Compare Dr. King's Approach to Achieving Civil Rights for African Americans With the Black Power Movement of the Late 1960s
By 1966, the civil rights movement had been gaining momentum for more than a decade, as thousands of African Americans embraced a strategy of nonviolent protest against racial segregation and demanded equal rights under the law. But for an increasing number of African Americans, particularly young black men and women, that strategy did not go far enough. Protesting segregation, they believed, failed to adequately address the poverty and powerlessness that generations of systemic discrimination and racism had imposed on so many black Americans.
When most Americans think of the Civil Rights Movement, they have in mind a span of time beginning with the 1954 Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed segregated education, or the Montgomery Bus Boycott and culminated in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The movement encompassed both ad hoc local groups and established organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Despite the fact that they were not always united around strategy and tactics and drew members from different classes and backgrounds, the movement nevertheless cohered around the aim of eliminating the system of Jim Crow segregation and the reform of some of the worst aspects of racism in American institutions and life. Much of our memory of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s is embodied in dramatic photographs, newsreels, and recorded speeches, which America encountered in daily papers and the nightly news. As the movement rolled across the nation, Americans absorbed images of hopeful, disciplined, and dedicated young people shaping their destinies. They were met with hostility, federal ambivalence and indifference, as well as mob and police violence. African Americans fought back with direct action protests and keen political organizing, such as voter registration drives and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The crowning achievements were the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The images are alternately angering and inspiring, powerful, iconic even. However, by themselves they cannot tell the history of the Civil Rights Movement. They need to be contextualized. The drama of the mid-twentieth century emerged on a foundation of earlier struggles. Two are particularly notable: the NAACP’s campaign against lynching, and the NAACP’s legal campaign against segregated education, which culminated in the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown decision.
The African-Americans were at the center of the civil rights movements in the US. Their struggle for their rights culminated into the legislation that helped them gain social, economic, and political equality in the American society. The fight for political rights was one of the most critical platforms for the mass movement in the 1950s and 1960s (D’Angelo 533). In the 1870s, the American constitutional amendments granted the right to vote to all Americans irrespective of gender, color, and race. This amendment did not ensure that minority groups could vote since many states especially in the south, adopted different techniques to block the Black Americans from exercising their political and constitutional rights. The freedom to vote for all Americans became central in the civil rights movements, and one of its successes was the legislation that culminated in the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It prohibited discrimination along race, color, and language lines. The Act and its subsequent amendments also provide other jurisdictions that protect voting and political rights of minority groups in the United States (D’Angelo 537). The major impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was a product of the modern civil right movement, is the dismantling of the obstacles that Black Americans encountered in exercising their constitutional right for voting. Its first achievement was that Black Americans enjoyed the possibility to be registered as voters in the country. Secondly, the Black Americans participated freely in elections. The number of registered Black American voters has increased over the years. Furthermore, the Voting Rights Act encouraged political participation of Black Americans. The number of the Black candidates who contest for political seats in the country has significantly increased over the years. The number of African American representatives in cities and towns across the country has also grown.
To sum up, on June 19, 1963, the president sent a comprehensive civil rights bill to Congress. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28 roused public support for the pending bill. After the president’s assassination on November 22, the fate of Kennedy’s bill was in the hands of his vice president and successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, and the United States Congress.
D’Angelo, Raymond N. The American Civil Rights Movement: Readings & Interpretations. Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2001. Print.
Mishel, Lawrence, Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, and Heidi Shierholz. The State of Working America. 12th Edition. Ithaca, New York: An Economic Policy Institute book, 2012. Print.
Rothstein, Richard. “For Public Schools, Segregation Then, Segregation Since”. Economic Policy institute, 2013. Web.
Wright, Gavin. “The Stunning Economic Impact of the Civil Rights Movement”. Bloomberg, 2013. Web.