The Civil Rights Movement in the United Stated of America

Subject: History
Pages: 4
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Bayard Rustin was one of the dissenters among African-Americans who fought roughly for the civil rights of African-Americans in the twentieth century. It is his book called ‘Down The Line: The Collected Writings Of Bayard Rustin’ that makes people understand that there were other leaders lesser-known than Martin Luther King, for example, yet very powerfully natured. There were thousands of black men willing to change something via writing and public speeches; they desperately dragged people to freedom and democracy, though we do not know all the heroes, unfortunately.

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The Meaning of Birmingham

Regarding ‘The Meaning of Birmingham’ by Bayard Rustin it has to be said that this movement was initially interpreted by Rustin as inevitably winning. He used to claim: ‘it is in the interest of the whites to satisfy the demands of the movement immediately, for those demands will ultimately be satisfied regardless’ (p.110) As such, it is important to outline the actual basis of the movement that has a great impact on the Civil Rights Movements and the African-American society in general. Rustin considered less violent methods of conveying the ideas and fulfilling the actions, while Martin Luther King was a supporter of the latter. Birmingham was meant to be a new stage in the history of civil rights movements. It was supposed to present less-violent and peaceful methods of interacting f blacks and whites. Moreover, such a strategy was sentenced to be successful as Rustin thought because nothing is more effective than kindness.

Mostly, the Birmingham campaign was organized by The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) – a great organization that served as a part of a big system of civil rights movements. One of the most Prominent participants was SCLC organizer Wyatt Tee Walker who began project C (during the Birmingham protest) and organized training of the college and elementary students to take part in marches and demonstrations which resulted in multiple arrests and hence intensification of media’s attention.

Negroes and the 1968 Elections

Another document that makes readers find out about the actual history of America is called “Negroes and the 1968 Elections”. It is a writing that reveals the real intentions of those days’ authorities in terms of promoting black people’s rights. In 1968 the elections were to be held. It is important to note that there was a Southern Strategy, the so-called plan that presupposed using the African-American racist issues for the sake of presidential elections campaign by the Republican Party. So, there were thousands of African-Americans struggling to get their lives right and achieve equal rights with South whites. Although, some leaders are worth outlining, among those is Horace Julian Bond – (born January 14, 1940). He used to be the only major-party candidate during the Presidential elections of 1968, meaning, he was the first African American to become a Vice President of the United States after the elections. He is an American social activist who contributed to the history of African Americans greatly. Moreover, he was a politician and American Civil Rights Movement leader. During his studentship at Morehouse College in Atlanta, he was one of the participants in the foundation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Moreover, this is a historical figure that is not only connected to the elections of 1968 in the United States of America, yet he was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Also, the work of a Democratic member in the Georgia House was served within ten years. The stated ten years did not pass by unnoticed and Bond managed to organize the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, which is considered to be one of his major life achievements along with taking an important governmental position. So, the times of Presidential elections of 1968 did not flow easily, lots of African Americans were involved in the run of candidates. And though before the civil war the major party of the South was the Democrats, the 1960s made a great twist in history and the Republicans took over. What was a polarization between the Negros and Whites during the elections of 1968; is probably one of the most significant turnovers within the entire African-American history.

Jesse Jackson

Another Civil Rights activist – Jesse Jackson – was one of those who worked hard to make the lives of blacks in the US easier and more equal. He used to work with Martin Luther King, Jr. to provide equal jobs for the black population of America, which is a huge campaign carried out by him as per contribution to the African American civil rights history.

Jackson’s active civil rights life started when he transferred to the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro and took part in ‘sit-ins’ to support protests of blacks during those times. The sit-ins were the meetings of black people who gathered in the restaurants or cafes where whites were only permitted for arguing the right to eat there, for example.

Though Jesse Jackson is one of those lesser-known historical figures, his life was full of exciting events. As such, in 1965 he met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was made a leader of Chicago branch of Operation Breadbasket during the attempt to register black voters. Jackson’s work in Operation Breadbasket was marvelous because he was doing everything necessary to provide blacks with more job opportunities by boycotting business that discriminated blacks. In a word he was very successful being a leader of that program, because the major goal of the campaign was forcing the businessmen to hire black employees.

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Moreover, in 1977 Jackson got interested in civil rights movements around the world. He was the one to get involved in many civil right movements around the planet, namely in Lebanon, Egypt, and Israel. Such work was a great experience when it came to the Mid-East peace process due to his friendship with Syrian leader Assad.


The Civil Rights Movement in the United Stated of America was significant for it brought hundreds of prominent leaders to the American historical arena. Many are well-known today, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. However, there were less famous leaders who are worth of attention although not very publicized today. Among such people is Bayard Rustin, the gay civil rights activist. His work ‘Down The Line : The Collected Writings Of Bayard Rustin’ is the one that shakes readers’ understanding and awareness of the civil right movement in the United States of America in the twentieth century. Therefore, the writing is itself remarkable for throwing the light on the historical events of our diverse country.


Rustin, Bayard. 1971. “The Meaning of Birmingham”. in Down the Line: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.

Rustin, Bayard. 1971. “The Influence of the Right and Left in the Civil Rights Movement”, in Down the Line: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.

Rustin, Bayard. 1971. “Negroes and the 1968 Election”, in Down the Line: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.