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Civil Rights - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Civil Rights A plethora of laws enacted by the federal government to end slavery and enshrine fundamental human rights of African Americans did very little to guarantee equality for all citizens before the law. Fifteenth Amendment was promulgated in 1870, yet one hundred years later, blacks could not vote…
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Download file to see previous pages The law was not an enough catalysts to bring about change. Blacks became convinced that only nonviolent resistance was the best tool for change. Nonviolent resistance attracted the attention of the nation and won the black movement support from Northern States and key statesmen. Strong civil right activism, through the use of non-violent resistance finally made United States to take action to guarantee equality before the law for all citizens. The framers of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendment had one key objective: to make Black Americans equal citizens before the law. However, segregationist legislation (dubbed the Jim Crow laws) began sprouting from all states especially in the South following the Supreme Court separate but equal rule in Plessy v Ferguson. The Jim Crow laws negated the letter and spirit of the framers of the Amendments. They promoted inequality between blacks and whites in United States. According to lecture notes, Black people had to drink in separate water fountain, and eat in separate restaurant. On the bus, if white people didn’t have enough seats, black people had to get out of the bus in order to give them seats (Lecture notes, 18 November 2013). Civil right activism developed in several phases, beginning with small isolated cases of protests such as by Rosa Parks who refused to give seat in a bus to a white person, but leading to the emergence of more militant movements, people and organization. Civil rights activism did not have much success stories until there emerged strong and coordinated Organizations. As Patterson explains, “though direct-action protest on behalf of civil rights for American Negroes (as African Americans were called in 1964) had a long history, it increased dramatically in the early 1960s. Militant young people in organizations such as the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) spearheaded protests, mainly in the racially segregated South” (Patterson, Everything you know about the 1960s is wrong). The Montgomery bus boycott saw the beginning of a new phase of protests. It elevated the stature of some black leaders such as Martin Luther King jnr. It marked the beginning of nonviolent resistance to inequality in the American society and the discrimination of the blacks. Dr King, a charismatic religious leader employed religion to support nonviolent resistance. He justified protest using religion and natural law. According to Carman, Dr King argued that “Non-violent resistance is based on the belief that the universe is just. There is God or a creative force that is moving us toward universal love and wholeness continually” (Carman, Martin Luther King’s philosophy of non-violent resistance). Off course, Dr King faced a lot criticism from his fellow clergy who questioned his religious morality for calling protests, sometimes against the law. He brushed aside his critics. While addressing his followers, he stated that “we believe in the Christian religion. We believe in the teachings of Jesus. (Well) The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest (Address, Martin Luther King). The opponents of nonviolent protests were not only whites. Other black movements, such as the Black Panther Party advocated for the use of all means to achieve equality for the black man, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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