Civil Rights Movement

By: Abigail Reynolds

Igniting the Fire

The Civil Rights Movement took place in the 1950's and1960's. It was a time for black people and their supporters to take a stand for their beliefs because they wanted to have equal rights and eliminate segregation. White people believed that African American people did not deserve to be equal to them, and many laws were created to support that belief.

The Civil Rights Movement has contributed a lot to today's society and social norms. Many people throughout the United States are still against the thought that black people are equal to white people, but at the same time, the segregation has mostly died out. We don't have separate bathrooms, restaurants, hotels, etc nowadays, but the United States used to have those such things. I believe we have come a long way as a country on this particular topic, but I also believe we can continue to improve.

Tactics, Strategies, and Customs

During the Civil Rights Movement, many strategies were used on both sides of the fence. White people tended to use police brutality and political schemes, while black people used revolts and civilian acts of disobedience. For example, a white state trooper shot and killed Jimmie Jackson, a black man, for trying to protect his family. Most black people at this time did not want to physically abuse others, whereas the common white man did not care if he harmed an innocent black person.

The people involved in the Civil Rights Movement were typically drawn one way or another. There weren't many blacks who agreed with whites, nor many whites who agreed with blacks. This created a very evident barrier between different types of people, but they came up with many tactics within those groups. African American groups came up with boycotts, refusals, and speeches to get the whites to believe and understand their viewpoint on the subject matter. They just wanted to be treated equally and were not going to quit until that goal was achieved.

Although many illegal events took place, some laws were actually intact on this topic. The Jim Crow Laws made it so racial segregation in public places was illegal, and although blacks were still considered to be separate from whites, they should now be treated as equals. There were many social disadvantages to black people, meaning they couldn't obtain jobs as easily, they were given weird looks on the streets, and it was much harder for them to get an education. However, this racial difference gave them a reason to want to improve themselves and work harder, just to prove everyone wrong. They no longer wanted to be doubted and frowned upon, they wanted to be truly equal, and they were willing to work their hardest to make that happen.

"A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke is a beautiful song about the end of racial segregation. It discusses the hardships they faced and the harsh times they were put through, all because they were of a different color. The issues of the Civil Rights Movement caused African Americans to fear white people, but it drew all of them closer together. Blacks understood each other because they were all going through the same thing. This song describes the bond they created with one another, and portrayed them as a strong family.

This song talks about how the blacks made it through this time period. It encases the feelings and thoughts of a black man who lived through the movement. The words he sings are true and powerful, and it actually brings me to tears. We can't fully understand what they went through, but this song allows us to have an insight to the craziness that is the Civil Rights Movement.

Movement Groups


The NAACP is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It is the largest and most well-known group from the Civil Rights Movement. This particular group was formed in 1909, but was most helpful during the Civil Rights Movement. Over half a million people were involved in this group in some way. Most of the members of this group were black, but some of the supporters were indeed white.

In the early stages of this group, the main focus was figuring out legal strategies to address the social issues of the time. They asked for many laws to be put into effect, some being accepted, some denied. As the NAACP gained more fame and support, more events took place. Rosa Parks was a member of the NAACP, and in 1955, she took a stand against a white man and refused to give up her seat a public bus. This was the beginning of an uproar in the black community, and eventually turned into the Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Martin Luther King Jr. The NAACP also played a huge role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.


CORE is the Congress of Racial Equality that was established in 1942. It played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement on the African Americans behalf. It was one of the "Big Four" organizations that helped to get rights for African Americans. It started off as a completely volunteer-based organization, and slowly turned into a very well-known, well-supported unit. This particular group was also involved with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and appointed activists to help out with the main riots and refusals. They organized the "Freedom Rides" in 1961, and came up with many new tactics to use throughout the rest of the movement. They made "Equality a Reality For All."