History: Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Rights Movement Essay examples

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Ramon Hines April 21, 2012 The Civil Right Movement was one of the most powerful movements in world history. Blacks were at the bottom of the pole when it came to jobs, society and just main life. But the Civil Rights Movement changed the way blacks were seen all around the world. The Civil Rights in America dates from the 1954 Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Prior to that, a few black groups had challenged the legal statutes and practices that maintained the inferior status of blacks. But a good majority of blacks accommodated themselves to the laws of segregation and the codes of white supremacy that regulated not only the South but all of American society . The Brown decision striking down segregation in public schools, and the later success of the Montgomery bus boycott, ordinary blacks and white activists alike, and marked the end of scattered protest and the beginning of an identifiable movement. The Civil Rights Movement is important for the rapid advancement blacks gained during a relatively short period, but also significant are the lasting changes it effected in American political processes, legal theories, and governmental policies. Since the 1960s, the federal government and the courts have asserted their power to enforce and uphold the equal rights of all citizens, regardless of disparate. Various groups and organizations in the civil rights movement employed different and sometimes incompatible tactics. The most successful early groups filed legal claims, befriended politicians, and lobbied governmental authorities to advance the cause of legal rights. The most vocal groups during the 1950s and 1960s marched, protested, and risked jail to win public sympathy, provoke segregationists, and prod the federal government to enforce civil rights. Some groups sought the assimilation of blacks into mainstream American society. Others sought an independent and equal position within American society for blacks. Some groups adhered to a philosophy of nonviolence. Others advocated retaliation against the racial violence inherent in the system of segregation. White supremacy in the south had not been abolished during reconstruction. At first vigilante groups such as the Ku Klux Klan used violence and intimidation to prevent blacks from mixing with whites socially, from voting, and from prospering financially. Later, when blacks had been squeezed out of reconstruction-era state governments, white southerners used legal machinations to bar blacks from political participation, establishing a set of laws and social customs that came to be called Jim Crow. The term Jim Crow is taken from a minstrel show song of the 1830s. It is usually associated with codes of conduct that defined segregation throughout the south. Blacks were not merely limited to living in slums, working in menial jobs, and attending inferior schools. They were not only relegated to separate railroad cars and other public facilities. They were also expected to act in a deferential manner toward whites, particularly toward white woman at all times. They might be required to step aside as whites passed on a public sidewalk, to enter a back door instead of a front entrance, or to remove their hats when speaking to a white person. Failure to observe the code might prompt insults, beatings and even lynching. The Jim Crow system was also enforced by laws that effectively prohibited blacks from registering to vote. These laws included poll taxes, property ownership or residency requirements, and literacy tests. Many states also passed laws making their Democratic parties private. Since many blacks were poor and landless they were unable to pay the poll taxes or meet the property requirements. And since many blacks were prevented from attending school, they were unable to pass the literacy tests. Those