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Civil Rights Activism

Civil rights activism in the United States gained steam and grew into a mainstream movement in the 1950s, however a specific date cannot be pinpointed during this time period. Taking on established forms of racial unfairness in the courts was made possible by organizations like the NAACP. American citizens became vividly aware during World War II of the embarrassing disparity between their democratic ideals and the country’s racially discriminatory practices. African Americans who served in World War II and Korea were enraged by the country’s unwillingness to acknowledge their full citizenship rights (Carl L. Bankston III 119).

Taking on established forms of racial unfairness in the courts was made possible by organizations like the NAACP. American citizens became acutely conscious of the mismatch between their democratic ideals and the racial discriminatory realities of American society during World War II. African Americans who served in WWII and Korea were enraged by the country’s unwillingness to recognize their full citizenship rights. Little Rock, Arkansas and Montgomery, Alabama’s civil rights battles were shown on television as well in the 1950s as a result of the introduction of television into American homes.

Rosa Parks, a Montgomery seamstress and former NAACP branch secretary, refused to give up her seat on the bus on December 1, 1955, when a white man sat down in front of her. Parks was apprehended and is currently in police custody. After she was released from jail, African-American activists in Montgomery began planning a bus boycott. Ralph David Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jo Ann Robinson were invited by the Alabama NAACP’s executive director for a meeting on the civil rights movement. The Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was created by Martin Luther King Jr. at the age of 26 and was headed by him.” The MIA planned a boycott and arranged up carpools for African American individuals in order to avoid riding the buses.

The African American protest movement has extended across the country. Once again, the banner of “freedom,” “equality,” and “human rights,” trumpeted by the Constitution and the president, was shown to be a sham by this fight against discrimination and for equal rights. 16.African Americans have economic and social inequities that are unattributed, according to this allegation, which was then followed by a series of facts. Blacks in Oklahoma had a 30-percent jobless rate and a life expectancy of seven years less than that of their white counterparts, whereas the general unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was 6.5 percent. Thus, ‘Today, hundreds of African Americans are fighting imminent hunger and death, on the brink of despair’ (Norrell, and Salmond 744)

In the year that the boycott was in place, Dr. King gained worldwide fame for his advocacy of nonviolent resistance, which the Civil Rights movement adopted as a significant tactic in the years that followed. In response to Montgomery’s bus company’s financial difficulties, police and the city’s administration began to target those who were engaging in the bus boycott. Dr. King was among those detained by the police. He was accused of speeding, according to reports. Dozens of MIA members have been accused of involvement in a conspiracy. The houses of Martin Luther King, Jr., and other prominent black leaders had been targeted by bombers. Just another example of the media’s ability to convey information to the American populace.

Executive Order No. 13166 (2000), which required federally funded organizations to provide language access services, was opposed by the Republican Party’s conservative agenda, which was backed by corporations. Nativists want to restrict this freedom of expression by establishing strict linguistic regulations. In California, Republican activists pushed for an English-only law. Ron Unz, a multi-millionaire, used his political clout and personal wealth to influence the outcome of the election. Some of the most disadvantaged pupils in three states have been adversely affected by restrictions on bilingual education because of their poor level of English proficiency (Pac 195).

In a lawsuit filed on the 1st of February, five African American women sought to invalidate a 1956 law requiring separate seating for women of color. In November, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case. A month later, the Court ordered Montgomery to stop using segregated buses as a means of transportation going forward. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, voting rights for African Americans were severely restricted in many sections of the country, particularly the South. Voters were unable to express themselves due of intimidation and violence, or because of fraudulent examinations imposed by white registrars. After the Little Rock school crisis, which brought civil rights to the attention of the nation, Congress examined a new voting rights proposal.

Protests in the South over a new law were fierce. Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Texas senator and majority leader, endorsed the effort. The bill was passed into law because to Johnson’s political savvy. There is an impartial commission to look into allegations of civil rights abuses as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 (the Act). When a voter’s right to vote is threatened, the state’s attorney general will take legal action. The Civil Rights Section has been upgraded to the rank of a division by the president’s nomination of an assistant attorney general.

Southern states continued to deny African-Americans voting rights after the Voting Rights Act of 1957 passed. Additional civil rights laws were passed in 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1991, in addition to the 1965 and 1982 Voting Rights Acts. African Americans were never denied the right to vote in the United States in the 20th century, and the federal government created comprehensive protections for minorities’ legal and political rights.

Civil rights activism emerged in the 1950s, and the fight for equal rights for all Americans began. While some white Americans were outraged, others began to realize the injustice of racial discrimination as a result of their efforts. Events in Little Rock and Montgomery set off a decade of civil disobedience and debate about government obligations to protect minority rights.


Carl L. Bankston III. Michigan Historical Review, vol 41, no. 2, 2015, p. 119. The Michigan Historical Review (Project Muse), Accessed 29 Jan 2022.

Norrell, Robert J., and John A. Salmond. “”My Mind Set On Freedom”: A History Of The Civil Rights Movement, 1954- 1968.”. The Journal Of American History, vol 85, no. 2, 1998, p. 744. Oxford University Press (OUP),

Pac, Teresa. “The English-Only Movement In The US And The World In The Twenty-First Century”. Perspectives On Global Development And Technology, vol 11, no. 1, 2012, pp. 192-210. Brill,×620833.


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