Civil unjust in United States in 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. quotes, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” This generation had civil unjust, no trust in the government, and participated in some devastating wars. Black people were protesting using non-violent protests and some Americans were against these movements and which ended in a two-decade event. Martin Luther King Jr. responded to this movement by preaching speeches and leading the non-violent movement. If Martin Luther King Jr. did not live during this time, then African-American people would have got treated very differently today.

Civil unjust was very clear in the nation during this time and started to rise to the surface in 1968. “In 1968, the 14th Amendment to the constitution gives blacks equal protection under the law. In 1970, the 15th Amendment granted blacks the right to vote”. After these laws, many whites from the South were not happy with these laws, and they “were now on a more-or-less playing field”. After those amendments passed, they wanted to marginalize the blacks and pass the Jim Crow laws. According to these laws, “Blacks can’t use the same public facilities as whites, live in many of the same towns, or go to the same schools”. Even though Jim Crow laws were not adopted in the northern states, “blacks still experienced discrimination at their jobs or when they tried to buy a house or get an education”. Also, even though they passed the 15th amendment, “most blacks couldn’t vote because they were unable to pass voter literacy tests”. “Southern segregation gained ground in 1896 when the U.S. Supreme Court declared in Plessy v. Ferguson that facilities for blacks and whites could be “separate but equal”. African-Americans were also discouraged to join the war. After these terrible happenings, “thousands of blacks threatened to march on Washington to demand equal employment rights”. Then Franklin D. Roosevelt opened defense jobs to all Americans no matter the race. During World War 2, “Black men and women served in World War II, despite suffering segregation and discrimination during their deployment. Yet many got met with prejudice and scorn upon returning home”. The action of disrespect was why they were fighting in the war and it was happening in their own country. As the Cold War began, Truman “initiated a civil rights agenda, and in 1948 issued Executive Order 9981 to end discrimination in the military”. These events are what sparked the civil rights movement.

On December 1, 1955, a forty-two-year-old woman named Rosa Parks found a seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. “Segregation laws at the time stated blacks must sit in designated seats at the back of the bus, and Parks had complied”. A white man walked onto the bus and did not have a seat and Rosa Parks did not give him her seat. Rosa Parks got arrested for refusing to give up her seat. When people heard Rosa Parks got arrested, it ignited a fire for the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks is the “mother of the modern-day civil rights movement”. “Black community leaders formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) led by Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr., a role which would place him front and center in the fight for civil rights”. The MIA staged a boycott of the Montgomery bus that lasted 381 days. “On November 14, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled segregated seating was unconstitutional”. In 1954, the movement gained momentum when the Supreme Court “made segregation illegal in public schools in the case of Brown v. Board of Education”. 

On September 3, 1957, nine black students, “ known as the Little Rock Nine, arrived at Central High School to begin classes but were instead met by the Arkansas National Guard”. After he heard this, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine to and from classes at Central High”, but still received harassment. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 “allowed federal prosecution of anyone who tried to prevent someone from voting”. On February 1, 1960, four college students took a stand against segregation when they refused to leave a Woolworth’s lunch counter. “Over the next several days, hundreds of people joined their cause. After some got arrested and charged with trespassing, protestors launched a boycott of all segregated lunch counters until the owners caved and the original four students were finally served at the Woolworth’s lunch counter where they’d first stood their ground”. One of the most famous events of the Civil Rights Movement was the March on Washington. “It got organized and attended by civil rights leaders such as A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and Martin Luther King Jr.”. Over 200,000 black and white marched on Washington to establish job quality for everyone. The highlight of the march of Martin Luther King Jr.s’ speech, “I Have a Dream.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 “guaranteed equal employment for all”. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned all literacy tests. On April 4, 1968, MLK got assassinated on his hotel balcony. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 got passed to prevent “housing discrimination based on race, sex, national origin and religion”. This time of unjust would not be powerful if there was not a powerful leader like Martin Luther King Jr. However, there are other powerful speakers, authors, and activists as well.

Speeches are a major impact on movements and persuade people to new ideas. Audre Lorde once quoted, “Your silence will not protect you.” During this time of the Civil Rights Movement, one impactful activist was Malcolm X. Malcolm X was an “African-American leader and prominent in the Nation of Islam who articulated concepts of race pride and black nationalism in the 1960s”. The Autobiography of Malcolm X made him a hero to the black youth. Malcolm wrote about his childhood stories and the events he went through during this time movement. In one of his speeches called “Message to the Grassroots”. He starts his speech by saying they are the only people that caught “hell” and shared a common enemy at the time. That enemy was white people. In the speech, he said, “You catch hell because you are a black man. You catch, all of us catch hell, for the same reason”. This speech showed what Malcolm X believed in. He believed in black nationalism and he showed it many times in this speech. 

