Civil Rights News Magazine

To what degree has the civil rights movement contributed to making the United States a more equal and just society?

News Magazine  (click here)

Feature Article:

The civil rights movements in the United States have led to a society that revolves around acceptance and tolerance, through peaceful protests, riots, and demonstrations, which affect positive change. However, the United States has a long history of racial segregation, discrimination, and tension between different groups. Racial segregation can be traced far back reaching even to the Civil War, where the North fought the South over the ethics of slavery. As time passed, and tensions grew between whites and African Americans, the blacks started to stand up for them and put and end to the inequality.

Credited as one of the first events of the African American Civil Rights movement, the United States Supreme Court case, Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, helped jumpstart the movement for integrating both whites and blacks. The case led to the decision that state laws for separate public schools for blacks and whites were unconstitutional. This first step towards equality between the two groups in American society brought hope to many African Americans, helping them together gain a voice. As word spread and America started to pay more attention to civil rights, another event was shoved into the spotlight. On a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus, to a white person, and is placed under arrest. The black community then organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott in protest of the trial and arrest with the goal of trying to put an end to segregation on public transportation. As the boycott impacted the public transit system and made the city loose money, because blacks made up a large majority of the paying customers. Eventually, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of desegregation and declared that Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring the buses, segregated by race, unconstitutional. In the eyes of many African Americans, the civil rights movement was gaining power as multiple communities, towns and cities continued to fight towards reaching their common goal of integration between blacks and white. American society was starting to embrace change, as the government started to intervene more consistently, and work towards equality, based on our government’s Constitution. The federal government was not only trying to cause change by making laws, but by enforcing desegregation laws as well. In Arkansas, at Little Rock Central High School, a group of African-American students enrolled, but were prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Governor Faubus and troops from the Arkansas National Guard. President Eisenhower, and the power of the federal government, then intervened to support integration. He sent a division of the United States Army and took control of the entire Arkansas National Guard, from Governor Faubus. Protests, riots and demonstrations continued to occur, bringing together people who were facing the same forces of discrimination. The large political rally, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, took place on August 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C. Those who attended the rally, hoped to gain and support civil, economic, and social rights for African Americans. Dr. Martin Luther King, a well-known civil rights leader, also delivers his, well known, I Have a Dream speech, inspiring thousands of people, in addition to future civil rights movements. The successful gathering of supporters for equal rights eventual led to the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the subsequent acts that made discrimination illegal, and gave power to enforce integration and desegregation. As conflicts still arose, and the civil rights movement continued to live on, the lives of everyone were affected, and new legislation was passed.

The civil rights movement not only changed the lifestyles of the time period, but also inspired other groups to pursue equal rights and end discrimination. Groups such as the LGBT movement for homosexual rights, the Women’s Rights movement, the Disabled Rights movement and the Chicano Youth movement all tried to stand up for what they believe in, voice their opinions, and try to affect positive change, whether it was for better working conditions, justice, independence, or equality.

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