Between mid 1950s and late 1960s, civil rights movements in America were at its peak. The civil rights movement was sparked by various factors that undermined and oppressed the black population. As a matter of fact, blacks were treated like half citizens, and they had no right to complain.
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For instance, the South had devoted their energy in stabilizing and perfecting the Jim Crow ideology that required blacks to be segregated and separated from the white people.
As a result, there was the lack of decent education, poor jobs and rampant poverty among the blacks. In response, the black citizen resorted to fighting for his rights; thus, the rise of the civil rights movement. During this era, there were key events that eventually led to a breakthrough in the fight for civil rights. Some of these events are described briefly in the following paragraphs.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a spokesman for African Americans in the struggle for equal rights during the era. However, King received stern opposition from whites such as Governor George who was the symbol for opposition to racial interlink. King asserted that civil rights movement was more of a human rights movement than just a movement for black rights.
According to King and other Black leaders, as long as Blacks were denied their full rights America could not be free. Under his leadership, key events such as the Brown vs. Board of Education case, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the 1960s Sit-Ins gained momentum.
Overwhelmed by the poor quality of their school, students at Moton High School resorted to taking the matter to court (Robinson, 2005). The main cause of poor education facilities in the African American schools was the segregation laws. In 1954, the Supreme Court declared its verdict that segregation of White and Black Schools was unconstitutional (Robinson, 2005).
As a result, segregation was phased out of schools and Black children had the right to attend white schools and receive a quality education. This key event enabled all citizens to explore education to the highest level regardless of race or color.
Another key event is the Montgomery Bus Boycott that took place between 1956 and 1957. According to the segregation rules in public transport vehicles, Blacks were supposed to leave their seats for white travelers (The Henry Ford, 2002). In 1955, however, a lady called Rosa Parks refused to leave her seat for a white traveler and was fined by the court of law for misconduct.
“Thereafter, fifty Black leaders organized a “Montgomery Bus Boycott” to demand a more humane transport system” (The Henry Ford, 2002). 381 days later, a federal court ordered the buses to drop the rules and allow for equal rights of travel. Martin Luther King participated in this boycott that resulted in equality among all Montgomery users.
“In another scenario (1960), four college students organized a sit-in in a lunch counter to protest Woolworth’s idea of excluding Blacks” (Cozzens, 1998). The students had bought some goods in other areas of the store, kept the receipts and during the lunch hour they asked to be served. The students were not served; hence, they produced their receipts and demanded to know why they make decisions against them.
Since then, Sit-Ins became rampant in several states and the message was effectively delivered. This trend led to the creation of student committees that eventually led to the freedom rides in 1961(Cozzens, 1998). In conclusion, these key events helped to reinforce the African American struggle for equal right rights, and finally, the light was found.
Cozzens, L. (1998). Sit-Ins. Retrieved from the Waston.org Website: http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/civilrights-55-65/sit-ins.html
Robinson, S. (2005). Brown vs. Board of Education. Web.
The Henry Ford. (2002). The Story Behind the Bus. Retrieved from Thehenryford Website: https://www.thehenryford.org/explore/stories-of-innovation/what-if/rosa-parks/