Eyes on the Prize: the Key to the Kingdom (1974-1980) - Civil Rights Movement

Topics: Black people, Affirmative action, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 7 (2636 words) Published: November 29, 2010
Eyes on the Prize: The Key to the Kingdom (1974-1980)

When watching the video Eyes on the Prize, The Key to the Kingdom feels as though half way through it has a completely different segment. The first segment talks about Boston, Massachusetts and its struggle for quality education of blacks while the second segment talks about Atlanta, Georgia and its fight for black progress through economic equity. I find it coincidental that the first segment is from a Northern state where the blacks are trying to regain some civil rights and then followed that a Southern state where blacks are known mainly to have struggled for their civil rights. None the less, both segments talk about the struggle for African Americans’ equality within the United States of America through some of the major things that affect everyone: schooling, jobs, and government.

In the first segment about The Key to the Kingdom, it handles the time period beginning in 1954 until 1977. The most famous event that could have happened in 1954 was the Brown vs. Board of Education. This was a Supreme Court case that involved a little African American girl from Topeka, Kansas having to walk six blocks to take a bus to her Elementary school which was a mile away while there was a white Elementary school about seven blocks from her home. The outcome of this Supreme Court case declared that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students and denying black children equal educational opportunities unconstitutional. This decision overturned the Supreme Court case Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896 which permitted segregation stating that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” As a result, this case was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.

Ten years after the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling in 1954, the movement moved up north into Boston, Massachusetts. In 1965 a study showed that one out of four students were black, only one in two hundred teachers were black, and there was not one black principle. Parents of African American students began to organize several short term and long term protest against the school committee because of its lack in attention to the African American students. Parents organized one day school boycotts and freedom schools for a short term protest. However, they soon realized that that wasn’t going to be enough so they ten turned to bigger and stronger methods of getting their voices heard. They ran African Americans for candidates for the school committee; loosing, however, didn’t stop them. They then went to obtain a state law out-lawing racially imbalanced schools, however, the school committee refused to in force it. When that didn’t work, volunteers would move African American students to empty seats in white schools. They thought that moving children to where the school systems were putting all of its money and resources would ultimately give the black children a better education. Or the parents would have parent-run independent schooling. Juanita Wade, a Community School Teacher, states within the video, “Public education doesn’t give African American children the socialization, strong education or the acknowledgement of themselves as being African Americans. Therefore there was a community wide discussion of the build-up of institutions that did what the public schools and public educators could not provide for our children.” In the end, it was the fact that not even fifteen percent of the city were black, therefore, making them a minority and too small to influence elections or elected officials. It was also decided that the community could not afford busing all black children to white schools nor could they run an entire school system. Therefore closing that argument by stating the battle for quality education must be fought within public...

Links: the attorney for Alan Bakke, put what Alan did into an interesting metaphor, “When you bring in one person, you keep another one out.” Alan Bakke’s case became so popular that it went all the way up to the Supreme Court. This case was so popular that many people would camp out on the steps of the Supreme Court building just to gain access to one of the greatest Civil Rights Cases since Brown vs. Board of Education. Overall, the final verdict came to state that Allan Bakke was denied his fourteenth amendment right to equal protection of the laws. In addition the University of California at Davis violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And by order of the Supreme Court, Bakke was admitted into the institution. However, the underlining message given was that affirmative action was permissible but not mandatory. The courts had backed off from unequivocal support thus making it bad for minorities. In 1979, the opinion had changed on the issues of Civil Rights and the advancement towards equality for blacks in American society. As one African American woman put it, “we can’t have equal opportunity and excellence at the same time; if we were to have excellence at all that would mean the absence of black folk at every level of importance in society.”
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