The Civil Rights Museum

By Emma Arnold and Kayla Rupe

Key Events During the Reform

There were many events that occurred during the era that definitely changed and influenced the world today. First of all, the nation used to be split over the views of slavery- the south wanted it, but the north didn't. Due to the Civil War, slavery was abolished, and was made certain by the 13th Amendment. Although slavery had ended, African Americans were still not completely seen as equal. But, the purpose of events like the March on Washington, Martin Luther's "I Have A Dream" speech, and more were to help the inequality problem.

Aside of African American rights, women were also being faced with the challenge of not being seen as equal. Women encouraged others to help women stop being subordinate to men. During the Seneca Falls Convention, people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton spoke about their strong beliefs. Because of these types of people and movements, women were eventually able to expand their rights, like voting.

Another group that wasn't seen as equal were those who were mentally ill and/or handicapped. These people were treated with low respect and weren't treated like others who only acted in a different way. For example, when Dorothea Dix toured certain hospitals, she found that those with mental problems were in cages and other inhuman areas that people without those illnesses wouldn't have to face. So to change that, Dix helped create various hospitals across the U.S. in order to support the movement.

Another problem that happened around this time was focused on prisons. People had "differing ideas about which crimes merit imprisonment, what length sentences should be, and how inmates should be treated." (Brennan, et al. Almanac Vol. 2) As a result, changes, which called for stricter and more severe penalties for crime, were created.

Important Figures During the Reform

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped organize the first women's rights convention, known as the Seneca Falls Convention, and formed the National Women's Loyal League. She was also part of the National Women Suffrage Association.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Another key figure who inspired many people during the Civil Rights reform was Martin Luther King Jr. He was a young pastor who was well known for his efforts in African American equality. During the March on Washington, King gave his most memorable speech, "I have A Dream". He also became one of the leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

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Before and After the Reform

Before the reform, most people were unsatisfied about how society was lived. Many people, who were primarily women, mentally ill, and African Americans, were mistreated and misjudged, and this was mostly only based on their appearance or actions. But, after the reform, changes were made that definitely helped those who weren't seen as equivalent to others. These changes that made life much easier for many to live include the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments, the Civil Rights Acts. Voting Rights Acts of 1965, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (1972), etc.

The Impact of the Reforms Today

The impact of the Civil Rights movement played a crucial role in defining U.S. history. Because of the reforms, people today know that everyone is equal, despite their color, background, gender, etc. There are no longer segregated schools, water fountains, or bathrooms due to the fights for equality. Also, those who are mentally ill are treated much more fairly. Thanks to those who are now seen as idols during the Civil Rights reform, our society is now a much better and civilized place to live.