The Civil Rights Movement is a continuous movement pursuing for the equal rights of various minorities in the world. In the United States, it became more prominent in advancing the rights of the African American citizens. The Civil Rights Movements have its roots by the time the African Americans demanded to be treated fairly and be given equal opportunities. As early as the 1870s small-scale protests were held to advocate the abolishment of slavery.
One of the notable events in the civil rights movements was during the “Reconstruction” era of the 1870s. This aimed at forging a national culture where social conformity was demanded towards the homogeneity of culture (McAfee, 1998, p. 5), and this conformity included the interaction with the black people such as removing the segregation in public schools. The early forms of civil rights movements during the 1950s to the 1960s were more focus on upholding cultural diversity without the discriminating confines of social conformity.
Totally different from the aims of the 1870s protests, the 1960s roots of the civil rights movement wanted to attain the complete acceptance of diversity within America regardless of color and gender. Though blacks were permitted access to the same facilities such as riding a bus with whites, restrictions were still imposed against the blacks. Perhaps the most memorable event which led to the rigorous effort of the Civil Rights Movement was the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955. By the moment she was arrested because Parks did not give up her seat to a white man, the African Americans knew that it was the time to take full action.
The African-American Civil Rights Movements became established when the black populace have a leader to represent them. The most popular and charismatic of them all would be Martin Luther King. After the incident with Rosa Parks, King organized the Montgomery Improvement Association to initiate a bus boycott in 1957. This boycott was a result of the growing impatience of the African-American and Latino minorities with the government’s indifference to their demand for greater equality (Lytle, 2006, p. 16).
Without the leadership of King, the African-Americans would not have a strong representative in pursuing their rights for it was the orating skill and charisma of Martin Luther King which influenced massive followers to support the cause. The result of the mass mobilization of civil rights movements was the gathering of people in a public rally. The March on Washington in 1963 which was also led by King became the major rally of the civil rights groups with an estimate number of 300,000 participants.
This event garnered domestic and international media attention which sparked the interest of the global community to support and even pressure the federal government to pass the laws which will ban discrimination. It was the media which declared the success of this demonstration since it was “massive, peaceful, orderly, and received official attention” (Barber, 2002, p. 174). The extensive television coverage and King’s speech made the world aware that it was the time for equality to be granted to the minorities.
Another factor which led to the approval of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act was the fact that during the height of the civil rights movements, the United States was engaged in the Cold War. The battle of ideologies and cultural influence provided a cruel contrast for the America’s promotion of democracy and its treatment of the African Americans. The pressure to top the game within the Cold War era made the federal government reevaluate this contrast, because this contrast will be hypocrisy on America’s end in promoting its nation as the “free world” (Riches, 2004, p. 1).
Perhaps the main goal which the civil rights movements have achieved in fighting for the African Americans rights would be the passing of both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. This made significant progress during the time of President Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Though the progress in implementing these laws was slow and experienced grueling developments, the ratification of these laws were enough to serve as a foundation for the liberty of the American minorities.