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Civil Rights Movement111 - Essay Example

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In one of history's most cruel ironies, the three amendments to the American Constitution which were to emancipate the blacks and give them all the rights and privileges of citizenship led to one hundred years of hardship and terror, led to newer and more devious ways of humiliation and segregation and created an institution, the Klan, that was responsible for the deaths and mutilation of thousands of Black Americans.
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Download file to see previous pages The struggle for the basic right to be recognized as a citizen - more, as a human being, - began really during the years of slavery as is evidenced by the case Dred Scott vs. Sandford in 1857. However, as an organized movement it did not gain momentum until the pre- World War 1 years, beginning in 1905 with the formation of the Niagara Movement. For years after that, the Movement was restricted to the battleground of the courts, with only a few incidents threatening to lead to mass action. It was not till 1955, with the brutal murder of fifteen year old Emmett Till, that the black community as a whole was galvanized into action and forced the Southern states to accept integration and obtained the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The division of the Movement into these broad stages; first a period of quiet but steady legal battles followed by the transition into dramatic but nonviolent mass action is very noticeable when one follows the timeline of events. The reasons for this, I think, go back into the years of slavery and Reconstruction and it is impossible to understand the motivations and ramifications of the movement spanning World War 1 to the eighties without delving into the conditions prior to this era.
The years of slavery left the majority of bla...
Washington, who believed that by passive acceptance of the segregation and taking up non threatening pursuits like farming they would slowly be able to persuade the White South to accept them. It seems likely that the blacks had not yet developed the mass consciousness that is necessary to fight a battle of the proportions it later took on. The lack of education and exposure was a huge barrier to overcome at first; without any experience of other worlds many blacks did not realize that life could be significantly better This would change with time, notably during the First World War. Another hurdle, infinitely more difficult to overcome, was the 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson that legalized segregation of facilities as long as they were equal. This led to the widespread abuse of the ruling in the south with facilities for blacks definitely inferior. Legally, they had no leg to stand on I fighting racism. It hampered the Movement considerably during the years up to 1954.
The development of the Movement was greatly helped by the Black Churches that were formed after segregation. The churches were more than a place for worship; they served as a political platform, as a social work organization. (Calhoun-Brown, A., 2000). It was here that they learned to survive as well as regained pride. The attitude of nonviolence that they brought to their protests later was probably a result of their church training.
It was in 1905 that groups of people began to realize that the method of passive acceptance was getting them nowhere. W.E.B. DuBois, broke away from Washington and founded the Niagara Movement to fight for quality education and to end discrimination. The organization ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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