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American History Since 1865

Essay by   •  March 26, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,038 Words (9 Pages)  •  763 Views

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At the start of slavery in the early 1600's African Americans have taken great strives to end segregation, discrimination, and isolation. During their struggles, breakthrough came that yield fruits of their labor. Several very important African American leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Fredrick Douglas can't go unrecognized. Through their works they ensured that an end was put to segregation, discrimination, and isolation to attain civil rights and equality.

Many African Americans had to endure hardships, trials, tribulations, and suffer through a long journey to obtain equal rights in America. The struggles and injustice African Americans had to face throughout history was surreal. Thousands of African Americans made the effort had the determination; and the will to fight for what they deserved. Long before the Reconstruction era, African Americans had to fight segregation which leads to riots. There was division among blacks and whites, public places were segregated. African Americans fought to have equal rights like their white counterparts. "The New South struggled to emerge from the Civil War and Reconstruction period by redeeming it place in the nation, expanding industrially, and strengthening itself agriculturally. In the process African Americans began experiencing new levels of racial discrimination, segregation, and violence" (Bowles, 2011).

Although African Americans still currently face struggles with equality, fairness, and being treated equal by some people and places in the U.S. the pledge of allegiance currently has a ring of truth. African Americans now have hope and a sense of liberty and justice. African Americans have come from an era of segregation back in the 1940's to feelings of liberation, in 2012. "The call for "equal rights" before the law and suffrage was the central goal of all black participation in politics. As early as 1865, blacks organized numerous meetings to discuss suffrage and their arguments for equality" (Bowles, 2011). Throughout history African Americans have always lived as lower class citizens, especially in the south during the 1950's and 1960's. Although, the 15th Amendment to the constitution granted African American the right to vote, states passed their own laws to keep African Americans from the polls. The Jim Crow laws, was put in place to block African Americans from voting and to enforce segregation. In the south the African American population was greater. Therefore, the Jim Crow laws hinder the blacks voting by using the Grandfather Clause, poll taxes, and the literacy test. The Voting Right Act of 1965 put an end to such discrimination. Before the 15th Amendment to the Constitution came the 13th Amendment of the Constitution; this basically, abolished slavery. In 1865, African Americans had their first triumph in their search for equal rights and justice. This victory was short lived, because African Americans soon realized that the abolition of slavery didn't bring them equal rights. A major hurdle African Americans managed to jump was in 1954; during this year the Supreme Court ruled in their favor in the case Brown versus the Board of Education, which ended segregation in the public schools. "Brown v. Board of Education was possible in 1954 because dramatic changes in racial attitudes and practices had already occurred. The justices who decided the case understood this, commenting on the "spectacular" advances, the "great changes", and the "constant progress" being made in race relations. In the absence of such changes, Brown would not have been decided as it was" (Klarman, 2007).

African Americans continued their journey for equality, justice, and away to end segregation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a stepping stone which provided African Americans with a clear path towards integration. African Americans had their eyes fixed on reaching the promise land. The victories they had won thus far help them to continue to press forward to reach through their struggling journey. "The success of the NAACP in influencing the supreme court in reaching a favorable decision in 1954 in the Brown cases planted new hope for a new life among African Americans. The decision boosted their determination to continue their journey to the promise land" (Mungazi, 2000). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 changed the course of American history, because the nation was ridded of inequality under this law.

During African Americans struggles to overcome they had several very important leaders to lead and guide them on their journey. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of them. "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is considered the formative figure in the modern fight for Civil Rights". Dr. Martin Luther King help change America, Dr. King preached unity and peace; he help changed the lives of all African Americans. "The period 1955 to 1968 has been called "the King years" of American history. From the Montgomery bus boycott to the garbage workers' strike in Memphis; King and his words occupied a central place in American Society and awareness during these years" (Sunnemark, 2003). Dr. King often sacrifices his family, time, and devoted his entire life for his nation.

As years pass by the memories of the violence from the demonstrations faded to some. However, some African Americans continue to endure with the resistance of segregation, discrimination, and isolation. This continues to be an ongoing issue, in which African Americans continue to fight for equal rights. Other Civil Rights leaders such as Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks played a major part in working together to help give African Americans equal rights. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks along with other Civil Right leaders took part in sit-ins, boycotts, marches, and other non-violent protests to help African Americans overcome segregation and end isolations for African Americans. The social part of the Civil Rights movement had a positive and important impact on the local economy, due to the Montgomery Bus boycott. In 1955, Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat to a white passenger. During the boycott African Americans refuse to ride the buses, which cost the public transportation system

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