Changes Brought by Civil Rights Movement

Changes Brought by Civil Rights Movement.
The Civil Rights movement, during the 1960s and 1970s, created many changes for both American society and its schools. The transformations were the result of such movements as Bilingual Education, women”s” rights activity, and the passing of the Public Law 94-142 legislation. The incorporation of these new laws and ideas into society all came with their own consequences. Each of them helped, in some way, to lessen the inequality of minority groups in America, like students whose primary language was not English, women, and handicapped children.
They also faced opposition by certain groups, who did not eel that their inclusion in American life was necessary. Those fighting for the minorities, though, were steadfast in their efforts, and made many successful The Bilingual Education movement in America began in the late 1960s. It was made to be an important issue due to the fact that many Spanish-speaking children were attending schools that only included the English language in their curriculum. This resulted in low academic achievement rates for the students.
Bilingual education programs were developed to try to resolve this dilemma in the American schools. In these programs, teaching was given in both Spanish nd English. Some attempts were eventually made to set a standard for the bilingual education and make it a nationally recognized idea. The Bilingual Education Act, passed by Congress in 1968, made an approach to legitimize the instruction of non-English speaking children (U & W, 317). It did not set any standards though, so how well the act was observed was basically left up to whose arguments were stronger–the opposers or the defenders.

The Supreme Court popularized the issue in 1974, in the Lau vs. Nichols case. This case involved “Chinese American children in San Francisco who spoke little or no English” (ibid. . Those fighting for the children wanted them to receive extra attention in teaching English. After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the children, various proposals were given to attempt to solve The inclusion of bilingual education in America”s school”s curriculum brought about different ideas on how to resolve the issue.
The first of these approaches suggested that there be a special curriculum for non-English speakers, so that they can concentrate on learning the English language. The second involved taking non-English speaking students out of regular classrooms until they learned the language fully. The third approach, bilingual education, suggested teaching the student”s native language and English equally. According to Urban and Wagoner in American Education: A History, “advocates of this last approach sometimes emphasized biculturalism as well and These attempts were both supported and opposed by various parties.
Those who defended incorporation of bilingual education into American schools included politicians and other Hipic leaders, who were trying to prevent assimilation. Opposers included “teachers, Anglo politicians, and some Hipic intellectuals”, who thought that it was important for the children to ssimilate in to the society (ibid. ). Women”s rights activity also became popular in the 1960s, but did not have many large effects on the schools. Teachers did not want to be involved with the feminists, and so the activists also distanced themselves from the teachers.
The hard work and determination of the feminists did though, bring about the passing of the Title IX of the Higher Education Act in 1972 (ibid. , 320). This act instilled gender equality in institutions of higher education, and has played a monumental role in regulating fairness among the sexes in colleges and The Title IX continues to aid in maintaining equality between college men and women, among other things, though there is still work to be done. The act has been successful supporting attempts to bring more female administrators into schools.
In actuality though, women principals and administrators in schools and school districts are still scarce (ibid. ). Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, was an act of legislation passed by Congress in 1972. It assured that all handicapped children received equal public education. It also allowed disabled hildren to be students in regular classrooms, an idea called “mainstreaming” (ibid. ). Included in the act, was a development called the individualized education plan (IEP).
This plan was for all handicapped students enrolled in the program, and it would analyze the children”s” progress, as well as any goals that Public Law 94-142 encountered intense debates from both supporters and opposers. The children and their parents greatly approved of the special education program because it provided a much more favorable education than what they were receiving previously. They were getting a chance to be educated n the same atmosphere as children without disabilities.
Others who opposed mainstreaming and the special education programs included various school officials, and the parents of non-handicapped children. The officials believed that Congress was violating the school system, by enacting educational legislation, without providing a way to fund it. The parents were angered because they felt that the handicapped children brought in to the classrooms would take too much attention away from their children”s” education. This issue was never quite resolved with the legislation, and it still remains today.
The Bilingual Education movement, women”s rights activity, and Public Law 94-142 are just a few of the ideas, movements, and acts of legislation that produced changes in American society and the education system in the 1960s and 1970s. Some, like bilingual education, affected what was taught in the classroom. Others, like the women”s rights movement, and Public Law 94-142, transformed the schools themselves, and also who was attending them. Each included their own outcome and consequences when they were enacted. The outcomes, in fact, have allowed for standards that exist in American schools today.

Changes Brought by Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement.
In this essay, I will aim to establish whether or not the civil rights movement has achieved equal rights for black people in USA and if so, to what extent. In order to do this, we must compare the situation for blacks in USA currently, to that of blacks many years ago. Absolutely no one would even try to argue that Black Americans had equal rights during, or even directly after the abolition of slavery. This would be ridiculous bearing in mind that many were forced to work from sunrise to sunset, an eighteen hour day in some places, with few, if any rights at all.
At one point, slave owners were even given specific rights to brand, maim, whip or even burn disobedient slaves. This hardly indicates any sort of equal rights. They were unable to vote, serve on juries receive an education and work in certain trades. The fact that they were unable to serve on juries almost made certain that any black man could be tried and convicted even though totally innocent. Also, no voting meant no black politicians, and no politicians meant no say in government.
There were a few lucky blacks living in the south who had managed to obtain freedom, some by purchasing their liberties and others handed their freedom after their masters had passed away. However, these blacks were constantly living in the fear that they could once again be taken into slavery. Most blacks had now been freed, yet they were not compensated for past labours, leaving them jobless and almost pennyless. Many “white supremacy” organisations such as the Ku Klux Klan were formed solely to intimidate the black population.

