African American Studies paper Essay

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The civil rights movement was a mass protest movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the southern states that came to a national eminence during the mid 1950s. This movement can be said to be a long time coming for African slaves and their descendants to resist racial oppression, especially after the United States abolished slavery. Although, slaves were emancipated during the civil war & were then granted basic civil rights through the passing of the 14th amendment and 15th amendment they still struggled and suffered trying to get equality for the next hundred years.

Throughout the period of time in which African Americans fought for equality, desegregation and racism, the United States made massive changes. Beginning with the Jim Crow Laws, the countless court cases and the vast impact on the Civil Rights leaders during this time period of trying to gain equality there were two sides to this fight. One side was through the nonviolent protest while the other side was more of an active resistance. The modern period of the civil rights movement can ultimately be divided into several phases. Each act of a protest first started off small and ultimately became big.

The Brown vs. Board of Education demonstrated that the process of taking legal action strategy of the NAACP could challenge the legal foundations of southern. This thought or strategy would only work if blacks came together instead of individually trying to conquer. Therefore during the 1950s and 1960s the NAACP sponsored legal suits and social movement seeking social changes accompanied legislative lobbying. The primary phase of the black protest began on Page 2 December 1, 1955 when a woman named Rosa Parks, of Montgomery, Alabama, refused to give up her seat to a white bus rider.

In the result of not giving her seat up she was defying a southern custom that required blacks to give seats toward the front of the buses to whites. Therefore by not giving up her seat she was then arrested and put in jail. When she was jailed a black community boycott of the citys buses began. The boycott lasted more than a year, demonstrating the unity and determination of black residents. The well-known Martin Luther King, Jr. who was most famous for his I have a dream speech was the most active leader of this boycott.

Although King and Parks were apart of the NAACP the Montgomery movement led to the creation in 1957 of a new organization called the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King as the president. On February 1, 1960 four freshmen at North Carolina A&T College began a wave of sit-ins designed to end segregation at southern diners. These protest resulted in the new organization called the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. August 28th though was the climax of the civil rights movement.

That was the day blacks did the March on Washington & Martin Luther King, Jr.gave his I have a dream speech. King with the help of many others helped bringing the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the last major racial protest would be the Selma to Montgomery march. Soon after the march Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. By the late 1960s there was a growth of a new organization with more of a radical approach, the organization was called the Black Panther Party. During the late half of the 1960s there were a series of riots.

Supporters of black liberation saw civil rights reforms as an insufficient method because they did not address the problems faced by millions of poor blacks. Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X influenced the Black Nationalism group. After the 1960s civil rights movement blacks witnessed both group of leaders, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. , assassinated. The mark these two men left behind did not fade away though. Despite the civil rights gains of the 1960s racial discrimination remained a significant factor in America. Even after President Johnson declared a war on poverty and Dr.

King initiated a Poor Peoples Campaign in 1968, the distribution of the nations wealth and income moved toward greater inequality during the 70s and 80s. Some advantages of the Civil Rights & Black Power movement was that ethnic minorities gained rights that should not have been denied to them on the basis of skin color. The common law did not provide satisfactory protection of basic human rights for the future of the community. The civil rights movement ensured that rights are protected and courts require a clear direction about what rights should be protected.

The con about the civil rights movement was that the increase of litigation in the courts would give excessive power to the judiciary rights. Earlier in the essay I referenced the different movements but what I didnt mention was that both groups took different strives to achieve their goals. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference took more of a non-violent approach to reach their goals according to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference website. While King and his group was more of a non-violent group, the Page 4.

Black Nationalism and Malcolm X were more radical. Malcolm X had coined the phrase by any means necessary which meant he wanted to achieve equal rights at any length of sacrifice. Even though Malcolm X said, by any means necessary according to Dr. Stephanie L. McKinney he only used violence as a self defense. Martin Luther King Jr. on the other hand realized that nonviolent tactics was the way to go. Ultimately both leaders pursued the same goal and both achieved it. As you can see in the paragraphs above both Martin Luther King Jr.

and Malcolm X had two different approaches to gain equality but I support Martin Luther King Jr. ways of gaining equality more than Malcolm Xs. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the few people who lived up to what he preached. Martin Luther King Jr. sold out to his cause, was passionate about his mission, and connected with the audience. Malcolm Xs radical movement was the reason why I couldnt side with him. I respect Malcolm X but disagree with any view that encourages violence. King wanted change with his voice, which in my opinion is the strongest tool for someone, who doesnt support violence.

If you think about it physical punishment is dealt to one person and everyone else doesnt necessarily feel the pain but words can be felt through everyone whos listening. Just like many other movements and eras the Civil Rights & Black Power movement started, climaxed, then faded. Although, this era influenced many generations that came later and many people still benefit from the efforts of the Civil Rights leaders such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. , & Malcolm X.

Some former civil rights activists, such as John Lewis, Andrew Young, and Jesse Jackson, launched Page 5 careers in electoral politics. American civil rights legislation of the 1960s became the center for affirmative action programs that increased opportunities for many black students and workers as well as for women, disabled people, and other victims of discrimination. However, civil rights issues continued to stimulate protests, particularly when previous gains appeared to be threatened. Overall, the 20th-century struggle for civil rights produced an enduring transformation of the legal status of African Americans and other victims of discrimination.

It also increased the responsibility of the government to enforce civil rights laws. APA Citations Page 54h. Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam. (n. d. ). Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam [ushistory. org]. Retrieved December 5, 2013, from http://www. ushistory. org/us/54h. asp From Black Revolution to Radical Humanism: Malcolm X between Biography and International History. (n. d. ). Home. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://www. humanityjournal. org/humanity-volume-3-issue-2/black-revolution-radical-humanism-malcolm-x-between-biography-and-internat McKinney, S. (n. d. ). Malcolm X. About. com 20th Century History.

Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://history1900s. about. com/od/people/a/Malcolm-X. htm Nonviolent Resistance. (n. d. ). Nonviolent Resistance. Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://mlk-kpp01. stanford. edu/index. php/encyclopedia/ Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (n. d. ). Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Retrieved December 5, 2013, from http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/southern_christian_leadership_co. htm.

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