The 1950’s through the 1970’s was a period of change. Many minorities; LGBT’s, racial minorities, and women; believed that this time was good to start fighting for their basic civil rights. While some of these groups created more awareness than others, they all created a movement that changed the course of basic human rights. While these protests may have gone unheard during this time, they created the civil rights that we have today. Some groups have gained more rights than others, however.
One of the groups that made the most advantages during this duration was the racial minorities, specifically African Americans. Thanks to Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Supreme Court disassembled the Jim Crow laws. They gained equal employment rights, suffrage, could now have interracial marriages, schools were desegregated, integration of travel facilities was legalized, and so much more. While protesters gained many rights, it was slow going and only some protesters were patient. Other racial minorities were not quite as lucky, however. Mexican Americans tried to fight for their rights, but internal divisions in the Mexican American community and steady police harassment slowed down their movement. Native Americans also tried to gain back some of their rights with movements like the occupation of Alcatraz Island, but they proved unsuccessful.
In addition to the racial minorities, women were also trying to gain their rights as well. The creation of feminists created a voice for women, but had competing ways of how to empower women. This made conflict within the movement, making it harder to be taken seriously and organize protests. Women were trying to gain equal rights in politics, schooling, and employment. Many women in the United States were hesitant to label themselves as a feminist for fear of public backlash. Also, African American women believed that fighting for their racial rights was more important than women’s rights. This is why the movement failed to gain as much recognition compared to the racial minorities. They did manage to create more awareness to their cause and start the path to equal women’s rights.
The last major group to fight for their rights was the LGBT’s. In the 1960’s, many gay men and women chose to keep their sexual preferences hidden for fear of the public. During this time, homosexuality was known as a mental disorder. But the hippie lifestyle encouraged many to come out of hiding. LGBT’s raised awareness from the Stonewall Riot and kiss-ins. Their movement was hindered because of the discovery of AIDS and conservative responses.
Many groups fought for their basic rights in this time period, although most times they were unsuccessful. One thing that they all had in common was the fact that they all managed to pave the path to gaining more rights in the future. Without these movements, society would have been very different today.