Key Events during the Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement took place during the 1950s and 1960s with Rosa Parks, Emmitt Tip, the SCCC and the SNCC. In Montgomery, Alabama, there was the legal court action of Brown v. Board of Education and the Green Burro Sit-in. All of these events resulted in the progress that we continue to build upon today. The Civil Rights Movement occurred during the 1950s and 1960s when African-Americans, or blacks, struggled for social justice. The African-Americans were trying to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. African Americans started fighting for equal rights during the 1950s but had little success. Then, a decade later in the 1960s, African D Americans saw the legal system of segregation become broken down by a number of court cases.

This was a result of direct action taken by black activists, often in the streets, and national politics. In the postwar era the blacks were mired in legal discrimination and economic underdevelopment which 15 million African Americans know had to change. There is a familiar narrative that suggests, “civil rights was a moral issue, and it was, a more important factor was the need to integrate African American, who comprised over 10 percent of the population into the American economy and American life” (page 287, Liberty and Power in American Volume 2, McGarthy). After World War II was when the first signs of segregation came about.

In 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first black to play major league baseball. Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Then in July 1954, President Harry Truman desegregated the military by executive order. The change for African American civil rights still came but slowly. There were white allies in 1954 who took the cause to courts. One example would be the Brown v. Board of Education which was one of the most important and famous cases. Another example is the case, a Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 were a small child, Linda Carol Brown was denied entry into a white school in Topeka, Kansas which was in her neighborhood. That was when her parents decided to a sue. Then the court decided unanimously to overturn the doctrine of separate but equaL The justice had declared, “separation was inherently unequal, meaning that separate facilities such as schools would never be equal” (page 288, Liberty in Power in America Volume 2, McGarthy).

This concludes that the “Brown decision was a large blow to segregation and a huge victory for civil rights, but the Court did not demand that all schools in the American south, the region where apartheid was a practiced, had to open their doors to black children” (288, Liberty in a Power in America Volume 2, McGarthy). The Supreme Court instead told southern states to act “with all deliberate speed”. The supreme court meant with the segregation of schools there a would be the struggle for integration. In 1957 with Little Rock Arkansas local officials who were supported by Governor Orval Faubus was trying to prevent nine black students there from a entering the high schooL Then President Eisenhower ordered the National Guard to escort the nine into the schooL Desegregation was being accomplished but against great resistance. The courts were beginning to notice the cruel injustice of racial violence and racism. Then, direct action began to be taken by African Americans. A fourteen-year-old boy, Emmitt Till a from Chicago, was visiting his relatives in Money, Mississippi in August 1955, when he said something or whistled at a white woman. There was no proof because it was conveyed that something was claimed to be the case or have taken place. Then, Till was kidnapped by a mob and murdered because he was being beaten so badly that he was disfigured beyond recognition. a After this happened “his mother insisted on having an open casket because “I want the world to see what they did to my baby” (page 288, Liberty in Power in America Volume 2, McGarthy).

In 3 Jet Magazine there were photos published of the young boy to show the grotesqueness of his injuries and that he was not recognizable. The photos shocked the nation. This then created a consciousness among Americans in the north and elsewhere informing them about the evils of racism and segregation in the south.

Later in the year in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks would more alert the country a about the ugly realities of segregation. Rosa Parks was a longtime civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man even though the law demanded it. She was then arrested, but her arrest was not the first time a African American had been arrested for D this. She was bailed out a day later. Then, the Montgomery African American community decided it was time to take a stand. The black community called for a boy caught of the public busses led by the Women’s Political Council. The majority of the riders where already black. This made a major blow to the bus system. The white community thought this would not last long because blacks often had jobs a great distance from home and had to take the bus to get to their jobs. The black community then set up a car pool system and many walked a great distance to work so the boycott actually went through. A year after Park’s arrest in December 1956, officials in Montgomery desegregated the bus lines. The bus boycott demonstrated the power of the streets to the direct action by people in open resistance of segregation.

The Montgomery bus boycott is crucial to the understanding of the civil rights era. This is in part because the a Montgomery bus boycott marked the emergence of Rev. Dr. artin Luther King Jr. In ontgomery, Martin Luther King Jr. was made a national figure who recognized the importance of all the people in the movement while he was taking a non-violent approach. a The sit-in started on February 1, 1960, when four students from Greensboro, North Carolina, A&T decided to go to Woolworth’s department store and ask to be served at the 4 restaurant counter. This action began a more direct and new phase of the civil rights era. The black community chose to act on this. A few months later Ella Baker who is a brilliant organizer from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference decided to get students to and from an activist group, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating committee (SNCC). The SNCC directly confronted segregation. First, the SNCC organized the sit-in. People who had traveled from the D north mostly, some blacks and some whites, decided to sit down at segregated restaurants and nonviolently protest segregation by asking to be served, but they ended up having to accept their arrest It did not take long for over 50,000 black to have participated in the sit-ins. The sit-ins D became a southern-wide movement.

The SNCC and Ella Baker found there was a tactic to expose the dread of segregation. Most of the old-line black leaders were refusing to participate or D address sit-ins because they feared they would lead to more attacks on blacks. “King strongly endorsed the sit-ins, calling for direct action against injustice without waiting for other agencies to act” (page 289, Liberty in Power in America Volume 2, McGarthy). a The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organized a series of freedom rides in 1961, which challenged laws throughout the south. These rides pertained to segregated interstate traveL The director of CORE, James Farmer, had the attention of the U.S. people by provoking the D Southern authorities into arresting the riders. This would force the Justice Department into enforcing the laws of the land. Officials in Alabama and South Carolina ended up not arresting the riders, though they looked the other way when white mobs attacked and beat CORE members. After the original riders where injured, they flew to New Orleans. Then, the SNCC activists, now led by John Lewis, decided to travel to Montgomery to continue the rides. As soon as they stepped off the bus they were savaged (which meant, they were subject to a vicious verbal attack; criticized brutally).

The whites grew to nearly a thousand because there were no police in sight. Three weeks past and nothing was done because there were no calls from black a leaders for help. Then, the President’s brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, sent 400 marshalls to Montgomery to protect the riders. Also, he called on the SNCC and the CORE to end the rides, even though the blacks refused, according to Farmer. The rides continued because from the north and south over 1000 Americans participated. There were 300 who got arrested a and lots others who were attacked and intimidated. In the late years of 1961 the Interstate Commerce Commission banned segregation in interstate traveL The law is fully in effect in 1962. The actions of many African American leaders resulted in desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s. The Civil Rights Movement involved the SCCC, the SNCC, Rosa Parks, and Emmitt Tip. Additionally, there was the Green Burro Sit-in and Brown v. Board of Education, which occurred in Montgomery, Alabama. These African Americans and the Civil Rights movement led us to where we are today.

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