Identify a lesson that the Civil Rights Movement can teach about how everyday people can enact significant social change. 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the most inspiring lessons from the Civil Rights Movement is the idea of "acting locally" as a key for profound change.  The Civil Rights Movement began out of a desire to initiate change in local areas.  The 1952 boycott of Mississippi gas stations that refused to provide restrooms for people of color, and the bus boycotts started in Montgomery and then to other cities are examples of how local action can trigger massive change.  The Civil Rights Movement teaches that if individuals wish to initiate broad based change, action must be and can taken locally.  I think that the lesson of the Movement is to instruct how individuals do not have to be dismayed by the profound level of institutional inertia to change.  Rather, individuals can become motivated by it.  Change is local, and from this, more expansive and transcendent notions can be evident.  This becomes one of the strongest lessons out of the Civil Rights Movement.  It is for this reason that so many movements modeled their own actions out of the template established by the Civil Rights Movement, in that local action is of vital importance in order to achieve a broader and more coherent movement.