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Civil Rights Movement Essay

Davarian L. Baldwin – Trinity College

❶The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male jury acquitted them. Ella Baker was disenchanted with the leadership in the SCLC, she felt that their focus was too much about the figureheads and the bureaucratic hierarchy that existed within and she clearly voiced this to the leaders of the organization.

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Most of the time women were invisible during the movement. One could say that the case of Emmett Till can be seen as the motivation for the Civil Rights Movement in the sense that it launched a new era in media and national attention for the movement. Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was a visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, on August 24, , when he reportedly whistled at white cashier at a grocery store about four days later, two white men kidnapped, beat and shot him in the head.

The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male jury acquitted them. This was the first in a series of wake up calls for White America and even further for Northern America about the horrific realities of lynching. Up until this point the Northern population saw the movement as an issue of unfair treatment, this was the wake up call that shocked them into caring and understanding that this movement was truly a matter of the preservation of lives.

The other role this case played was the attention a black journalist named Simeon Booker got. It was the first time that the White press had taken an interest in a case like this in the movement. This was the point where leaders in the movement were able to grab ahold of the power of the non-Black press and set in motion a relationship with the media that would be crucial to the success of the movement. It can be said that the modern Civil Rights Movement was birthed out of and functioned within the realm of the Black church; because this is true it only makes sense that the gender roles that shaped the Black church were the same that shaped the movement.

The woman was essentially seen and not so much heard unless it was the wish of the men in the movement. The church also subscribed to the concept of charismatic leadership, which picked a figurehead as the face of the movement while grassroots led the movement.

Just like male ministers head a church and the women of the church do all of the work that comes with running the church and preparing for service each Sunday, the women of the movement ensured order, made flyers, and created chains of information.

Martin Luther King Jr, who was the figurehead for the Civil Rights Movement and consisted of male ministers, founded it. These men traveled together and would preach about peace and equality but it was women who were necessary in organizing the groundwork. Even more apparent was the direct link between religion and the leaders of the movement.

The men whom we know as the primary faces or figureheads of the movement were both, first and foremost, religious leaders. Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that most of the civil rights movement leader were also church leaders shows how much church and this movement go together. The two most prominent forms of leadership in the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power are charismatic leadership and grassroots leadership.

In order for a movement to be successful there was to be figurehead. What this figurehead is just the face of the movement, for example Martin Luther king Jr was one of the figure heads chosen for this movement. When most people think of the Civil Rights Movement he is what comes to mind. The two most prominent forms of leadership in the course of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power are charismatic leadership and grassroots leadership.

Charismatic leadership is the more recognizable form of leadership in the movement this type of structure is modeled after the black church. It elects a figurehead with a charismatic disposition to essentially work as the face of the movement, such as Martin Luther King or Malcolm X. Representation of ideas and thoughts are relayed directly from those who conceived them, not from a figurehead. This form of leadership was more popular in student groups such as the SNCC and was advocated by leaders such as Ella Baker.

While these two forms of leadership are identified separately, they do in fact need each other. A figurehead leader is a good buffer to allow grassroots work continues without disruption while the public and press focus their attention on the leader.

Grassroots is fueled by its workers and a charismatic leader can draw in more manpower and ideas when people are attracted to a figureheads charisma.

Most importantly though, charismatic leaders would have nothing to relay and put in action if not for the work of grassroots, creating campaigns, ideas, and strategies. During this movement however, women are clearly overlooked. Women were everywhere in this movement. It was a moment in history where the oppressed took an organized stand against the oppressors in turn while doing this they were able to find their voice along the way; yet a movement that was so dedicated to a reformation of roles had one fatal flaw.

This movement, so focused on progression, was based on an oppressive system of patriarchal leadership, one designed to muffle the voice of the women until the men decided it could serve a purpose.

This age old, oppressive hierarchy, birthed out of the Black church, did to Black women what White America was doing to the whole of the Black population, yet this movement would not have gown and been so successful without the women to organize and spread the word. In this case the oppressed group became the oppressor. The female role in the Civil Rights Movement was strictly to organize, execute, and appear.

Even though women pretty much running the movement in the backround what really demonstrates that women were in the oppressive role is the fact that an organization that was called a political council was held responsible for cutting stencils and making copies which is tedious mundane work. This was simply one of the many female groups formed in an effort to support the movement by organizing the grassroots work.

Due to this fact the women of the movement were relegated to organizational work, the young women were kept in the dark about any other potential role they could play in the movement past making flyers and creating information chains. It was because of this that young girls like, Melba Patillo Beals, were unaware of their full potential in this movement.

In her interview in Voices of Freedom Beals discusses the driving factor behind her decision to put her name on the list to attend Central High. Nowhere in her oral interview does Beals mention a desire to make history, stand out or be an influential figurehead; her driving force was curiosity.

