African American Civil Rights – Short Essay
African American Civil rights The African American people were the real winners of the Civil Rights Movement. For nearly two centuries blacks had little to no civil liberties whatsoever. In a country that was founded and declared by our founding fathers as a nation “…for the people, by the people, and of the people” African Americans were not even considered as fellow citizens. A century of slavery and half a century of Jim Crows segregation laws, the African American people were finally victorious when the civil rights act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965 were passed.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities and women. Congress finally asserted their authority to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8). Their duty is to guarantee all citizens equal protection including African Americans under the laws of the Fourteenth Amendment. Also the fourteenth Amendment protects voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibits the government from denying any citizen the ability, or right to vote based on race or color. For so long African Americans have been held back due to slavery and Jim Crow laws.
After Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) racial segregation was necessary in all public facilities under the doctrine of “separate but equal”. The fact of the matter is that whites and blacks were never equal, just separate. Jim Crow laws were adopted throughout the south to alienate black citizens and physically separate African Americans and whites. These laws institutionalized segregation of African Americans and whites and did not allow access use of the same schools, hospitals, prisons, public parks, housing communities, and even restrooms. Lets remember these facilities were completely unequal.
The white facilities were obviously more luxurious in every way, and throughout the whole country it was obvious that in no section blacks were treated equal. The most important goal of these laws was to keep blacks from voting. Whites realized that once blacks were able to vote freely they truly were equal to every citizen. The best way they kept blacks from voting was through literacy tests. Through all the efforts whites were putting to keep blacks from voting they have been successful allowing less than 10% of blacks voting in the south in 1910. These segregation laws stayed until Brown v.
Board of Education (1954), which overturned the ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson. The decision stated that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. It was realized after this that racial segregation was ruled a violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This decision paved the way for integration in the south and throughout the United States and was a major win in the civil rights movement. Blacks were most successfully when they were organized. The organized bus boycott, sit-ins, freedom rides, and march on Washington brought national attention to the war on civil rights.
Martin Luther King Jr. led these events; his “I Have a Dream” speech is world famous now due to the significance of the civil rights movement. These demonstrations were pivotal for the African American community in declaring their liberty. Finally when the Civil rights Act of 1964 passed along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, discrimination because of race was outlawed and any color human being could vote. Blacks were finally free and were the true winners of the civil rights movement 1950s and 1960s. They were finally equal and there rights were fully instilled. (Sources: The Logic of American Politics)