The civil rights movement was considered to be one of the greatest key factors that helped African Americans gain their true freedom. Throughout the twentieth century, African Americans faced discrimination and were considered to be less than white Americans. When the civil rights movement got introduced by the government, the African American population saw this as an advantage to fight for the freedom that they sought. The turning point of the civil rights movement didn’t happen until the 1950s & 1960s. With the help of several black organizations and black African American, they managed to push forward and make the people of the United States listen and change their way of thinking.
When the first colonies were established, whites began to bring slaves from Africa to aide with farming and the production of goods. The landowners soon realized that they didn’t need to be paid, that they were to be considered as property and slaves. After many years of slavery, many African Americans, who were born in the country began to want their freedom. So they rebelled against their masters and tried to escape the plantations. No matter how far they ran they would always be caught. In the 19th century laws that concerned slaves and slave owners were put into action. If a slave was caught by another white man, they would have to return them back to their owner. If a white man helped the slave, then they would have to pay fines or even go to jail. There was no way for an African American to escape the hardships of slavery. Not during that time at least.
During the late 19th century, the northern states began to abolish slavery, and every African American was able to obtain their freedom in the north. In the south it was a different story, the southern states wanted to continue to use slaves. A division was created separating the north and south, slaves who were in the south tried to escape to the north seeking their freedom. During the early 20th century more African Americans began moving north in big groups at a time. This movement was known as the great migration. African Americans began to seek their freedom more than ever, they wanted to start a life of their own. A life where a black man and a white man were considered to be equal. In the early 20th century, blacks were still being discriminated and were being pushed aside by white society. They were always getting paid below minimum wage and had the hardest jobs. When the United States went into World War I, African Americans were given the choice to join the military, but they would get the most dangerous positions in the military. “In the case of the Negro worker, everything has been worse in a larger or smaller degree; the loss has been greater and more permanent. Technological displacement, which began before the depression, has been accelerated, while unemployment and falling wages struck black men sooner, went to lower levels and will last longer.” (Du Bois, 1934) When the great depression hit America, things got worse for African Americans. The majority of the population in the united states were either homeless, lost their jobs and if they were lucky enough to keep their jobs their wages were barely enough to support their families.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt took over the presidency, he introduced the New Deal, which was supposed to help the economy and offer more jobs to those who need them. The introduction of the new deal brought several organizations that helped in creating thousands of jobs, but only whites were the ones to get hired. The African American population was once again left out by the laws of the American government. This sparked a concern, blacks felt that they were being left out and that the government was doing nothing to help them out. At the end of World War II, African Americans had enough of the discrimination that they were facing daily and began to organize groups like the Double V Campaign which called attention to discrimination and segregation. Efforts like this are what helped African Americans improve their conditions in America and also started the Civil Rights Movement.
In the 1950s African Americans began to bringing attention to events that paved the way to end discrimination and to attain true equality. The Montgomery bus boycott was a step forward in the right direction, previously African Americans were known for their violent acts. Those violent acts are what made their earlier attempts to attain rights to fail. “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. This is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained.” (M.L King, 1963) The boycotts were a way for African Americans to fight for their rights in a non-violent way and that is what helped their cause. Besides the boycotts, there were other techniques being used like the Greensboro Sit-Ins. These sit-ins were also a way of fighting in a non-violent way, the African Americans students started the movement, were eventually joined by more blacks who supported the cause. The civil rights movement also brought forth great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, who was an advocate for non-violence acts and who also played a key role in the Civil Rights movement. Through his public speeches, Martin Luther King Jr was able to address the issues that African Americans all across the country were facing. The speeches changed the perspective of many Americans, and soon enough they began to realize what blacks were going through. Other people were opposed to his ideas, but that did not stop him from chasing equal rights.
From the beginning of slavery in the United States until the late 20th century, African Americans faced discrimination and were not given their rights as American Citizens. Over time they managed to come together as a group to strive forward and to achieve their goal. With the help of their own organizations, public events, and great leaders, they managed to get the government to finally listen to them. The civil rights movement was a complete success. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed, this was a historical event and also a victory for African Americans. The discrimination that they faced had finally come to an end, and they were finally seen as equals according to the law.
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