Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement

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What are the key issues, personalities, stages, and events of the Civil Rights Movement (1954–1965)?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dr. Martin Luther King was the most important figure in the Civil Rights Movement because he set the tone and direction. His notion of civil disobedience instead of violence was such a crucial concept, because it garnered support from many people.

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lrwilliams eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The above posts have given you great information on the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. I would agree that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers were two of the most influential leaders. I always look at Rosa Parks and her bravery to not give up her seat on the bus as an important moment in the Movement.

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brettd eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Often times historians, students and teachers overlook the importance of Medgar Evers.  He was a minister and civil rights activist in Mississippi who got much less press than Martin Luther King, but started earlier and was influential in ways the young MLK could not be until later in the movement.  He was also assassinated for his activities.

James Meredith was also the first black man to attend the University of Mississippi, even though he had to have FBI escorts in order to do it, and he was still shot.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This would take a term paper to address completely, but let me highlight some key pieces of information and areas to examine in conducting research to complete this "list."

Key figures that come to mind are Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks; these would just be a few jumping points from which to begin.

Key issues dealt with segregation based on race, and refusing rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution but which were still not extended to people of color (such as the right to vote). Segregation included separate public bathrooms, seating on public transportation, restaurant service, etc., based on a person's color.

Events worthy of research would include, but not be limited to:

  • the boycott of Montgomery Bus Company (following Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her seat to a white man)
  • Brown vs. the Board of Education (which was an attempt to desegregate schools)
  • the Little Rock Nine
  • Freedom Rides
  • Sit Ins
  • the murder of Emmet Till
  • Dr. King's arrest in Birmingham
  • the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church (in Birmingham, killing four little girls)
  • the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi
  • the assassinations (of Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X)
  • the Civil Rights March on Washington, and,
  • the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

This is merely a "skeletal" structure of the issues, personalities and events, etc., that galvanized the Civil Rights Movement in this country.

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krishna-agrawala | Student

Civil rights are the freedoms and rights of people that they are supposed to have by the very fact of their being a a member of a  nation irrespective of their other characteristics such as race, economic class, profession, religion, or colour of skin. These rights are sometimes described as birth rights or god given rights. Different countries define these rights in different way. The most common rights accepted as civil rights include right to personal liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to own property, and to receive fair and equal treatment from government, other persons, and private groups.

Over a period history, particularly from the declaration of independence by the USA, and the French Revolution, most of the countries have accepted the concept of civil rights. As a result most of the countries today have constitutions and other laws that secure and protect civil rights of all the people. Unfortunately the discrimination still exists in spite of laws that are supposed to protect civil rights. Civil rights movement generally refers to any movement in the society that is aimed at correcting such laws and other social conditions to eliminate discrimination.

These civil rights movements often consist of campaigns, public meetings, marches, and other forms of protests and propaganda  to make other people aware of the issues and display support and determination for the cause of civil rights. They may also include legal battles against cases of civil rights violation and lobbying for changes in legislation.

One of the most prominent civil rights movement is that of black Americans in the United States. This movement has been going on since 1800's and continues to remain active till date. This movement became very strong during the 1950's and 1960's which resulted in important changes in legislation to end discrimination. Efforts of civil rights leaders resulted in several Supreme Court decisions that attacked discrimination. For example in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), the court held that compulsory segregation in state schools was illegal.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the main leader of  the civil rights movement of USA during 1950's and 1960's, who received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for leading nonviolent civil rights movement. He won wide support among whites, and laws that had barred integration in the Southern States were abolished.

In 1955, Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing demonstrations protesting against discrimination. This movement became a major issue in the nation in the early 1960's, in which the white population of USA also became very much active. From 1961 to 1963, racial protests and demonstrations took place in all parts of the United States. One major event of the movement occurred on August 28, 1963, when more than 200,000 people staged a freedom march called the March on Washington in Washington, D.C.

As a result of the Civil rights movement under the leadership of Martin Luther king Jr., in 1963 President John F. Kennedy proposed a wide-ranging civil rights bill to the U.S. Congress. And the movement won a major major victory in 1964, when the U.S. Congress passed the civil rights bill recommended by Kennedy and his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson.

King died a death of a martyr, when he was killed by an assassins bullet on April 4, 1968.

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