Civil Rights Movement & Modern Afro-American Life

Although in the twentieth-century slavery was abolished, African Americans still had fewer rights than their white fellow citizens and were treated with oppression and disrespect. This situation gave rise to the civil rights movement (CRM) in the 1950s, when the blacks decided to improve their position in society. This essay will provide a brief overview of the CRM and discuss its impact on the contemporary life of African Americans.

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Before the CRM, the whites considered the blacks inferior to them. Therefore, after the abolition of slavery, they wanted to be separated from the African Americans. It resulted in Jim Crow laws that established racial segregation, “controlled Blacks politically and socially, and exploited them economically” (Fleming and Morris 107). Being discontented with their position, the blacks started the CRM. The catalyst for the movement was Rosa Parks’ refusal to let a white man have her seat on a public bus, which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. After that, since the CRM activists preferred nonviolent methods of struggle, protests and demonstrations were held to promote civil rights reforms (Fleming and Morris 111). Although the blacks’ protests were met with resistance, they managed to achieve the adoption of several significant laws granting them essential rights.

The CRM resulted in passing the laws that eliminated segregation in schools and discrimination in public places, protected the voting rights of the blacks, and ensured equal housing opportunities. People of color were allowed to hold public office, which enabled Barack Obama to become the first Afro-American president. The CRM influenced television since blacks were permitted to appear on the screen. It also inspired other minorities, such as Latinos and Native Americans, to fight for their rights. The crucial point of CRM is that it happened not on the initiative of governments or ruling classes but because the oppressed left the authorities no alternative but to meet their requirements (Fleming and Morris 120). Thus, this movement proves that with due arrangements, even social segments deprived of power can achieve considerable results.

In conclusion, CRM was a significant social movement in US history. It eliminated the remains of slavery, vested the African Americans with essential civil rights, and shaped the current social position of the blacks. Although there are still issues related to racial discrimination, such as disparities in education or criminal justice, they are not as severe as they used to be in the twentieth century.

Work Cited

Fleming, Crystal M., and Aldon Morris. “Theorizing Ethnic and Racial Movements in the Global Age: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, vol. 1, no. 1, 2015, pp. 105-126.

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