Civil Rights and the First African American President
On November the 4th 2008 history was made as Senator Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States of America and the first ever African American to become, arguably, the most powerful man in the world. Even his nomination was seen as a massive breakthrough by the civil rights movement, the closest an African American ever getting to be nominated as a presidential candidate being when Jesse Jackson Sr. was a candidate for the democratic presidential nomination in 1988. In this essay I plan to trace the history of the American civil rights movement and state why I do not believe that President Elect Obama’s inauguration ...view middle of the document...
However this quietly convicted the ‘Union’ states to abolish slavery without causing too much upset and possibly several years before they would have had President Lincoln been more upfront about abolishing slavery. African Americans were starting to be viewed more equally however police in many southern states stopped African Americans registering to vote well into the 20th century.
The American civil rights movement owes a lot to Rosa Parks, the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”.
“People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
On December the 1st 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white passenger, an act considered a civil disobedience and a social taboo at the time. While she was not the first African American to do this, with Irene Morgan and Sarah Louise Keys performing almost identical acts of defiance in 1944 and earlier in 1955 retrospectively. Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott which in turn led to the end of segregation in the USA. Segregation in school had already been found unconstitutional a year previously. Although officially African Americans had the same rights as their white counterparts no law can change people’s prejudices.
One of the more famous events in the civil rights movement occurred on the 28th of August 1963 when two hundred and fifty thousand people gathered around the Lincoln memorial and heard Martin Luther King Jr. Deliver his ‘I have a dream’ speech.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
This demonstration and speech proved critical for the civil rights movement, the diaries of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. that were posthumously published even suggesting that President Kennedy was concerned that if less people attended the march on Washington it would undermine his efforts to improve civil rights. The election of Barack Obama to the Whitehouse has proven that an African American can now be judged on the content of their character as he won in a landslide and 349...