Public lynchings and public beatings became common place and very rarely was anything done about it in the courts as it was supported by many officials. After slavery was abolished, many years of black campaigning followed and gradually, the campaigning became more and more succesful. In 1870, the fifteenth ammendment was passed declaring the right for all to be able to vote regardless of race. This was seen as a real breakthrough yet celebrations were proved to be far too premature. At first everything seemed fine.
States which had black majorities soon began to have black politicians who were more understanding to their plight. Free education was introduced and the system of having to own land to be able to have the right to vote was also scrapped. All seemed well and good until 1877, when the army decided that it was time to pull out of the southern states. This immediately left the blacks vulnerable to attack from the various groups which had been formed who had a great hatred towards the blacks. These secret organisations began using violence in order to prevent blacks from voting and this led to an almost immediate change.
The lack of the black vote led to all white governments once again being elected and this in turn saw the re-introduction of many laws against those African Americans. Once again, control of the blacks was firmly in the hands of their white rulers. ‘Jim Crow’ laws were introduced enforcing segregation in various araes of life. Transport saw separate seating for blacks and whites. Separate schools and hospitals were also introduced. The segregation even went as far as having different cemetries for deceased whites and deceased blacks, even in church, they were sat seperately.
The much lower wages that the blacks were being payed meant that they could only afford housing in more run down neighbourhoods, again leading to a seperation, with “black only” towns. This residential segregation was even made compulsory in some states. Inter-racial marriages became a massive target for groups such as The Ku Klux Klan. They felt that this would lead to a society where racial categorization would become difficult and white dominance would become hard to maintain. Again violence was used to ensure that no inter-racial marriages could take place.
If any kind of recession came round, black employees were always the first to be fired regardless of experience or quality of work and no blacks were allowed to join unions. This of course meant that in the event of any strike action, the blacks would continue to work arousing yet more hatred and hostility from their fellow white compatriots. After the white governments had been firmly re-established, the power of blacks was continually undermined. Successful black businessmen were attacked and any attempts to form black protection groups were quickly quashed.
The KKK also introduced lynching for those blacks accused of commiting crimes, many of whom were completely innocent. This was seen as not really a form of punishment for criminals, but more a way of intimidating the local black population into accepting the rule of the whites. Yet again, the blacks were forced to accept the inhumane ways in which they were being treated and once again there was nothing they could really do about it. One hundred years on, to what extent have civil rights been achieved for blacks? On visiting America now, and comparing life to that of a hundred years ago, the most apparent difference is desegregation.
Whereas blacks and whites were forced to attend separate schools, take part in leisure activities seperately, use separate transport and forced to be segregated in the supreme court, there is now no lawful segregation in the USA. Blacks have been given equal rights as far as voting goes and it has been this way for many years now. However, this did not mean that all Blacks were suddenly voting. There was still the problem of persuading blacks to register although, this has now been rectified with very public registration campaigns. The result has been a huge increase in the proportion of blacks registered to vote.
There have been monumental chnages in attitudes towards blacks which has meant the uprising of many black celebrities which would have been unthinkable until recent years. A prime example of this could be that of black boxer, Mohammed Ali. His refusal to participate in the Vietnam War because of his personal beliefs, and being prepared to go to jail rather than back down, earnt him world wide respect. This went along with the respect that he had already gained from his doubtless talent in the ring. To this day, Ali is one of the most highly respected sportsmen throughout the world.
Various blakc musicians have reached stardom also. Examples include Stevie Wonder, Tupac Shakur, Billy Halliday and Bessie Smith, who had to fight adversity throughout her career. However, even here there is the possiblity of racial discrimination having taking place as it is widely claimed that, after a car crash Bessie Smith was refused treatment due to the colour of her skin and as a direct result, died from excessive blood loss. Blacks have also been very successful in Hollywood, with both Will Smith and Samuel L. Jackson being among the top ten earners.
This does not even take into acount Denzel washington, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg and many others. The major turning point as far as civil rights were concerened, was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This finally insured equal oppurtunity for all, in terms of employment and otherwise. There were also affirmative acion programs set up to help those blacks, who through no fault of their own, were given very poor educations. Some blacks have even made a success of themselves by writing or talking about their difficulties in achieving liberation. Maya Angeou is one such person.
The political influence of blacks is always rising and I have already spoken about the rise in blacks registered to vote. Recently, we have also seen the rise to prominence of some black politicians. Namely, Jesse Jackson and Colin Powell. Jackson ran for presidency in both the 1984 and 1988 elections and although he failed on both occasions, his skills as a negotiater have been proven on many separate occasions. His current title is Washington’s special envoy to Africa. Colin Powell has come into the limelight much more after the very tragic events of September 2001.
Much praise has been heaped on the Secretary Of State for the way in which he has handled the cris. He was often referred to as “the face of America” in the aftermath of the attacks. There have also been great strides made in the way of economic progress. Many blacks have managed to break through into the middle classes. “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” is a popular, black sitcom in which one such family is portrayed. The father is a well respected lawyer and the family is shown to be living in great luxery.
Similarly, there have been other very successful “black” shows such as “The Cosby Show. There are now many, many black homeowners also, in complete contrast to the slavery which existed a century earlier. As yet, I have talked about the great amount of change and progress which has been achieved for blacks in USA, however, in the same period of time there have been many incidents and there are many facts which suggest that not too much has really changed. For example, many people argue that there is a continuity in attitudes of discrimination and they point to certain events to support this.
Accusations of police brutality and heavy handiness towards blacks are constant and the Rodney King incident seems to justify this. Rodney King was a drunken, black driver, who after being stopped by police, was brutally assaulted by four police officers. The whole incident was video-taped by an on looker. Because of the video-tape, there was a resulting trial in which all four police officers were accused of using excessive force. However, the entirely white jury judged all four to have been not guilty of all charges and the result was the largest riots in Los Angeles’ history.
Many people were injured during these riots. Consequently, there was a second trial, in which two officers were again acquitted and the other two received minimum jail terms. There were fears of a second round of rioting which never materialised. Other such incidents include an African refugee being shot 24 times by police officers. To this day, there are still more blacks than whites on death row, which again leads to calls of discrimination by the police force and law courts. Earlier, I spoke about black successes in politics, pointing to Jesse Jackson and Colin Powell as examples.
However, there has still been no black president, and it still does not even seem like a possibility in the foreseeable future. Even, with the prominence of Jackson and Powell, it can still be said that there is an exclusion of blacks in politics. The poverty trap of many years earlier also still exists in many parts of America, where the idea that if a black person was forced to live in a ghetto due to poor wages, there was really no way out and achieving something for their children as opportunities and resources were greatly limited.
In conclusion, I think it is obviously clear that change has been achieved and progress has been made as far as civil rights are concerned and there will always be isolated incidents, which suggest otherwise. A great distance has been traveled on the road to achieving equal rights and hopefully, the last few miles will also be covered in the near future.

The Civil Rights Movement

Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement

Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.
In Martin Luther King‘s speech he speaks with such passion and determination, you can tell in his voice that he means everything he says and his hope reaches out to people and the way he emphases his words captures the audience’s attention. He believed that every person should be equal despite their skin color. In Malcolm X’s speech he talks more about himself and he thought it would be best for everyone to keep their religion to themselves. He believed that the black people were trapped by the white people.
He thought of white people as the enemy and he mostly spoke negatively about them. He made jokes throughout his speech and to me he didn’t sound at serious as Martin Luther. For example Martin said “Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. As opposed to Malcolm X, who stated in his speech “There is nothing in our book, the Koran, which teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That’s a good religion. ” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted a more peaceful approach. He hoped that with sit-ins and peace marches to appeal to the ideals of dignity and justice in the white people of the time.
To show them the wrong they were doing so that they would want to correct it in themselves out of their own personal honor. Malcolm X on the other hand believed that white people would never give up their power, at least early on in his career as a civil rights leader. He believed they would only give it up if forced to do so, and that meant through militant means. He eventually give this idea up in favor of more peaceful means after finding white Muslims who treated him and other black men as brothers; and black men who treated white people as brothers as well.

And with this he began to realize that they could live in peace, and so he switched to a more peaceful style in his protests in the end. Personally, I believe that Martin Luther’s approach to gaining equality among people worked best. When taking a forceful approach, such as Malcolm X’s you take a risk that your enemy will not fear you but that they could possibly fight back and over power you. This could possibly be said for a peaceful approach as well but it’s less likely.

Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.
Since the late 1600’s, African Americans have been fighting for equality. In 1865, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, laws were imposed to segregate severely against blacks. During this time public schools were segregated, prohibiting their right to vote, and forbid them to sit on juries. At this point, African Americans became embittered and wanted to make a change in the way they were being treated. Heroes such as Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King were role models who strived for true freedom for African Americans.
Martin Luther King, imparticular, was well known for his peaceful protesting and inspirational speeches. King’s work throughout the 1960’s led to great improvements of equality among the blacks and whites. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was raised by both parents, which were both reverends. King’s house that he lived with his parents in was named after his grandfather being named the Williams House. King’s family called him Michael because his father’s name was also Martin.
Martin’s name was originally just Martin King Jr. until his father added Luther after Martin Luther, a Protestant leader in Germany. Being raised with three children in the household, King was the second child of his family. His older sister, Willie Christine King, and his younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams King, all lived in the same household as him. The parents of Martin gave him a happy upbringing and tried to give him everything they possibly could. During his early childhood he always played the piano, which he taught himself how to do. King’s grandfather and father also provided him with spiritual teachings throughout his young life.

The immediate family of Martin was a financially secure middle-class family. Therefore he received a better education than most young children of his race. Although King was raised with excellent morals, he encountered several racial discriminations as a child. One day he and his older sister went to buy him school shoes. As they entered, they were ushered to the back of the store to an exit because there was a policy stating, “no blacks are allowed. ” This racial encounter was one of the many events that drove King into becoming an activist for equal rights between whites and blacks. (King, Martin Luther Jr. )
After attending college and becoming involved with the Christian society King decided that it was time to make a change. After many years King was able to achieve his lifetime goal, which was to abolish segregation. His changes in society were a long winding road that gave him troubles, but in the end he realized that it was all worth it. Civil Rights have been violated way before Martin Luther King became a well-known face in the fight for equality. Since the Civil War there has been a struggle for African Americans and whites to be treated the same.
In the 1950s, there have been more movements for the same rights. In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education, helped create the 14th amendment, which gave everyone equal protection under the law. This helped desegregate schools and merged African Americans and whites into the same school. Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott because she refused to give up her seat to a white man in 1955. Other peaceful protests and acts helped in the fight for equality. Martin Luther King also started protesting and fighting for African Americans freedom in the late 1950s.
Martin Luther King Jr. was the leader of the peaceful Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. Martin Luther King Jr. made his I Have a Dream Speech on August 28th, 1963 in order to end racism in the United States. This speech was an eye opener and turn around for the United States. This famous speech was presented to over 250,000 Americans. The Great March on Washington was presented in front of the Lincoln Memorial for jobs and freedom. The purpose of the speech was to achieve racial justice and equality for everyone especially African Americans.
The goal was to terminate racial segregation and allow the unemployed black African Americans to get employed. It was the speech that changed America. This was the first time that the blacks and whites worked together and fought for something they wanted to change. It unified the blacks and whites. This empowering speech by Martin Luther King Jr. made everyone equal and allowed the unemployed black African Americans to have an opportunity to be employed. King’s speech focused on both “the American dream” and religious themes.
He spoke about a country where his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. ” (King, Martin Luther) Martin Luther King had a huge impact on the 1960s. He was able to get the country, and the world, to notice discrimination of African Americans was having through his organization of peaceful protests and marches. His marches and peaceful protests were often recorded and put on TV or radio so the world could see what he was accomplishing. King’s march on Washington helped influence congress in passing a bill that John F. Kennedy created.
His impacted was greatly influenced in the South, where whites were still not letting African Americans vote, even though they were free. King had a very influential way in government affairs that were dealt with segregation and equality. The struggles that were overcome in the 1960s couldn’t have been helped, with out the impact that Martin Luther King had. King’s speech remains one of the most famous speeches in American history. Martin Luther King had a vision where race was not an issue and everyone was equal. In today’s society, blacks and whites are equal. Blacks and Whites use the same water fountain and attend the same schools.
When King gave the I Have a Dream speech, the meaning of the speech extended throughout time and it made people think of what is “right”. It is became more than just skin color but helped us understand not to discriminate against people. We can clearly see the positive impact that King has had on this nation. He has helped change this nation for the better, and it is because of his sacrifice that equality is as accepted and taught as it is today. Although King was arrested multiple times for “demonstrating without a permit”, he still insisted on making the speeches that changed the world today.
After he proclaimed his I have a dream speech he then decided that he wanted to change the way poor people were treated and the employment issues. In 1968, King announced that the Poor People’s Campaign will culminate in a March on Washington demanding a $12 billion Economic Bill of Rights guaranteeing employment to the ones able, incomes to those unable to work, and an end to housing discrimination. On March 28, 1968, MLK delivered his I’ve been to the Mountaintop speech. This was another very moving speech. King told the world about what he envisioned the results of the Civil Rights struggle to be.

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement Critical Essay

Civil Rights Movement Critical Essay.
CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT The civil rights movement in America had a wide variety of successes over time. As successful as they were, all went through their share of hardships and struggles. Major desegregation acts in history include Brown vs, Board of Education, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Civil Rights Act of 1957. These events changed life for African Americans to come. In the early 1950’s, racial segregation in public schools was the norm across America. Although all the schools in a given district were supposed to be equal, most black schools were inferior to their white counterparts.
Brown vs. Board of Education was a decision of the US Supreme Court in 1954 that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students was unconstitutional. It was a giant step towards complete desegregation of public schools. However, even partial desegregation of these schools, was still very far away. Started by the arrest of Rosa Parks on 1 December 1955, the Montgomery bus boycott was a 13-month protest that ended with the U. S. Supreme Court ruling that segregation on public buses is unconstitutional.
At one point in time, 90 percent of African American bus riders were choosing to walk. The bus boycott demonstrated nonviolent protest to successfully challenge racial segregation and was an example for other campaigns that followed. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , being the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, spoke to many about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, commonly expressing that, ‘‘I want it to be known that we’re going to work with grim and bold determination to gain justice on the buses in this city”.

The bus boycott was followed by a similar judgment concerning interstate buses. However, states in the Deep South continued their own policy of transport segregation. The 1964 Civil Rights Act made racial discrimination in public places, such as theaters, restaurants and hotels, illegal. It also required employers to give equal employment opportunities. The Civil Rights Act also attempted to deal with the problem of African Americans being denied the vote in the Deep South.
The legislation stated it must prevail for establishing the right to vote. Schooling to sixth grade constituted legal proof of literacy and the attorney general was given power to give legal action in any area that they found resistance to the law. These three things impacted American history and all strengthened a complete integration that many during this time were moving toward. Without these, who knows where the U. S. would be at, in terms of racial issues, today?

Civil Rights Movement Critical Essay

History Of Civil Rights Movement

History Of Civil Rights Movement.
The success achieved following the years of the Second World War only determined the Civil Rights activists to continue their fight for equal treatment. The important Supreme Court ruling of Brown v The Board of Education outlawed the segregated state sponsored school system, which had promoted legal segregation of elementary schools. However there was much need for a proper implementation of this decision and for further legal action. The murder of Emmet Till and the subsequent acquittal of his white killers represented a lost opportunity for the justice system to lay its impartial role.

