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Civil Rights Movement in the US
The Civil Rights Movement was a time during the 1950/60s where people were trying to eliminate segregation, gain equal rights and opportunities for the basic privileges of U.S. citizenship. In order to fully understand the Civil Rights Movement, you have to go back to its origin, which most people uncommonly do. Typically people believe that NAACP member, Rosa Parks began the entire Civil Rights Movement with her refusal to get out of her seat on the bus, but actually, it began back in 1954 with the supreme court’s decision on the Brown case. The Brown case was Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka in which the supreme court put laws into place that separate public schools for African American and white students to be unconstitutional.
The supreme court’s decision outlawed racial segregation in public schools around the country and a great number of white people all throughout the United States were enraged the decision. This was due to disturbing social discrimination between white and African-American people during this time period. White supremacist groups gathered in the South, such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Citizens Council. Both groups organized to resist the entire civil rights movement often resorting to violence towards African American people in the most gruesome of ways. A primary target for these supremacist groups was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People otherwise known as the NAACP. Over time the NAACP has filed many court cases regarding racial discrimination including one, in particular, the Brown case, the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
NAACP lawyers brought huge lawsuits to the supreme court on behalf of black school children and their families in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. The lawyers were seeking court’s orders to compel the school districts to let black students attend white public schools (McBride.)
The United States was in a national a struggle against segregated race. In the year 1950 white people obviously had a social advantage as opposed to African-American people who were oppressed. But a significant amount of the work goes unnoticed by African-American people in cotton fields for example back in the 50s. These people were of great value to the farming industry which was in the great value of this time period. African-Americans were often slaves and they were not even considered people, but rather property.
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African-Americans began to grow bolder and created ties to one another to finally create the Underground Railroad. It was formed to help slaves escape the South into free northern states and Canada. One of the most famous conductors of the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman. He leads these journeys to give people a chance to experience the freedom they deserve. The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses in the United States, certain families aided Tubman who made who made possible with her efforts to escape from the discrimination to free states and Canada.
“In the 12 years from her escape in 1849 to the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad became the most dominant force of abolitionism” (“Women in History”, 2012.)
Tubman was known to many throughout the country as the “General” because of her daring and infamous trips to the South to lead some 50-60 slaves to freedom. After the end of the Civil War slaves were legally free, but many slave owners in the South refused to obey these new laws and still treated the African-Americans as worse as they were they were treated before this law was in place.
Another huge leader in the Civil Right Movement was Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an active pastor in Montgomery, Alabama, who preached passive resistance. Dr. Martin Luther King jr established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was known as the SCLC. The SCLC becomes a major force in organizing the civil rights movement and bases its principles on nonviolence and civil disobedience, Dr.Martin Luther King Jr lead this organization as their president. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was known for how powerful he spoke. Dr. King once said “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” about the Civil rights movement. He intended on making sure everyone in the country knew we needed a change in our country, Dr. King wasn’t going to let this United States social crisis fade like other national problems tend to do.