Civil Rights Movement- Pierce, Peramas

f2a6d41e0d0d608f4737443d916948f9 The 1960s were a turbulent time for America. A major social issue on everyone’s mind was the issue of civil rights. The Civil Rights Movement, while focused primarily on African Americans, included every American minority group, including women and homosexuals.


      The  final straw for James Earl Ray, escaped convict and known racist, came with the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the face of the Black Civil Rights Movement. Sit-ins, freedom rides, protests, and riots all escalated the focus of the country on civil rights. The Movement was so influential to America, it even got the attention of Presidents at the time, like John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. In just the short time of a decade, the impossible thought  of the desegregation of schools, transportation, and housing became a reality for African Americans. Although, blacks earning equal rights to whites was a long and drawn-out process. The process began before the assassination of MLK and even way before the 1960s. Yet, the “sporadic sixties” were a time of great change in a short amount of time. It began in 1960 with the escalation of sit-ins and events called “freedom rides”. The Greensboro sit-in is a famous example of the peaceful protesting of African Americans in which a small group of college students went to a local diner yet were denied service due to their skin color; yet, they remained sitting, tolerating food being thrown at them, physical discomfort, and harsh name calling. Freedom riders pledged to remain in jail rather than pay fines or be bailed out after protesting the segregation in interstate transportation. Freedom rides were organized in the early 1960s, by the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, led by James Farmer. Actually, Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent 400 federal marshals to protect the freedom riders and urged the Interstate Commerce Commission to order the desegregation of interstate level. Also, John F. Kennedy announced that major civil rights legislation would be submitted to the Congress to guarantee equal access to public facilities, to end segregation in education, and to provide federal protection of the right to vote. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Vice President-now-President, Lyndon B. Johnson, finished what Kennedy started, and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited all kinds discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin; The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which made it easier for Southern blacks to vote by making literacy tests, poll taxes, and other such requirements illegal, and The Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

roe-v-wade-7e9424e4af6cdbbde65852359433c9a6cecede4f      The Black Civil Rights Movement encouraged many other ethnic and minority groups to attempt to gain their rights as well.  Women and the LGBT community were some of the larger groups involved in this.  What the African Americans were doing made everyone else realize how unfairly they were all being treated. The 1960s were a major turning for of LGBT rights.  Around this time, gay Americans began calling for the right for marriage or more formalized relationships.  During this time period, homosexuality was highly frowned upon.  Many men and women had been discharged during this time due to alleged homosexuality. One example of this was Fannie Clackhum; she had a other than honorable discharge and successfully fought to get it overturned.  This was a first time this had ever been done in America and led to many other similar cases.  The ‘60s were a decade of change for women as well.  The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was passed and gave women $0.70 for every man’s dollar in the workforce.  Although not completely equal, it was a start and was a huge step for women in America.  Women also began to enter the workforce and stereotypical gender roles began to disappear.

HISTORY-articleLarge   While the Civil Rights movement occurred decades ago, the central idea of basic human rights still applies to Americans today. Currently in America, there are still social stigmas about homosexuals, despite the fact that gay rights, such as gay marriage, is becoming more acceptable; there is still some remnants of racism today, seen mostly in the elders of our time; and there are still gender inequalities, an example being that woman only make 70 cents of every man’s dollar. The ferocity and courage of organizations like CORE and NOW fighting for equal rights encourage the same minorities to continue fighting for their rights.