From there on, the goals, the leaders and the tactics of the Civil Rights movement changed from legal to direct actions. This evolution was partly due to the fact that there were continuous attempts to interfere with legal actions that the NAACP was undergoing in achieving equality for the Black community. Thus the main goal became now the determined fight against segregation with clear targets such as desegregation of Albany or Birmingham. (Jenkins 1997). The means however, although they was less legal action involved, remained non-violent, and often took the form of boycotts, freedom rides.

One such example was the Montgomery Bus Boycott against the segregated transportation system in Alabama, which resulted in the end in a Supreme Court ruling against the State of Alabama. The tactics involved activities at the local level, which were now conducted by Church members, thus the community became much more implicated. Among these, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who would later become one of the leading figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Also, sit-ins were organized by students in order to encourage the desegregation in schools. The efforts culminated with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
(African American Odyssey 2002). However, slowly, the cooperation between the black civil rights militants and the whites became an obstacle for those who believed in more radical moves. Thus leaders such as Stokely Carmichael began advocating a new concept, that of “black power” which demanded freedom from white authority both economically and political. Its means of representation sought more an improvement of the black communities rather than their integration in the white reality. Thus, it encouraged self consciousness and self reliance, along with the creation of a strong cultural conscience.
The role of the black women is rather important as they too strived for recognition of their rights. However, the emancipation movement that had galvanized the black community was doubled by the feminist movement which in its turn demanded for equal rights for men and women. (Williams n. d. ). Nonetheless, from a wider perspective, black women represented an indispensable element for the complete emancipation of the black community in offering both practical and moral support.
One such personality was Gospel Singer Mahalia Jackson who had joined the Civil Rights Movement at the request of Dr. King and who represented an important figure for the black cultural emerging identity. (African American Odyssey 2002). Bibliography African American Odyssey. (2002). Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and Demonstrations. Retrieved 9 May 2006 from Library of Congress Web site: http://memory. loc. gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart9b. html Jenkins, P. (1997). A history of the United States. New York: Palgrave. Williams, M. (n. d). Black Women and the Struggle for Liberation. [Electronic version]. Third World Women’s Alliance. Black Women’s Manifesto. NY: Third World Women’s Alliance.

History Of Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement.
During the 1960s it was the start of the civil rights movement. It’s quite a significant period in American history for equality since the Civil war. African American has had enough of the unjust way they’ve been treated. This was about the fight to attain something more than just changing the law but also come together as a nation to continue the fight for freedom and solve these social issues that were oppressing people of color.
In order for this to happen, African Americans must of have taken actions that would greatly affect the system that they were forced to live. This was a time where uniting in their community was essential to the cause of the civil rights movement. Overcoming all these challenges was difficult as they were met with many oppositionists that were peaceful and non-peaceful.
Many different leaders had a different philosophy on how to resolve their issues. Ultimately, they all had the same goal which was to find freedom and equality for their people. The civil rights movement was about battling against the racial injustices in America and getting equality to all people, while at the same time offering solutions to resolve all these issues in America.

In the civil rights movement, African American were faced with dangers and obstacles in this fight. With all the rallies, marches that were organized, or just simply living their life, came a lot of unwelcome physical violence. One prime example of this is the peaceful marches people came and were then beaten by the police.
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. directly explains, “when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters” (p.28-29).Most of the time it was no fault of the protester, but it was because of the racism and hate police had people of color. Another, yet similar, example of violence, experienced by Anne Moody. This was a protest in the death of Medgar. Anne, as well as other protesters, were arrested and put into a paddy wagon or garbage trucks and left in the fields.
“The driver rolled up the windows,” describes civil rights activist Anne Moody, “turned the heater on, got out, closed the door and left us” (p.49). The protesters were not treated with any respect but instead treated like animals. Police brutality was a reality that was expected to be confronted with at rallies. However, they had to show no signs no signs of counter-attack and peaceful throughout the protest. It was part of King’s non-violent approach during the civil rights movement.
The oppression and discrimination of sorts was a battle that people of color faced during the 1960s. All of this was part of an everyday life for African Americans. However, there was some type discrimination within them. This was the role that women were allowed to be part of in the marches. Civil rights activist Rosa Parks states, “women were not allowed to play much of a role.
The marching committee didn’t want Coretta Scott King and the other wives of the male leaders to march with their husbands” (p.44). This was the separation of women and men for no reason. It shows the inequality that was present during the 1960s but also a bit ironic since the whole point of the march was the fight for equal rights. It’s also a representation of how much more work is needed to make this world equal for everyone.
Moreover, the discrimination against color people was quite vibrant in all aspects of the ways African Americans lived. African Americans were hit with a lot of discriminatory signs in public accommodations that were extremely racially offensive. When there seemed to have been some type of change with that, it only lasted for a while and went back to the same old thing.
“We realize that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained,” expresses activist Martin Luther King, Jr. (p.26). Just because of their skin color they were met with racist signs. As I said before it’s not just a legal change that was occurring but also a social one that needed a change. It was important to have a change in opinion by this country’s society.
It was also about combating the racism black people faced on a daily basis throughout their day. Anne Moody was a victim of what black people faced and hoped to change. Anne Moody was physically abused because of the color of her skin, “then the mob started to smear her and others with ketchup, mustard, sugar, pies, and everything in the counter” (p.45).
This was just for sitting at the counter in a restaurant. In the midst of all this chaos, African Americans took action to combat all the racism they were facing and unjust laws that in order to get to a solution. There were many strategies that civil rights activist proposed and practiced that were put on the table in order to find solutions.
One of these influencers proposed to have a unification of all black people. “Keep our religion between ourselves and our God, but when coming out here, we have a fight that is common to all of us against an enemy who is common to all of us,” expresses Muslim and civil rights leader Malcolm X (p.72-73).
This a time where everyone must put their beliefs and differences aside in order to progress. At the end of the day, they all have the same goal and the same foe to fight against. This is a call to action where they must gain control of their own fate but in order for that to happen, they must invest in their own self. One of Malcolm’s main objectives to combat the oppressive system black people were living in was different to King’s method.
King’s method was a non-violent one and have all people, no matter the color, come together to erase the racism between people. Malcolm was more having only black people come together as a community to help one another in order to progress. Muslim speaker states, “The community in which you spend your money becomes richer and richer.
The community out of which you take your money becomes poorer and poorer” (p.74). Malcolm wants black people to stop spending their money in communities they are not part of. He insists that it by spending money in your own community, it becomes richer and in then being able to prosper. This was just one of the few things that he proposes to during this time period.
The 1960s was another major time period for African Americans to fight for equal rights in this country. This time period is a big turning point for all people of color. It signifies that by uniting everyone for a cause, situations can be changed for the better no matter how difficult the obstacle. It was the fight to change the social, political, cultural, and laws that cast a shadow on the people of color by discriminating them.
The civil rights movement gave birth to different many leaders on how to solve this issues that were happening at that time. With many people taking action and finding solutions, also came a lot of misfortunes that brought many difficulties in the fight for equality. Many discrimination acts were against African American that they had the courage to unite for a better tomorrow.
It was all about getting equality for every single person. Although today our world is not completely equal as we want it to be, there is no doubt that we have made some remarkable advancements in our society. Looking back at the history of the civil rights movement there’s for sure something that we learn from and use today to solve our current issues.

