The Civil Rights movement was a success in some aspects. It was an inevitable victory that, after the late 1960’s and 1970’s, changed everything within the United States. One of the biggest victories was the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. This law made it illegal for people to discriminate in public or in the workplace on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or gender . Not only the South, but the entire nation began to desegregate schools and the poverty rate began to change. Income gaps between blacks and whites began to close . People of all colors finally got their equal rights along with economic rights. A larger and more optimistic black middle class formed and they continued the fight against other challenges that supported racial segregation.
The second huge victory for the Civil Rights Movement was the next year in 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was passed. This law protected all American citizens’ right to vote by forcing states, especially ones historically known for racial segregation, to be supervised by the federal government . This allowed people of all colors to be have their own say as to whom they wanted to run their country. African Americans and many others finally had a voice that was protected by the federal government which meant they would no longer be muted or suppressed by racially segregated states. They finally had their equal human rights instated to vote for whom they believed in. In turn allowing them to change the world they lived in by selecting whom they felt best represented them in government positions. They irrefutably now had a say as to how their country was being ran and they finally had a voice to make an impact as to how things were being done.
However, till this day there are still huge struggles in the fight for equality and African Americans rights. Their equality and dignity are still challenged every day in America. The gap between income has begun to increase again. People’s voting rights are being revoked and even suspended. There are more and more black men being incarcerated and imprisoned. And there are people dying almost every day due to this inequality. Although we had these laws set forth decades ago, the fight for complete equality is far from over. These laws aided desegregation, however they simply did not do enough to create a completely equal country.
Before going on to saying why not enough was done, there are a few more things to touch base on until I can expand my opinion. In 1954, Brown vs Board of Education resulted in the court’s ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional. This was one of the first real victories of the Civil Rights Movement. Still, this did not immediately change the schooling system, although some schools did begin to desegregate. Emmitt Till was a 14 year old African American teenager who had attended a desegregated school further north up in Chicago . In 1955, Emmitt and a friend of his traveled down to Mississippi to visit family. But both the boys hadn’t understood how different things were down south. Emmitt Till was so accustomed to how life was up in Chicago and didn’t know how bad segregation and racism were in Mississippi.
Emmitt Till’s journey ended with him being beaten and murdered, all for just talking to a white woman. Emmitt’s mother, broken and angered by his death, held an open casket funeral for her son. By doing so, she had shown the world what those men had done to her poor innocent boy. After the funeral, there was complete uproar in the black community. And because of this, a case was later opened in court. Unfortunately, nobody was convicted of Emmitt Till’s murder due to the mutilation of his body and lack of evidence, but it was clear that Emmitt Till had died a hero by showing the world how cruel and wrong racism was .
Now let’s fast forward almost 60 years to October 20th, 2014. On this day, 17-year-old African American teenager Laquan McDonald was unlawfully shot and murdered by a white Chicago police officer . Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke and the whole incident was all captured on video. A whole year after the tragedy occurred, the video was finally released to the public. Soon after, that footage sparked huge protests in the streets of Chicago. Laquan’s death “became a symbol of mistrust between Chicago’s police and the city’s black residents” .
This tragedy showed people throughout the country that racial profiling was still a huge issue. People wanted to make sure that such incidents never occurred again, and this, in turn, made officers rethink and reteach how they do their policing. After months and months of investigation and court trials, Jason Van Dyke was irrefutably found guilty and became the first officer on duty to be guilty of murder in Chicago in over 50 years . Although Emmitt Till’s and Laquan McDonald’s tragedies were somewhat different, they are more alike than different. Both boys were a symbol of how bad racism, inequality, and racial profiling really were. Many like to believe that racism is no longer a problem, yet African Americans face such discrimination and inequality till this day.
Another instance that may prove that there was not enough done to create a fully equal and desegregated United States was the Shelby vs Holder case in 2013. This case ended with 9 states no longer requiring federal supervision at voting tolls . This new outcome essentially somewhat removed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 from those certain states. It was said that the law had done what it was passed to do, which was to make certain everyone no matter of skin color to had their right to vote. Yet, many felt that although the law had done its job, it was completely immoral to remove such a law that had protected African Americans and others right to vote for the past almost 5 decades. And in recent events, this really caused some issues. In Georgia, processing of 53,000 voter registrations were suspended before their election for governor, many of those being African Americans .
This quickly became quite a big concern, especially once it was proven that 70 percent of those suspended voters were indeed African Americans . Although many statements were made disputing and conflicting those allegations, many felt it was an unlawful political strategy. After studies were done, it was found that there were undeniably higher rates of voter cancelations after the 2013 Supreme Court voting decision, and that many of the states whom were historically known for racial discrimination were largely blameworthy of this .
Overall, I absolutely don’t believe that enough was done to stop racism and segregation within the United States. Till this day, people of minority are discriminated against and mistreated. Everyday there are victims of racial profiling. Everyday people’s human rights are taken away. Everyday there are people hurt, beaten, arrested, or even murdered because of this. Sure, we have our rights written in law, but the battle for complete equality is far from over. I don’t believe that we can say we have achieved complete victory when there are still people fighting for their equality every day. In conclusion, I don’t believe the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s is a series of inevitable victories, but instead a series of small steps towards a huge overall goal being a country made of complete equality without any form of desegregation. The day when African Americans and many other minorities don’t have to fight for the equal human rights, will be the day when we have truly achieved a victory.
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