Civil Rights Movement: Who was important? How does the movement impact one's life?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were many famous people in the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1940s, A. Philip Randolph threatened a march on Washington, D.C. if the government didn’t end the practice of discriminating in the hiring of workers in federal defense plants. President Roosevelt, not wanting any protests during the war, signed an executive order that ended this form of discrimination. James Farmer started the Congress of Racial Equality. This group protested the segregation that existed in our society.

In the 1950s and 1960s more actions occurred. Rosa Parks got arrested because she wouldn’t give up her seat in the section of the bus that was reserved for blacks. This led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the spokesperson for the non-violent civil rights protest movement. The Little Rock Nine were students who went to the previously segregated Central High School in Little Rock. They faced harassment, threats, and intimidation. James Meredith needed military protection to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Many ordinary people took part in marches and protests regarding the lack of voting rights, the segregation that existed in the South, and the inequalities that African-Americans faced. The Freedom Riders came from the North to protest the segregation in the South. Student leaders, like Jesse Jackson, also got involved in the protests of the Civil Rights Movement.

Because of the actions of the leaders and the average citizens, laws were passed banning public segregation in the South. The Voting Rights Act gave African-Americans equal opportunities to register to vote and then to actually vote in elections. Laws were passed outlawing discrimination in terms of renting and selling homes. Many of the things we do today were restricted for African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these restrictions came to an end in the 1950s and 1960s.