The Civil Rights Movement Essay

3343 words - 14 pages

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement took place. Black citizens of America were all part of a large, organized struggle for justice and equality. The burden of racism became too much to bear and black Americans, tired of waiting for change, joined forces to protest. It is often acknowledged that the nation that was built on the principles of liberty and democracy was the nation that denied certain people their right to those freedoms merely because of the color of their skin. Sadly, many innocent lives were robbed by cruel injustices of society during the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement in America can provoke rage and shame, but it can also evoke enormous ...view middle of the document...

Following the Civil War, the tumultuous era of Reconstruction took place in America. The United States became united once again after the North and the South were able to surmount severe issues that had separated them. One of the most difficult issues the North and the South had faced was the issue of the rights of former slaves. Slaves were now liberated and considered to be United States citizens after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863. Three amendments to the United States Constitution were passed during the Reconstruction era to protect the newfound rights of African-Americans in America. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment promised the rights of citizenship to every person or naturalized born in the United States. The fifteenth amendment granted suffrage to African-American men. To endow the government more power to protect the rights of African-Americans, the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed by Congress. This legislation was expected to make certain that all African-Americans, including former slaves, would have equal access to public facilities. Congress claimed that this new legislation, along with the Civil War amendments, would be sufficient to secure the rights of African-Americans. These claims, however, proved to be invalid.
Among the most major rights of American citizens is the right to a just trial. Other than slavery, denial of that right is the most upsetting injustice that black Americans have endured. Lynching is the execution of an individual who is accused of a crime without a fair trial. Unfortunately, black men frequently became subjected to this form of injustice, even if they were blameless of any misconduct. Victims of these brutalities were kidnapped by mobs, tormented and viciously murdered. Though hard to understand, huge crowds were known to congregate and watch lynchings in a show of support. Records specify that “3,386 African-Americans were victims of lynching from 1882 to 1930 but the actual number of victims is much higher since lynchings were conducted for many years” (Coddon 16).
Following the closing of the nineteenth-century, it was apparent that blacks in America were considered to be second-class citizens. The Supreme Court determined that the Civil Rights Act was unconstitutional; this decision gave authorized security to Jim Crow. Jim Crow referred to the laws that supported unjust segregation and discrimination across America. The Supreme Court affirmed that as long as blacks have “equal” facilities, laws separating the races were completely legal. This affirmation of beliefs became known as the “separate but equal” principle. “Separate but equal” would be a prevailing law over America regarding race relations from the late 1800s to the late 1960s. Across the country, blacks were constantly reminded that they were second-class citizens. Signs that read “Whites Only” or “Colored” hung dauntingly over drinking fountains, doors to...

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