Civil Rights Movement
by Madelynn Bliss
The civil rights movement contributed to the belief that people should be treated equally in situations that are equal. It has not, however, been able to conquer biases emerging in situations where people deserve to be treated equally. Violations towards this belief inspire rebellion against the failure of social institutions to treat all people equally in equal circumstances. In this way the civil rights movement has inspired people to stand up for equality, even if it is only inspiring enough to apply when oppression and inequality begins to be overwhelming, and not simply when it is present.
Opening Their Eyes
The nonviolence movement was led by the young reverend Martin Luther King Jr. who emerged as an influential figure when he joined a group of religious leaders fighting for equality (SCLC). The premise of the non-violent movement was to demonstrate discontent and highlight the problems without causing reasons for the white community to fault their efforts, as well as to act according to religious principles. The non-violent effort found great success in the early years of the movement, and Martin Luther King Jr. successfully recruited powerful white allies to the movement. Many communities remained strong through the principles the nonviolence movement had and the strength of the bonds that people held through religion. Non-violent sit ins were held, non-violent protests were organized, and non-violent meetings took place. Through these non-violent actions taken by the black community and the actions that were taken in return by the white community it became apparent that the fight was a moral issue rather than a power-play by the black community. When they asked for equality peacefully and were met with overwhelming violence it was clear that they did not intend to do any harm to society. It was clear they were not trying to establish themselves as superior or take away anyone's rights, simply trying to call attention the amount of rights that they lacked. Even though they knew what would happen, they endured it and continued asking for equality without the use of violence.
Another tactic used in the Civil Rights Movement was the disobeying of unjust laws. By disobeying unjust laws the black community knew that they were setting themselves up for arrest and formal consequences. By going against the laws they successfully called attention to the content and expectations of laws which created unequal expectations in society. When Rosa Parks refused to follow the law that applied only to black people she called attention to the level of inequality that existed in that law. The discriminatory nature of the law was called into public view, and it was unavoidably considered by both white and black communities.
Political speeches made later on in the Civil Rights Movement by influential leaders of the movement helped to solidify the goals of the black community. This was important for the views of the movement in the white community, and the views of the movement for government and general society. This step was an important tactic in the Civil Rights Movement because it unified the goals of the majority of the black community and brought it to the white community for a response. In the beginning of the movement speeches and responses helped to establish what the black community was fighting for and how hard they were willing to fight. This method of unified communication was essential to the political progress that the Civil Rights Movement made in the end. The unified violation of expectations and political calls for change created pressure with the powerful speeches and political give and take that eventually resulted in success.
An unarmed black man (Walter Scott) was shot and killed by a white cop (Michael Slager) who proceeded to plant a weapon on his body. This is an incident of racism in the public defense system, and one of the large incidents that called modern America's attention to continuing racism.
Woolworth Sit In
A tactic used in the Civil Rights Movement, the sit in began at Woolworth with a small group of nonviolent protestors. These nonviolent protestors recieved negative responses but continued on with their sit-in.
Selma to Montgomery March
The Selma to Montgomery march which was 54 miles demonstrates another important tactic used by civil rights activists. Against the disapproval of the white population, many black people came together in the continuous struggle for the right to vote.