The American Civil Rights Movement (CRM) of the 1960s was a demonstration against the oppression African Americans and other people of color have faced historically. After the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln gave Americans of color hope for freedom. However, various legislations, including the Jim Crow laws, ensured no freedom for them even with the abolition of slavery. During the start of the movement, discrimination and violence against blacks and other people of color remained common in most states, with the South being more affected. Although the CRM had a huge impact on the nation’s state of justice and liberty, today, racial injustice is still rampant in the US. Nonetheless, a lot can be learned from the CRM of the 1960s in today’s fight for freedom, justice, equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
How the CRM of the 1960s Changed the Nation
The first achievement of the CRM of the 1960s came in 1955 when the federal court abolished the Jim Crow laws of racial segregation. The abolishment came after a social protest on a Montgomery bus when an African American woman Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat to a white person. Even decades after this event, there is still much to learn from Rosa Parks’s courage and career as an activist (Richard, 2020). The freedom can be attributed to the nature of protests done that decade which was mostly peaceful and just. The 1960s CRM was always accompanied by courage because the police and white citizens opposed them. However, the ability of a person to stand up for their rights, as Martin Luther King said in his speech, was only a beginning. The current Black Lives Matter Movement is not faced with direct opposition from the rest of the population and the security organs.
The CRM of the 1950s and 60s brought an important breakthrough in ending racial injustice and ensuring freedom for African Americans. Indeed, scholars argue that the freedom gained for the minority groups in this period is only second to that achieved during the reconstruction period after the Emancipation. At its peak in 1965, the CRM leaders shifted their focus from justice and liberty to economic and social factors, which greatly influenced the nation. During these movements, African Americans who previously were not granted the right to vote or deliberately decided to register as voters were encouraged to do so, greatly influencing the political landscape. Racial segregation, the act of dividing the institutions frequented by people of different races, is rare today, thanks to the 1960s movements.
The 1960s to 1970s movements by the black community were mainly catalyzed by police brutality, economic oppression, and social injustice directed at the blacks by whites. The CRM has produced significant results in the voting and segregation departments, but the issue of police brutality has persisted (Nummi et al., 2019). Students can attend any educational institution they wish to, thanks to the 1952 Brown v. Board of education ruling that made segregation in schools illegal. A person can visit any hotel in the city or motel on a highway, as Martin Luther King prophesied in his 1963 speech. Whenever people of any social group feel oppressed, they are likely to protest as they have a set precedent of what may happen. More importantly, the movements fostered a brotherly kind of love between blacks and whites in all states, including in the states of Mississippi, one of the more segregated states before CRM.
Effects of the Civil Rights Acts have on Minority Groups
In its 58 years since being passed into law, the Civil Rights Act has benefited minority groups across the continent. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids federal programs from discriminating based on race, gender, nationality, or any other division (Cole, 2019). The act has had a huge effect on the lives of minority groups by ensuring there is no discrimination, implementing orders to protect them, approving regulations, and enforcing the rules. Intentional discrimination was popular before the act banned it, thus minimizing oppression and injustice to minority groups across the continent. The act enforces the Brown v. Board of education and ensures no segregation in public and private schools. A guide on monitoring, investigating, and ensuring enforcement of the rule against segregation of persons in schools is well set, ensuring the minorities across the continent have access to quality education.
The act cited as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 benefits the minority groups in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Carrabin Island nations. Title I of the act grants voting rights to all people, including minority groups. Thus, even immigrants who migrated into the United States and were granted citizenship are allowed to vote. Title two and three of the act benefits both the minority citizens of the US and the non-citizens of the neighboring countries to frequent any public facilities in the country by forbidding discrimination and desegregating such facilities. Title four desegregates education, with the civil rights commission established in title five. Equality in federal programs and employment are addressed in titles six and seven. These legislations combined make the lives of the minority citizens in the North American continent better.
How the Strategies of CRM Would be Applicable Today
The tactics used during the 1960s civil rights movement included peaceful demonstrations, challenging various demonstrations in courts, speeches, and forceful but respectful requests for their rights. These tactics proved useful as by the mid-1960s, segregation, and discrimination against minority groups were on a decline. These strategies were not entirely successful as police brutality against African Americans persisted and is still common today. The strategies used can still be imitated today and bring a positive outcome to solve the racial and ethical conflicts faced today. The inspiration of fighting injustice peacefully without leading to conflict, a strategy advocated by Martin Luther King, is still a powerful negotiation tool. The tactics can also be used effectually to fight for other contemporary issues like gender equality and LGBTQ rights.
How the Ideas from 1960s CRM have Relevance Today
Negotiations to wither injustice in the 1960s were mostly traditional non-violent protests on the streets where speeches and chanting to attract the attention of the people and policymakers were common. Although today Black Lives Matter CRM negotiations employ modern means of protest like social media, they copy a lot from the movement of the 1960s. Ideas from the CRM of the 1960s have relevance today, and principles of justice and equality formulated in this era are applied in today’s CRM of Black Lives Matter. Face-to-face deliberations and singing in the streets are still popular today, and it is not uncommon to hear the popular “We shall overcome hymn” in that era being sung today.
Impacts of CRM on American Diversity Today
The diversity of America today is different from what had been predicted. The number of white people in the nation has been declining, with nearly four of every ten Americans identifying themselves as members of an ethnic group that is not white (Frey,2020). Today America can be considered a “biracial society,” with people of different ethnic and social groups able to live in the society as one. The presidency of Barack Obama in 2008 as an African American can be attributed to CRM and is a fulfillment of Martin Luther Kings’ dream of people not being judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. People of color from other nations are not also afraid to migrate into the US thus influencing the diversity of the population.
American history is long, and its success cannot be attributed to one specific event or era. However, the 1960s revolution played a key role insofar as freedom, justice, equality, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are concerned. The CRM changed the nation by ending racial injustice, desegregating American schools and public institutions, and limiting police brutality. The Civil Rights Act, a fruit of CRM, gave the people of the US and the entire North America various freedoms. The tactics used by the CRM, especially peaceful demonstrations, can still be imitated today to great effect. The CRM movement ideologies can be used today, especially by the Black Lives Matter Movement, as the two are closely related. Today, most Americans live as brothers and sisters regardless of their skin color or racial class.
Act, C. R. (1964). Civil rights act of 1964. Title VII, Equal Employment Opportunities.
Cole, J. P. (2019). Civil Rights at School: Agency Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. CRS Report R45665, Version 5. Congressional Research Service.
Frey, W. (2020). The nation is diversifying even faster than predicted, according to new census data [Review of the nation is diversifying even faster than predicted, according to new census data]. In Brookings. Brookings Metro.
Nummi, J., Jennings, C., & Feagin, J. (2019). #BlackLivesMatter: Innovative Black Resistance. Sociological Forum, 34(s1).
Richard, K. J. (2020). Beyond the Bus Boycott: The Impact of Rosa Parks on the Civil Rights Movement. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program.