The Civil Rights Movement aimed to remove barriers that confined and degraded minorities. It is important to understand that this movement was not simply based upon race. Women and members of the LGBT community were also fighting for equality and still are today. These groups wanted to change, they wanted equality and freedom. Although they weren’t supported by everyone, racial minorities, women, and many others fought for their freedoms because they wanted equal access to all aspects of American life.
In order for change to occur minorities had to make their voice heard, they had to fight for what they believed in. This fight was made through boycotts, sit-ins, marches, and much more. In Birmingham specifically, protests took a more civil approach. Civil rights activists developed a strategy to use television and news coverage to their advantage. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference(SCLC) began a campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama, which at the time was the most segregated city in the nation. A Birmingham SCLC leader said, “We were trying to launch a systematic, wholehearted battle against segregation that would set the pace for the nation”(P.825). The SCLC’s demonstrations caused controversy. Store owners wanted to stop the demonstrations because they were drawing customers away and they feared the government would become involved. The white business owners initiated private discussions with SCLC leaders but this only caused the activists to raise the pressure. The acts in Birmingham brought recognition to civil rights cause.
Furthering the racial desegregation movement was the March on Washington which was “ a massive demonstration in the nation’s capital that would demand passage of a federal civil rights act”(Pg.828). The march received the national media’s attention. After the march, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a closing address in front of the Lincoln Memorial, his ‘I Have a Dream speech’. There were several other significant leaders who lead protests for change. People like Rosa Parks and Malcolm X also led the fight. African Americans were most definitely the most segregated group in America, they were also probably the most motivated to make a difference for future generations. Not all of their protests were effective but they brought about significant change. From these protests schools slowly became desegregated, along with public restrooms and facilities, they gained the right to vote and many other freedoms which they never experienced before.
Women were another segregated group who fought for equal access. They wanted the same rights as men, as they still do today. Women today are still fighting for equal access, for equal pay, for equal treatment, and for overall equal freedoms. Men had different views, they believed men and women were in separate boxes and men were superior. Many women played important roles in the Civil Rights movement. They led local civil rights organizations, served as lawyers on school segregation lawsuits, and helped lead protests. Their fight for equal access, though, was a different battle. Women were overshadowed by men in every aspect, they were the weaker, more unable gender, who should rely on men and never lead them. The women’s suffrage movement was of the most significant battles for women’s rights. Women fought for the right to vote and eventually, after 100 years of fighting, they gained this freedom. They fought for equal treatment in jobs and for equal pay, although they saw some changes they weren’t as significant as the ones African Americans experienced.
Although they weren’t supported by everyone, African Americans, women, and many others fought for their freedoms because they wanted equal access to all aspects of American life. African Americans fought for equal access and fair treatment, as did women. The African Americans during the 1950s-1970s had the hardest battle and saw the most significant changes. Other minorities fought with and for African Americans against segregation. They also fought for their own freedoms. The Civil Rights Movement was a period of significant change for American citizens.
Keene, Jennifer D., Cornell, Saul, and O’Donnell, Edward T. Visions of America: A History of the United States, Volume2, 3rded. 2019.