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African Americans Who Started The Battle for Civil Rights

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Words: 1652 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

Words: 1652|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Apr 29, 2022

 Slavery and racial inequality of African Americans will have everlasting impacts on mankind. This was a time of torture and manipulation that will forever instigate shame amongst human beings. Although times have changed since the early 17th century, many individuals struggle to heal the trauma that was caused by the abuse their ancestors experienced. The determination and perseverance to challenge racial inequality by African Americans in the past influenced how they integrated as part of society today. Influential individuals protested for entitlement, the battle for civil rights, the timeless consequences, and the new perspective of African Americans in the 21st century significantly exhibits the evolution of their history.

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The start of slavery began in 1619 when a Dutch ship filled with 20 slaves came to the shore in Jamestown, Virginia. Slavery facilitated saving money as European low class servants were more costly. Slavery was at its prime in the 17th and 18th century as it was a strategy to establish a stronger economic nation in America. Although this came at the cost of many black individuals’ lives, this was a way to create wealth through the production of tobacco and cotton. The slaves were provided minimal food considering their harsh workload and contaminated shelter which contained diseases such as malaria. Work was from morning to night, 16 hours a day, six days a week. Furthermore, living conditions were cruel considering the minimal clothing and unsanitary surroundings. Punishments were in the form of physical violence which included whipping, beating with a stick, bone breaking, as well as confinement. Despite this abolition of personal human rights, President Lincoln proceeded to end slavery two centuries later through the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 liberating all slaves in 11 confederate states. In addition, the creation of the 13th amendment following the civil war in 1865 finalized the end of legalized slavery once and for all in America.

During the 20th century, many influential African Americans rose to power to protest their rights as humans in society. Martin Luther King Jr. is a prime example due to his abilities to create change using his confidence, courage, and force to prove a point in a judgemental world. King quickly became the most well-known African American leader in his time, being a social activist in the American civil rights movement in the mid 1950s to late 1960s. His hard work and determination ended segregation of African Americans in the United States. He was a spokesman who used a nonviolent approach as a way to prove innocence and used this to his advantage to inspire supporters to help create social change. Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and his “I have a dream speech” is considered to be among the most powerful speeches in American history. Unfortunately, his success in the civil rights movement made him a target for conservative segregationists, and he was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. As one of the most influential individuals in the evolution of racial inequality, his legacy will never be forgotten.

Rosa Parks is another authoritative African American in the history of America who played a defining role to end racial segregation of public facilities. Having both her grandparents enslaved by caucasian, Parks decided to stand up for what she believed in and refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus in Alabama. That being said, she was arrested by the police and was later released on bail. After being found guilty at her court session, the Montgomery Bus boycott was a big success as people began to find other means of transportation to get to their final destination. As the transportation company was running out of business, the city had no choice but to remove its segregation law on public buses a year later on December 20th, 1956. Rosa Parks became a public figure in the civil rights movement as she won multiple awards such as the Bill Clinton award, known as “the highest honour given by the United States” and was featured in “The 20 most influential people of the 20th century” presented by Forbes magazine in 1999. Mainly due to her courage, she was able to create change in an oppressed society by speaking on behalf of millions of other African Americans who were frightened to stand up for what they believe in.

Lastly, Jackie Robinson is another prime example of an individual who exceeded expectations and went beyond the segregated color barrier. Being the first African American in Major League Baseball in 1947, he witnessed many racial slurs throughout his career, being the only outcast in the league. On the same note, even his teammates as well as fans were opposed to having him on their team. Being the civil rights activist that he is, he fought back against racism and proved to the entire world that everyone can play baseball together, regardless one’s skin color. Stepping on the field for the first time instigated the end to the 70 year racial segregation in the sport of baseball. Robinson not only recorded great stats throughout his career, but also influenced many other African American athletes to pursue their dream of joining the league. The determination and perseverance of these three influential individuals are one of the many reasons why African Americans integrated into our society today.

