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The civil rights movement took place in the 1950’s to 1960’s. Organized mostly by African Americans, this movement sought to give rights to people of color since around this time, they were treated as lower class citizens who were segregated from whites by law. Although African Americans were free, they were not equal to whites in most ways, this issue being especially prevalent in the south. During this period, several Afro-American leaders led their communities to combat the racial inequality that plagued the united states. Although the situation at this point in time was dire, almost all protests organized by leaders of the movement were nonviolent save for those headed by more militant leaders which did more harm than good for the cause.
A major issue that was faced during the civil rights movement was spatial segregation where African Americans were forbidden from seating, or using the same structures as whites. This applied to many basic things such as seating, bathrooms, and even water fountains. Whites were usually given more aesthetically pleasing locations to do what they chose whereas people of color would have to use lower quality versions of the same things whites used all in the name of white superiority. This law even applied to buses where if a white person were to request a seat currently occupied by a black person, they would get the seat lest the colored person face criminal charges. In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus and was incarcerated. This sparked a boycott on Montgomery bus lines that lasted all the way until November of the following year when the supreme court ruled in the case of Browder V. Gayle that the segregation of buses was unconstitutional.
Civil rights was also a case that demanded the equal treatment of black people and white people. This is to say, violence against black folk wasn’t uncommon over trivial matters. Groups such as the KKK had even sprung up in order to keep colored people oppressed by means of fear instilled by lynchings and other public hate crimes. In response to this, a preacher by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. started to preach for equality and peace among colors, and to eradicate segregation. As a peaceful man, all of his gatherings were emphatically peaceful, as not to cause fear and show that the way to freedom and equality was through love and brotherhood. He took to his church and the public and gave speeches that advocated “loving your neighbor as yourself”. Although he was an inspiring figure and abstained from any sort of violence, the United States government feared that he might have communist ties and even alleged that he was regularly in contact with communists. None of this could be proven. King lived his life preaching peace and equality, most memorably his “I Have a Dream” speech which he gave during the march on Washington in Auguest 1963. He was planning another campaign that would have occupied Washington however this never went to fruition as he was assassinated in 1968 by an unknown killer, although many would agree that the FBI might have done this to cut King’s reign short.
In the end, the major results were many lawful victories and violent defeats that resulted in some of the greatest changes to the US constitution that any movement has ever seen. Although it is hard to properly represent all of those that participated, it can be said that those who spearheaded the motion were leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and Malcom X. They gave to the colored community outcomes such as desegregated schools, buses and public buildings. They added onto what little rights coloreds had, like the right to vote without problematic literacy tests. Most importantly, they made the Civil Rights Act of 1964 possible which banned discrimination based on color, sex, religion, or national origin.
This isn’t to say that the nation its self is still completely adhering to the laws put in place back in the 1960’s as racism is still alive today. All of the violence that was taken without riposte might be seen as not completely resolved considering all what has gone on today. Police brutality, racial profiling, and other unjust acts are still being perpetrated against the colored community. However, segregation has ceased in the public’s eyes; overall the main issue has been answered with a pleasing response- at least as far as the government is concerned.
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