HIS204: American History Since 1865
July 29, 2012
African-Americans Fighting for Equality
African-Americans have been fighting for equality and freedom every since they were taken from Africa as slaves. They were stolen from their families and separated only to be servants to others as they were belittled, beaten, put down and treated as nothing. Many things have changed over the centuries, but African-Americans still fight everyday for different types of acknowledgements and equality. They have fought hard over the centuries to end segregation, discrimination, and isolation to attain equality and civil rights. Through the Civil Rights Movement African Americans played important roles American history with courage, strength, and struggling to live equal in America. We have learned about important people and events throughout history, but the fight against discrimination, segregation and isolation have not always been focused on. This paper will highlight how some of the well known and unknown people contributed towards the Civil Rights Movement, in which continues to be fought in present time. “Racial segregation was a system derived from the efforts of white Americans to keep African Americans in a subordinate status by denying them equal access to public facilities and ensuring that blacks lived apart from whites” (Lawson, 2009). Slaves lived in quarters far away from the master houses on the plantations, the only ones that lived in the house were the special chosen. “By the time the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) that African Americans were not U.S. citizens, northern whites had excluded blacks from seats on public transportation and barred their entry, except as servants, from most hotels and restaurants. When allowed into auditoriums and theaters, blacks occupied separate sections; they also attended segregated schools. Most churches, too, were segregated.” (Lawson, 2009). Rosa Parks was famous for her courage to stand for her right to sit where ever she wanted on a bus, but she was not the first or only one to make this choice. There was a fifteen year old girl that was arrested nine months earlier, but she was not attributed to the act because of her status of being a foul mouth tomboy and getting pregnant right after the incident (Young, 2000). Also when Rosa Parks was approached by the bus driver to move there were other African- American people sitting next to her, but because she spoke up first history gives her credit and was noticed by Dr. Martin Luther King. It needs to be known that many people were courageous in their act to fight for equal rights. Basically Parks was at the right place at the right time, “Parks arrest sparked a chain reaction that started the bus boycott that launched the civil rights movement that transformed the apartheid of America's southern states from a local idiosyncrasy to an international scandal. It was her individual courage that triggered the collective display of defiance that turned a previously unknown 26-year-old preacher, Martin Luther King, into a household name” (Younge, 2000). Dr. Martin Luther King name goes down in history as the most well known activists through the years. He was known as a non violent activist, in which he adapted the philosophy from Gandhi, which was respected not only by the black race but also by all other races. King’s speech “I Have a Dream” became what African-American’s live by for centuries to come. Also there was the, “We Shall Overcome” speech on August 23, 1963. King’s words at the capital that day were a defining moment of the Civil Rights movement” (Bowles, 2011). King fought for civil rights until the day he was killed.
There was a protest at Fisk University in Nashville in which three students was disgusted at the fact blacks could not sit at the lunch counters to eat. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash and Bernard Lafayette protested with others in...