Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights

As I reflect upon what I learned from undertaking an oral history; I realized that

Oral history interviews are like fingerprints. The information that you learn cannot be stolen or erased. Oral histories are important to my understanding when it comes to learning a topic at hand because; it offers a place for students like myself to begin finding historical evidence to support their essay. Oral histories are records of the past obtainable by culturally tradition or a person whom have lived through it. I have learned the importance of African American Studies and why we should always be open minded to learning about all races; and what they have had to overcome. The one part of my oral history that stood out the most to me was how Mrs. Barns was so passionate about the Civil Right Movements. She spoke very knowledgeable about the sit-ins, freedom riders, Rose Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Mrs. Barns talked about how in in the history of the United States, there have been many social changes that have occurred. The Civil Rights Movement was one of the most important movements for the equality of all people. African American Rights were violated on a consistent basis because of the color of their skin. Many of these changes that the movement fought for brought on a violent conflict from many of the white southerners which led to violent deaths of some of the famous leaders of the Civil Rights Movement (Barns 2018).

Martin Luther King, Jr. one of her favorite front-runners; was the leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King preached about nonviolent protesters that would help become the change in the world. Mrs. Barns talked about the sit-ins that occurred in the civil right movement. These different establishments practiced segregation at the college buildings where black Americans were unable to attend college and at the restaurant where blacks could not sit down and eat. Barns quoted one of her favorite lines pf Dr. King; “All men are the same; it is the content of their character by which they should be judged not the color of their skin” (Dr. King 1963). This is a message that is accepted as a matter of fact today and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s is largely responsible for this.

Dr. King was a man of vision, a man who saw America for what it truly was. King used his vision as his inspiration to campaign to stop desegregation. Dr. King made a choice to help desegregate African American people regardless what the cost. Dr. King vision of what America was and should be is what helped shape America to where it is today. King had a vision for one day everybody would have equal rights. Dr. King was an amazing person who wanted African American people to share and have the same civil rights as the whites who oppressed them. He also wanted to place a stop on discrimination ( Barns 2018).

Mrs. Barns talked about how; black people had endured long physical and social of white power. African Americans did not have the freedom to choose where and how to live due to legally binding contracts. African American also did not have the right to rent, sell, or lease housing to black people. Students at the all-black Alabama State University briefly organized a boycott in the spring of 1954 which seized on the arrest of Rosa Parks. The arrest of Rose Parks leads to the Civil Right Movements known as the boycott of the buses. This was not Parks’ first violation of racial seating laws. Her planned act was part of a burgeoning black social protest movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 helped push toward the desegregation of buses all over the South (Barns 2018).

Mrs. Barns talked about how in 1959 through 1960 black students in Nashville, Tennessee, and Greensboro, North Carolina, did a “”sitting in”” at all-white lunch counters. Barns talked about how many of these people were yelled at, kicked, burned with cigarettes, and yet they stood firm in what they believed in; black should be able to eat wherever they want regardless of the color of their skin. These sit-ins force the Freedom Rides in the South to protest as well. Students faced violent attacks by whites; protesters were beaten, riders were caught in burning buses (Barns 2018).

Mrs. Barns spoke high of the letter that Dr. King wrote in the “Birmingham Jail” and his famous speech, “I Have a Dream”. While in jail, Dr. Martin Luther King letter was away from him to respond to the people whom did not like him. Barns stated that Dr. King explains the importance of single action and how we as individuals must aggressively seek to create the world they want to live in. That letter later lead to Dr. King’s “”I Have a Dream”” speech. A month later, white supremacists bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, leaving four little girls dead.

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