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Civil Rights Essay

1055 words - 5 pages

February 1, 1960, four black students attending a college in Greensboro, NC, were refused lunch at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter and began a sit-in. This event triggered several other nonviolent protests throughout the south. Six months later, the same four students were served at the same Woolworth’s lunch counter. Student sit-ins throughout the South were very effective in integrating many public places. These sit-ins ignited a decade of civil rights protests that proved that the American people could have a real impact on segregation. During other sit-ins in other cities, media coverage was scarce, many of the stories being buried in the back pages of the newspaper if ...view middle of the document...

In the 1960’s, the U.S. population was 42% black but just a mere 2% of them were registered to vote. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who previously found success in integrating public transportation in Alabama following an incident involving Rosa Parks in 1955, helped organize voter’s registration campaigns in the south. Dr. King was arrested and jailed for participating in anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, Alabama. During that time, he wrote “Letters from a Birmingham Jail” arguing that it is the people’s moral obligation to fight unjust laws. Dr. King’s arrest during these demonstrations and the media’s coverage of police brutality against protesters propelled both the movement and Dr. King into national spotlight. Mass marches and boycotts compelled white leaders to initiate desegregation in the public as well as allow blacks to be employed. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963 was where King made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech was the most publicly televised event of the Civil Rights movement.
Following the November, 1963 assassination of Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson took up Kennedy’s Civil Rights bill. Using his influence in Congress, Johnson was able to get the bill passed. The 1964 Civil Rights Act made racial discrimination illegal. With this act of legislation complete, Dr. King was now ready to focus on achieving voter’s rights for blacks on the federal level. In March, of 1965, King organized a march on Alabama’s state capitol for voter’s rights. State troopers attacked protesters with night sticks and tear gas. Although King was not with them, this persuaded President Johnson to pressure Congress into passing his Voting Rights Act. Even though it was opposed in the south, it was still passed by a majority vote in The House of Representatives and Senate. The national government was now able to register voters that were previously not allowed on the state level.
Malcom Little, later to be known as Malcom X, while serving time in prison for robbery, educated himself and converted to the Muslim faith. Upon his release from prison, he became the Voice of the Nation...

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