African American Civil Rights Movement

Topics: African American, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson Pages: 11 (2825 words) Published: June 14, 2015

African-American Civil Rights Movement
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An exploration of the Civil Rights Movement, as perceived by Fannie Lou Hammer, Lyndon B. Johnson, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

African-American Civil Rights Movement
In the early 1960s, leaders of the African-American political movement traveled to areas of high oppression. Their intent was to secure equal opportunities for African-Americans. These political leaders were called “African-American civil rights activists.” There are many influential civil rights activists whose legacies have withstood time and have contributed to the United States of America as it is today. Ultimately, it took an entire nation to bring segregation to an end; credit could not be associated with just one– or even a handful of people. In particular, the works of Fannie Lou Hammer, Lyndon B. Johnson, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. vastly contributed to African-American's current rights; including but not limited to the right to vote, the right to not be discriminated against in public places, in public vehicles, and in employment, and ability to attend the same schools as any other human. Fannie Lou Hammer

An African-American woman who became a notable influence on the African-American civil rights movement was Fannie Lou Hammer. “Before civil rights activists arrived in Ruleville [in 1962] to start a voter registration drive, Hammer recalled, “I didn't know that a Negro could register to vote.”” (Roark, 2002). After being poverty-stricken, exploited and oppressed for forty-five years, Hammer was under the impression that blacks were free but did not possess the same rights as Caucasian Americans, such as suffrage. This was a viewpoint that was shared by many African-Americans like Hammer. As a matter of fact, in 1962 “blacks accounted for more than 60 percent of Sunflower County [Mississippi's] population but only 1.2 percent of registered voters.” (Roark, 2002). The distinctive presence of hostiles, heavily armed white men surrounding courthouses, was enough to intimidate any African-American from attempting to register. With encouragement from civil rights activists, Hammer was one of the few women courageous enough to brave the hostiles and apply for her rights to suffrage. In the 1960s, voting wasn't as simple as completing registration paperwork. In a concealed attempt to deny African-American suffrage, registrars would ask African-American applicants a series of obscure questions about the Constitution. Hammer initially “failed the test but resolved to try again. When the plantation owner ordered Hammer to withdraw her registration application or get off his land, she left his plantation. Ten days later, bullets flew into the home of friends who had taken her in. Refusing to be intimidated, she registered to vote on her third attempt, attended a civil rights leadership training conference, and began to mobilize others to vote.” (Roark, 2002) Hammer's fearlessness came at a price, she lost her job and home all because she registered to vote. However, these consequences only reconfirmed Hammer's determination to help other African-American's exercise their right to vote. Hammer's legacy inspired civil rights activists all over America to take a more prominent stance in the black freedom struggle. Lyndon B. Johnson

“In the 1960 campaign, Lyndon B. Johnson was elected Vice President as John F. Kennedy's running mate. On November 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated, Johnson was sworn in as the 36th United States President, with a vision to build “A Great Society” for the American people.” (White House). Lyndon B. Johnson's “Great Society” promised an abundance of liberties for all. He claimed that his new plan would reverse poverty and end racial injustice. Lyndon B. Johnson believed that the government should use its power to “solve social and economic problems, and injustice, and promote the welfare...

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Roark, J. (2012). Reform, Rebellion and Reaction 1960-1974. In The American promise: A History of the United States (5th ed., Vol. 2, pp. 931-968). Boston, Massachusetts: Bedford/St. Martins.
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