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Civil Rights for Everyone?

Updated on October 20, 2014

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Civil Rights

What precisely did the Civil Right Movement gain?

The Civil Rights Movement gained a certain equality for African American citizens. It also lead to the integration of previously segregated areas of the United States. Legislation was passed in order to make sure that segregated places integrated;

[An Act, to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes] (Bowels, 2011).

During this period the Equal Pay Act was also formed. This was supposed to ensure that women and men received equal pay for equal. Unfortunately this did not guarantee that right as businesses could technically hire anyone they wanted to, meaning they did not have to hire women at all.

What objectives did it fail to achieve?

The Civil Rights Movement did not do much for the gay and lesbian crowd, as it seems to do more about African American Rights, even though the Civil Rights Act, and many of the other Acts that were passed during this period, clearly states that every citizen is to be included. Gays and Lesbians, however, have been fighting for their rights since the late 1960s and are still fighting today; "Sheridan Square this weekend looked like something from a William Burroughs novel as the sudden specter of "gay power" erected its brazen head and spat out a fairy tale the likes of which the area has never seen" (Truscott, 1969). The movement did more for African American men than it did for any of the women as;

[The Equal Pay Act of 1963, the first Federal legislation guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, prohibited firms engaged in interstate commerce from paying workers according to wage rates determined by sex. It did not, however, prevent companies from hiring only men for higher paying jobs. Despite the fact that Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 further prevented sex discrimination in employment, African-American women as a class remained “at the bottom of the economic totem pole” because of “their dual victimization by race and sex-based discrimination,” in the words of Dr. Pauli Murray] (1962).

How were the approaches of Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcom X to Civil Rights different? How were they the same?

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Christian man that tried to gain equality through peace and non-violence rather than by gaining it by force and power. He gave speeches about how he had a dream that everyone could be equal. He also gave speeches on the American government and what they ought to be doing. At one point he asked; "can we have government in Mississippi that represents the whole of the people" (Beacham, Gilmartin, Grobman, Ling & Rhee, 2004)? Malcolm X was a Muslim who thought that African American power and equalization would be gained through methods less non-violent.

[Malcolm X eventually formed his own coalition and began spreading a dual message of anti-white propaganda and African pride. He argued that racism destroyed the self-respect of African Americans (Terrill, 2004). As a result, it was Malcolm X who pushed for the name "African American" to define the African in America. He also had a broader message, in which he looked beyond the United States and toward the worldwide problems that those of African descent faced. Implicit in this message was his support of Pan-Africanism, which, in the 1960s, was the drive for African nations to gain independence from European powers (Jennings, 2006)] (Bowels, 2011).

Why did so many new movements emerge by the end of the 1960s? (i.e. regarding Native Americans, Women, Chicanos, etc)

The Civil Rights Movement gave everyone hope that they could been seen and treated as equal. If African Americans, who had been previously enslaved and treated terribly, could gain their freedom and become a part of society everyone else could to. Women no longer wanted to be seen as extensions of their husbands, African American women wanted the same rights as their male counterparts, Native Americans and immigrants wanted to be included as citizens and Native Americans were owed so much from the whites that took over their homeland and their culture. Everyone wanted to be equal, just like the American Constitution said that it should be.

Was the nation more or less divided in 1970 than it had been in 1950?

I honestly feel like the nation was more divided in 1970. Everyone had started to become "equal" but they weren't really. Women were still fighting for women's right, African American women were fighting for their rights, immigrants had begun to fight for their rights as citizens and a new group emerged with the gays and lesbians. It seems like the country was more divided than ever with everyone fighting for the same goal.

Resources

(1962). “The bottom of the economic totem pole”: African American women in the workplace. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6472

Beacham, T. Gilmartin, B., Grobman, S, Ling, C., & Rhee, V. (Producers), Libretto, J. (Director). (2004). Let freedom ring: Moments from the civil rights movement, 1954-1965 [News program]. New York, NY: NBC Universal. Retrieved from http://digital.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=40565&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=

Bowles, M. (2011). American history 1865–present: End of isolation. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Truscott, L. (1969, July 3). Gay power comes to Sheridan Square. The Village Voice. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/stonewall-village-voice/

Civil Rights for Everyone?

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