When the Brown v. Nixon of the BSCP, clergy members, and radical organizer Ella Baker offered key strategies, but the protest's full effect was achieved through the feet and resiliency of riders and fellow travelers, who organized carpools and walked miles to work.

Even with threats of job loss and violence, the largely poor black masses effectively crippled a bus system that received 65 percent of its revenue from black riders. The Montgomery Bus Boycott of helped push toward the desegregation of buses all over the South while thrusting King into the rough-and-tumble world of political organizing. Nonviolent direct action had won the day and became the dominant mode of resistance for the movement.

Moreover, the boycott took place the same year as the Bandung Conference of newly liberated African and Asian nations, situating Montgomery within a worldwide moment of freedom struggles. In King was urged to create the Southern Christian Leadership Council SCLC to help coordinate local efforts among church, student, and community organizations and train them in the strategies of nonviolent protest.

While the SCLC worked with all groups, its strategy highlighted a changing tide. The NAACP resented the attention and resources taken away from what it deemed more effective court cases to defend and support protesters. While Brown had desegregated the schools on the law books, it would take more to make integrated schools a lived reality. President Eisenhower uttered not a word. The advent of television helped transport images of racial violence against black children into living rooms around the globe, visually demonstrating the racial terms of American democracy.

After Faubus removed the troops and left the children vulnerable to the whims of an angry and violent adult white mob, Eisenhower placed the National Guard under the authority of federal troops ordered to protect black students. Black protest seemed to stoke the fires of white bloodlust and callousness directed against adults and children alike.

Black residents were sentenced to prison and murdered, and homes were firebombed all across the South if the owners dared assert their constitutional rights. Racial violence escalated, and the NAACP was not the only organization that grew frustrated with nonviolent direct-action politics.

But his frustration with nonviolent protest stemmed not from a preference for courtroom battles. He advocated armed self-defense, responding to white violence with bullets and barricades. Williams looked out over America's social landscape and saw little recourse in nonviolent protest or legal statutes. As a case in point, the federal government passed the first Civil Rights Act in , but it was hardly enforced. Williams was part of a growing body of activists from within traditional organizations who were critical of both nonviolence and top-down leadership approaches from the start.

Their presence reveals that the meaning of civil rights activism was not set in stone but constantly contested and reconstructed. In and black students in Nashville, Tennessee, and Greensboro, North Carolina, valiantly defied Jim Crow by "sitting in" at all-white lunch counters. Students were influenced by images of Montgomery and Little Rock, going on to inspire sit-ins at restaurants, churches, libraries, and waiting rooms across the South.

Many were yelled at, kicked, burned with cigarettes, and yet they stood firm. The early s saw civil rights veterans and union organizers joining students to both train people in the discipline of nonviolence and reproduce sit-ins across the country.

Students faced an overwhelming flourish of violent attacks by whites. Activists were beaten, riders were caught in burning buses, and it was all broadcast across the world. Freedom Riders had achieved success, but white resistance was resilient.

James Meredith defiantly enrolled at the University of Mississippi in , provoking a vital power struggle between states rights and federal power. Governor Ross Barnett flaunted the dictates of federal law until President Kennedy was pushed to mount a federal military occupation of 31, troops to enforce the law. The movement pushed forward and began to focus on the important terrain of voter registration in and For their efforts both Lee and Evers were murdered and Hammer and her husband were beaten and lost their jobs, but a voting campaign had been established.

In SCLC turned its attention to the notorious stronghold of white power, Birmingham, Alabama, to inaugurate the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The city was known as "Bombingham" because more than fifty bombings afflicted the black community between World War II and When SCLC members organized a series of mass protests, marchers were attacked and jailed and many local ministers called for an end to the demonstrations.

In a controversial decision, arrested adults were replaced on the streets with young children. Images of small children attacked by dogs and police clubs and knocked off their feet by fire hoses shocked the world. The day after W. Du Bois died in Ghana, , people descended on the nation's capital, where King's "I Have a Dream" speech took on mythic proportions.

Not a month later, white supremacists bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, leaving four little girls dead. Central Intelligence Agency director J. Edgar Hoover identified the attackers but disliked the Civil Rights movement, so he did nothing. Robert Moses and Amzie Moore offered their own response in by inviting northern white students to Mississippi for a "Freedom Summer" to register black workers and set up "Freedom Schools.

Unlike the countless murders of local black people, these killings received international attention. Eighty-three delegates were elected, but they were denied access to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. Fannie Lou Hamer told cameras that they were the true democratically elected representatives of the state, not those sponsored by all-white state elections.

The convention seated the white elected delegates, while the MFDP rejected the offer of two at-large seats. This was the most far-reaching and comprehensive civil rights legislation Congress had ever passed.

It banned discrimination in public accommodations and the workplace but did not address police brutality or racist voting tests. The six hundred protestors reached the Pettus Bridge but were pushed back by police violence and tear gas.

