Civil Rights Essay

Submitted By danimal31
Words: 833
Pages: 4

The Civil Rights Movement and racial oppression during the 1900’s was a crucial moment in American history. The “ugly truths” reveal that America’s own government is willing to allow the exploitation of a group of people based on the color of their skin, in order to serve the interests of those in power. As long as this group of people remained oppressed, their voices remained unheard—ultimately allowing those in power to continue to manipulate and shape the general public. The American Journey portrays the Civil Rights era as a general struggle for African Americans to gain equality, with the help of many American heros, such as John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. The central theme conveys the ideology that America, behind its leaders, collectively pursued a stronger and more unified future. In reality, the majority of America was doing everything they could to prevent African Americans from gaining any shred of equality in numerous facets of American life, such as voting, transportation, education, dining, the work place, etc. The text recounts the gist of the Civil Rights Movement through a retelling of names, dates, and locations—providing little more than a broad timeline of events. This supports the reproduction argument by keeping the people of America uninformed and unaware of the unjust capabilities of their government officials. If people were enlightened to the intricacies of the Civil Rights movement and all that it entailed, then they may begin to question the morals and intentions of their leaders. Moreover, throughout school, if students are unaware of an accurate portrayal of their nation’s history, then they will continue to function under the misconception that their government has the people’s best interest in mind. The American Journey fails to include specific, detailed accounts of events that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement, thus failing to depict an accurate portrayal of the conditions and circumstances that were endured by the oppressed. For instance, the Tuskegee Experiment was conducted between 1932 and 1972, and involved the U.S. Public Health Service gathering approximately 400 poor black men with syphilis in an attempt to study the disease. The men were never told that they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. Instead, the men were told that they were being treated for “bad blood”. Furthermore, even after penicillin became a standard cure for the disease in 1947, it was withheld from the men. In return for participating in the study, the men were given free medical exams, free meals, and free burial insurance. This study resulted in dozens of deaths, as well as many wives and children becoming infected. The researchers, along with the government’s approval, cared more about how the disease worked than the lives of these 400 black men. The nation saw these men’s lives as an expendable resource. Another particular omission in The American Journey was the “Scottsboro Boys Trial”. In 1931, nine black teenage boys were accused of raping two white women on a train in Alabama. Their case included an all-white jury, a rushed trial, an attempted lynching, and an overall poor legal representation. All but one of the boys was convicted and sentenced to death. Through various appeals and retrials, all but two of the boys served prison