How did the modern Civil Rights Movement use media to further its goals and get support from the general population?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s depended heavily on the media.  A major goal of the movement was to publicize their demands and to make whites in the North aware of the way that blacks were being treated in the South.  Clearly, the media was needed to make this happen.

The movement got support from the general population by having the media show how they acted compared to how the whites acted towards them.  There are the famous pictures that were shown nationwide of blacks marching peacefully for the right to vote while being attacked by police dogs or sprayed with fire hoses.  These images convinced whites around that country that the blacks were being abused.  Whites came to identify more with the blacks who remained nonviolent in the face of such actions than with the whites who were abusing them.

The media, then, was vital to the cause.  It was only through the media that the movement could show whites around the country that they were being treated badly.  When whites saw this (and saw the nonviolent reaction of the protestors) in the media, they came to support the movement enough that Congress was able to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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