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Second Reconstruction - Essay Example

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Name Professor Subject Date Second Reconstruction When we say Civil Rights, we think of the 1960’s. We think about the Movement and racial segregation. But few really know the truth and what really happened during those years, and the implications to the country and people in terms of politics…
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Second Reconstruction
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Download file to see previous pages It was in the American South, where majority of the African American population were concentrated, where racial discrimination was widespread and deliberate in terms of education, economic opportunities, and political and legal rights such as voting. One of these actions was the “Freedom Ride”. Freedom Rides were journeys by Civil Rights activists on interstate Greyhound buses into the segregated Deep South. It was to test a United States Supreme Court decision that ended segregation for passengers engaged in interstate travel. The riders risked their lives to firebombing, attacks by the Ku Klux Klan, beatings, mobbings, and arrest. Those arrested end up in jails, where they were maltreated and subjected to inhumane conditions while in detention. These rides not only managed to gain public sympathy and support but led to the Kennedy administration issuing a new desegregation order. Taking effect on November 1, passengers were permitted to sit anywhere on the bus; segregation signs came down in bus terminals; consolidation of drinking fountains, toilets, and waiting rooms; and lunch counters began serving people regardless of skin color. Before the Civil Rights Act, African Americans were treated as property, and an inferior race, throughout the United States. President Kennedy proposed the civil rights legislation which gained support from northern states Congressmen but blocked by Senators of the South. President Johnson signed the Act into law which banned discrimination based on one’s color, sex, religion, race, or national origin in terms employment practices and public accommodations, and abolished state and local laws which required such discrimination. The movement had a permanent impact to society and the country as a whole. Southern whites had different reactions to the movement, retaliation, acceptance, unsure of their feelings and doubting, and confusion. There were even cases when others were forced to fight against the movement out of community pressure. In the end, many of them changed their minds. Albeit the different reactions to the movement by the white Southerners, the local community, the local government, in the church, and even in universities, as Jason Sokol stated in his book “A Documented Account of How White Students Reacted to the Racial Integration of the University of Georgia”: In the 1960s universities across America pulsed with the spirit of protest. While students at Berkeley and Columbia captured headlines in the middle and late 1960s, they were not the first to revolt. Earlier in the decade, whites on southern campuses rebelled against the orders of distant courts as well as against the black students they found suddenly in their midst. Though white Southerners, as described by Sokol, have “racial attitudes and behavior frequently revealed a confused and conflicted people, at times divided within and against themselves” (Sokol 2006), the movement changed Southerner’s minds from oppressing and degrading African-Americans, and thus, forever changed their lives. The movement has transformed the South and the nation. Although politicians and community leaders tried with all their might to retain status quo and power in the state’s changing political landscapes, increased social and legal acceptance shifted the balance of political power. African-Americans were given more opportunities in politics which led to the election of a black ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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