The Struggle for Black Equality essay

The life of the Afro-American population has always been hard. For two centuries they have been oppressed, suffered hardships and privations. They constantly struggled for their rights, independence and liberty. That struggle continued up to the XX century. A great migration of approximately 5 million of Afro-Americans from the South of the country to the North and West of the USA in the years 1910 1960 became a push to the civil rights movements.

That happened because the status of the Black population began to change rapidly: having no rights to vote in the South, they got these rights in the North. The victory of the Democrats in 1936 and the strong influence of the Roosevelt’s New Deal made Afro-Americans switch from the Republicans. The March on Washington Movement in 1940 of several black civil rights groups made President Roosevelt set up a Fair Employment Practices Committee that provided blacks with working places during the WWII. And from that time Afro-Americans started to struggle for their civil rights even more obstinately. The civil rights movement began in 1954 with the Montgomery bus boycott when a woman refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger. This boycott lasted for a year. In 1956 the Supreme Court passed a decision that it was a manifestation of race discrimination and therefore it was considered an unconstitutional action. Years before there were some conflicts about the problem of school admittance, as black population was deprived of this privilege. In 1957 the president of Arkansas NAACP provided the legal strategy that allowed nine black students to enter a school.

Glenn Smiley and James Lawsom were two men who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and developed strategy for the next stage of the movement. Their intention was to achieve nonviolent actions of workshops. The idea consisted in lunch-counter sit-ins of groups of youngsters. This movement began in the beginning of 1960 and spread very quickly. The civil rights movement on the South had three components: the black churches, the black colleges and the local NAACP chapter network. In August 1963 a coalition of civil rights group went on a March on Washington for Jobs and Justice. They demanded a passage of the Civil Rights Act. The resistance to the segregation was the most strong in Mississippi. In 1963 the state field director of NAACP Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson; President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Several people were kidnapped and then assassinated. At last the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 by President Johnson. The March from Selma to Montgomery made the Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.

During the period of 1950s-1960s several organizations appeared: SCLC, CORE, SNCC. They moved to such actions as black nationalism, marginality, eradication of poverty. But after the assassination of King, these intentions preserved the regional influence.

In 1965 an article From Protest to Politics by Bayard Rustin appeared. This article led the civil rights movement to the other direction. He claimed black people to refuse protests and demonstrations, but to seek political influence on all levels. First those ideas seemed rather controversial; though later they became very popular. In the year 1991 7,500 Afro-Americans were elected officials. They went into active black population policy. The Congressional Black Causus is the organization which consists of 42 black politicians and one Senator is a very progressive group that deals mainly with public life. Nowadays Afro-American population of the USA comprises almost 40 million people (11.5% of the total population) according to the 2004 census.


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