Since the Europeans settled in North America, African-Americans were oppressed and enslaved by whites. Although the Civil War abolished slavery, there was still racial segregation that excluded blacks from certain rights; there was still a harsh system of inequality by white supremacy. Blacks were banned from associating with whites in regular and public institutions such as schools, restrooms, restaurants, etc. Racial discrimination disadvantages blacks from rights of citizenship. During this time period, whites received a higher status than blacks.
Due to their ethnicity, blacks have been held back from many opportunities. In the course of these inhumane events, African-Americans began protesting and fighting for their rights of citizenship. Because blacks were forced to follow laws but not be able to make laws, they tried to resist laws, fight for their freedom and strive to gain equality with the whites. The Civil Rights Movement was led by primarily African-Americans for outlawing racial discrimination against minorities. It is the civil rights movement’s efforts that successfully tried to give rights that whites had, to blacks who have been denied those rights.
Upon the deprivation of basic rights, the Civil Rights Movement helped gain the opportunities and privileges for blacks to accomplish the mission of equality that they have been striving for. The Civil Rights Movement happened throughout America and was a series of actions and reactions that eventually led to the making of modern America. Since the discovery of the new nation, whites have brought blacks into their country and made them slaves. This continued throughout history until the Civil War.
The Civil War ended slavery in the United States, however, Southern states passed laws that created racial segregation; they set blacks away from whites in public institutions, these laws separated blacks and whites and kept blacks away from beneficial opportunities that only whites had. Although there was still racial segregation throughout the nation, segregation in the South was much more severe. The system of racial segregation was commonly known as Jim Crow. Blacks, mainly in the South, were not permitted to use restrooms, seats, drinking fountains, or other facilities and institutions reserved for whites.
They were denied access to certain locations. Even in schools, black students have been “pushed around, insulted & beaten” by whites (Doc 3). This treatment towards blacks was evident because many more blacks moved away from the South. Since the South had a much more severe segregation law, the states in the South have lost much more population than any other states throughout the U. S. (Doc 1). The Northern states have gained the most population from 1940 through 1970. The Jim Crow laws took away benefits and opportunities and forced blacks to seek alternative methods for making their environment a better place.
With the treatment that the blacks have been receiving, they began to promote pressure for civil rights. African-American began to use their voice and actions to fight for equality with the whites. With their voices and actions, blacks would soon lead others to take civil rights into consideration. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t necessarily begin until the Montgomery bus boycott situation in 1955. Since the whites always had their given right first, the blacks must always be aware of giving spaces, such as bus seats, to whites first.
In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested for violating the bus segregation laws in Alabama. The response to this situation is anger and frustration by the black community. Audre Lorde states that if it was the reverse racism, the whites would be prevented from “getting past guilt” (Doc 6). Enraged by the arrest of Rosa Parks, the African-American community united together and organized a boycott on the bus system until they are fairly integrated. Support and limitations, for equality, were both rising throughout the Montgomery bus boycott.
The Montgomery bus boycott was probably the first economic clout. Because Alabama had a high population of blacks, they eventually had to desegregate their buses or face financial difficulties since most of the black community use buses. The event of the Montgomery bus boycott was a success in the black movement efforts in that they finally desegregated buses, allowing both white and black to sit together. This is one step further into the success of the Civil Rights Movement. Although the Civil Rights Movement help gain awareness in the equality efforts, many people still opposed it.
This movement infuriated others because a violent backlash from the whites led to a few race riots. The Civil Rights Movement was an effort to gain equality with the whites but the whites opposed this whole movement because they believed that this movement would lead to the path of African-Americans gaining power in politics. They wanted to keep the blacks segregated from the whites. Although many opposed this movement, they did not stop the black’s effort from demanding full civil rights. As more and more people began to perceive the Civil Rights Movement, more blacks were able to obtains privileges they have not had before.
In 1954, in the court case of Brown v. Board of Education, the United States supreme court outlawed segregation in public schools. The court decision banned racial segregation in schools. The black community believed that one of the the most important pathways to equality was education since education was an important source that is necessary for success. The Brown case was a pivotal moment in the race relations that challenged the “separate but equal” doctrine that was previously established in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson. The Brown v.
Board of Education was a successful battle won during the Civil Rights Movement. Not only were public schools desegregated, but also in the army. President Harry S. Truman, a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, stated that there will be “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin” (Doc 4). Hoping to gain black votes in the 1948 election, Truman called for federal laws to advance civil rights and the desegregation of the armed forces.
Harry S. Truman recognized that racism contradicted the United States’ claim to lead a ‘free world’ against oppression. Truman’s contribution to civil rights was substantial and important in the Civil Rights Movement. African-Americans were able to have the same education as the whites and join the army with the whites. By gaining equality in the education system and having president Truman support civil rights, the Civil Rights Movement was a success in desegregating schools and the armed forces.
Adding on to other limitation that the black had, many employers were biased in hiring certain people and the white supremacy still existed. In 1963, over hundreds of thousands protesters participated in the March on Washington. The purpose of the March on Washington was to gain civil rights for blacks and desegregation throughout the nation (Doc 5). Not only were there African-Americans participating, but there was a wide diversity of different ethnicities participating in the protest. Even people from the South came to contribute in the march.
The March on Washington was a nonviolent demonstration fighting for equality and became a successful march for the rights of blacks. The March on Washington soon became the largest demonstration for human rights. The success of the March on Washington impacted throughout the nation and provided a model for social change. In support of civil rights for all Americans, protesters in the March on Washington marched their way to the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. In his speech he stated that “Five score years ago… e stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation” (Doc 2), he used a lot of rhetorical strategies such as references to history in the Civil War.
King imitates Abraham Lincoln by stating the phrase ‘five score years ago’ that Lincoln used in his speech back in Gettysburg adress. King also mentions the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued by president Lincoln. Lincoln wanted to end slavery and King wanted to end segregation. By referencing to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, King is emphasizing that the importance of human rights and how they both wanted to achieve identical goals.