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Posted on June 13th, 2012, by

The development of the Civil Rights movement in the USA marked a considerable change in the life of the American society. In this respect, the change was particularly significant in regard to ethnic minorities, especially African-American community which conducted a long and difficult struggle for equal rights and liberties of African-Americans and whites. At the same time, the success of the Civil Rights movement was the result of the effective and well-organized struggle of African-Americans for their rights and liberties. Moreover, the Civil rights movement encouraged a new wave of the struggle for civil rights which went beyond rights of ethnic minorities but also included the struggle for the right of any category of people oppressed by the dominant group, which was traditionally white and male. In such a situation, the organized struggle of African-Americans became crucial for the overall success of the Civil Rights movement. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the Montgomery Improvement Association, which maintained boycott to desegregate buses in Montgomery. Another example of the organization of African-Americans in their struggle was the first Citizenship school in South Carolina’s Sea Islands, which laid the foundation to a powerful movement aiming at the enlargement of educational rights and opportunities for African-American students. At the same time, this school contributed to the education of African-American students. As a result, the African-American community got its own elite, which could be educated and, therefore, stronger in the struggle for civil rights of African-Americans compared to uneducated part of the African-American community.

At the same time, the participation in the Civil Rights movement challenged and transformed the personal sensibility of both blacks and whites. In fact, the development of the Civil Rights movement marked a consistent shift in the public consciousness and influenced practically all Americans because it encouraged the re-evaluation of traditional norms and rules which had been taken for granted by Americans for centuries. In such a situation, both blacks and whites had changed their personal sensibility. In actuality, the Civil Rights movement made African-Americans conscious of their power. Probably, for the first time in the American history, they felt that their position did matter and their demands were heard by the government and American authorities, but, what was even more important, they had managed to draw the public attention to their problems, they revealed the injustice of the existing socio-economic and political system which aimed at the oppression of minorities for the well-being of the whites. As a result, African-Americans had started to perceive themselves as a solid and powerful community and they had understood that their mutual efforts could bring positive results for the entire community and each African-American in particular. In such a way, they had become a part of the new, truly democratic society. As for white Americans they also had to change their personal sensibility. They understood that African-Americans should have equal rights and that being white or black did not necessarily mean being superior or inferior. In such a way, under the impact of the Civil Rights movement whites became more tolerant in relation to minorities.

Traditionally, white males dominated the politics, while the participation of African-Americans and other minorities as well as women in the political life of the country was minimal. In such a situation, it was obvious that the inequality of political participation led to the inequality of political representation of different groups of the population. As a result, the politics of manhood was characterized by the under-representation of women and this trend persisted not only in the white community but also in the African-American community. The development of the Civil Rights movement encouraged the wider participation of women in political life of the country, but they still faced numerous obstacles on their way to taking leading position in the political life of the country. In this regard, the African-American Civil Rights movement was not an exception it was dominated by men, though women got larger opportunities to participate in the social and political life of the community and country at large. For instance, women got an opportunity to head the Civil Rights movement, but they were still presented as assistants of men, but not as independent leaders of the movement.

On analyzing the ideology of colorblindness, it should be said that this ideology evokes a strong opposition within the Civil Rights movement. For instance, Rev. Lowery was a renowned opponent of this ideology. In his benediction, he stood on the ground that color did matter because it influenced consistently the perception of an individual by his or her social environment and his or her self-perception. In addition, colorblindness eliminated difference and cultural diversity, contributing to the assimilation of all ethnic groups into a homogeneous, white-dominated culture.

Naturally, Lowery insisted on the importance of the preservation of ethnic and cultural identity which the color constituted an essential part of. As a result, his criticism led to numerous references to race and importance of preservation of racial and cultural identity.

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