Civil Rights Movement

The Laws in the Reconstruction Era and the Civil Rights Movement

The Laws in the Reconstruction Era and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Laws in the Reconstruction Era and the Civil Rights Movement The civil rights movement that started and grew through the years following the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954 and with the help of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Patterson, 2001) marked an important period that accomplished more than ending segregation in cities and unfair rights; it led to the transformation of American social, cultural, and political life. The civil rights movement did not only demonstrate that the rights of African Americans should not be ignored but also showed how a nation as a whole had the power to change itself.
The way the civil rights unfolded, gave others a chance to reach equal opportunity in the future. When one thinks of the words “civil rights” one often thinks of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech before the nation’s capital. Many can recall television footage of peaceful marchers being abused by fire hoses and police dogs. These and other images can be seen as a struggle and intense burst of black activists that characterized the civil rights movement of the mid twentieth century. Yet African Americans have always struggled for their rights.
Many consider the civil rights movement to have begun not in the 1950s but when Africans were first brought in chains, centuries earlier, to American shores (Gillon & Matson, 2001). In particular, those African Americans who fought their enslavement and demanded fundamental citizenship rights laid the foundation for the modern civil rights movement. The first slaves were brought to America in 1619 ( Gillon & Matson, 2001). Not until the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery following the Civil War did blacks gain their freedom (Gillon & Matson, 2001).

But the newly freed blacks could not read or write and did not have money or property, and racism and inequality remain, especially in the South, where slavery had predominated for so long. To aid black assimilation into white society, federal and state governments implemented many democratic reforms between the years 1865 and 1875, the Reconstruction era (Gillon & Matson, 2001). The Fourteenth Amendment, for example, guaranteed blacks federally protected equal rights, and the Fifteenth Amendment granted black men the right to vote (Gillon & Matson, 2001).
Despite these and other measures to help the former slaves’ rights, the effects of the Reconstruction era were short lived. In the area of extreme southern white society, many did whatever it took to keep blacks from enjoying any of the benefits of citizenship. Some, for example, sought to keep African Americans from equal rights through harassment or intimidation. A number of racist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), used even more cruel methods including lynching and other forms of violence to terrify African Americans seeking to exercise their rights or advance their social position.
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As the constitutional guarantees of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments continued to slowly disappear, the Supreme Court struck perhaps the most crippling blow to the black struggle for equality: In 1896 the Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that blacks and whites could be legally separated as long as the facilities for each were “equal” (Chong, 1991). Facilities for blacks and whites were rarely equal. More importantly, the Supreme Court’s decision, by legally backing segregation, gave white society a powerful tool to keep blacks from enjoying the rights of citizenship.
With the Supreme Court now reinforcing the South’s segregation practices, the environment of white racism gave birth to the Jim Crow Laws, southern customs and laws that kept parks, drinking fountains, streetcars, restaurants, theaters, and other public places segregated (Conklin, 2008). In response to Jim Crow, which by 1900 extended into all parts of public life, several leaders in the black community stepped up to debate political strategies to fight injustice and racial inequality. One of the dominant figures of this early movement for civil rights was an intellectual W.
E. B. Du Bois, who encouraged African Americans to fight for the rights that they deserved. Du Bois’ crusade led, in part, to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization that brought together lawyers, educators, and activists to collectively fight for black civil rights (Powledge, 2001). Through protests, agitation, and legal action, the NAACP continued a steady campaign to end segregation in housing, education, and other areas of public life.
With the outbreak of World War I, well over a quarter of a million black troops joined the military, but were relegated to segregated units (Romano, 2006). At the same time, many blacks traveled north to take advantage of the rapidly increasing defense industries. This massive migration, however, aggravated unemployment and other problems that already plagued the northern urban centers. Racial problems continued. When the United States entered World War II, African Americans were, as before, subjected to discrimination in the defense ndustries and in military units, despite their willingness to risk their lives in combat (Powledge, 2001). These wartime experiences, along with a growth in the African American population resulted in a surge of black protest that brought Jim Crow under national scrutiny. During the 1950s, two incidents brought the issue of civil rights squarely into the public spotlight. On May 17, 1954, the NAACP, which had been steadily chipping away at the legal foundations of segregation, won an unprecedented legal victory: The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional (Polsgrove, 2001). Chief Justice Earl Warren presented the Court’s decision, in which he describes why “separate but equal” in education represents a violation of African Americans’ rights: “Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn.
Segregation, with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to inhibit the educational and mental development of Negro children and deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school system” (Patterson, 2001). By ruling against “separate but equal” doctrine set by the case Plessy v. Ferguson, the court had struck a blow to segregation. But still many southern racist practices were still being practiced, and many whites remained opposed to change. With the ruling of Brown, the affects remained slow, if not existing at all.
Many school officials refused to comply with the ruling and the threat of harassment; for the ruling had unleashed fierce resistance preventing many black students from enrolling in all-white schools. At the same time, schools for black students remained overcrowded, dilapidated, and, in general, grossly inferior to those that their white counterparts enjoyed (Conklin, 2008). The second incident that captured the public eye unfolded in Montgomery, Alabama, when a woman named Rosa Parks started the spark that would provide the momentum for the entire civil rights movement.
On December 1, 1955, the NAACP member boarded a public bus and took a seat in the “Negro” section in the back of the bus. Later, Parks refused to relinquish her seat to a white passenger, defying the law by which blacks were required to give up their seats to white passengers when the front section, reserved for whites, was filled (Polsgrove, 2001). Parks was immediately arrested. In protest, the black community launched a one-day local boycott of Montgomery’s public bus system. As support for Parks began, the NAACP and other leaders took advantage of the opportunity to draw attention to their cause.
They enlisted the help of a relatively unknown preacher, Martin Luther King Jr. , to organize and lead a massive resistance movement that would challenge Montgomery’s racist laws (Kohl, 2005). Four days after Parks’ arrest, the citywide Montgomery bus boycott began (Kohl, 2005). It lasted for more than a year. Despite taunting and other forms of harassment from the white community, the boycotters persevered until the federal courts intervened and desegregated the buses on December 21, 1956 (Kohl, 2005).
The Montgomery bus boycott was important because it demonstrated that the black community, through unity and determination, could make their voices heard and effect change. Picketing, boycotting, and other forms of resistance spread to communities throughout the South. Meanwhile, King emerged as the movement’s preeminent leader. His adherence to the nonviolent tactics used by the Indian nationalist Mohandas Gandhi would largely characterize the entire civil rights movement and inspire large scale participation by whites as well as blacks (Sunnemark, 2003).
From 1955 to 1960, the efforts of blacks to bring attention to their cause met with some success. In 1957 Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, the first since Reconstruction, to establish a civil rights division in the Justice Department that would enforce voting and other rights (Davis, 2001). Meanwhile, the NAACP continued to challenge segregation, and out of that came numbers of new organizations that where formed. Among these, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a Christian-based organization founded in 1957 and led by King, became a major force in organizing the civil rights movement (Sunnemark, 2003).
An organization called the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) grabbed the media spotlight, and started many protests; when it backed four students who launched a sit-in campaign to desegregate southern lunch counters (Conklin, 2008). Not only was the nonviolent sit in technique used to desegregate other public places, but it gave large numbers of African American youths a way to participate in the movement. This helped gain national attention, bringing equal rights demands before the public eye.
The protest movement continued to accelerate as different leaders tested new tactics and strategies. Many established community-based projects that sought to combat the barriers that kept blacks from voting. Others targeted the white terrorism that continued to intimidate blacks into submission. King and other leaders launched a massive campaign that brought together thousands of blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, one of the most segregated and violently racist cities at the time (Sunnemark, 2003). Early in the campaign, King was arrested and jailed.
From his cell, he penned his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which earned him the support of many sympathetic whites (Conklin, 2008). Meanwhile, as blacks continued the desegregation campaign in Birmingham, an event occurred that irrevocably commanded the attention of America and its leaders: In an effort to stop a demonstration, the notoriously racist police Chief Eugene “Bull” Connor turned vicious attack dogs and fire hoses on the peaceful demonstrators (Sunnemark, 2003). The force of the water slammed women and children to the ground and sent others hurling through the air.
Television coverage and other media reports of these brutal assaults shocked the nation and viewers around the world. After a month of this highly publicized violence, city officials repealed Birmingham’s segregation laws (Powledge, 2001). In Birmingham’s aftermath, mass demonstrations continued to spread, as did fierce resistance within the white community. In response to these events, King and other leaders planned a mass gathering on the nation’s capital in the summer of 1963 (Sunnemark, 2003).
On August 28, the March on Washington brought an estimated quarter of a million people, black and white, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech (Romano, 2006). This triggered the SNCC to start a wide-scale campaign to bolster voting rights. The group launched a massive voter registration drive throughout the South, concentrating on Mississippi, where less than 5 percent of the state’s eligible blacks were registered to vote (Conklin, 2008). Freedom Summer, as it became known, was marked by episodes of extreme white terrorism.
One of the most heinous examples involved three young civil rights workers. The trio was working to register voters when they were arrested and later murdered by the Ku Klux Klan (Patterson, 2001). By 1965 the voting campaign had shifted to Selma, Alabama, where, under the leadership of King, thousands of demonstrators began a fifty-mile trek to Montgomery (Sunnemark, 2003). This time, as the peaceful demonstrators approached the Edmund Pettis Bridge, state troopers used police whips and clubs to halt their progress.
The scene blasted into American living rooms via the nightly news. After “Bloody Sunday,” thousands of people gathered again to complete the march, this time under the protection of the Alabama National Guard (Powledge, 2001). On August 6, 1965, shortly after the highly publicized events in Selma, President Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act, which, for the first time since Reconstruction, effectively opened up the polls to southern black Americans (Davis, 2001).
By the mid-1960s, many black activists started to lose faith in the civil rights reforms that thus far had targeted only the most blatant forms of discrimination (Chong, 1991). While King’s nonviolent direct action approach had dominated the movement, many people particularly in the North, adopted a more revolutionary stance. As a wave of nationalist sentiment grew within the movement, organizations such as SNCC and CORE took up more militant agendas. SNCC, for example, began promoting a program of “black power” a term that meant racial pride (Conklin, 2008).
The greatest spokesman for Black Nationalism was Malcolm X. With his working-class roots and charismatic style of speaking, Malcolm appealed to a lot of young urban blacks. Malcolm rejected Dr. King’s advocacy of nonviolence and instead urged his followers to secure their rights “by any means necessary” (Sunnemark, 2003). After Malcolm’s assassination in February 1965, another extremely provocative Black Nationalist group emerged: the Black Panthers, a group that boldly adopted the idea “by any means necessary” (Sunnemark, 2003).
Race riots exploded across America, as blacks trapped in urban slums lashed out against the poverty and racism still rampant in their communities. Not only did the riots devastate ghetto areas that were home to millions of African Americans, including those in the Watts section of Los Angeles, but the racial violence started a separation between those who continued to believe that civil rights could be achieved through peaceful means and those who were more violent .
King’s assassination in April 1968 struck a blow to the already fractured civil rights movement. Marin Luther King Jr. became the face of national equality not just for African American but to all those who sought justice and freedom. The American civil rights movement nevertheless left a permanent mark on American society. Most of the forms of racial discrimination came to an end, and racial violence decrease. Today, African Americans can freely exercise their right to vote, and in communities where they were once banned from the polls.
Millions of African Americans have been lifted out of poverty as a result of the many economic opportunities created by the civil rights movement. Also important, the civil rights movement served as a model for the advancement of other minority groups, including women, the disabled, Hipics, and many others. The civil rights movement has left a legacy in which generations after it can learn by reading it and not through experiencing it.

