Civil Rights Movement & The Leaders Of Change

By Kameron West

The Civil Rights Movement was a series of events led by major activist fighting for equality within their society. Some of the most notable leaders would be Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. Each of these people influenced their community greatly and all achieved some sort of progress by doing so. A majority of these events took place down South which is where most of the prejudice ideas were first brought about.

This movement started in 1954 and ended in 1968. During this time period, many of the protest were organized and funded by labor unions run by a man named Walter Reuther. He was one of the few White Americans that supported racial equality and at the time. He showed his support politically and financially by organizing some of the events that took place along with Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon B. Johnson. Most of these campaigns and protest were based on civil resistance. Civil Resistance is a political action that relies on non violence to argue their side of things. Someone who used civil resistance to their advantage would be Dr. Martin Luther King who was a proud man of peace and prosperity.

Besides Mr. King there was Malcolm X. Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little, shortly after changing his name when he had gotten older. He said the last name "Little" was the name of a slave owner and did not want to have any type of connections with anyone like that so he settled for a simple "X" to signify that he doesn't exactly take a last name. As a man of his word Malcolm wasn't your typical activist. He promoted violence and believe that if African Americans wanted to be treated equally they'd have to fight for the right. He believed that there should have been war until both sides eventually came to their senses. Many people believe Malcolm X's influences sparked from his younger life and how he grew up. He spent time in prison for robbery as a young man and eventually learned more about the troubles of America there. After being released, he decided to mature and taken on a much bigger role and implement his background knowledge into his speeches.

What were the Jim Crow Laws?

The Jim Crow laws are what separated the blacks and whites for the most part. It kept water fountains, restaurants, and public transpiration seating. The name "Jim Crow" comes from an African-American character in a song from 1832. After the song came out, the term "Jim Crow" was often used to refer to African-Americans and soon the segregation laws became known as "Jim Crow" laws.

Voting Rights Act Of 1965

In 1965, another law was passed called the Voting Rights Act. This law said that citizens could not be denied the right to vote based on their race. It outlawed literacy tests (a requirement that people be able to read) and poll taxes (a fee that people had to pay to vote).

Civil Rights Act Of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of the most important civil rights laws in the history of the United States. It outlawed discrimination, ended racial segregation, and protected the voting rights of minorities and women.

The 1950's and early 1960's brought about several major events in the fight for the civil rights of African-Americans. In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on the bus to a white passenger. This sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott which lasted for over a year and brought Martin Luther King, Jr. to the forefront of the movement. King led a number of non-violent protests including the Birmingham Campaign and the March on Washington.