Sample History Essays on Civil Rights in Americans Realities

The African-American community has, for years, faced racial discrimination, infringement on civil liberties, and wanton brutality and violence. This mistreatment precipitated the formation of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, which agitated for the advancement of both civil and human rights to the African-American community and the abolition of the Jim Crow laws.

According to Youngs, the Civil Rights Movement was aimed at exposing the evils of the discriminatory Jim Crow laws and the systematic racial discrimination engrained deep in American society to the world. The movement was led by numerous African-American movements, which independently and collaboratively worked to air grievances and advance the rights of the African-American community. The leading organizations were, however, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which was led by Martin Luther King Jr. and the Nation of Islam, whose agitation was led by the vocal minister Malcolm X. According to the chapter, the Civil Rights Movement was ignited by Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience act of refusing to leave her seat to a fellow white passenger on a bus in Montgomery. Her disobedience of the bus segregation policies saw her arrest under the Jim Crow laws for violating the Alabama segregation laws. Park’s prominence among the black community and her outspoken personality led to the African-American community agitating for the abolition of the bus segregation policies. The African-American community decided to boycott the Montgomery buses until the policies were repealed.

Under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., the NAACP employed direct non-violence action such as protests, demonstrations, and sit-ins to express their agitation. Youngs argues that King advocated for non-violent tension and termed it as a tool for creating a crisis to bring all relevant parties to the negotiating table. The NAACP educated and trained its members on how to conduct non-violent protests. This was a stark contrast to the operations of the Nation of Islam, which took a more radical approach to the Civil Rights Movement. According to Youngs, the NAACP focused its attention on Birmingham, which was rife with racial discrimination and lynching of African-Americans over petty offenses.

According to the chapter, the racist white political leadership of Birmingham was against any African-American agitation for the advancement of their civil rights. They unleashed violence on the peaceful African-American protests, which led to most of the leaders, including King, being arrested, and others were badly beaten and injured. At the Birmingham jail, Martin Luther King responded to criticism by numerous church leaders and ministers who condemned his role in leading the African-American direct non-violent action against the Birmingham leadership. In his response, Letter from Birmingham Jail, he addresses the factors that informed his actions and calls for agitation against injustice everywhere there is the manifestation of injustice. The violence caught the attention of President John F. Kennedy’s administration, which was keen on the emancipation of the African-Americans who condemned the attack on peaceful African-American protestors (Youngs 219). In September 1962, President John Kennedy, together with the A.G Robert Kennedy, sent hundreds of U.S Marshalls to ensure that an African-American, James Meredith, was peacefully enrolled in the University of Mississippi. The U.S Marshalls helped to quell the race riots that followed his admission into the university. The riot left two people dead.

The chapter points out the genesis of the Civil Rights Movement, its aims, and the successes the movement achieved. The Civil Rights Movement exposed the discriminatory Jim Crow laws, the institutionalized racism, and the inferior treatment of African-Americans to the world. Through the movement, African-Americans advanced their civil rights, and the Jim Crow laws were repealed.