Oct 3, 2018 in History

In the US, African-American civil rights movement occurred between 1955 and 1968 (Finkelman, 2009). The need to eliminate racism against the African-Americans and the struggle for equal voting privileges initiated this movement. As a result, human injustices like segregation and bigotry were outlawed. This movement eventually encouraged other liberations for the native Americans and Latinos. Currently, the African-Americans and Latinos who were in the past considered as minority groups have access to equal opportunities across all disciplines (Finkelman, 2009).

Background

During this period, the U.S government encountered numerous demands from the activists campaigning for equal human rights (Finkelman, 2009). Before the 1950s, the system of segregation in Alabama favored the white people in the public transport system (Finkelman 2009). They had the first priority to occupy the front seats in all the buses. On the other hand, the black passengers were supposed to offer their seats to the white people in case of a fully boarded bus. This era witnessed a wanton discrimination against the black people especially in the transport sector. In 1955, a woman by the name Rosa Parks was allegedly arrested for refusing to offer her seat to a Caucasian man (Finkelman, 2009). Later, she was fined in court for her offence. Afterwards, a similar incidence occurred involving a fifteen-year-old college girl. Generally, the African-Americans rights to equality and the freedom to vote were the main cause of the civil protests.

Means employed

The activist employed several means of non-violent protests during their struggle for equality (Finkelman, 2009). The methods included demonstrations, speech and media advertisement boycotts, marches, and sit-ins. These strategies were an essential aspect of all the African-American civil rights movement protests. The incidences of harassment inspired human rights activist to plan the Montgomery, the capital of the state of Alabama, boycott. The boycott ensured the paralyzing of the Montgomery’s economic activities. This successfully caught the government’s attention. The peaceful sit-ins attracted the public’s attention on the issue of racial discrimination in the US public establishments. In addition, these protests attracted a considerable amount of media attention. In this regard, the government abolished the discriminatory policies. Similarly, the peaceful marches and demonstrations commanded a significant number of participants forcing the government to concede to the protestors’ demands. A careful examination of the civil rights movement’s peaceful demonstrations illustrates that they raised an international awareness of the racial discrimination in the US. The activist applied the international politics mechanism with the creation of the United Nations (UN) as an international human right organization. This led to the institutionalization of human rights in the world politics.

Montgomery boycotts

Under the leadership of E. D. Nixon, the activist challenged all the blacks in Montgomery Alabama to confront the unwarranted segregation against them in the public transport. The black community and the civil rights activist in Alabama boycotted travelling using the city’s buses and some resorted to walking. They proposed for the formation of black bus lines, which would prioritize on black passengers. In this regard, the bus companies experienced a serious economic crisis. In 1956, pressure throughout the U.S forced the court to overturn the segregation laws in Alabama abolishing discrimination in the transport system (Finkelman, 2009). In my opinion, this protest significantly encouraged the African-American people as they realized the power they had as passengers.

Greensboro sit-ins

From 1942, sit-ins in most U.S cities were frequently organized to fight for the equal recognition of all races (Finkelman, 2009). In 1960, four black college students were denied coffee on the whites’ counter in Woolworth’s store. In this regard, the incidence angered the students and in the subsequent days, together with other students from neighboring universities, they went to the same coffee shop and engaged in sit–ins. During the second sit-in, the media covered that day’s peaceful demonstration. In this regard, the other members of black community learned about the saga. Within a week, the protest had spread to other Southern cities of the U.S. This yielded encouraging results to the activists as the media and government authorities gave the issue more attention. In this regard, segregation related policies were banned allowing equal treatment and attendance in several commercial institutions across the U.S.

Marches

In 1965, marches were organized in Selma and Montgomery Alabama (Finkelman, 2009). These marches are viewed as an important aspect in the history of African-American civil rights protest. The need for equal electoral rights spearheaded the marches. The initial march started on 7th March 1965. During the march, more than 500 civil activists took to the streets (Finkelman, 2009). On the third day, a 16 km walk was staged in Alabama. In this march, the government provided 3000 soldiers, to protect the protesters. During the third march, the protesters marched from Selma to Montgomery Alabama. Through these marches, the government’s attention was drawn to the rising issues across the country. On March 10, 1965, the then president met with several governors to discuss the issues raised by the civil activists (Finkelman, 2009). The president then ordered security officers to stop harassing and instead protect the protesters. Later, the Voting Rights Act was passed allowing all Americans equal electoral rights despite their race. Through this act, discrimination in all public places was eliminated.

There were activist like Malcolm X who opposed the use of peaceful demonstration (King 1986). Such activist promoted the use of violence and led to several violence incidences. Protesters looted several shops particularly during the first march in Alabama. Similarly, confrontations between the blacks and whites led to cases of physical violence. Presently, the results of the African-American civil rights movement are significantly exhibited among the African-American community (King, 1986). Ideologies majoring on black power were because of theses protest. In my opinion, these ideologists may nurture hatred among other races as they center only on the blacks. To avoid such incidences, the appropriate policies should accommodate all races’ interests. Consequently, all races should realize that all human beings are equal and hence everyone deserves the same respect regardless of the race or ethnicity.

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