public places, so you get the idea that the african american population isn't necessarily able to go out and have fun and do what the white people get to do because of the segregation and the unjust laws. He then continues on to basically say that he cried out for help to his brother but his brother is going through it as well and theres nothing he can do either so instead of offering hope and advice to Cooke he kinda shoots him down with reality which is definitely hard on Cooke. Finally, Cooke says that theres been times he didn't think he couldn't last long but then he finds himself carrying on because he feels there is a change going to come. He repeats this longing for hope for a change throughout the entire song which shows his helpless, desperate need for a change for his life and all the others of his ethnicity.