Civil Rights Protests

When I first chose this as a research project, I thought it was a subject that I have been taught about in school and outside of school. This was something that has been instilled in me throughout me everyday life. I wanted to do research and figure out something that I had never heard or even experience. Well my wish was granted and I experience moments that I hope had an effect on everyone. Civil Rights had been something that African Americans and others have been fighting for long before the 20th century, but it would gain momentum and the national spotlight.
I am going to start by discussing what I feel was the turning point that gave African Americans a reason to stand up and fight for their rights as human beings. I believe that this came about after the Brown vs. Board of Education that ruled that segregated school was not a good thing and that it was unconstitutional to have students separated because schools were not equal.
After this victory on paper, there were still places that did not want to uphold the law of the land, so African Americans began to gather. The fight for rights started small with students from North Carolina A&T in the south going to sit a Woolworth counter knowing that they will not be served because they are African Americans. They also knew that there was a chance they would be assaulted and that their lives were in danger. White students began to stand with their fellow students and they too, were assaulted and had their lives in danger.
There would be massive protest through the south that were mainly local who did not gather much fame such as the Baton Rouge bus boycotts.
Protests were also being brewed within the African American churches. Protest such as those going on in Birmingham were organized by the bishops and pastors of churches such as the 16th Street Baptist Church  Protests such as the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery garnered more publicity in the 1960s. The March on Washington became an iconic march because it was the place and time that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a Dream Speech”. In Dr. King’s speech he mentioned, “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro.” This was his way of telling America to not discount or underestimate African Americans to fight for the rights that they deserve.
 The March on Washington was a protest that focused on several things that were unfair in America. Its fights were for, “Jobs and Freedom, which occurred fifty years ago this August 28, remains one of the most successful mobilizations ever created by the American Left. Organized by a coalition of trade unionists, civil rights activists, and feminists, most of them African American and nearly all of them socialists—the protest drew nearly a quarter-million people to the nation’s capital. Composed primarily of factory workers, domestic servants, public employees, and farm workers, it was the largest demonstration and, some argued, the largest gathering of union members in the history of the United States.”
“That massive turnout set the stage not only for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which President John F. Kennedy had proposed two months before, but also for the addition to that law of a Fair Employment Practices clause, which prohibited employers, unions, and government officials from discriminating against workers on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or sex. And, by linking those egalitarian objectives to a broader agenda of ending poverty and reforming the economy, the protest also forged a political agenda that would inspire liberals and leftists ranging from President Lyndon Johnson to the Black Power movement.”

In the Selma to Montgomery march, “Bloody Sunday” put Selma, Alabama on the map as a hot bed for civil rights. The march took place on March 7, 1965

Faith O'Connor

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