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Civil Rights Movements in America

Introduction

African Americans have struggled to balance minorities and women’s rights since the end of reconstruction. Faulkenbury explains that after the Civil War, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were passed, which disregarded slavery (392). However, racial segregation, referred to as Jim Crow, was established. This led to the development of Civil rights movement groups that aimed to improve the lives of black people by applying different approaches, for example, black militancy, legal actions, and non-violent civil disobedience (Faulkenbury 393). However, the movements experienced significant criticism and resistance, which caused the death of many individuals.

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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

This was the most significant and oldest civil rights movement in America. Faulkenbury explains that the organization was founded in February 1909 by black and white activists to respond to African Americans’ violence (394). This movement aimed to abolish forced African Americans’ segregation, promote equal education for the blacks and white students, enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, and enfranchise black men. NAACP has achieved its goals using the judicial system, peaceful protests, and lobbying (Faulkenbury 395). The Brown v. Board of Education which outlawed public schools’ segregation, was among the movement’s significant wins. NAACP was also among the March organizers on Washington in 1963 and the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, where black Mississippians were being registered to vote.

The group lobbied for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibited individuals’ discrimination according to gender, religion, race, origin, or physical appearance. Faulkenbury explains that NAACP played a role in passing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which barred people from voting due to racial differences (395). However, this civil rights movement faced various criticisms from its opposers. NAACP opposers argued that the organization’s working strategy was wrong because the leaders used lawmakers and the judicial system to achieve their goals. Moreover, NAACP did not use other protest methods used by civil rights groups to fight discrimination (Faulkenbury 396). Today this organization focuses on inequality in education, healthcare, the criminal justice system, jobs, and protecting people’s voting rights.

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

Black and white students founded this civil rights group because they were inspired by the civil disobedience and non-violence strategies used in Mahatma Gandhi’s protest. Established in Chicago in 1942, CORE took a leading role in picket lines and sit-ins in the Freedom Rides, the boycott of Montgomery Bus, and the Washington March led by Martin Luther and other individuals (Faulkenbury 397). However, the organization changed its focus from civil disobedience in 1966 and became a Black Power group. The primary pillar of CORE was strict interracial devotion membership. CORE leaders and supporters wanted to establish a non-violent, interracial army that would end racial discrimination in the United States. They believed that these strategies would make America a democratic society (Faulkenbury 397). Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for failing to offer her seat to a white person in Alabama, which prompted the Supreme Court to rule that bus segregation was unconstitutional in 1956. Moreover, CORE collaborated with Southern Christian Leadership Conference on integrated education support, the Chicago Campaign, and voter education.

Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

This group aimed to give black students more voice because its founders and supporters felt SCLC was not in touch with young men. Faulkenbury explains that SNCC played a significant role in Freedom Rights, which focused on desegregating buses and Martin Luther King Jr.’s marches (398). However, three SNCC members were killed by Ku Klux Klan in 1964, a group that wanted to suppress black people by opposing unions. This resulted in a sour relationship between Martin Luther and SNCC.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

This organization was established to redeem the United States through non-violence demonstrations. Faulkenbury explains that SCLC was founded in 1957, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was the leader (400). SCLC played a role in the 1965 Montgomery and Washington Marches and focused on economic and inequality issues. As a result, the organization started the campaign for poor people in 1967. Southern Christian Leadership Conference was different from SNCC and NAACP because it was an affiliate umbrella organization. However, Faulkenbury explains that King was criticized for being overly dependent and moderate on white liberals’ support (413). The allies were right because the liberal establishment that had fully supported his ambitions backlashed him in his last year. SCLC continued winning in voters’ registration and assisting demonstrations in the South after King’s death on 4th April 1968 (Faulkenbury 414). Although the organization is not as strong and influential as before, it tackles human rights issues.

In conclusion, the abolition of slavery in 1865 after a bloody civil war did not completely solve African Americans’ issues. The reason is racial discrimination and inequality arose and adversely affected the lives of black people. This resulted in establishing civil rights movements such as SCLC, SNCC, CORE, and NAACP, whose members aimed to eliminate African Americans, school and bus segregation, and promote equal education and job opportunities.

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Work Cited

Faulkenbury, Evan. “An Uncommon Meeting of Minds: The Council for United Civil Rights Leadership in the Black Freedom Struggle, 1953–1967.” The Journal of African American History, vol. 104, no. 3, 2019, pp. 392-414. doi:10.1086/704118.

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