The Laws in the Reconstruction Era and the Civil Rights Movement

Influence of Religion on the Civil Rights Movement

Influence of Religion on the Civil Rights Movement.
Religion has had a profound effect on numerous events throughout the course of American history. The Civil Rights Movement was not withheld from the influence of religion, particularly Christianity and Islam. Many of the key players such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, who were devoted to the cause of justice and equality for African Americans, gained their passion from their spiritual roots. Through these religious leaders organizations were established to fight for civil rights.
It was through these religious men and the religion of blacks that the fight for equality gained enthusiasm and courage to fight oppression and discrimination. Opposition also came from religion, however. Reverend Jerry Falwell and the white supremacists of the Ku Klux Klan, who fought against the Civil Rights Movement, based their justification for an inferior black race on their religious beliefs. The Civil Rights Movement, by the people and parties involved, was in itself a battle of beliefs.
How is religion involved in the progression and initiation of the fight for equality for African Americans? Christianity, being the a religion active in the Civil Rights Movement, has aspects within its doctrine that encourages equality. It contributed in giving African Americans the passion and the support to continue on in the struggle despite its hardships. “‘I come to preach, to liberate them’…. The thrust of the Civil Rights Movement…was that God was on the side of the oppressed, the poor, the downtrodden, the outcast, the persecuted, the exploited. God is on the side of justice” (Williams 119).

