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Analysis of the Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement and The Nation

By the early 1970s, the fascination with extreme forms of black nationalism was gradually waning. The influence of adventurist slogans and tactics was falling, the audience of left-wing extremist leaders was shrinking, mass support for left-wing radical, nationalist organizations was decreasing. A more moderate understanding of the place of the movement in the general struggle of democratic forces and realistic assessment of the problems facing Black Americans and ways to solve them have prevailed (Bloom, 2019). On the one hand, having achieved significant concessions compared to the past, the movement participants felt their strength. During the struggle, they grew a sense of pride for their people, and their ethnic identity was strengthened. On the other hand, the government’s limited nature of these concessions, in comparison with the needs of people, generated disappointment.

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The ongoing process of the scientific and technological revolution in the 70s – 90s further aggravated the situation of African Americans in the United States. Unemployment was growing in their ranks, and they were deprived of all possible forms of social assistance, which caused a protest against the status quo. In the 1960s, African Americans achieved specific achievements in civil rights, but the latter almost did not touch the socio-economic sphere (Riches, 2017). Some general improvement in the workers’ living standards was due not only to technical changes but also to their persistent struggle for their rights. In addition, some modest accomplishments of African Americans in some areas of public life were overlapped by a significant deterioration in the positions of the majority of them in other spheres. Thus, it can be noted that the civil rights movement has certainly influenced the nation. However, these changes were only the beginning of a much larger transformation of American society.

Effect of the Civil Rights Acts

Together with racial minorities, young people opposed the established social system and the policies of Western governments. The students protested the authoritarian regulation of their lives, against government policy, which was formed under the influence of bureaucracy and big business tycoons, not social movements. The Vietnam War caused the most significant outrage, America was shocked by the mass demonstrations of young people who did not want to fight in a distant country for the sake of impossible goals (Bloom, 2019). The solidarity movement with American students covered France, Germany, West Berlin, and other Western countries. Young people opposed the values of the consumer society, against the bureaucratic state, which was hiding behind a democratic facade in the USA.

The most potent students’ movements took place in Paris; these events caused a socio-political crisis in the country and became an example for the new left to follow in all Western countries. In the 1960s, the number of students in France increased dramatically; the overproduction of specialists led to a surge in youth unemployment and a deterioration in the living conditions of students (Riches, 2017). Authoritarian administrative rules reigned on university campuses. In early May 1968, one of the student demonstrations was violently dispersed by the police; the public was outraged, teachers went on strike (Riches, 2017). The strike was joined by the most powerful trade unions, who advocated the democratization of universities and all life in France. Similar cases have happened in almost all countries, indicating the difficulties of civil rights around the world in the twentieth century.

Tactics and Strategies

Montgomery’s experience has clearly demonstrated that nonviolent action is impossible without absolute faith in the power and efficacy of love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. The enduring value of this method lies in the fact that it removes the opposition of goals and means according to ethical criteria. A nonviolent action awakens a new sense of self-worth, a new moral and spiritual strength in its participant (Turk, 2018). It seeks to correct human relationships and society by influencing the segregated structures themselves and demanding their disbandment. It is also countering egocentric attitudes, violence, and dehumanizing forces both in individuals and in social institutions. In general terms, violent methods destroy the social mechanism, and nonviolent ways stop it.

Thus, the civil rights movement strategy was developed based on the Gandhian method of nonviolent resistance. Nevertheless, as King said, thanks to the church’s influence, nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle (Bloom, 2019). The church consolidated the social structure that united Black Americans, regardless of their social status, economic, educational levels, and age differences in the struggle for full civil rights. It is well known that the condemnation of violence by the public sharply escalates and increases if it is directed against victims who behave peaceably and there are no aggressive actions on their part (Francis, 2019). Numerous studies confirm that scenes of physical aggression directed against people who do not resist cause the observer to sympathize with the victims and convince him of the injustice of the use of violent actions.

Consequently, the use of nonviolent protest methods of the 60s can be considered applicable to the current situation. In the case of the Black Olives Matter movement, it is possible to note the public’s adverse reaction to the organized pogroms. In fact, when there are forceful methods on the side of the state, it becomes difficult to prove your case in words alone. However, the same thing happened during the time of Martin Luther King, and the leader managed to direct the attention of society towards supporting the movement.

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Relevance of the Ideas Today

It is worth noting that the adoption of the Civil Rights Acts was an important step forward on the way to equality of the population. After signing the law, all forms of segregation in the country, both in the North and in the South, were formally eliminated almost immediately (Eversley, 2017). The threat of cutting US funding for government programs and commercial firms that discriminate against minorities has allowed equal employment rights and a positive reaction when hiring.

However, upon a more detailed study of the law, it becomes evident that in many respects, it had a compromise character, which was reflected in almost all its sections containing several reservations and restrictions. Half a century later, we see that the results of this thorny struggle for equality are incredibly ambiguous. It cannot be said that the law will eliminate discrimination, but it marked the beginning of realizing the dream of M. L. King and millions of African Americans about equality (Eversley, 2017). Moreover, thanks to peaceful rhetoric and interaction with the authorities, people have managed to achieve significant changes in the democratic and pluralistic components of the US political system. Unfortunately, the problems still exist and require their correction, for which an active struggle is being waged.

For example, achievement gaps are defined by the National Council on Educational Statistics (NCES) as the disparity that develops when one set of learners surpasses another by a substantial margin. African American and non-White low-income children continue to trail considerably below their White, middle-class classmates in reading and math competence, high school graduation, and college completion rates (Eversley, 2017). The persistent performance gap is due to significant difference in resources and supports shown to improve educational outcomes, such as high-quality school funding, and experienced teaching staff caused by systemic and institutional inequalities.

Civil Rights Movement and Diversity in America Today

The civil rights movement has become a symbol of perseverance on the path to social justice, which certainly demonstrates its importance. At the moment, diversity in America is achieved due to the active civic activity of the population. This is reflected in various protest movements and the development of a favorable attitude towards minorities in the information field (Clayton, 2018). The impact of the movement on diversity can be assessed in the sense that it gave the necessary impetus to people to believe in themselves and in their capabilities.

Granting rights to the black population allowed other minorities to take active action. Since then, the attitude towards women has changed quite a lot, who also try to promote the idea of equality with men in various ways (Reed, 2019). In addition, various sexual minorities are also becoming more active in educational activities. The courage and perseverance of people in the 60s now allow many people not to be afraid to declare themselves and their characteristics (Clayton, 2018). In fact, it is worth noting that it is difficult to talk about any significant changes yet. This is also explained by the fact that oppression has not gone away; it has only changed its form and continues to exist. However, today most people have changed their views and are trying to shape American society for the better.

References

Bloom, J. M. (2019). Class, race, and the Civil Rights Movement (2nd ed.). Indiana University Press.

Clayton, D. M. (2018). Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement: A comparative Analysis of two social movements in the United States. Journal of Black Studies, 49(5), 448–480.

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Eversley, S. (2017). Protesting black inequality: A commentary on the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter. Journal of Community Practice, 25(3–4), 309–324.

Francis, M. (2019). The price of civil rights: Black lives, white funding, and movement capture. Law and Society Review, 53(1), 275–309.

Reed, T. V. (2019). The art of protest: Culture and activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the present. University of Minnesota Press.

Riches, W. (2017). The Civil Rights Movement: Struggle and resistance (4th ed.). Palgrave Macmillan.

Turk, D. (2018). A project-based learning approach to the American Civil Rights Movement. Social Education, 82(1), 35–39.

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