Civil Rights Movement
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As the second World War steadily took over governmental policy, industrial setup, economic decisions as well as individual and personal lives; the struggle for equal employment opportunities hastened. The war had opened new fronts at the domestic level and a larger number of people were required to fill up more positions for the national effort. As this happened, the Jim Crow laws were still in effect and the blatant racial discrimination happening all over the country held back African Americans on a widespread scale. Their social repression continued to translate into economic repression as they were systemically less likelier to be appointed for national defense jobs. President Roosevelt signed an order in 1941 amidst threats of a march to Washington which opened federal jobs to all races and ethnicities. The civil rights movement hence flared and found its critical juncture as America struggled to put the final nail in the Nazi coffin. Black WWII veterans who had served regardless of the discrimination faced injustice even after heroic service. President Truman passed an order in 1948 to ensure an end to racial discrimination in the armed forces.
The fire finally reached the streets after the war ended and Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white citizen in 1955. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was inevitably brought to the forefront of the struggle for social and racial equality because he headed the Montgomery Improvement Association formed in support of then arrested Rosa Parks. A boycott that lasted 381 days successfully convinced the Supreme Court to rule that segregation in bus seating was unconstitutional. This was one of the most motivational and uplifting successes of the modern civil rights movement. It was also a lasting validation for the nonviolent agenda that MLK had personified. The infamous case of Brown vs Board of Education had already led to a supreme judicial order to end racial segregation in public schools. Although desegregation had been legally ensured, social discrimination in the form of mobs and continued racial violence made it next to impossible for black students to avail the educational opportunities now open for them. President Eisenhower finally signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law to show state commitment to the ongoing efforts of the civil rights movement. Federal prosecution for holding black from voting and investigations into voter fraud gave black people voting security. Social discrimination still continued and courageous protests continued as well. Greensboro sit-ins initiated a nonviolence fight against segregated lunch counters which later inspired nonviolent student protests against racial discrimination in educational institutions. Freedom Riders in 1961 paved the way for ending racial segregation in interstate transit. The March to Washington in 1963 finally brought the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which ensured equal employment and voting rights by going after the loopholes which had previously given space for discrimination to happen. Consequentially voting literacy tests were abolished and the voting rights act of 1965 passed. Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 and MLK in 1986. His assassinated spurred the signing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 ending racial discrimination for housing.
The civil rights movement coincided with the women’s rights and lgbt rights movements on various occasions as the fight for social equality demanded equality for all. When black people were finally ensured government jobs, so were women because discrimination based on sex was also denied. Many leaders who selflessly served the civil rights movement were also prominent representatives for the lgbt rights front. The successes of one equal rights movement paved the way for and ensured subsequent benefit for other movements with similar end goals.
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