Civil Rights Movement

Topics: Black people, White people, African American Pages: 8 (2611 words) Published: January 15, 2006

1. Introduction
The Civil Rights Movement in the United States between 1954 and 1968, was one of the most important times in American history. With activities, protest marches and boycotts, organizations challenged segregation and discrimination. The Movement happened because not all Americans were being treated in the same way. In general white Americans were treated better than any other American people, especially African-American people. The Civil Rights Movement made the country a more fair and humane society for all. The term paper that you are about to read discussed some of the main events of the movement in chronological order, their importance, and who was involved in.

2. Early Civil Rights Struggles

2.1. Brown v. Board of Education
In the 1950's, school racial segregation was widely accepted all over America. In most Southern states the law allowed it. In 1952, the Supreme Court heard a number of school-segregation cases, including Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This case decided unanimously in 1954 that segregation was unconstitutional, overthrowing the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that had set the "separate but equal" precedent.

2.2. The Emmett Till Case
In August 1955 a case that drew the most national publicity was the murder of 14 year old Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago who was visiting relatives in Mississippi that summer. Although warned by his mother not to talk to whites, he ignored that warning, saying to a white woman "Bye, baby" as he left a local store. Several nights later Emmett was kidnapped by the woman's husband and his half-brother. They beat him to death, gouging out one of his eyes, and threw his body into the Tallahatchee River. Sure that it wasn't an accident an all-white jury found the two "not guilty". Disappointed with the judgment and hoping her child didn't die in vain, Emmett's mother, Mamie, insisted on an open-casket funeral to show the world what they did to Emmett.

2.3. Montgomery bus boycott
On more incident that captured the public eye unfolded in Montgomery, Alabama. On December 1955, Rosa Parks a 43-year-old-African-American seamstress left work and boarded a bus for home. As the bus became filled, the bus driver ordered Parks to give up her seat to a white passenger. At that time Montgomery's buses were segregated, with the seats in the front reserved for "whites only." Colored people had to sit at the back of the bus. But if the bus was full and all the "whites only" seats were filled, black people were expected to stand up and to give up their seats – in the racist South it would never be tolerated a black person sitting while a white person stood! But Rosa P. remain seated. After that she was immediately arrested. Deciding to boycott the buses, the African American community formed a new organization called the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was the first MIA leader. The boycott was more successful than anyone hoped. After 381 days the local ordinance desegregated the public buses. Rosa Parks and the boycotters defeated the racist system, and she became known as "the mother of the civil rights movement." The Montgomery bus boycott was important because it demonstrated that the black community, through unity and determination, could make their voices heard and effect change. Boycotting and other forms of resistance spread rapidly to communities throughout the South.

3. School Integration

3.1. Desegregation at Little Rock
On September 1957, in Little Rock, Arkansas, the desegregation of schools was a big problem. White protesters were against the racial uniting because they didn't think it was right. During this time Little Rock wanted to break down the barriers of desegregation and be like most schools. The Little Rock Nine, as they later came to be called, were the first nine black teenagers to attend all-white Central High School....
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