When you hear the words Civil rights what do you think of? For me personally my mind would go right to the struggle that African Americans faced. I would think about the amazing Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcom X, and many more that contributed or aided in the process of equal access and rights. My thoughts would be consumed by all the hatred that was given to these specific people simply because they were not white males. But when looking back at this time in history who had gained the most by this experience?
African Americans in my opinion gained the most from the civil rights period. But on the other hand I also believe that they were treated the worst and had the most to overcome. There were several acts that had effected African Americans. Firstly in 1957 segregation of races was outlawed in schools due to the verdict in the Brown VS The Board of Education. Also in 1957 the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was passed which allowed for Federal prosecution for anyone who tried to prevent someone from voting.
Furthermore, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination during employment illegal. This Act also integrated all public restrooms also. There was also the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This Act prevented discrimination based on sex, race, nationality, and or disabilities when moving or finding a new residence. There were a lot of social, mental, emotional, and professional improvements for African Americans from 1950-1970’s.
On the other hand, even though African Americans in my opinion gained the most from this period in history they were not the only ones to have victories. For instance during this time women were being added into the workforce more frequently. Also, by the 1960’s around 80 percent of women used contraception. In contrast African Americans were not the only group of people facing hatred and judgment. Women faced some hatred and judgment but the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community also faced a lot of judgment. In the 1960’s every state had anti-sodomy laws which made anyone participating in anal sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
In conclusion, I stated earlier in this text that when thinking about civil rights my mind would be consumed by the hatred that was portrayed towards people only because they were different and they were not white males. While this is true my mind also thinks about the victories that these brave people accomplished. I think about how far this country has come in the last 60 or so years. Lastly in my opinion no person should ever judge or place hatred on someone else especially only due to differences in opinion, sex, skin color, or sexuality.
Keene, Jennifer D., Cornell, Saul, and O’Donnell, Edward T. Visions of America: A History of the United States. Volume 2, 3/e. Boston: Pearson.