History: Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay

Submitted By BBoingflip87
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Pages: 6

What is the short-term significance of JFK on civil rights movements?

It has been highly stressed that JFK had been a leading figure in helping to give rights to black people and make them equal, despite facing frequent setbacks and being reluctant thoughts due to disapproval from congress, as congress and JFK were not on good terms with their conservative ideas and beliefs.
There sources that I have researched and collected focus on JFK’s short term significance over the terms he served as president, and shortly in the repercussion of his assassination, which concerns where his work was focused on and how he helped to solve the civil rights issue that exaggerated African Americans. There have been however, numerous debates on whether Kennedy was too slow to embrace the idea to give black people civil rights. Although there have also been others debating that he used the claim of dealing with civil rights, but only because he had to deal with the presidential elections and needed the extra votes to win against his opposition. Regardless, there are those who genuinely believe that tried his best to deal with the civil rights issues, and that he could have made a substantial difference if he had never been assassinated.

Kennedy stated to the public on the 10th June in 1963 outside the American University, recognising the issues of the social divide between the discriminated black people and white people that live under threat. “And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights & the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation”./
“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity”.
What Kennedy was saying is that human rights for black people are so severely poor, that it’s possible that they could be subjected to serious abuse that they cannot protect themselves against. He is therefore stating that they should not have to deal with the problem of fearing for their lives, but they should be able to live together and become part of the community. So Kennedy knows how bad Civil Rights are for black people, and knows they should not have to suffer the treatments that they are forced to endure.

The ‘JFK Library’ talks about the issue of civil rights on how Kennedy had called the National Guard, where he federalized them to defend 2 black students that were unable to get past the pro-segregation governor, George Wallace. Kennedy was also quick to engaging multiple African Americans’ to positions in the White House, admission and making the civil rights movements were part of his actions, ‘unprecedented numbers of African Americans’ was used to describe Kennedy’s actions for bringing in black people as the presidents assistants. This suggests to people that Kennedy is already trying to give civil rights to the African Americans, as there are lots of black people being brought into the fold of JFK’s presidential run. There is still the issue of the social divide between the whites and blacks overall, but Kennedy was not prepared to act in such an immoral manner, and was still taking some steps to show that he was not going to ignore the issue of discrimination beside African Americans.

John Traynor states in ‘Modern United States History’ how Kennedy had made African American Thurgood Marshall a U.S. Circuit Judge, and Robert Warren was made head of the Housing and Home Financial Agency, which again is showing Kennedy’s ambition to help black people live a better life style. But John Traynor also states some issues on how Kennedy approached the civil rights issues. He was reluctant in dealing with the civil rights issues when he came to power for a while, with other historians also noting how reluctant was. There may have been some reason to this as historian Arthur Schlesinger tells us about Kennedy’s opinion on the matter, mentioning that an all out ambition to deal with civil rights would have ‘alienated southern support for