Civil Rights Essay

518 words - 3 pages

The Civil Rights Movement

Civil rights for blacks became a major national political issue in the 1950's and early 1960's. Thousands of Americans, white and black, were demonstrating across the South in an effort to end segregation in stores, restaurants, hotels, libraries, and all public places. Fair housing and equal employment opportunities were also a major concern. The demonstrators used tactics such as picketing, marches, demonstrations, voter registration, and various forms of civil disobedience. Thousands of civil rights demonstrators were arrested, and hundreds were beaten. Those who did not want the old ways of treating blacks to change dynamited scores of churches and homes. It was always important thought that the demonstrators and their acts were ...view middle of the document...

The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, announced its decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas on May 17, 1954.  The decision declared that the system of segregated public schools in the United States was unconstitutional. Second step for black equality came with Rosa Parks story that has become legendary in the civil rights history. On December 1, 1955, she boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. During her ride, she was told to move out of her seat and to the "colored section" in the back. She refused and was arrested. Her arrest triggered a systematic response among the civil rights community in Montgomery - a boycott of public transportation. Leading the boycott effort was Martin Luther King. The boycott lasted over a year and ended on November 13, 1956 when the U.S. Supreme court ruled that the Montgomery segregation law was unconstitutional. Later in the movement's trajectory, groups like the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords, the  Weathermen and the Brown Berets turned to more militant tactics to make a social revolution that would over throw capitalism and establish, in particular, what they considered to be self-determination for resident U.S. minorities. They frightened many white Americans and alienated many moderates who had supported peaceful protest. President Lyndon B. Johnson had also become suspicious of civil rights activists and ordered the FBI to begin investigations of Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam, and even Martin Luther King Jr. himself for their alleged ties to Communist organizations. Then, in 1968, a young white man named James Earl Rayshot and killed King as he addressed a crowd gathered in Memphis, Tennessee. King’s death, combined with the increasing amount of violence, effectively ended the civil rights movement of the 1950s and1960s.

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