Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in the US achieved much progress in the fight for equality and rights of the minority. Martin Luther King Jr’s delivery of the speech, “I have a Dream,” marked a historical moment of victory for the Movement. Notably, different factions of the Movement convened in Washington, DC, to share an important message with the world; they had absolute faith in their dream for freedom and equality. The day also symbolized the transcendence of Martin Luther King Jr into an iconic figure in the liberation movement. He spearheaded intense anti-discrimination lobby activities, peaceful public protests against segregation laws, and mobilized the nation towards the civil rights liberation cause with admirable success. Undeniably, the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s yielded great success against oppressive social, political, and economic systems that transformed the nation’s minority groups’ welfare. Also, it set America in a new path towards equality for all races that still manifest today.
The 1960s Civil Rights Movement period remains the most successful era of the fight for equality for minority groups in America because of the massive anti-discrimination legal and policy changes made. Some of the most significant victories include the adoption of the Civil Rights Act (1964), removal of Jim Crow laws of the south, freedom to vote, and access to equal employment opportunities for minority groups in America (Riches, 2017). These changes were the result of a very well-coordinated and planned struggle by the Civil Rights Movement. To date, many scholars attribute the changes to pressure and effective leadership strategies used by the Movement to fight back oppressive laws and social policies. The African-American minority aspired for the respect of the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. And, through their efforts were able to mobilize the support of majority American to their course.
Though the Civil Rights Movement was predominantly an affair of African Americas, the resulting change also benefitted other minority groups. The benefits included improved access to quality education, housing, employment opportunities, and the right to representation. Hispanic-Americans, Asian-American, and other minority groups such as the Native Americans gained a voice in the political and economic affairs of the country. Moreover, it was a big win for women, who, for a long time, received unfair treatment in a highly patriarchal social-structured society. Notable examples of the positive change in America for minority groups in the US included the integration of Hispanic Americans to the mainstream labor system (Skrentny, 2015). In the post-Civil Rights Movement era, the rate of minority groups absorption to many organizations in America increased. The period was not just a victory for African Americans but also other minority groups.
In the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement activities and changes therein, the welfare of all minority groups became part of the second reconstruction blueprint. For instance, they enjoyed increased access to government employment opportunities, including the military that, previously, was a reservation of the whites and African Americans in select states (Skrentny, 2015). Further, they earned the right to representation through voting amid other rights that already were not within their reach. Typically, multiple social, economic, and political opportunities became available to them in the spirit of equality for all that set the nation in anew trajectory.
The tactics used by the Civil Liberation Movement would not apply to today’s racial and ethnic conflicts because of different socio-cultural dynamics. In the 1960s, religion played an important role in harmonizing all the nation towards a common goal of liberty (Harvey, 2016). Fundamentally, there is widespread disintegration and diversity of ideology that makes it very hard to replicate the techniques of the Civil Rights Movement. The message of equality, as inherent right for all human beings, correlated with the religious doctrines of Christianity, practiced by the majority of Americans. Moreover, the ideological principles of the current generation are highly individualistic across different ethnic groups. As such, the use of a collectivist approach to mobilize inter-cultural support in the fight against ethnic and interracial conflicts is virtually impossible. However, a few of the tactics, such as a reference to the clauses of the Declaration, may be instrumental in addressing rising racial differences. Mainly, this is because it evokes nationalistic sentiments and unites different cultures under the same American identity.
The ideas of the Civil Rights Movement are still relevant today because they mainly focused on the American identity and a shared vision of collective prosperity. The tenets of the liberation heavily focused on evoking an emotional appeal to the founding principles of our nation and the inherent universal values of humanity (Jeffries, 2015). These are not time-bound because they were on the identity and ideals of American society as a collective entity. Today, the Civil Rights Movement world galvanizes the diversity of race and ethnic identity towards finding pride in a common American identity, like it did in the 1960s. Further spark a sense of nationalism that is absent in the diverse contemporary society. In the words of Martin Luther King, it would make, “Now time for justice a reality for all.”
Harvey, P. (2016). Civil Rights Movements and Religion in America. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.492
Jeffries. (2015). What’s Old Is New Again: Recentering Black Power and Decentering Civil Rights. Journal of Civil and Human Rights, 1(2), 245. doi:10.5406/jcivihumarigh.1.2.0245
Riches, W. (2017). The Civil Rights Movement: Struggle and Resistance. Macmillan International Higher Education.
Skrentny, J. D. (2015). After civil rights: Racial realism in the new American workplace. Princeton University Press.