In addressing two of the more significant human rights struggles of the 20th century, the Holocaust in the 1940’s and the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, one finds many similarities between the struggles of both oppressed peoples. In both societies, laws inhibited and prohibited many actions and freedoms of Jewish and African Americans, respectively. The proactive actions of individuals in the American civil rights movement succeeded in changing laws because of their willingness to disobey unjust laws. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for prominent individuals during the reign of the Nuremberg laws and Nazi anti-Semitism. With the success it met with it’s application in the American civil rights Movement, civil disobedience could have shifted the outcome of the holocaust.
The civil rights movement can cite its beginnings back before the 20th century. However, the major historical event that sparked the chain reaction in American society was the Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown v.s. Board of Education. In this case, the court’s decision overturned the previous ruling of Plessy v.s. Fergusen that allowed segregation in schools. Once the Supreme Court decided that it was unconstitutional to allow segregation in public schools, the African American demographic began to push for further change in laws that allowed discriminatory acts.
A focal point of the civil rights movement was the implementation of civil disobedience and non-violent protest methods. A method that has been around since biblical times, civil disobedience has been used throughout the centuries as a way to protest unjust laws. The head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and de facto leader of the entire civil rights moment was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A man deeply rooted in his Christian faith, Dr. King was a frequent advocate for non-violent and civilly disobedient protests. This often included sit-ins in known places of legal segregation, such...
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