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“Freedom Riders” a Documentary Movie by Firelight Media Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Oct 21st, 2020

Freedom Riders is a documental movie describing the huge movement of civil rights activists in the United States in the middle of 20th century. The black community was faced with various types of discrimination and segregation. They formed several organizations and initiated the civil rights movement in different states. Members of these organizations held protests, marches, and meetings to attract the attention of the general public and government.

They achieved some significant changes in legislation. However, some methods were not effective. In addition, the media played an important role in this process. The main goal of this paper is to discuss the impact that the media had on the progress of the civil rights movement and highlight strategies implemented by civil rights organizations.

The Civil Rights Movement

At the beginning of 1950’s, television was not widely spread. Only few people could afford it at that time. However, by 1960 most Americans had TVs at home. Television began to change the country as information passed on much faster. People in the Southern states could see the news from New York and Michigan, and vice versa. Also, television assisted in uniting the black Southern community as they could learn about the revolutionary social movement (“How the Media Covered the Civil Rights Movement: The Children’s March”).

Therefore, media covered marches and protests throughout the country, inspiring the black community to develop this movement. It spread across the United States very fast, changing attitudes and believes of citizens. A population that was divided along racial lines came together, and blacks got the control of their public lives. They started to exercise their freedom and gained independence. However, media somehow stopped widely covering these processes, and the movement lost its support (“Freedom Rides”). Nonetheless, it led to the more vigorous growth of this political group, and it continued to move on.

Civil Rights Organizations

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) became famous due to its nonviolent demonstrations, grassroots organizations, registering black voters, and cultivating the concept of Black Power. The committee applied various strategies to inspire people to resist. SNCC was focused on local tactics as it had branches in different states (“Freedom Rides”). It spread the concept of black equality and fair treatment. Therefore, the committee targeted specific groups, trying to recruit them.

Another strategy that SNCC followed was student leadership. Students were eager to get involved in the process of the nation transformation, and they strived to acquire more opportunities and experience. Also, the committee held non-violent protests to become more noticeable. They established boycotts and took part in Freedom Rides (“Freedom Rides”). SNCC reached their audience via conferences. However, there were certain disadvantages of their methods. For example, some peaceful protests turned into violent fights, and the police had to intervene.

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. It was formed in Chicago in 1942. The majority of members were white. The congress also used non-violent methods aimed against segregation. CORE funded most Freedom Rides. Also, in the 1960s the congress held membership meetings every month (“The Congress of Racial Equality”). It has various volunteers and unpaid elective posts. CORE organized non-violent direct action campaigns opposed discrimination and advocated voting rights (“Different Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement”). However, the jail-in strategy that the members used was not very successful. CORE refused to post bail what increased the number of prisoners. It subsequently slowed the development of the organization.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was founded at the end of 1950’s. This organization chose a non-violent resistance strategy to eliminate legal segregation of African Americans. SCLC also focused on problems of wars and deprivation. The conference established a cultural campaign against discrimination and racial segregation. The members held several peaceful marches and meetings. The effectiveness of SCLC’s methods was proved when the Voting Right Act of 1965 was issued due to the influence of this organization. However, the conference’s strategies had certain drawbacks. The lack of planning and discipline led to the failure of the SCLC’s campaign. Due to the inability to collaborate with SNCC, it also lost the influence on the general public.

Since the 1960’s, various laws that safeguard the civil rights of all American citizens have been established. Different minorities including African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, homosexuals, homeless got legitimate rights (“Civil Rights: How Far Have We Come?”). The key demands in the 1960’s were jobs, fair treatment, and peace. However, today they still the same. Although the black community made a big step forward, there are still many problems. Most black people suffer the deprivation of essential needs. Houses they live in are in awful conditions. Landlords ignore this problem and do not properly maintain their property.

Real estate that belongs to federal organizations does not look differently. Also, it is illegal to deny access to educational programs. However, schools are segregated in many cities. Black and white people live in different districts. Thus, they attend different schools as well. In addition, the right to be involved in a political system is not explicitly violated. However, black politicians state that there is still racial discrimination.

Conclusion

These organizations still operate, fighting against violating national laws. They are not as influential as they were during and after foundation. However, their strategies are well-known and widely used. Despite having disadvantages, non-violent resistance is still considered to be the prominent method of defending a political position.

Works Cited

“Civil Rights: How Far Have We Come?” Scholastic, n.d.. Web.

“Different Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement.” History Now, n.d. Web.

Alabama Public Radio. 2013. Web.

Martin Luther King, Jr., n.d. Web.

“Freedom Riders.” YouTube, uploaded by Socko Pricket. 2012. Web.

.” CORE, n.d. Web.

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