Civil Rights Movement

By Allison Murphy


The civil rights movement has brought forth opportunities for all people of all races and genders so that we all can live a full life. Before, white and Asian american/pacific islanders had a much larger chance of succeeding in life. We all have become more open-minded since the the civil rights movement and much more accepting as a people. Still, there is work to be done. Wage averages are still not equal, people joke around about racism, and there are still families and communities stuck in their old ways of thinking - specifically in the southern part of the U.S.

Feature Article: How Did They do It?

To ensure success, many tactics and strategies had to be planned. Otherwise, the civil rights movement wouldn't have been successful. There had to be many backup plans and people had to know how to handle and push through a variety of situations. It was to be expected that many would disapprove of the movement and do whatever it took to stop it from succeeding.

One strategy is the media. By broadcasting what the were fighting for and footage of the protests, it gained more hype. With the level of awareness up, it forces people to look at their own beliefs and decide where they will stand. Getting people to stand on your side becomes much, much easier to do when you are able to reach them through the television, newspapers, radio, etc.

Success could not be met by only one person. Multiple leaders were involved to ensure that equality was brought to our country. Ordinary, everyday citizens stepped up and led the American minorities, recruited even more to lead, and never backed down from a good fight for justice.

Unsung Heroes

Dorothy Irene Height
Height was essential to the success of civil rights from a young age. Attending high school in the 1930s, she organized anti-lynching protests; not soon after she began her career as a civil rights activist. She was quiet but strong. She started the YWCA’s Center for Racial Justice, served as president of the National Council of Negro Women, and helped carry out programs like the “pig bank,” which gave poor families pigs. She died in 2010 at the age of 98.

Fannie Lou Hamer
Hamer was born as the youngest of 20 children in Montgomery, Mississippi, 1917. After attempting to register to vote alongside 17 other African-American women, they were greeted with violence and she lost her job of nearly 20 years on a plantation. This event is what launched her into a Civil Rights career. She worked for and founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party. Her activism resulted in many beatings. She tried to run for congress in 1964-1965 but failed. She died of heart failure in 1977 at the age of 59. On her gravestone reads her most famous quote, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."

You've Got To be Carefully Taught- Rodgers and Hammerstein

"You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught"

This song explains how all of the racism and mistreatment of others is traced back to when you were young. The color of our skin should not matter; how someone looks on the outside does not define who they are on the inside. It is very sad that even today, people of color still struggle to escape the social stigma that was labeled on them way before the Civil Rights movement. Children look up to their parents tremendously. We are not born discriminating against each other, we learn to hate one another from those we look up to. If you are raised in a household that drills into your head to be accepting and friendly to everyone you meet, that's likely how you will look at life until the day you die, and your children will learn the same from you. This applies also to racism. A racist family will teach their views to their children and it will get passed down generations. Since the Civil Rights Movement, this pattern has been breaking for the better. With all of the media these days, our minds are easily influenced. In some cases this could be considered bad. But on our journey to social equality, this is good.