Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.


Civil rights movement is a reform movement in the United States of America that was targeting the unifying the rights of blacks and white Americans. It started when the blacks started the protest against discrimination. It started when whites could not employ blacks in their businesses and expected the blacks to purchase from them. This started in early second quarter of the 20th century. This discrimination encouraged the blacks to organize mass protest against the whites and they boycotted buying from their shops and again they protest against discriminatory treatment against their children in schools.

The start of the movement

The civil rights movement started in early 20th century; it was encouraged by the extending role of the government in developing the economy and society. This encouraged the starting of businesses and jobs for blacks, the establishment of judicial law to protect the rights of all rather than protecting businesses and whites.

The former president, Mr Franklin Roosevelt, who was in power by then, appointed the judges who were could favor the rights of blacks, Mr Hugo Black was appointed to head the supreme court as the judge. This contributed to blacks accessing schooling as the whites without any sort of discrimination. The government was on the side of blacks and they could form an ally.

During the starting of the Second World War in Europe, the blacks brought their demand that they needed a fair treatment than it was during the First World War. They said through Medias that for them to contribute in the war, black militias were to be trained like their white counterparts while other civilians were to work in the same industries the white worked. (Friedlander,1979.p.100)

In 1941, blacks organized a march to Washington lead by Randolph Philip A. to demand the government to have blacks contracted in the defense department as the whites, this encouraged the government to order the creation of equal employment committee to enforce the practice of fair employment, the formation of the committee did not solve the matter but discrimination of the blacks went on in the war industries. During this time of the war, though the blacks contributed to about less that a quarter, they were trained as pilots in the armed forces without any discrimination, this did not fully solve the matter for there were others who were put in delicate position without any combat.

After the government allowed the equal employment of blacks and whites, many blacks migrated to north for employment in war industries than they had migrated to south during the First World War. This migration was encouraged by an urge of blacks to have a much better and larger incomes. There was much tension in their new homes in fear of racial oppressions. Those who migrated to north had to use their economic and political influence in supporting civil right for those who were left in south.

The blacks had gained much influence and were widely working against racial discrimination and were even challenging the registrar of voters in southern courthouse and could sue school boards for equality in education provision. The movement was gaining after the blacks were able to fight racism in Europe and in America, the war encouraged more blacks to fight for racism Europe and extended to Asia.

After the war, the blacks had gained more momentum which encouraged the president to have uniform civil rights in the country but was rejected by the congress. (Robert, 1979. p.88)

Equality in education

After the war, right movement continued with a success, different forms of discrimination had already been overturned this time was on equal education provision and opportunities. After much emphasis on equal education provision that challenged primary and secondary education, the court ruled that segregating racial education was against the constitution.

Segregating education faced a major challenge by whites opposing the ruling of the court, this called the whites to have mass resistance in complying with the segregation orders. The whites believed that by having a large number boycotting the compliance of the segregation orders and all public schools that were integrated. Firing the black school employees who were on the favor of segregation was another tactic that was used by the whites and creating whites private schools.

At first years, the schools were not desegregated, but this gradually proceeded as the schools as the segregation had already taken part in the neighborhood. In overcoming this some schools sent their students in different neighborhoods. After much struggle by the whites to fight segregation, they formed a group called Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The group used all form of violence and threats against anybody who was supporting the desegregation or the rights of the blacks. With support from the media they performed all forms of terrorism especially in the southern states in early second quarter of the 20th century. (Branch, 1988. p.12)

Political influence

Though there were still threats and violence, this did not end the struggle for the rights of the blacks, it had to move beyond the education provision to challenge other affected areas like in public transport and other public service provisions. The black community was annoyed by the whites for being rude and abusive.

A bus boycott was organized in Alabama after a white passenger wanting a black passenger to lift up for him on the bus seat, this kind of harassment contributed to organizing for a boycott within a night which was a success, this called in court attention and the segregation in busses were to start immediately, this helped in ending the harassment of the blacks by the whites in the city.

Martin Luther King who chaired the Montgomery Improvement Association, organized a boycott through his organization, King’s plea to Christians was to create a non discriminatory impression of people in the whole country. King wanted the violent and harsh ways to a non violent way of encouraging segregation

In the University of North Carolina, four black students started yet another protest against the whites’ only counters, though it was not a new for of protest, it had spread through out Carolina within days, this lead to desegregation of restaurants across the southern states. This movement showed clearly that whites and blacks are alike and they could show they were against segregation openly.

The students found a nonviolent committee in 1960, the formation of the committee was to help the students organize sit-ins movements. It was encouraged that civil rights movements should only be based on individual communities of the blacks. This was to enforce change to the local communities rather than the national change. (Luther, 1958, p.34)

Right of voting

The voters’ registration campaign started in 1964, though the community level activism had started in 1961, there was a heavy commitment in heavily concentrated black territories mostly in rural areas of southern states. The blacks believed by voting was the only way to empower them have a change in racism policies in the south.

The activist Robert Moses through Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) worked hard in registering blacks and teaching them the importance of voting, skills the required and the necessary responses applying for voter registration. The exercise faced a great opposition from the whites they went a head in threatening Robert and even beating and sending him to jail. (Friedlander, 1979.p. 83)

The efforts of Mississippi to recruit both whites and blacks in colleges and other professions were thought to attract attention from the whole nation. This lead in having more active politician who later formed Mississippi freedom democratic party (MFDP) after they were rejected by the white democrats as members in their delegation.

The actions of the whites were challenged when the blacks participated in the media interviews to represent Mississippi. The voting right was initiated by the blacks and began protesting in court houses  in Selma, when they were unsuccessful, they proceeded to Montgomery where they faced police beating and were tear-gassed,  the scene was televised and shocked many, this encouraged King to lead hundreds of people to a 50 mile march to Montgomery.

The Selma march got great supports which in turn lead to enactment of law which protected southern states blacks to vote. The president Johnson proposed the passage of rigors act by the congress in the 1965. After the amendment of the act, most of the requirements that restricted the blacks from voting were suspended.

After this the blacks were able to vie for major offices seats and were able to win in all districts. (Luther, 1964. p.67)


The movement of civil rights in the United States has gone through a major challenge before achieving a tremendous success. The total commitment of the activists was of benefit to the whole nations blacks.

The recognition of blacks has brought equality and has contributed to the growth of the economy. The movement also helped the blacks to access education like any other American without discrimination and also led to segregation of schools and other public services. The enactment of voting rights gave the black an opportunity to exercise politics like their white counterparts which in turn brought a better service provision to all citizens. Participation of blacks in national welfare activities like in war led to victory of the nation.


Branch, T. (1988) parting the waters: America in the years of King, New York, Columbia University Press. (12-15)

Friedlander, R. (1979) Human Rights, the Law of Armed conflicts Reprisals, IRRC, 11(92-183)

Friedlander, R. (1979) Sowing the wind: Rebellion and violence in theory and practice. Denver JIL and policy (83-93)

Konvitz, M. (1961) Century of civil rights, New York, Columbia University Press. (52-53)

Luther, M. (1958) Stride Toward freedom, New York, Hamper (33-35)

Luther, M. (1964) why we can’t Wait, New York, Signet (67)

Robert, E. (1979) Wars of National Liberation, Case Western Reserve. (71-93)