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The Portray of African-American women in 1960s - Research Paper Example

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Running head: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN THE 1960s The Help and African-American Women in the 1960s (name) (school) (date) The Help and African-American Women in the 1960s Introduction The 1960s in the United States marked a time of major political and social changes…
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The Portray of African-American women in 1960s
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Download file to see previous pages John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1961 and he became a president who was very much dedicated to the protection and establishment of civil rights for all Americans (Zeitz, 2006). Two years after he was elected, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, and in the process, inspired many African Americans and civil rights groups to firmly seek the equal protection of their rights, regardless of their skin color (Zeitz, 2006). When President Lyndon Johnson took over as president after Kennedy’s assassination, he also firmly pressed support for civil rights laws, and in 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed by Johnson. This law made racial segregation in America legally actionable (Marwick, 1998). A year after the Civil Rights Act was signed, the National Voting Rights Act was also passed into law, and this law also ensured that discrimination in voting practices would become legally actionable (Marwick, 1998). Towards the end of the 1960s, President Richard Nixon would soon take over and the Vietnam War would also take center stage in American issues and politics. Nevertheless, the legal foundations for civil rights were laid out during the 1960s (Marwick, 1998). For African-Americans, it marked a time when they were finally able to gain full equal and legal status as their white counterparts. For African-American women in the 1960s, it also marked a period of transition. The Emancipation Proclamation during the 1860s was meant to free African-Americans from slavery, however, this did not necessarily grant the African-Americans equal rights under the law (Stack, 1974). They were still very much discriminated against by general society, and not allowed the same rights and privileges as the whites. The Jim Crow Laws of 1876 also passed segregation laws for the black communities, separating them from the white communities (Stack, 1974). These laws also indicated where the African-Americans were supposed to live. These practices would however soon gain the ire of the African-Americans as gradually many of them, along with civil rights activists sought equal rights for all Americans regardless of race (Quintard, 2003). The decision of the Supreme Court in 1954 on the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas also started the ball rolling for the desegregation in schools. However, major strides towards racial desegregation on a wider scale were still not seen (Quintard, 2003). Anthropologist Carol Stack in her book ‘All Our Kin’ focused on what she refers to as Jackson Harbor in order to examine the discrimination practices against the African Americans (Stack, 1974). Stack (1974) discusses that in Jackson Harbor, in Mississippi, poverty and racial discrimination played a huge part in romantic inclinations and relations. For one, women usually viewed men in a stereotypical fashion – behaving bad, drinking, being violent, being involved in crimes, and the like (Stack, 1974). Women also saw themselves as the more reliable individuals, and the fact that they had access to welfare made them more formidable individuals than their male counterparts. Stack (1974) discusses how within the community, the African-American women possessed equal rights in relation to African American men. However as far as the bigger world is concerned, the white-dominated American society through its racist and sexist practices had great control over the lives of African American women. In effect, these women had the power to make the decisions for their families and themselves, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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