The Civil Rights Movement embodies various activism that sought to secure African Americans’ political, social, and economic rights. After the Civil war during the Reconstruction period, some amendments led to the abolition of slavery. However, racial segregation arose in the south that discriminated against the Southern Blacks and led to inequality and increased poverty levels as white supremacists denied them their political freedoms. The civil rights movement occurred to ensure that African Americans’ rights were upheld and increased between 1946-1968. This paper explains how the abovementioned events changed America.
As the Cold War began, President Truman initiated a civil rights agenda that issued an executive order to end discrimination in the military. The Truman doctrine established the provision of political, military, and economic assistance to democratic nations, particularly Greece, containment of communism, and establishment of military bases worldwide (Yale Law School, n.p.). These events helped set the stage for grass-roots initiatives to enact racial equality and incite the civil rights movement. The first action was triggered by a woman named Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man and was arrested. This occurrence ignited an uproar, and she became the mother of modern-day civil rights. Besides, black community leaders formed the Montgomery Improvement Association led by minister Martin Luther King Jr, who was placed at the center in the fight for civil rights. A few years later, four college students went to Elm St, Woolsworth’s and ordered coffee. Their request was denied, but they remained in their set as for an hour. Over the next few months, more African Americans continued to sit-in. In his open letter from Birmingham, Martin Luther King expressed that the sit-in and marches was to create a platform that would open a door for negotiations for just laws for all people (Africa Studies Center, n.p.). Moreover, religious groups such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and labor unions such as AFL-CIO engaged in massive protests to raise awareness and accelerate the passage of federal civil rights legislation. The mass direct action was highly effective and led to the successful implementation of the Civil rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Civil rights movement led to programs that increased opportunities for students, workers, women, disabled people, and minority groups that faced discrimination. Furthermore, it accelerated the end of segregation in schools and restaurants, which allowed students and people to interact with each other (Shi, 1053). In addition, it banned the unequal application of voter registration requirements. Moreover, it contributed to the formation of nonprofit organizations to assist the orchestration of events. The Civil Rights Act led to the ban on overt discrimination and reshaped the country’s cultural, social, and political landscape (Shi, 1128).
However, the Civil Rights Movement faced a lot of backlashes as it meant the end of several centuries of white privilege and racial segregation. Certain preemptive and slippery-slope arguments exist up to the present, viewing the federal support for African American civil rights as a threat to liberty (Africa Studies Center, n.p.). The white backlashers embraced a lexicon and posture of victimization that hearkened back to an era that drives the reactionary politics in America.
In conclusion, the Civil Rights movements aimed to attain full social, economic, and political equality. As successful as the civil rights movement were including leading to the Civil Rights Act and voting rights act, there remains a struggle for full equality. Nevertheless, 50 years later, there is much to be done to ensure equality for all. For example, some issues in the criminal justice system still need to be handled with fairness.
Africa Studies Center. (1963). Letter from a Birmingham jail [King, Jr.]. Web.
Shi, D. (2018). America: The essential learning edition. [eBook edition]. Norton
Yale Law School. (1947). President Harry S. Truman’s address before a joint session of Congress. Avalon Project – documents in law, history and diplomacy. Web.