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The civil rights act of america essay

Baldwin — Trinity College At the midpoint of the twentieth century, African Americans once again answered the call to transform the world. The social and economic ravages of Jim Crow era racism were all-encompassing and deep-rooted.

Yet like a phoenix rising from the ashes of lynch mobs, debt peonage, residential and labor discrimination, and rape, the black freedom movement raised a collective call of "No More"!

The maintenance of white power had been pervasive and even innovative, and hence those fighting to get out from under its veil had to be equally unrelenting and improvisational in strategies and tactics. What is normally understood as the Civil Rights movement was in fact a grand struggle for freedom extending far beyond the valiant aims of legal rights and protection.

From direct-action protests and boycotts to armed self-defense, from court cases to popular culture, freedom was in the air in ways that challenged white authority and even contested established black ways of doing things in moments of crisis. Dixie and Beyond By the middle of the twentieth century, black people had long endured a physical and social landscape of white supremacy, embedded in policy, social codes, and both intimate and spectacular forms of racial restriction and violence.

The social and political order of Jim Crow—the segregation of public facilities—meant schools, modes of transportation, rest rooms, and even gravesites were separate and unequal. Yet the catch-all the civil rights act of america essay "Jim Crow" hardly accounts for the extralegal dictates of black professionals working cotton fields, landholders thrown off their property, black women fending off sexual assault and rape, and the constant threats of public humiliation and the lynch rope.

All of these day-to-day constraints were justified by myths about inferior black character and intelligence, reproduced in films, books, radio programs, and magazine ads.

Jim Crow violence and racial restriction are often thought be specific to Dixie. However Jim Crow cut across the boundaries of North and South. They were often restricted to domestic and retail service work. Those who found industrial employment were kept out of labor unions. Further, African Americans did not have the freedom to choose where and how to live due to the effects of state-sponsored restrictive covenants—legally binding contracts making it illegal to rent, sell, or lease housing to black people in some regions it the civil rights act of america essay other "nonwhites".

These restrictions were placed on both private real-estate sales and public housing provisions. Ultimately, the absence of a "free" housing market found black residents earning the lowest wages and paying the highest prices for the worst housing stock.

The Civil Rights Movement

The crystallization of black ghettos left residents to the politics of gerrymandering. Voting districts cut through black neighborhoods to undermine the possibility of political power.

At the same time, neighborhood school districts were redrawn in unorthodox ways so that white students could have the best facilities and keep them all white. Yet African Americans found themselves on the margins of wartime prosperity. Federal defense spending did not desegregate jobs, public housing, or the armed forces.

President Roosevelt responded by signing Executive Order 8802 that summer.

  • America in the King Years, 1954—1963;
  • Those who found industrial employment were kept out of labor unions;
  • The six hundred protestors reached the Pettus Bridge but were pushed back by police violence and tear gas;
  • In the face of this blatant discrimination black Americans started to gather and form new organizations to further, and in many cases create civil rights for themselves.

Randolph called off the march, but black activists pressed on. The emerging black working class grew frustrated with its marginal position in a time of prosperity. Black leaders made considerable strides by employing a largely legal approach.

Civil Rights/ Cival Rights Act 1964 term paper 16359

Allwright and segregated transportation Morgan v. Virginiahousing Shelley v. Kraemerand education Brown v. Yet legal protection was gradual and did not address growing economic concerns.

  • Ginsberg, Benjamin, and Theodore J;
  • The Heart of Atlanta Motel was a whites only establishment, and the owner argued that his property rights allowed him to choose the people that stayed in his accommodations.

They fought racism within the labor movement, brought economic concerns to the statehouse, and demanded equal access to New Deal social welfare benefits.

CORE used a decentralized and nonviolent, direct-action approach to politics, enacting Freedom Rides in the South to challenge segregated interstate transportation and sit-ins to protest northern discrimination. President Roosevelt had proclaimed the Four Freedoms want, fear, worship, and speech yet black activists made clear that ghettos were in Berlin and also in Boston. Ongoing white civilian, military, and police attempts to constrain black life erupted in violent riots in more than forty cities.

American citizenship provided little security. The United States held itself up the civil rights act of america essay a beacon in a sea of totalitarianism, and black people seized the opportunity to realign democracy with anti-racism instead of white supremacy. The Soviet Union U. In response, the United States both publicly endorsed gradual integration and fostered a stifling climate of anti-communism. Communist activist Claudia Jones organized in Harlem for jobs, housing, and humane immigration policies.

In the Cold War context, black struggles for freedom were largely denounced as un-American. The segregation of black children in inferior schools, however, brought special criticism. Worldwide charges of American hypocrisy certainly played some part in the Brown decision. But the climate of anti-communism largely constrained most political battles to the legal arena while displacing the larger calls for freedom that included jobs, housing, land, and wealth.

At the same time, courtroom success was quickly followed by waves of "massive resistance" by whites. Less than a year after the Brown decision, fourteen-year-old Chicagoan Emmett Till was found murdered in Mississippi's Tallahatchie River.

He had been shot and his body mutilated because he allegedly whistled at a white woman. Yet his death was simply the most spectacular manifestation of white terror and racial containment. White citizens councils organized in Mississippi, using tax dollars from both blacks and whites to support their intimidation and harassment strategies. Southern states shifted the populations of public housing from all-white to all-black and in segregated neighborhoods to stem the tide of Brown.

