How did African- American attitudes toward achieving the goal of equality change during the sixties?How did African- American attitudes toward achieving the goal of equality change during the sixties?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Before the sixties, African Americans wanted equality but did not really think it was possible. The status quo was the status quo. They didn't expect change. The civil rights movement in the sixties changed all that. They began to have hope. They had leaders to follow.
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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one was African- American attitudes towards equality changed in the 1960s resided in how dominant the call was for change and how willing many were to hear it.  For generations, African- Americans were forced to believe that "this is it" and that the discrimination and second class citizenship that people of color experienced in America was the best things could get.  The "promissory note" that America owed to people of color was never called in.  Yet, the 1960s presented itself as an instant, a moment, where the voices of change, of what should be as opposed to what is, dominated the African- American culture and became something to be heard.  Naturally, leaders like Dr. King were instrumental in this process.  Yet, at the same time, other leaders like Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and Stokely Carmichael were also vocal advocates that were being understood and respected as individuals who could help bring equality to people of color.  African- American attitudes towards change were not being silenced or discarded as much as being understood and to which people were listening.  The number of voices that were calling for change were unprecedented and even the more conservative of individuals understood that this change was either inevitable or a moment in time that had to be acknowledged.  In this light, there seemed to be a greater call for change and a warmer reception to it.

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