Imagine this; it’s during the 1950s and you are an African American and whites are discriminating against you for no reason. Times start to become even harder than before. You are in school, and you want to use the restroom, but you must go all the way across the school because you can’t use the same bathroom as the whites or use the same water fountains. People would throw things and yell at you to go back to where you came from. All of this and many more are a part of the Civil Rights Movement, in this essay you will learn what happened during this time, the dates, important people that helped stop discrimination against race, sex, nationality, and color.
In the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans were having a hard time obtaining equal rights that whites had under the law of the United States.
After the Civil War, slavery was finally abolished, but this event didn’t end any of the discrimination against African Americans. They had to endure the overwhelming effects of racism, especially down in the South. The African Americans had taken leadership like never before. “ In the mid 20th century, African Americans had to deal with a lot of prejudice and violence against them.” Along with some whites, they began fighting for equality. This fight went on for two decades.
“During 1868, the 14th amendment to the Constitution gave the African Americans equal protection under the law.”
Then, in 1870, the 15th amendment granted African Americans the right to vote. Since the whites were unhappy with how the African Americans were getting more attention, they wanted to separate whites and blacks. So, they made up laws called the “Jim Crow” laws in the South toward the beginning of the 19th century. These laws forbid blacks from using the same bathroom as the whites or let them use the same water fountain. Then, segregation started, in 1896, the U. S Supreme Court announced that the facilities for African Americans and whites were separate but equal.
In the North States, “Jim Crow” laws were not accepted, but African Americans were still dealing with discrimination, in many places; such as their jobs, whenever they were trying to get a house, or when trying to getting an education. “ Then some laws were passed in some states, which limited African Americans from being able to vote.” Already, most African Americans weren’t able to vote because most of them could not pass the voter literacy test. Additionally, before World War ll, an abundance of African Americans was on a low budget. “They were mostly low-wage farmers, factory workers, domestics or servants.”
They were never given better jobs and they were discouraged from going into the military. So, thousands were threatening to march Washington and demand for equal rights. From the war, “on June 25, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, opened national defense jobs, and other government jobs to all Americans, no matter the race, creed, color, or national origin.”
During the war, there were African men and women who had served heroically, yet when they arrived home they were greeted with what they left home with. That was segregation and discrimination.Many have thought this is why the United States had joined the war, it was to defend freedom and democracy in the world. Next was the Cold War that started to begin, so President Harry Truman had an Executive order 9981 in 1948. This was order was supposed to end the discrimination in the military. This also helped set for racial equality in legislation, and it incited the Civil Rights Movement.
Furthermore, on December 1, 1955, there was this woman named Rosa Parks, who was 42 years old. Rosa had gotten on at the bus stop for the Montgomery, Alabama, bus after she got done with work. At this time, blacks were supposed to sit close to the back and give the front to the whites, and she and others had gone with it. But then one day some white man got on the montgomery bus and all the seats were filled, so the bus driver ordered Rosa and three other African Americans to move and give up their seats, but Rosa refused to and she was arrested.
Similarly, the word got out about Rosa’s arrest, and it had raged people and after that, there was a Montgomery Association, this Association was led by Martin Luther King Jr. Since of her arrest, there was a boycott for the Montgomery bus company that lasted 381 days. Then on November 14, 1956, the Supreme Court decreed that segregated seating was unconstitutional. Previously, while in 1954, the United States Supreme Court had made segregation illegal in public schools for the case of Brown vs. Board of Education.
Then, in 1957, Arkansas was asking volunteers from an all-black school to attend the segregated school. For September 3, 1957, nine African Americans students, remembered to a lot of people as “Little Rock Nine”, came to Central High School. All they wanted to do was begin classes and when they arrived at the school, they were confronted by the Arkansas National Guard and a mob, yelling and threatening them. When they tried to do it again a couple of weeks later they got in but then they had to be removed because of violence.
Eventually, President Dwight D. Eisenhower made the federal troops escort Little Rock Nine to and from classes, but they still had to deal with harassment and prejudice. Because of this it was brought a lot of attention to desegregation and had fired up protests on both sides, the African Americans and the whites. Then on September 9, 1957, President Eisenhower had signed the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 so that it would become a law. This has been the first major Civil Rights Legislation since the Reconstruction. This act allowed federal prosecution for anyone who has tried to prevent anyone from voting and it also has a commission to scrutinize any voter fraud.
Obviously, African Americans were still experiencing prejudice even after getting some attention. On February 1, 1960, there were four college students that stood against the segregation that was happening in Greensboro, North Carolina. There they rejected to vacate Woolworth\’s lunch counter without someone giving them some food. For a couple of days, hundreds of people joined them, and a few were arrested and were also charged with trespassing. So they had a boycott until the owners crumpled and the original four college students had finally gotten their food. This event helped encourage other students to join the Civil Rights Movement.
Without a doubt, the march on Washington was probably the most famous event that has ever happened in history. This march took place on August 28, 1863.The people who put it together were Martin Luther King Jr., Philip Randolph, and Bayard Rustin. There were more than 200,000 African Americans and whites, it was a peaceful march. This march had one main purpose, to force the Civil Rights Legislative and establish job equality for everyone and anyone. During this march Martin Luther King Jr. said a speech that contained four simple words, those words were “I have a dream.” Those four words became the slogan for equality and freedom.
Following on July 2, 1964, the president Lyndon B. Johnson had signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and John F, Kennedy initiated the Act. This Act gave equal employment for everyone, limited the use for voter literacy tests, and it also allowed the federal authorities to guarantee that public facilities were integrated.
Nevertheless, on March 7, 1965, down in Alabama, they did not like what was happening with the Civil Rights Movement. There was a march with 600 peaceful marchers that were participating in a march from Selma to Montgomery, they were protesting the killing of the civil rights activists, killed by a police officer. When they were near Edmund Pettus Bridge, the Alabama state and local police impeded them. Without backing down they kept walking ahead, the police that was there, they were brutally beaten and they were tear gassed. This whole situation had been videotaped for television and was known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Therefore, President Johnson had signed another act. This act was the Voting Rights Act, which was signed on August 6, 1965, this further extended the “Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The Voting Rights Act had banned all of the voter literacy tests, provided the federal assessor in certain jurisdictions and authorized attorney general match state and local poll taxes. But because of this, it was later said to be unorthodox during the case of Harper vs. Virginia State Board of Elections in 1966.
After this, the Civil Rights Movement dealt with two tragic, unexpected deaths in the late 1960s.Those two people were Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., they both were assassinated but on different dates. Malcolm used to be a leader for the Nation of Islam and organization for Afro-American Unity and was killed on February 21, 1965. Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader the Civil Rights and he was also a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Martin had died on April 4, 1968, and this had put a strain on President Johnson’s administration because of the riots that were formed. A few days after Martin’s death another act was passed called the Fair Housing Act, which counteracted the housing discrimination of race, sex, national origin, or religion.
In summary, the Civil Rights Movement was a very important time for African Americans. They went from discrimination and prejudice against them to being equals. During this time of the Civil rights Movement there were many important dates, and people that had led to the end of discrimination and prejudice against race, sex, nationality, and color. America today would not be the same without this important time in history.