At the same time, federally the civil rights act of america essay suburban developments were built with racial restrictive covenants written into their foundation, helping cement the stark contrast between impoverished "Chocolate Cities" and prosperous "Vanilla Suburbs. Yet African Americans kept on pushing with organized political strategies and social protest movements. Black paying customers were relegated to the back of city buses, and black women in particular endured assault, humiliation, and even gunplay at the hands of white bus drivers and customers.

But blacks found ways to respond to the shoving and pushing of white passengers: These subversive acts provided the infrastructure for more formal kinds of political action. As early as 1953, black church and social organizations had organized a bus boycott in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Students at the all-black Alabama State University briefly organized a boycott in the spring of 1954. Then in December 1955, the Women's Political Council in Montgomery, Alabama, seized on the arrest of Rosa Parks to ignite a full-blown, citywide boycott of the buses.

This was not even Parks's first violation of racial seating laws. Her calculated act was part of a burgeoning black social protest movement. Together they had long fought racial injustices in Alabama.

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A one-day boycott of buses turned into a protest that lasted more than one year. Leaders, including peace activist Bayard Rustin, E. Nixon of the BSCP, clergy members, and radical organizer Ella Baker offered key strategies, but the protest's full effect was achieved through the feet and resiliency of riders and fellow travelers, who organized carpools and walked miles to work.

Even with threats of job loss and violence, the largely poor black masses effectively crippled a bus system that received 65 percent of its revenue from black riders. The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 helped push toward the desegregation of buses all over the South while thrusting King the civil rights act of america essay the rough-and-tumble world of political organizing.

Nonviolent direct action had won the day and became the dominant mode of resistance for the movement. Moreover, the boycott took place the same year as the Bandung Conference of newly liberated African and Asian nations, situating Montgomery within a worldwide moment of freedom struggles. While the SCLC worked with all groups, its strategy highlighted a changing tide. The NAACP resented the attention and resources taken away from what it deemed more effective court cases to defend and support protesters.

Civil Rights and the Growth of Our Country

While Brown had desegregated the schools on the law books, it would take more to make integrated schools a lived reality. President Eisenhower uttered not a word. The advent of television helped transport images of racial violence against black children into living rooms around the globe, visually demonstrating the racial terms of American democracy. After Faubus removed the troops and left the children vulnerable to the whims of an angry and violent adult white mob, Eisenhower placed the National Guard under the authority of federal troops ordered to protect black students.

Black protest seemed to stoke the fires of white bloodlust and callousness directed against adults and children alike. Black residents were sentenced to prison and murdered, and homes were firebombed all across the South if the owners dared assert their constitutional rights. Racial violence escalated, and the NAACP was not the only organization that grew frustrated with nonviolent direct-action politics. But his frustration with nonviolent protest stemmed not from a preference for courtroom battles.

He advocated armed self-defense, responding to white violence with bullets and barricades. Williams looked out the civil rights act of america essay America's social landscape and saw little recourse in nonviolent protest or legal statutes. As a case in point, the federal government passed the first Civil Rights Act in 1957, but it was hardly enforced.

Williams was part of a growing body of activists from within traditional organizations who were critical of both nonviolence and top-down leadership approaches from the start. Their presence reveals that the meaning of civil rights activism was not set in stone but constantly contested and reconstructed. Students were influenced by images of Montgomery and Little Rock, going on to inspire sit-ins the civil rights act of america essay restaurants, churches, libraries, and waiting rooms across the South.

Many were yelled at, kicked, burned with cigarettes, and yet they stood firm. The early 1960s saw civil rights veterans and union organizers joining students to both train people in the discipline of nonviolence and reproduce sit-ins across the country. Students faced an overwhelming flourish of violent attacks by whites. Activists were beaten, riders were caught in burning buses, and it was all broadcast across the world.

Freedom Riders had achieved success, but white resistance was resilient. James Meredith defiantly enrolled at the University of Mississippi in 1962, provoking a vital power struggle between states rights and federal power.

Governor Ross Barnett flaunted the dictates of federal law until President Kennedy was pushed to mount a federal military occupation of 31,000 troops to enforce the law. The movement pushed forward and began to focus on the important terrain of voter registration in 1961 and 1962. For their efforts both Lee and Evers were murdered and Hammer and her husband were beaten and lost their jobs, but a voting campaign had been established. In 1963 SCLC turned its attention to the notorious stronghold of white power, Birmingham, Alabama, to inaugurate the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The city was known as "Bombingham" because more than fifty bombings afflicted the black community between World War II and 1965. When SCLC members organized a series of mass protests, marchers were attacked and jailed and many local ministers called for an end to the demonstrations.

  1. Students faced an overwhelming flourish of violent attacks by whites.
  2. The wall would eventually have to come down, and Chief Justice Warren and the legendary Warren court personally brought around its destruction.
  3. Nixon of the BSCP, clergy members, and radical organizer Ella Baker offered key strategies, but the protest's full effect was achieved through the feet and resiliency of riders and fellow travelers, who organized carpools and walked miles to work. The article explains that the legislation and its subsequent enforcement by the U.
  4. American Government-Freedom and Power.
  5. She speaks for black Americans who have been second class citizens in their own home too long.

In a controversial decision, arrested adults were replaced on the streets with young children. Images of small children attacked by dogs and police clubs and knocked off their feet by fire hoses shocked the world. Du Bois died in Ghana, 250,000 people descended on the nation's capital, where King's "I Have a Dream" speech took on mythic proportions. Not a month later, white supremacists bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, leaving four little girls dead.