Ruby Bridges is a Civil Rights author. Ruby is the first to attend the all-white William Frantz Elementary school in Louisiana. Ruby also wrote a book called “Through My Eyes”. In this book, Bridges sees angry mobs all around and no kids going to school. This book shows us what happened to Bridges in her eyes at that elementary. In the book, Ruby’s first words in the book are “when I was six years old, the civil rights movement came knocking at my door”. Ruby Bridges showed the people how she had segregation in kindergarten and her book was very moving and powerful. Last but not least, Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the greatest speakers in history. MLK is an American Baptist and an activist as well. His speeches and books are powerful. One of his most famous speeches, “I Have a Dream”, calls for civil rights and an end to racism. A quote in this speech is “ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character “ (MLK). Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was racism would come to an end and the United States would come together. He uses many literary devices and beautiful words to show the meaning of his speech. Words are so powerful from the beginning of history to today, and MLK showed that in his speech. Speeches can move people and change history. Martin Luther King Jr. was the best at giving and writing speeches and it showed. His speeches inspired people to keep going and trust the process for the end goal. His speeches make people see an end goal. His speeches gave hope and power to the people of that time and no one could have done it better. Martin Luther King Jr. is honored for his part in the Civil Rights Movement, and His history and background contribute to who he is today.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. His father is a baptist preacher and both his parents were college-educated. The family lived on Auburn Avenue that is the “home to some of the country’s largest and most prosperous black businesses and black churches in the years before the civil rights movement”. Martin also got a solid education while growing up. Martin Luther King Jr. experienced prejudice in the South. Martin will never forget the time when “ at about age six, one of his white playmates announced that his parents would no longer allow him to play with King because the children were now attending segregated schools”. Martin also had some rough times as well. When his grandmother dies of a heart attack, he was at a parade without permission. The twelve-year-old King attempted “suicide by jumping from a second-story window”. Before beginning college, but, spent his summer on a tobacco farm in Connecticut. During this time out of his home state, he got shocked by how the races mixed in the North. Martin notes, “Negroes and whites go to the same church… I never thought a person of my race could eat anywhere.” In college, King favored medicine and law, but got urged by his father in his senior year to enter the ministry. King spent the next three years at the Crozer Theological Seminary “ where he became acquainted with Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence”. 

King got elected president of Crozer’s student body because of his speaking skills. After Crozer, King went to Boston University to “seek a firm foundation for his own theological inclinations and received a dissertation”. When King was in Boston, he met Coretta Scott who later because his wife and together they had four children. When Martin was a baptist and was in Montgomery, Alabama, he contests racism on the public bus system. This was around the time Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man. Activists formed the “Montgomery Improvement Association” because of Rosa Parks arrest and chose King to be the leader. In King's first speech as president, he says, “we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.” This speech introduces a new voice during a time of struggle. After about over a year, the city buses got desegregated. King then organized the SCLC “which gave him a base of operation throughout the South”. 

From 1960 to 1965, King`s influence reached its peak. In the spring of 1963, his campaign to end segregation at lunch counters and “drew nationwide attention when police turned dogs and fire hoses on the demonstrators”. King got arrested with schoolchildren and supporters. When King was in the Birmingham Jail, he wrote a letter that talked about his view of nonviolence. A passage of that letter says “ nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and such a tension…”. After Birmingham jail, the March on Washington became a thing. 200,000 came to the Lincoln Memorial and saw the “I Have a Dream” speech. The speech dreams of a nation that would come to together as brothers and sisters. Many marches came and laws got passed through hard times. Martin Luther King died on April 4, 1968, in Tennessee. Martin Luther King’s legacy still lives on to this day and will be known for his role for equal rights in the United States.

The Civil Rights Movement has many victories from hardships that has led to equality today. Laws got passed to do so. Authors, activists, and speakers were a huge impact on this movement because of how they influenced the people, and Martin Luther King Jr. was an important part of the movement and how he has gone thought and how much he did for this great nation. Many people went through hardships to create a great nation today. Authors shared their experiences through their books. Speakers moved people in the right direction in such an effective way. Last but not least, Martin Luther King moved people during this movement and his dream became reality after all he did.  

29 April 2022
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