The attack was dubbed Bloody Sunday. President Johnson was ultimately forced into action, calling on Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of Racism had excluded black people from the accumulation of wealth and resources, a historical reality that could not be addressed by legal protection in the present.

In fact, the federal government did turn its attention to the economic question with a limited "war on poverty. These programs were radical in their reach but radically underfunded and undermined by black and white resistance from the start.

The link between race and class, however, could not be severed, especially during a Vietnam War that sent largely poor people of color to its bloody front lines. Even Martin Luther King began to see the links between unfettered funding for the war machine and the sea of poverty washing over America's domestic landscape. These insights set the stage for King's infamous "Time to Break Silence" speech of and his bridging of the gap between civil rights and economic justice.

At the same time, SNCC supported black draft evaders and grew critical of the rights-based approach to black freedom that seemed to be the terms on which white support was offered. It was in Mississippi where Carmichael, frustrated with the continued violence and the limits of legal protection, popularized the slogan "Black Power.

The LCFO was dubbed the Black Panther Party because its state-required ballot symbol was a black panther, a direct retort to the white rooster of the state's Democratic Party and its logo of "white supremacy.

The battle waged in "Bloody Lowndes" was lost, but the efforts of a grassroots southern movement for Black Power speaks to the full range of experiences that encompassed the fight for freedom. The movement fought southern Jim Crow and northern ghetto formation. Led by charismatic individuals and grassroots collectivities, its members turned to nonviolent action and armed self-defense, waging battle in courtrooms and on the streets.

Understood in their full depth and scope, visions of the black freedom movement have yet to be fully realized. America in the King Years, — Simon and Schuster, Harvard University Press, Collier-Thomas, Bettye, and V. Sisters in the Struggle: New York University Press, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy. Princeton University Press, The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, — I've Got the Light of Freedom: University of California Press, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision.

University of North Carolina Press, Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy. Theoharis, Jean, and Komozi Woodward, eds.

Black Freedom Struggles Outside the South, — Williams and the Roots of Black Power. African Americans had long endured a physical and social landscape of white supremacy, embedded in policy, social codes, and both intimate and spectacular forms of racial restriction and violence. By the s the black freedom movement raised a collective call of "No More"! A Jim Crow sign in an unknown area of the United States, ca.

The Jim Crow laws legalized discrimination of African Americans in many facets of life, including education, housing, employment, health care, and accommodations. Two young men drink from segregated water fountains in front of Lumberton Warehouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, ca. Blacks caught drinking from white fountains were often arrested or beaten. Philip Randolph — was a leading African-American activist for several decades of the twentieth century. Randolph had championed the rights of workers in the s, and in November he had threatened to lead a ,person march on Washington if wartime production was not integrated.

Randolph called off the march. Senate seat on the American Labor Party ticket. He was supported by friend and fellow civil rights activist Paul Robeson. Board of Education case. Board of Education of Topeka decision banning segregation in public schools overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which had declared "separate but equal" facilities to be constitutional.

The decision set a precedent that enabled the continued dismantling of Jim Crow legislation nationally. Highlander Research and Education Center. Rosa Parks — was already involved with the NAACP and voter registration activities before she became a symbol of the civil rights movement. On December 1, , Rosa Parks — refused to move from her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to make room for whites. She became widely known as the "mother of the Civil Rights movement.

In and thousands of supporters participated in a mass boycott of Montgomery buses that lasted days. African Americans organized carpools or car sharing to support those in the community who opted to rely on automobiles rather than public transportation.

Flyers like this one advertised carpooling services and helped to keep the boycott going strong.


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Essay: The Civil Rights Movement There are have been many social movement that have captured my attention but the movement that I was most attracted to was the Civil Rights movement. The reason I am so fascinated by the Civil Rights movement is because the movement was ultimately about equality and freedom.

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- A Summary of The Civil Rights Movement The civil rights movement saw one of it’s earliest achievements when The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (founded in ), fought to end race separation in .

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- Civil Rights in the USA 1) How did the civil rights movement change between and [6] Black Americans had a very tough time, there were lots of things they couldn’t do just because of the colour of their skin. The Civil Rights Movement Essay Words | 5 Pages. The civil rights movement was a span of time when the African Americans endeavor was to acquire their constitutional rights of which they were being deprived. A commendable bearing of the civil rights movement was the unachievable triumph that the blacks sought after and built.

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Articles and Essays The March on Washington For many Americans, the calls for racial equality and a more just society emanating from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, , deeply affected their views of racial segregation and intolerance in the nation. Custom Civil Rights Movement Essay Writing Service || Civil Rights Movement Essay samples, help Introduction The civil rights movement was a movement in the United States in the s to the s and mainly led by Blacks in an effort to establish gender and racial equality for all the African Americans.