Those that believed in God also believed that this divine, powerful being was behind their every effort and would grant them victory in the battle for civil rights. They saw themselves as the persecuted and knew that their God would have compassion on them through their difficulty. Moreover, the Christian faith brought unity among African American because they saw others turning to faith for hope to gain equality and so they followed suit. “According to several respondents, religion engendered in them collective identities and meanings that imbued a sense of purpose” (Williams 113).
It “inspired the construction of perspectives proclaiming, ‘people who were products of segregation must be viewed theologically as the poor, the handicapped, the downtrodden. And theologically we have a responsibility to use our faith—to not be afraid to confront the oppressor’” (Williams 113). Many Christians believed it was their duty and their way of showing obedience to God by fighting those who discriminated against them. Christianity was certainly a motivator and contributor to the Civil Rights Movement. It caused African Americans to not limit their movement to the potential of a human being.
Instead, they gained hope in believing that something more powerful than them was working to give them equality. Despite the unity and empowerment that blacks received from their churches, white churches mostly existed in the background and never really urged their members to partake in the Civil Rights Movement. Rather, they sat back in a more comfortable position and consented to the Supreme Court’s decision to segregate. Integration, although it did occur, had a very slow progression in Caucasian churches and schools.
Roman Catholicism was the first Christian sect to completely integrate their parochial schools (Mathisen 575). With Catholics and most other sects of Christianity, preachers gave sermons to white folks, many of whom favored segregation. If a pastor spoke out about the injustices of discrimination and encouraged civil rights, they might be removed from their position as a clergyman. Moreover, Ku Klux Klan members were mixed in their churches as well. “Much of the minister’s ardor is dampened when he returns to his flock though this is not to say that he bends completely to their will.
It is not without significance that some fairly strong announcements have been made on the local level” (Mathisen 574,575). Based on their audience, white pastors had to weaken their sermons so that people would continue to attend their church and so they could maintain their job. Clearly, white Americans were not all opposed to integration. Rather, many of them just did not desire to sacrifice their lifestyle to help African Americans in their struggle for equality. Yet, this is not to say all Caucasians did not fight for civil rights, but the majority of them were not an active part of the movement.
Such a religious force in America that did not partake in the struggle for civil rights held back some of the potential of the movement. The Ku Klux Klan, notorious for their brutality towards others, fought against the efforts of Civil Rights activists. Despite their ruthless behavior, the Ku Klux Klan had members in law enforcement and within the church. Members of this organization believed that only white Christian people should exist within America and that other races should be honored to be controlled by Caucasian Christians.
If others, such as the African Americans in their fight for civil rights, tried to gain an equal status, then the KKK would use ruthless tactics to suppress them. They defended their violent acts against African Americans by referencing their faith. A member of the KKK was asked in an interview, “What is your explanation of why there have been so many National Police Agents [F. B. I.? ] involved in the case of the ‘missing civil rights workers’” (Mathisen 576)? The Ku Klux Klan member, knowing that the National Police Agents involved were in cooperation with the KKK, responded, “First I must correct you on your terms.
Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were not civil rights workers. They were Communist Revolutionaries, actively working to undermine and destroy Christian Civilization” (Mathisen 576). Later on in the interview the KKK affiliate declared that Lyndon B. Johnson, a president known for his support of the Civil Rights Movement, “is a communist sympathizer” (Mathisen 576). This member was clearly discussing the Civil Rights activists. He proclaims that they were tainting the Christian religion, which is why they were killed and are “missing. This notion brings up religion as a contributor to their own views against African Americans. “The KKK uses words from the Holy Bible and teachings from Protestant Reverends to support its cause and justify its actions” (Fisher 1). They truly rationalize their superiority complex and their brutality to blacks by the Christian faith. By using Christianity, they too obtained unity against the Civil Rights Movement. The Ku Klux Klan was not the only notorious adversary of civil rights. A prominent opponent of the fight for African American equality and was the Baptist minister, Jerry Falwell.
Falwell was a strong supporter of segregation and believed that based on the bible, “Africans were the cursed descendants of Ham, and worthy only of subservience to white people” (Kimberley 1). In Genesis of the bible Ham was cursed by his father, Noah, for disrespecting him. Through this, Reverend Falwell believes that African Americans should not gain any standing in society. To him it is the natural place of blacks to be below the status of whites due to the actions of their ancestors (Kimberley 1). Due to this, his position on civil rights legislation is very ardently against it.
He has been reported to have said that the Civil Right Movement is a ‘civil wrong’ (Kimberley 1). Clearly, religion was used on both sides of the spectrum as a means to rally for a cause. While it was used by blacks for their crusade, some whites relied on it as tool to keep segregation and maintain discrimination. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most famous leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. It is through him and others like him that African Americans gained justice and equality. One of the motivators of this intelligent, talented orator is most certainly his faith.
Before ever becoming a part of the battle for civil rights, King was a devoted Christian and minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (King 47). He, then, carried these beliefs into the Civil Rights Movement. “There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression” (Kelley 463). King continues on in a freedom sermon, “I want say that we’re not here advocating violence…We have never done that…I want it to be known throughout Montgomery and throughout this nation that we are a Christian people…We believe in the Christian religion.
We believe in the teachings of Jesus. The only weapon we have this evening is the weapon of protest” (Kelley 463). The reactions to these words were astounding. People identified with this idea and it gave them passion and courage to pursue equality. “All through that statement of religious identity the people shouted and applauded, moved with King, pressed him forward even as he urged them toward their own best possibilities” (Kelley 463,464). By their religious unity the Civil Rights Movement becomes undeniably contagious.
As faith is mentioned, everyone joins in the excitement of the crowd and begin to trust that with numbers they can protest and achieve equality. Martin Luther King, Jr. ’s most famous speech “I Have a Dream” contains within it references to religion, faith, and hope. “And when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and city, we will be able to speed up the day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and
Protestants —will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last” (Finkenbine 190). This speech, like many of his others, held within it the idea of nonviolence. King looked to an Indian leader named Mahatma Gandhi as a guide to his desire to resist violence in the Civil Rights Movement. Despite this, he always turned to the Bible as a source to defend this action. King puts it best when he said, ‘The spirit of passive resistance came to me from the Bible, from the teachings of Jesus.
The technique came from Gandhi” (Kelley 468). Religion was certainly Martin Luther King, Jr. ’s driving force as he became a prominent leader of the movement. He used Christianity as a means to support his every action and without its inspiration he would not have had nearly as great an effect on the Civil Rights Movement. Through him, African Americans came together inspired to make a change to society and not stand for injustice. Another contributor to the Civil Rights Movement was a man known as Malcolm X. He, like numerous other African Americans, took to practicing the religion of Islam.
Elijah Muhammad, a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI), influenced Malcolm X and many others into pursuing these beliefs (Kelley 478). Black Muslims viewed themselves in American society as “an isolated and unappreciated appendage” (Mathisen 576). Muhammad saw the black race as not wanted and believed that the only way to achieve peace in such a circumstance is to remove those that do not desire them. Moreover, he taught that white people belong in Europe and that, “there will be no peace until every man is in his own country” (Mathisen 576).
Black Muslims stressed their own identity and black racial supremacy. They had little desire to integrate and would have rather made America their own Islamic nation. With such a heavy goal, they decided to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement and obtain the rights that they believed were due to them. Malcolm X was brought into the Nation of Islam and it became his inspiration to gain equal rights for African Americans. He actually, despite Elijah Muhammad’s influence, was the leader who made the Nation of Islam a prominent and powerful force in the United States.
Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr. , Malcolm X believed in violence as a means for blacks to gain better standing in society. People looked to him as the militant, uncompromising man who would use violence when needed to scare whites into accepting their conditions. He too believed, as many black Muslims, that building black institutions and defending blacks was far more important than integrating into society. Through men like Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, “the Nation of Islam attracted thousands of urban blacks to the disciplined life of abstinence, prayer, and black self-determination” (Kelley 478).
Although their techniques were different in achieving civil rights for African Americans, this religion of Islam motivated people just like Christianity to fight for equality and justice. As religious leaders began to speak up and stand up against the prejudices that African Americans faced, organizations began to form to further the effectiveness of the struggle for civil rights. One such organization is Congress for Racial Equality, or CORE. This group, which organized direct nonviolent protests, branched off of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The Fellowship of Reconciliation was a Christian pacifist group formed during World War I.
They, like Martin Luther King, Jr. , believed in the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and implemented Christian values into their approach (Kelley 450). The Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) focused on destroying legalized segregation, particularly on downtown stores and municipal facilities. Another association that sprung up out of religious roots is the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). By 1957, Martin Luther King, Jr. and several black ministers from the South came together to form this organization which was based on the “Montgomery experience” (Kelley 470).
One of their major accomplishments during this time was that they held conferences and organized people, such as when a group of some twenty thousand people came together in Washington, D. C. to pray for civil rights legislation. The fact that a mass amount of people came to pray that day gave others in the church the inspiration to look beyond their own means and to see things occurring which have never before. This gave African Americans hope and led more of them to these gatherings since they know that their desire for justice can be heard. Religion had a major effect on the Civil Rights Movement.
Even when it was on an individual level such as with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, the effects of religion trickle down into the masses. Speech after speech, African Americans became inspired and empowered by them and began to believe in things beyond their own human capacity. Blacks turned to divine beings as a means to achieve equality and justice. Religion helped teach them to ignore the years of discrimination and damage to their self-esteem. It gave them the power to stand strong in the face of hurt and in the face of humiliation.
Without religion, the Civil Rights Movement would not have had the unity, and hope that allowed it to continue on. At the same time, however, the enemies of the movement found their muse to keep segregation and discrimination. Religion was then used by them too as a means to protect their way of life and maintain the status over blacks that they had ingrained in them since the time of slavery. Religion had a mixed influence over the movement, but in the end African Americans would see the day when they gained those civil rights. They would see the day when blacks have equality under the law in America.

