Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Civil Rights Movement

Author’s Note: I decided to do my essay on the Civil Rights Movement because it interested be, but I did not know much about it.  In my paper, I tried to put in a fictional narrative.  Throughout my paper, I was working on a little bit of vocabulary and transitions.  
Everywhere you go, you are discriminated by white people because of your race.  You want to fight to be as equal as whites, so you participate in the marches, involve yourself in the boycotts and sit-ins, and strive to desegregate public grounds.  Repeatedly, other non-whites like yourself were beaten, arrested, and sometimes killed trying to get equal rights.  This was what it was like for non-white people between the years 1955 and 1968 - the Civil Rights Movement.  It was when non-white people, especially African Americans, rallied for equal rights.  

Many great leaders such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. came together, organized, and lead these rallies.  The reason behind the Civil Right Movement rallies were because people of non-whites were discriminated and not treated fairly, especially African Americans.  In all public grounds such as bathrooms, water fountains, and restaurants they would have a signs that said “white only” or “colored only.”  Buses also had rules.  If a white person wanted to sit down at a seat that was taken by someone non-white, the non-white person would have to give up their seat and move.  Non-whites also did not have fair housing or equal rights.  If anything was not followed there could have been harsh punishment.  
One of the most important civil rights rallies was the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  The Montgomery Bus Boycott was took place between 1955 and 1956.  It began when Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, declined to move from her seat on the bus for a white citizen.  She was arrested, and the news spread about the incident.  Fifty African-Americans organized the bus boycott[1] that protested for a more humane[2] bus system.  In Montgomery, there were about 50,000 African Americans, which most of them joined the bus boycott.  After 381 days, the segregation on buses was overruled.
After the bus boycotts, the sit-ins began in the 1960s.  The first sit-in began during the Civil Rights Movement.  A sit-in is when someone would simply sit down in segregated places, or a place that they thought should protest in.  The sit-in started when four students sat at a segregated[3] lunch counter to protest against a policy that excluded African-Americans from being served.  The protesters would dress professionally and would sit quietly.  When protesters sat, they left a space on both sides of them to let any white supporter to sit too. That one sit-in encouraged many others throughout the United States.  Protesters started to sit-in places other than lunch counters.  Sit-ins took place at parks, libraries, theaters, and other public places.                 
Freedom Riders took place right after the sit-ins.  The Freedom Riders were Civil Rights protesters, both African-American and white, that took trips on interstate buses into southern states that were segregated.  They went to states and tried to desegregate buses, trains, water fountains, and restrooms.  Protesters soon found out it was a very dangerous mission to do.  Fights had broken out, a bomb was set in one of the buses, and protesters had gotten brutally injured.  Yet, the Freedom Riders kept on going.  Over a period of time, over 300 protesters were arrested and imprisoned in extremely harsh conditions.   In the end, due to sympathy from the public, President J.F. Kennedy decided on a new desegregation law.  All citizens were allowed to sit anywhere on buses, and signs that said “white” and “colored” were taken down.  In addition, desegregation in restrooms, water fountains, waiting rooms, and lunch counters was put in place.  It did not matter what race someone was, he/she would be treated as an equal.
In 1963, there was the March on Washington.  Although the Freedom Ride gave a lot of equality to the non-whites, they still had things that they were not allowed to do. For instance, they could not vote, and they could not have good housing.  According to the Committee on the Appeal to Human Rights (COAHR) the March on Washington had six certified goals: “meaningful civil right laws, massive federal works program, full and fair employment, decent housing, right to vote, and adequate integrated education.”  The March on Washington turned out to be a grand achievement.  Over 200,000 people gathered around the Lincoln Memorial and heard Martin Luther King Jr. say his famous “I have a dream” speech.

Over the thirteen years of Civil Rights debate, there were many more marches, Freedom Rides, sit-ins, and boycotts than what was mentioned previously, but these were some important civil rights actions.  There were many life-changing achievements and leaders who lived between 1955 and 1968 who made this movement possible.  Today, everyone is more equal, thanks to the Civil Rights Movement.

1960, the end of, and border state. "African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_%281955%E2%80%931968%29>.
Only, Invitation. "Atlanta Student Movement - Schedule 50th Anniversary - An Appeal for Human Rights - Committee on the Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR)." Atlanta Student Movement - Schedule 50th Anniversary - An Appeal for Human Rights - Committee on the Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR). Committee on Appeal of Human Rights, n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2011. <http://www.atlantastudentmoveme

[1] To refuse (In their case, to refuse to move from their seats for a white passenger)
[2] Kind
[3] To keep apart, separate

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