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Civil Rights Movement Was Slow Between 1955-68 Essay

Explain why the civil rights movement was slow between 1955-68 The civil rights movement was slow between 1955-68 for multiple reasons, these being the falling out of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King along with the Civil rights groups splitting and changing their tactics between violent protest or peaceful protest which consequently lead to them being less effective. Also Presidential action could be said to be lacking therefor acts to improve civil rights weren’t passed or were unaffected. One reason that the civil rights movement was slow was due to Eisenhower’s stance on the topic during his presidency (1953-1961). Eisenhower believed that the position of the black people would improve of its own accord over time. In this sense he did not think that it was the government’s job to improve conditions for black people. We can see this form his reaction in regards to Little rock campaign and his reluctance to become involved with it.

This is a reason why the civil rights movement was slow because the president was unwilling to pass civil rights laws to change the situation of the blacks due to his belief that it would change in their favour in time. Also because of conflict between Malcolm and King the two main black men that were leading the campaign the African Americans were side tracked, essentially forgetting their main aim; racial equality. Malcolm X was very critical of Martin Luther King calling him the “Twentieth century Uncle Tom” and banding around rumours that he was being paid by the white government to preach Christian love and forgiveness which was all in aid of preventing the black people from effectively fighting for their freedom. This conflict would not achieve anything for the black power movement because it could potentially divide public opinion.

People who supported King may have lost some faith if they believed there could be any truth that he was really working with the white American government, whereas the camp who were following X may have felt a sense of divide between them and the people who liked Kings ideals. The reason why this wasn’t going to help the black power movement is that the African Americans needed to fight together to gain equality but their fight was being split into their fight for this and for who’s leader was strongest. A final reason as to why the progress for civil rights was slow was because the civil right groups split and were no longer co-operating with each other. CORE and the SNCC took a stance closer to that of X’s beliefs. They became more violent unlike the NAACP who stuck to peaceful protest.

The problem that this created the civil rights movement is that they are now sending the government mixed messages and are not helping their cause. Also staging violent protest didn’t seem any way near as effective. Because the government and the media generally seemed weighted to the whites side, violence of black was blown out of proportion and shown as propaganda as to why the blacks shouldn’t have power on equal terms with whites. This would mean that blacks wouldn’t be taking steps on the right direction because they would be setting themselves up for a fall in public opinion, something which needed to be on their side for them to gain equality.

In conclusion the civil right gains between 1955-68 were slow due to the fact that there was conflict between the blacks who were fighting over the best way to gain their goal when there focus should have been solely on trying to get this goal. They were side tracked and this proved detrimental giving their reputation further dents, even if there are minor positives amidst the movement along with the fact that the resident weren’t too focused on helping the civil rights movement.


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