Influence of Religion on the Civil Rights Movement

The Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement

The Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement Michelle Brown The Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s were a profound turning point in American History. African American’s had been fighting for equality for many years but in the early 1950s the fight started to heighten, from Rosa Parks, to Martin Luther King Jr. , to Malcolm X, the fight would take on many different forms over the p of two decades, and was looked at from many different points of view. The Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement
For most historians the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement started on December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white person on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This is when the rise of the Civil Rights Movement began; however, there were several previous incidents which helped to lead up to the movement. In 1951, the “Martinsville Seven” were all African American men tried by an all white jury in the rape of a white woman from Virginia. All seven were found guilty, and for the first time in Virginia history, were sentenced to the death penalty for rape. Webspinner, 2004-2009). In this same year the African American students at Moton High decided to strike against the unequal educational treatment. Their case was later added to the Brown v Board of Education suit in 1954. (Webspinner, 2004-2009). In June 1953, a bus boycott was held in Baton Rouge, LA. After the bus drivers refused to enforce Ordinance 222, an ordinance which changed segregated seating on buses so that African American’s would fill the bus from the back forward and whites would fill it from the front back on a first come first serve basis, the Ordinance was overturned.
Led by Reverend Jemison and other African American businessmen, the African American community decided to boycott the bus system. Later in the month Ordinance 251 was put in place, allowing a section of the bus to be black only and a section to be white only, the rest of the bus would be first come first serve. (Webspinner, 2004-2009). In May 1954, Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the following verdict on Brown v Board of Education. We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factor may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does…We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. ” (Webspinner, 2004-2009).

Even though the actual desegregation of schools did not take place in 1954, this ruling was a major step in the Civil Rights Movement which took place prior to Rosa Parks. Nonviolent Protest Movement Martin Luther King Jr. went far in his belief and commitment to nonviolent resistance. King believed, and taught, six important points about nonviolent resistance. The first was nonviolent resistance is not cowardly, “According to King, a nonviolent protester was as passionate as a violent protester, Despite not being physically aggressive, ‘his mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade the opponent that he is mistaken. ” (McElrath, 2009). His second point was that nonviolent resistance would awaken moral shame in a protestor’s opponent, which would then lead the opponent to understanding and friendship. Kings third point was nonviolent resistance was a battle against evil not a battle against individuals. His fourth point stated that suffering was required in nonviolent resistance, “Accordingly, the end was more important than safety, and retaliatory violence would distract from the main fight. ” (McElrath, 2009). King’s fifth point was, the nonviolent resister was on the side of Justice.
His final point was the power of love rests with nonviolent resisters, this is the love of understanding not of affection, “Bitterness and hate were absent from the resister mind, and replaced with love. ” (McElrath, 2009). King continued to preach nonviolent resistance through all the boycotts, sit-ins, protest marches, and speeches. After being arrested in the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott of 1963, he wrote letters from the Birmingham jail about nonviolent resistance. Later in 1963 he led a massive march on Washington DC, this is where he delivered his I Have A Drams speech. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
Up until his assassination in April 1968, “he never wavered in his insistence that nonviolence must remain the central tactic of the civil-rights movement, nor in his faith that everyone in America would some day attain equal justice. ” (Chew, 1995-2008). Malcolm X Malcolm X, whom at one time was a minister for the Nation of Islam, had a more militant style to attain rights for African Americans. After the Washington DC march he did not understand why African Americans had been so excited about a demonstration, “run by whites in front of a statue of a president who has been dead for a hundred years and who didn’t like us when he was alive. (Adams, 2009). Malcolm, to the protestors, represented a militant revolutionary who would stand up and fight to win equality, while also being a person who wanted to bring on positive social services and was an exceptional role model. In fact, it was the customs of Malcolm X which were severely rooted in the academic foundations of the Black Panther Party. Malcolm X was murdered in 1965, but his beliefs lived on for long after. Conclusion While King and Malcolm X never shared the same platform, and had two very different beliefs in how to end segregation and racisms, they were both key players in the Civil Rights Movement.
Martin Luther King Jr. preached nonviolent resistance, and Malcolm X had a militant style to his beliefs. After Malcolm X was murdered, King wrote the following to his widow, “while we did not always see eye to eye on methods to solve the race problem, I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence of the root of the problem. ” (Adams, 2009). References: Adams, R. (2009) Martin and Malcolm, Two 20th Century Giants. Retrieved on September 27, 2009, from http://www. black-collegian. com/african/mlk/giants2000-2nd. html Chew, R. (1995-2008) Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil-Rights Leader, 1929 – 1968. Retrieved on September 27, 2009, from http://www. lucidcafe. com/library/96jan/king. html McElrath, J. (2009) Martin Luther King’s Philosophy on Nonviolent Resistance, The Power of Love. Retrieved on September 27, 2009, from http://afroamhistory. about. com/od/martinlutherking/a/mlks_philosophy_2. htm Webspinner. (2004-2009) We’ll Never Turn Back History & Timeline of the Southern Freedom Movement. Retrieved on September 27, 2009 from http://www. crmvet. org/tim/timhome. htm

The Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement