From the very beginning of the Afro-American independence struggle against racial discrimination and oppression from the whites never became instinct. A number of cases such as Montgomery bus boycott could illustrate never ending battle of Afro-American nation for their racial independence and equal rights with the white inhabitants. Even nowadays when words about racial equality and civil rights are not just an empty phrase we often meet the cases when Afro-Americans are discriminated according to their racial identity. But now we are speaking about some processes that seriously influenced movements for the civil rights and really had a significant impact on the process.
They are the Great Migration, Freedom Rides and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. All these have had a serious impact on the Civil Rights Movements and of the destiny of Afro-American Nation.
The Great Migration
The great migration (often called the first great migration) took place in 1910 till 1930. Over 1,4 million joined the movement and left Southern States for Northern and Western. It is essential because racial suppression in the area where Ku Klux Klan was really significant organization and it was really hard for the black to achieve even slight equality and maintenance of the civil rights: “The racial composition of the nation’s cities underwent a decisive change during and after World War I. In 1910, three out of every four black Americans lived on farms, and nine out of ten lived in the South. World War I changed that profile. Hoping to escape tenant farming, sharecropping, and peonage, 1.5 million Southern blacks moved to cities. During the 1910s and 1920s, Chicago’s black population grew by 148 percent; Cleveland’s by 307 percent; Detroit’s by 611 percent. Access to housing became a major source of friction between blacks and whites during this massive movement of people. Many cities adopted residential segregation ordinances to keep blacks out of predominantly white neighborhoods. In 1917, the Supreme Court declared municipal resident segregation ordinances unconstitutional. In response, whites resorted to the restrictive covenant, a formal deed restriction binding white property owners in a given neighborhood not to sell to blacks. Whites who broke these agreements could be sued by “damaged”¯ neighbors. Not until 1948 did the Supreme Court strike down restrictive covenants. Confined to all-black neighborhoods, African Americans created cities-within-cities during the 1920s. The largest was Harlem, in upper Manhattan, where 200,000 African Americans lived in a neighborhood that had been virtually all-white fifteen years before.”¯ (Digital History, 2009). Probably World War One was one of the key reasons for starting great Migration. According to statistical data nearly 14, 4 percent of Afro-American soldiers died during the War time. Compared to the whites the 6,3 percent died during war time. The blacks strongly believed hat such a sacrifice during the war? Protecting the nation would help to raise their authority and help for establishment the equal rights: “In World War I, a higher proportion of black soldiers than white soldiers had lost their lives: 14.4 percent black compared to 6.3 percent white. Many African Americans believed that this sacrifice would be repaid when the war was over. In the words of one Texan, “Our second emancipation will be the outcome of this war.”¯ It was not to be. The federal government denied black soldiers the right to participate in the victory march down Paris’s Champs-Elysees boulevard – even though black troops from European colonies marched. Ten African American soldiers were among the 70 blacks lynched in 1919. Twenty-five anti-black riots took place that year. African Americans did not respond passively to these outrages. Even before the war, African Americans had stepped up protests against discrimination. The National Urban League, organized in 1911 by social workers, white philanthropists, and black leaders, concentrated on finding jobs for urban African Americans. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) won important Supreme Court decisions against the grandfather clause (1915) and restrictive covenants (1917). The NAACP also fought school segregation in Northern cities during the 1920s and lobbied hard, though unsuccessfully, for a federal anti-lynching bill”¯ (Digital History, 2009). It goes without saying that the Great migration had a serious impact on Civil Rights Movement and struggle for freedom. it helped to create The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which could provide support for Afro-Americans, struggle for their rights and equality on the national level. The Great Migration also had a significant impact on history. Not only on the history of the United States of America but of the whole world as it showed he other nations that people are equal despite color of their skin.
The Freedom Rides
Freedom Riders were noticeable figures in the Civil Rights Movements, the activists who rode in the interstate buses into the segregated Southern states The attitude to freedom riders from the side of white people what aggressive and hating: “In 1961, the Freedom Riders set out for the Deep South to defy Jim Crow laws and call for change. They were met by hatred and violence – and local police often refused to intervene. But the Riders’ efforts transformed the civil rights movement”¯ (Terry Gross, 2006). The Klansmen (participators of Ku Klux Klan Movement) attacked the buses trying to prevent the Freedom Rides: “Sunday 28 May, we got up at dawn and were driven to the Trailways Bus Station. A large contingent of National Guard were posted outside of the bus station to prevent the KKK and other local white supremacists from attacking the Freedom Riders. We entered and successfully integrated the Montgomery Trailways station, and after twenty to thirty minutes, boarded a bus bound from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. A large contingent of Alabama State Police cars were stationed at the bus terminal, and as the bus left the terminal, the State Police surrounded it, forming an escort. The governor and local officials had decided that Alabama was no longer going to occupy the front pages with pictures of rioting whites beating up non-violent Freedom Riders”¯ (David Fankhauser, 2009). Still The impact of Freedom Riders on the Civil rights movements are very significant as despite any difficulties, threats and injuries Freedom Riders continued their Rides for Freedom. These brave men are those who did not afraid the attacks of Ku Klux Klan understanding that their mission is to attract social attention the fact that black Americans are Americans as well and they need equal rights and adequate attitude of the social structures and people as well. The problem area was in the South that is why the Freedom Rider moved their routs within the most problematic places and their contribution into the Civil Rights movement is really significant.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
SNCC is one of the most significant organizations within the Civil Rights Movements. The members of this organization were participating in Freedom Rides and many other Civil Rights promoting movements and actions. The organization grew in really big with wide infrastructure in the South which is considered to be one of the most problematic areas. The work of this organization promoting equal rights for the black inhabitants of the country is really significant for the whole movement against racial discrimination. With its participations in protest meetings and such movements as Freedom Riders the members of SNCC struggled against racial discrimination.
Their contribution to the movement was really significant. The leaders of SNCC such as Ella Baker cooperate with such outstanding figures as Martin Luther King supporting, educating and helping. Such organizations as Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee made serious contribution in changing the history of America and the Afro-American Nation as pa part of American Society. Thanks to their struggle the attitude to Afro-Americans changed significantly into the positive way.
These events produced really serious impact on the development of American history being active participants of Civil Rights Movement and Anti-Racial Discrimination. Without their wish to make the world better we will be still buried under the numerous racial prejudice.