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The African Americans community waged the American civil rights movement to end racial discrimination and segregation in the Southern states. The movement sought to institute equal social, economic, and political rights for African Americans. Despite being emancipated in 1863 through Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans continued to live in a segregated society. They have not been bestowed the same rights as White Americans.
The African American civil rights movement didn’t happen overnight. It was decades in the making to end widespread segregation that permeated every aspect of Black American lives. The movement gained momentum after the mistreatment of Black soldiers after the Second World War.
The USA propagated slogans of equality, liberty, and justice worldwide. But, Black soldiers came home to a nation that treated them as second-rate citizens and discredited their contributions.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) spurred the legal battle that challenged the foundations of Jim Crow Laws. Their efforts led to the landmark Supreme Court ruling of” Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.” This ruling declared the segregation of public schools unconstitutional.
The Jim Crow laws in the Southern states enforced racial segregation and apartheid. It famously codified the “separate but equal” ideology into local and state legislations. These laws disenfranchised Black people of the rights and freedom given to them by the Constitution.
African Americans were not allowed to share public facilities with their White counterparts. They had separate schools, cemeteries, restaurants, and parks. There were separate sections reserved for Black people in public transportation that separated them from White people.
During the 1950s and 1960s, civil rights icons like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. paved the way for civil disobedience and nonviolent protests. As the movement gained momentum, groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the American Federation of Labor took part in massive protests.
They marched to raise awareness about social injustice and accelerate the passing of civil rights legislation. The famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was the largest civil rights demonstration in US history. Their unified effort helped pass and implement the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The civil rights movement ended segregation and the Jim Crow era, but the fight to end racial disparity continues today. The Declaration of Independence asserted that “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is for every American citizen. However, the reality is that most POC, especially Black people, face prejudice in their daily lives.
The struggle for genuine social, economic, legal, and racial equality is an ongoing battle many are still fighting. This will continue to rage on until the systemic racism that permeates the social fabric of American society doesn’t end.
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