The Civil Rights Movement and Reconstruction

The Civil Rights Movement

With the end of the Civil War in the United States, several groups, including the government and other non-governmental organizations, came up with many propositions to protect the rights of minorities, such as Africans and Asians, who were always under constant threats from the whites. This meant that the government was aware of the conflicts that existed in society, and it moved in to help end the issue that threatened American sovereignty and national security interest. Newly freed slaves had limited capacities both politically and socio-economically since they did not have equal opportunities, as far as participation in leadership was concerned.

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Additionally, few Africans were involved in economic matters, such as trade and manufacturing of important products. In other words, many blacks had been incorporated into the country’s financial system as underdogs, with their main role being offering the much-needed labor (Houck 112). In fact, Africans and other blacks from the South American region simply offered their cheap labor, and they depended wholly on the ruling class for survival. In 1866, 1870, and 1871, a legislative act was passed with the hope of giving Africans an advantage in society, but things never changed, as they continued to serve the interests of the rich and the politically mighty in society. In 1875, an act of parliament made it illegal for any person or authority to deny blacks their rights and freedoms, such as the right to access quality health, freedom of speech, and the right to own property. In the same year, blacks were given permission to sue whoever trespassed on their property, and all the juries were expected to respect the views of Africans in courts, whereby they would grant property rights to them.

The outcome of the demonstration had a nationwide impact, as it affected the operations of the government in each state. In fact, the government had to act in order to end the conflicts that threatened the unity and the security of the nation. In 1957, the blacks forced their way when they tried to enroll in government-sponsored high schools, but the city governors in consultation with the whites blocked their move. The president had to recruit the services of the military to protect the blacks in high schools. In 1964, President Johnson Lyndon sponsored a bill that was passed in the congress, giving all blacks a chance to mingle freely in society.

The bill banned all forms of discrimination that were based on gender and race, especially in schools and in the places of work. The ideas of Morris, which claim that there was more to the civil rights movement than Dr. King’s speeches and protest marches, are valid because Dr. King simply spoke out the problems that blacks had experienced for several years (Ollhoff 67).

To some extent, the civil rights movement resolved the many problems that faced blacks in the country since several legislations were passed that gave the minorities an advantage in politics and economics. In the political arena, for instance, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, which protected the right to vote, consequently allowing many blacks to take part in the important political exercise (Uslaner 89). Economically, The Civil Rights Act of 1968 allowed blacks to engage in real estate trade, as it banned all forms of discrimination in the housing department.

Reconstruction

It is true that the reconstruction process brought about several political and economic changes since the blacks were involved in the elections, and they were allowed to own property in various parts of the country. Reconstruction demanded that the government moves in to help the minorities, who were mainly blacks and other slaves that had been seriously affected during the Civil War. The process of reconstruction had to be undertaken in two major levels, one being the political level where the congress had to come up with several laws that would help the blacks attain their goals. In this regard, the lawmakers had to draft policies that would make it illegal for any state to neglect the views of blacks whenever a policy is drafted. Therefore, each group had to be involved in governmental decision-making (Franklin, 15).

Additionally, the government had to come up with ways that would ensure former slaves and other blacks access education and other social services, such as quality healthcare. In this case, the state had to ensure that no school discriminates against a black person, as education was considered critical in the process of reconstruction. In the second level, the judiciary had to change the system of operation by issuing stern punishments to those who never respected the law. For instance, it ordered deregistration of all private organizations that never considered racial equality in their recruitment exercises. The judges ensured that all blacks enjoyed their lives in a society without any disturbance from any group.

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With time, the reconstruction process ended and many blacks were subjected to injustices in the same way they were oppressed during slavery and slave trade era. It was felt that Africans had been given many privileges that they did not deserve and this put much pressure on the government to end all reconstruction policies. Furthermore, it was eminent that equality had been achieved and no group was in need of any help as far as fulfillment of individual goals and objectives were concerned. In this regard, many Africans were rendered jobless and the little political power they had accumulated was snatched from them and given to the whites who used it effectively to subjugate other minority groups and dominate them in society (McNeese 45).

The blacks were never given any opportunity to own property, neither were they employed in the civil service because certain jobs were only reserved for the whites. The government moved in too late in 1957 to come up with legislations that ensured the civil rights are provided to all Africans and other minorities. For instance, the Montgomery law demanded that all whites be given respect and it was upon each black to ensure that he or she does not enter into any form of conflict with the white person. In 1955, blacks were tired with the injustices meted unto them, with the support of the government. Rosa Parks felt that it was not right for one race to be given undue advantage socially and she proved that this was wrong when she refused to give a white man a seat in the bus, something that sparked widespread riots in the state of Alabama. Fortunately, Reverend Martin Luther King Junior was among the black travelers available in the bus and he took up the responsibility of leading the demonstrators against white domination.

Works Cited

Franklin, John. Reconstruction after the Civil War. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Print.

Houck, Davis. Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954 – 1965. Waco, Tex: Baylor Univ. Press, 2006. Print.

McNeese, Tim. Reconstruction: Life after the Civil War. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2009. Print.

Ollhoff, Jim. The Civil Rights Movement. Edina, Minn: ABDO Pub, 2011.Print.

Uslaner, Eric. Segregation and Mistrust: Diversity, Isolation, and Social Cohesion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Print.

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