Trace the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 Essay

This essay has a total of 1138 words and 5 pages.


Trace the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968





Trace the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968.
It was a hard time, and for many black persons, it seemed as if all broken promises of
Reconstruction were finally, ironically epitomized in the actions of the Supreme Court of
the United States. Ever since the 1870’s, the Court had been eviscerating the
congressional legislation and constitutional amendments that had been established at the
height of Reconstruction to protect some of the basic citizenship rights of black people.

1954 was a new time and more than tears and words were needed. Just about everyone that
was black and alive at the time realized that the long, hard struggles, led by the NAACP,
had forced the Supreme Court to take a major stand on the side of justice in the Brown v.
Board of Education of Topeka decision. “We conclude, unanimously, that in the field
of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.
Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” A salvation of freedom was
in the making, but the making proved difficult indeed. The next decade brought racial war
to the South. The eleven years between the Brown decision in 1954 and the Voting Rights
Act of 1965 appeared to be a prolonged series of bloody conflicts and irrational white
pig-headedness, with fiery protestations that the white south would never cave in.

In December 1955, a mass movement that would change the system of segregation is sparked
by Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks, tired after a long day’s work and
tired of a lifetime of discrimination, was resting in her seat on the way home when
several white men loaded on the bus, more than the existing white section could hold. The
bus driver then yelled to the blacks, “Niggers, move back.” Rosa Parks refused
to budge. The bus driver stopped the bus and had her arrested. Her case prompts JoAnn
Robinson, and the Woman’s Political Council, along with the local black leadership
to call for a boycott of Montgomery’s segregated bus system. Martin Luther King Jr.
becomes leader of the 12- month boycott. In November of 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court
rules the Montgomery’s segregated bus system is unconstitutional.

Although the Brown ruling of 1954 was a unanimous decision, the American public’s
reactions to it varied greatly. In the North, where segregated schooling was not a matter
of public policy, blacks viewed the decision as a victory for equality. Most whites in
Northern states felt that the decision had little meaning for them. In the South,
however, many whites viewed the Court’s decision as an intrusion of the federal
government into their way of life. Southerner’s pointed out that the North, too,
was segregated. Black people in the South were profoundly affected by the court decision.
Many felt for the first time that the government might be on their side, and that it
might now be possible to throw off years of oppression. But a year passed before the
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