Free «The African American Freedom Struggle from 1940 to the Mid 1960s» Essay
The new movement of civil rights was backed by three main factors after the World War II (1939-1945). First factor was the active participation of the African Americans in the war. The proof of their participation was presented by African American leaders who reported events of racial inequity against the blacks. Second factor was the growing economic stability of the African Americans in the urban northern areas, who made efforts to get more education and worked hard to register their vote. The third factor that encouraged the civil rights movement was the NAACP which succeeded to attract many new members and became financially sound with the help of African Americans and whites. A group of lawyers also sought membership of NAACP.
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Many civil rights organizations fought major conflicts in courts and won many of them. New civil rights laws were made as a result of many protests and civic turbulence. African Americans came together between 1940s and 1950s and developed political pressures to bring about a change. Around three million African Americans moved from the Northern parts of the country and settled down in various cites between 1940 and 1960 doubling the population of New York and tripling that of Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. Increase in urban population significantly affected the thinking of politicians who then needed African American vote. African Americans influence grew which is evident from the defenseless march on Washington in 1941 as an objection to being excluded from the industry. As a result of the protests, Executive Order 8802 was issued by President Roosevelt which prohibited racial discrimination. A Fair Employment Practices Commission was also set up by him to deal with complaints. The march on Washington brought about great changes in favor of African Americans setting a pattern for more marches after two decades.
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The non-violent African American protests began in the 1950s when an African woman, Rosa Parks boarded a bus and got seated in the colored section on 1st December, 1955. After sometime, a white man boarded the bus and found no seat in his section. The driver of the bus asked Parks to give her seat to the white man but she refused and got arrested. This incident enraged the Blacks resulting in the Montgomery bus boycott during which African Americans preferred to walk and bike rather than using the public bus service. This caused a huge loss to the Montgomery bus company against which a suit was filed by Martin Luther King, Jr. who led the boycott. Buses were integrated by Montgomery on 21 December, 1956 because of the rule of the Supreme Court. This was a huge achievement which reflected the unity and power of African Americans.
The social views of American people for the civil rights movement were shaped by the World War II. After the exposure of the Nazi campaign against the Jews, it helped fight racial discrimination in the U.S. In 1963, a mock election was run by some African Americans in Mississippi for showing their rage against not being able to vote. Revolution in civil rights movement in the 1960s was backed by political and social changes in the country and racial issues in Nazi Germany. People were committed to fight for their rights and took risks which brought about changes in the law and attitudes. Millions of people stood together to fight for racial equality and succeeded to achieve most of their goals but many remained unfulfilled.
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Courageous African Americans from all age groups led The Movement by employing policies of official challenges, protests and other steps for receiving equal opportunities in all the fields. Civil rights movement aimed at changing racist institutions by means of peaceful protests rather than violent and bloody struggles. Civil rights movement succeeded because of the choice that was offered to slow-acting policy makers of the government by the African Americans which was the “Black Power” and the anger of Malcolm X. The leader who represented peaceful adjustments was chosen by the policy makers. This approach was mainly advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the two influential leaders were Mahatma Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau.
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African Americans have long been struggling for their rights in the country. They stood together and peacefully protested against the biased attitudes by launching marches and organizing movements. Their efforts were fruitful as they succeeded in achieving many of their goals. However, racial discrimination still persists deep down in the hearts of white people which is often reflected by their actions.