Essay about African American Rights

Submitted By dkarlin
Words: 2865
Pages: 12

The African American People’s Fight for Equality
America’s belief in the equality of rights for all was vastly different than it was today. African American’s were seen as inferior to white American’s. There struggle to gain acceptance, was one that included many events through the years. The Civil Rights Movement refers to the political, social, and economical struggle of African Americans to gain full citizenship and racial equality. Under the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments of the United States Constitution, laws which white people wrote and were supposed to uphold, African Americans began to fight for equal rights. People of color that made a difference included Oliver Brown, Martin Luther King jr., Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, and as well as Rodney King. Without their acts of courage that made society begin to think differently about them, we would not know what life in America would be like for African Americans.
In the mid-1900’s, African-Americans began to challenge their stance in American society, no longer would they be viewed as second-rate citizens. They were treated as if they were inferior to those people who were not “colored”. To finally be accepted by society as they are currently they had to go through many different hardships with racism throughout the years. Some famous racial events were when the thirteenth amendment was finally being outlawed, the fifteenth amendment being passed, the Plessy vs. Ferguson trial, the Brown vs. Board of Education trial, Rosa Parks and the events of hate crimes directed towards people of color since they were unworthy in the eyes of their peers. People that were involved with those events were inspirational people such as Oliver Brown, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and as well as Rodney King. Without the courageous work, that these people went through to make the society think differently about them, people would still look down upon them and not at them like a brother or sister. The first foundational change that America went through to help shape their thought process on African Americans came in 1863 when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Although it was a military strategic move for the war the Emancipation Proclamation declared, “All persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be rebellion the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Lincoln recognized that the Emancipation Proclamation would not completely end the practice of slavery, but it was a beginning.
The thirteenth amendment formally abolished slavery in the United States. The amendment passed the Senate April 8, 1864 and the House of Representatives on January 31, 1865. President Abraham Lincoln approves the Joint Resolutions of both bodies that submitted the amendment to the states for approval signed February 1, 1865. The thirteenth amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Author John Mathews explains the 13th amendment as he writes, “With the freedom and powers African Americans were now granted, they could pursue a life of their own. A black male now had the ability to leave the south, or stay there. He could marry a woman of his choice and raise a family; and above all he could pursue an education - even in segregated settings” (Mathews). This allowed for the first time, African Americans could pursue a career or learn a skilled trade and be paid for it. The thirteenth amendment did not just “free the slaves” it created what was a whole new generation of the first black doctors, lawyers, professors, dentist, scientist, and businessmen.
The fifteenth amendment to the United States Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the united States to vote shall not be denied