Who were significant figures of the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970?

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ako6777 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were many figures of the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970.  In 1948 "Truman signs Executive Order 9981, which states, "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin."

Thurgood Marshall an attorney, battled and won the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas.  The ruling in the case led the way for widespread desegregation in public schools.

In 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person.  "In response to her arrest the Montgomery black community launches a bus boycott, which will last for more than a year, until the buses are desegregated Dec. 21, 1956."

Martin Luther King, Charles K Steele, and Fred L. Shuttlesworth begin the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The SCLC  became a driving force in the Civil Rights Movement.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, there were too many people who were important in this movement for me to list all of them here.  I will give you a few of the more important ones.

  • Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall.  These two men were behind the NAACP's legal strategy that was the first stage of the Civil Rights Movement.  They planned the steps they would take to get to the eventual goal of school desegregation.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr
  • Rosa Parks
  • Malcolm X
  • Stokely Carmichael

I guess those are the most obvious ones in my mind.  Depending on how you feel, you could include Lyndon Johnson because he was the one who actually pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Other leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement included:

  • A. Philip Randolph
  • Roy Wilkins
  • Whitney Young
  • James Farmer
  • John Lewis

There were other civil rights movements in the United States besides those for those of African-Americans, however. Leaders of the Chicano movement included Rodolfo Gonzalez and Reies Tijerina. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were early leaders of the American Feminist Movement; later, the modern Women's Liberation movement found its leaders in women such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. And the American Indian Movement (AIM) was spearheaded by men such as Russell Means and Fred Hampton (Rainbow Coalition).

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wow, it's a long list.  Start with A. Philip Randolph and Emmitt Till in addition to the list above, then you might want to add Medgar Evers, Elijah Mohammed, John F. Kennedy and James Meredith.

Try to include leaders from different parts of the movement, not just Martin Luther King's non-violent Civil Disobedience campaigns.  There were black nationalists who wanted to separate from the country like Malcolm X and Elijah Mohammed, and those who were more interested in stilmulating black cultural identity and development.  A good paper or essay answer should try to encompass all three.