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In the 1950’s, Australia was in the midst of a very lengthy campaign full of many aboriginals and non-aboriginals all protesting for one reason, equal rights for indigenous Australians. From the first day the British landed on Australia and declared it ‘terra nullius’ (no man’s land) the Aboriginals that were the original inhabitants were oppressed and had several atrocities committed against them. This included what we now know to be the creation of the stolen generation. The stolen generation got its name because the children of Aboriginal women or mixed children, were taken away from their mothers at birth and put into white families in order to ‘remove the aboriginal from them’. This was a government lead project and went on from 1910- 1970 and an estimated 303,000 children were forcibly removed from their parents.
Things started to take a turn during late 1948, where the united nations released A universal declaration of human rights. In this document, the basic rights and freedoms everyone is entitled to is outlined. There are 30 of them, some being the right to life, the freedom of speech and the right to an education. It was a monumental movement as it was the first ever document agreed on internationally regarding human rights. After the release of this document, it didn’t take long for the citizens of multiple countries to spark an uprising in protests and campaigns in order to assure that everyone was able to access these rights. We now know this as the civil rights movements. During the 1950’s, these movements were becoming more and more effective, with America being the first to start them. From the movements in America, Australia was influenced into their own civil rights movement which has been successful in creating change for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders but there are still inequities that will require further change to fix.
America was a very influential country during this period as their civil rights movement is one of the most famous ones and impacted many countries including Australia and influenced them to make a change. Before the 1950’s African Americans were being oppressed and there was serious segregation between the whites and the blacks. The African Americans were being used as slaves, were forced to live in very poor conditions and were called derogatory terms such as racial slurs. Then it changed in the 1950’s with one woman acting as a catalyst, this woman being Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks was significant because she was sat on a full bus that was split into white people at the front and blacks up the back, however, when the white section of the bus filled, it was required that the black people gave up their seats but she didn’t and got arrested and put on trial. However, what separated Rosa from anyone else who had done this was she was a highly educated woman who had been a part of activism since the 1930’s and was a member of the NAACP group. She then began to lead her first protest using many methods to succeed including organisation, speaking skills, staying calm, non-belligerent and being polite. She was protesting to end racial segregation, which she achieved.
Activists took the opportunity to voice their opinions like Martin Luther King, who’s speech ‘I have a dream’ is still very famous along with the quote “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” These two people as well as many others were the faces of the American civil rights movement and helped too influence Australia into change, using their methods of action.
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