The reconstruction period in the US is a period in the history after the civil war, 1861-1915, where the governments had the task of eliminating the former power authorities in the south, and break the laws and the traditions which were implanted during the years of the slavery.
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This period is similar to the period between 1954 and 1975 where the fight against racial segregation witnessed the arousal of many movements that demanded equality in rights. This paper analyzes the social movements that were prominent during those periods along with addressing the changes that occurred due to their activism.
The end of the civil war proclaimed freedom for the black people. However, the path to the total desegregation and equal rights for the black population was a thorny path with its end still long ahead. The periods of the first and the second reconstruction are similar in a way that while in both cases officially slavery was over and there was still much work unaccomplished regarding basic educational, social and economical rights.
Black freedom movements had many organizations that were active in forming the protest against segregation. One of these organizations is Southern Christian Leadership Conference which “firmly opposed to segregation in any form that it takes and pledges itself to work unrelentingly to rid every vestige of its scars from our nation through non violent means.” (Manning Marable 393)
This organization had its origins as many other movements and organizations following the actions of Rosa Parks and Montgomery Bus Boycott.
During the course of these events, the course of the movements was essentially different from such organizations as the National Association and the related extremist groups. King and his colleagues have been convinced that nonviolence is the unique morally defensible and almost real way accessible to black Americans in their struggle for justice.
The division between the movements into liberals and conservatives resulted in the both being criticized “for having failed to develop a concrete program that would contribute significantly to the advancement of the black communities they claim they wish to uplift.” (Watson, 2005)
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Thanks to Martin Luther King and its colleagues nonviolent black movement leant against the organized disciplined actions of the masses. Direct actions in the form of marches, boycotts and demonstrations have cleared the political consciousness; and armed black people with courage and an effective method of struggle – a nonviolent one. They have forced the American society to look other eyes at the black fellow citizens. Leaders of movement taught their participants to achieve organizational registration of their protest, to learn how to find political. During protest actions black Americans achieved the acceptance of the laws that cover their interests, and then the execution of these laws by local authorities. Distinctive feature of this period of nonviolent struggle for the civil rights was that all protest campaigns began at local level. The situation was dramatized by creation of intensity, crises, which drew attention of the public and mass media on national, and at times and international levels. Actions of solidarity with the protests were developed all over the country and put pressure upon the government which could not ignore more the problems of the black population and has been compelled to take concrete measures directed toward soling these problems.
- (2004). State of the Race: Creating Our 21st Century, Where Do We Go from Here?. ( Jemadari. Kamara, Ed.).
- Allen, R. (1983). Reluctant Reformers: Racism and Social Reform Movements in the United States. Washington, Howard University Press.
- Marable, M. (2003). Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal. Rowman.
- Watson, E. (2005). Dimensions of Black Conservatism in the United States.(Book Review): An article from: The Journal of. Thomson Gale.