During the mid 20th century, racism was still an ongoing factor that affected many black civilians in America. The inequity between skin colors put the white people on a pedestal, giving very little opportunity to the inferior blacks. Discrimination drastically affected different sections of society, such as education, political rights (such as voting) and the economy. This problem had to be put to an end, therefore the civil rights movement, beginning in 1954, battled for equal rights and lasted a little over a decade. There were many social movements and nonviolent campaigns lead by African Americans, with the help of white individuals, that influenced positive results throughout the journey to equality. In 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott occurred and this resulted in the end of segregation on public transportation for black people. To revolt against unequal policies, the Albany Movement was created in 1961 and to oppose discriminatory economic laws in the workforce, the Birmingham Campaign was launched in 1963. In 1963 as well, an estimate of over 200 thousand people protested for the rights of African Americans at the March on Washington. Moreover, in objection to the lack of voting rights for black people, the March of Bloody Sunday took place in 1965. With all this said, the civil rights movement was able to accomplish long awaited objectives that put an end to racial inequality. Legal discrimination, along with unfair schooling and employment were officially abandoned. The Voting act of 1965 made it legal for everyone of all races to have a political voice and in addition, the civil rights movement made equal opportunity for housing as well as access for public facilities. All in all, the Civil Rights Movement was a huge milestone in the course of evoking change to create a better life for future minority generations.

Although slavery and discrimination dates back many years ago, there are many recurring events that still appear in the 21st century. African American suspects are being killed by policemen for arguably no obvious reason thus creating controversy in America. According to the data researched by the Washington post, 38% of of unarmed citizens killed by police brutality were black which is considered three times the percentage of the African American population in the United States. That being said, even though there are more caucasian fatalities caused by police brutality in America throughout the past 4 years, it is a result of the fact that the white population is greater in number. “While we see a decline from 2015, in 2017 Blacks were still 54% more likely to be unarmed when killed by police compared to Whites”. In another study written by NBC news, 7.2 African Americans died per million because of the police meanwhile only 2.9 white civilian fatalities per million. This goes to show the ongoing consequences of racial inequality in the United States. The idea of slavery in the 21st century can be a sensitive subject for some, as this was a shameful period in history. The unforgettable past is a constant reminder of the millions of people lost during the long period of human torture creating endless emotions that will forever be present in our society.

After many centuries of fighting for black civil rights, the negative consequences are only a small portion of the grand scheme of free possibilities for African Americans in the 21st century. Equality among all men and women proves to be a realistic possibility, encompassing proper schooling and fair employment systems. Peaceful relations between cultures is another example as well as fair voting rights and economic possibilities. Furthermore, the outlook of African Americans in the present-day creates a new perspective as a handful are idolized because of their talent or knowledge. Singers, movie stars, athletes, entrepreneurs such as Travis Scott, LeBron James, Kevin Hart, and Oprah Winfrey are all influential African Americans who are respected and admired in the modern age. This demonstrates the hard word many individuals had to sacrifice in the past to ensure the possible betterment in the future for incoming generations.

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Slavery and discrimination against African Americans during the past four decades introduced many positive and negative aspects within our society. The battle for equality among all human beings inspired a whole new perspective for black civilians in America. The determination and perseverance of African Americans to obtain civil rights in the past altered their integration and dignity into today’s society. Influential black individuals that challenged the status quo, the battle for civil rights, the consequences of slavery and the new outlook of African Americans in the 21st century all represent the progression of their place throughout history.   

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African Americans Who Started the Battle for Civil Rights. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 28, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/african-americans-who-started-the-battle-for-civil-rights/
“African Americans Who Started the Battle for Civil Rights.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/african-americans-who-started-the-battle-for-civil-rights/
African Americans Who Started the Battle for Civil Rights. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/african-americans-who-started-the-battle-for-civil-rights/> [Accessed 28 May 2024].
African Americans Who Started the Battle for Civil Rights [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 29 [cited 2024 May 28]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/african-americans-who-started-the-battle-for-civil-rights/
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