When people think of the civil rights movement most think of the rights African Americans fought for. However, African Americans were not the only ones fighting for equal rights. Many other minorities including Mexicans, Asians, and Women were all fighting for rights that belonged mainly to white men. Woman fought to have more control over there lives and their bodies. Rather than be the average house wife they wanted to go out and enjoy the world as their male counterparts did. They wanted to experience casual sex and have contraceptives so they didn’t have to fear become pregnant afterwards. Other minority groups wanted the same rights as white Americans. Such as the right to vote and equal job opportunities. Despite being met with violence throughout their peaceful protests, rarely did the minority retaliate. Most groups implemented non-violence methods such as sit ins,speeches, or public displays.
The Women’s Movement was an important stride for women’s rights; however, it took away from the Civil Rights Movement. The Women’s Movement cause a fracture between men and women. Women started to leave the Civil Rights movement to join the Women’s right movement. Two women’s influenced they women’s movement with there books. They were Helen Gurley Brown (author of Sex and the Single Girl) and Betty Friedan (author of The Feminine Mystique) they both offered competing views of how to empower women. Browns view was to have women explore their sexuality and use their looks to there advantage till they fade. Friedan’s view was women never had the chance to be anything other then housewives and deserved to take part in careers, hobbies, and politics like men. They protested their gender discrimination by creating National Organization for Women (NOW) no seek equal rights in male dominated domains. Further more they would take bras, high heeled shoes, and play boy magazines put them in a trash can (To protest the Mindless Sex Object Image they represented)but never lighted it due to a local ordinance. In the end women rights improved and revived may equal rights as men. Although even today women’s rights are not 100% equal to men (i.e. wage gap) and it’s still something they strive for every day.
One of the most iconic Civil rights leaders for African Americans was Martin Luther King Jr. A Baptist minister whose view on how to obtain civil rights was though non-violent direct action. Organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) took part in many nonviolent forms of protest such as the boycotting and sit ins that took place in the Birmingham campaign. However, hard battles were still fought most ending in violence against African Americans who were blasted with fire hoses and attacked by dogs. In the end African Americans got what they wanted they were given equal rights under the constitution. They gained the most, going from no rights to having many equal rights.However, like women racial minorities may have been given the right but are still discriminated by the majority.
Overall, all the groups that took a stand in the civil rights era fought long and hard to change their way of life. Each made great strides to get to where they are today and now the country is that much better than it used to be. It’s not a perfect system or prefect country; however, there are still many fighting to make everyone 100% equal under the eyes of the constitution.
Keene, Jennifer D., et al. Visions of America: a History of the United States. Pearson, 2017.