Civil Rights in the 1960's

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Young People Do Matter
Have you ever sat down and wondered to yourself, what it would be like if schools, restrooms, restaurants, and even public transportation were still segregated today? The majority of people who were born after the 1970’s take for granted how lucky we are as a country and nation to have overcome slavery and the steps against racism we have battled are way through. Slavery was ended when Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and was later ratified in December of 1865. Though this law ordered the end to slavery it did very little if nothing to stop the racism that was given towards blacks or any other minority. Until the late 1950’s not many presidents or Congressman had tried to legislate civil rights laws. The Civil Rights struggle that heated up to its climax in the 1960’s was neither a simple nor wanted task by any means. Many Presidents tried taking on the civil rights movement starting with Harry S. Truman. Truman was not for racial equality among blacks and often said so, but he wanted fairness and equality before the law (Patterson 378-382). Once Truman got the ball rolling for the first time since Abraham Lincoln, Truman pushed for a Civil Rights bill and the movement quickly started to escalate and it became one of the main issues of American politics. The next man to take office was John F Kennedy; Kennedy acted as though he had plans to address civil rights issues and is known for saying “Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country” in his inaugural address( ). Kennedy’s plans were never met in his short time as president due to assignation in 1963.Kennedy dying meant Lyndon Johnson was the next president to take president and her went on to make the next big civil rights legislation when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was established. It took the support of millions and the lives of thousands for our country to realize that people should not be segregated because of their ethnicity or color of their skin. One of the first and largest groups of civil rights movement supporters was young people and in particular college students.

A college student in 1963 saw a very different daily landscape than a current college student sees today. Today kids grow up side by side with minority kids throughout their daily lives; back then they might have been the lucky few and grown up looking at blacks as equals, but more than likely they viewed them as inferiors, or even just plain animals. Then these young racists knew know better and went away to College and found themselves in one of the first places you could find support of the civil rights movement. There are many reasons to why the ball picked up speed so fast at universities. The first reason being the young people of the 60’s had not lived alongside slaves or indentured servants nor did they see the great depression or WW2 as had many of their parents and politicians of the times, so they had a different view on racism. The young people of the 60’s were viewed by the older generations specially those of the south, as being soft for not having to deal with the hardships they had to such as the great depression and the World Wars ( ). Instead of going to work before graduating high school like people in the1920’s and 1930’s people were graduating high school and even getting jobs. This caused for a more educated and affluent generation which usually runs along with having certain moral standings such as treating people of a different race equally to people of your own. With a generation bigger than ever before and more people going to college than ever before it caused for a huge explosion of self-freedom. There was many different ways students would show there want of freedom (Patterson 407-408).

A very common practice in the 1960’s was for blacks and fellow college students to have sit-in’s at all white diners or transportation places. These sit-ins consisted of a group or single...
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