The purpose of this essay is to outline the main events of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Specifically, the focus will be on the main activists involved in the movement such as Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks and the major campaigns of civil resistance.
The Civil Rights Movement refers to the movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights in Southern states.African-Americans were able to gain the rights to issues such as equal access to public transportation, right to vote, right to fair trials, and many others.
The many movements lasted roughly from 1955 to 1968. During this time ...view middle of the document...
The driver noticed a white man standing and then demanded her entire row move as blacks were forbidden to sit next to whites. After refusing to move, Rosa Parks was reported to the police and arrested for violating the ‘whites first’ bus laws. Her case was used to fight segregation laws which pushed for complete desegregation on public transport. 50,000 of Montgomery's African Americans supported the boycott which lasted for 381 days until the local ordinance segregating African-Americans and whites on public buses was lifted. Ninety percent of African Americans in Montgomery took part in the boycotts until a federal court ordered Montgomery's buses desegregated in November 1956.
Martin Luther King Jr was a prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. A baptist minister, he became a civil rights activist early on. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was planned and pursued by fellow activist leader E.D Nixon and soon led by King. During this time King’s house was bombed and he was later arrested.
The Freedom Rides were journeys taken by Civil Rights activists on interstate buses into the segregated southern states of America. These were organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the first Freedom Ride left Washington D.C. on May 4, 1961. Activists travelled to the highly segregated South and sought to integrate seating and desegregate bus terminals, restrooms and water fountains. This proved to be a dangerous mission. In Anniston, Alabama, one bus was firebombed, resulting in passengers barely escaping with their lives.
In Birmingham, Alabama, a member of the FBI reported that Public Safety Commissioner Eugene Connor, a well known opposer to the freedom rides and the Civil Rights Movement, gave Ku Klux Klan members fifteen minutes to attack an incoming group of freedom riders before the police would be obligated to protect them. During this time the riders were severely beaten until some were unrecognisable. James Peck, a white activist and civil rights hero, was beaten so viciously he required fifty stitches to his head.
“Sit-ins” were common during the Civil Rights Movement. These began when four students from an all-black college in North Carolina sat at a segregated lunch counter in a Woolworth’s store to protest their policy of excluding African Americans. They dressed professionally, sat quietly and occupied every other stool so potential white sympathizers would be able to join in.
This sit-in soon inspired other sit-ins in other southern states such as Virginia,Tennessee, and Georgia. Demonstrators focused not only on lunch counters in local segregated stores but also on parks, beaches, libraries, theaters, museums, and other public places.