Essay The civil rights movement since 1953

3. Write an essay on the civil rights movement since 1953 in which you discuss the major factors that have contributed to its success and its major gains. Be sure to discuss more than one group and to cite examples from each decade of the 1950s through the 1990s.


Civil rights movement as the social movement for racial equality in the United States gained its spreading in the 1950-1960’s and finally led to the abolition of the racial segregation practice and pushed the U.S. Congress to adopt a number of laws to protect the rights of citizens. The start of the movement refers to the mid-1950’s, when the Afro-American population of the southern states started to withstand racial segregation. For instance, in response Rosa Parks arrest, in 1955, Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy organized a boycott of city buses. Later, in the early 1960’s, a row of other boycotts in public places (schools, stores, libraries, movie theaters) were organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The culmination of the civil rights movement was the March on Washington of 1963, conducted in support of the adoption of anti-segregation laws (Schweikart and Allen 662-66).

One of the main factors of movement success was its unifying and diversified nature. Initial uncertainty, inaction and partial compromises by the U.S. government only encouraged discriminated Afro-Americans and Muslims to continue the fight for equality with Whites; they felt more power and strength in their unity, pride in themselves. Another significant influence was produced by the Year of Africa. Increasing number of independent African and their diplomatic representatives’ arrival to the USA fueled the desire of discriminated layers of the American society to be on a par with their exploiters. Besides, the presence of racial discrimination in the state also badly hurt the American government in spreading its influence in the perspective countries of the world. Finally, special civil rights laws were passed by the Congress in 1957, 1960, 1964, together with the voting rights amendment of 1965.

Further, the civil rights movement was no more that diversified as in 1950-60s, still, as the ongoing process of scientific and technical revolution in the 1970’s 90’s further increased the gap between the social and racial layers, since the beginning of 1970’s an important direction of the movement was the fight against the judicial and police tyranny. The leading role in this was played by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and the National Conference of Black Lawyers. In particular, in December 1978, they sent to the UN a petition, containing documentary materials on the violations of non-white Americans’ rights in the United States. Since 1981, the rise of mass action under the socio-economic anti-racist slogans has been observed under the conditions of rising unemployment among Afro-Americans (Schweikart and Allen 685-87).

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