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Attaining Equality and Civil Rights

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Attaining Equality and Civil Rights

Margaret E. Bridges

HIS 204

Steven Peters

6/20/12

African Americans have worked diligently over the decades to end segregation, discrimination, and isolation to attain equality. Slavery issues still affect African Americans today. Many have had trouble getting over issues they have faced to attain equality and civil rights. African Americans endured unjust treatment that is hard to comprehend. Times have been changing for many years. For instance Rodney King was beaten by police in 1991. This caused rioting and uproar regarding race in the United States. The patience that these Americans have shown over time should be educational to the rest of us. Since this time many things have changed. African Americans have the same rights as everyone and we have come as far as having a black president. Many individuals thought that electing Barak Obama would end race issues all together. I'm not sure is this will ever really happen. Although many issues still arise from time to time, African Americans have rose to the challenge and have slowly but surly attained equality and civil rights.

From 1865 to the 21st century, African Americans have worked to end their isolation with legislation, protest, and equal contributions to society. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Although it did not completely free the slaves, it was a huge first step in trying the fix the problem. This proclamation only applied to the rebellion states. The proclamation would immediately free 50,000 slaves, but did not compensate the owners, outlaw slavery, nor did it make ex-slaves citizens.

Even with the civil war, there was not end to racial violence in the south. "Neither military leaders nor politicians can change the ingrained cultural beliefs of people" (Bowles, 2011). In 1865 "southern states government created legislation that restricted and controlled the lives of ex-slaves" (Bowles, 2011). They created what was known as the black codes. The codes restricted African Americans from marrying anyone other than their own race, from carrying fire arms, they could not perform any work other than farm work, and if they did not follow these rules there would be consequences.

Although African Americans went through lots of challenges and segregation, they had plenty of patience. They never gave up the fight to be considered equal. In 1896 the famous "separate but equal doctrine" was established. This provided facilities where blacks and whites could be in the same place, but were still separated from one another. This did not help much. African Americans were still limited as to where they could actually go. They had separate hotels, public restrooms and were barred from certain hospitals. Some were denied access to parks and picnic areas as well.

Then in 1875 the civil rights act was passed, which prohibited racial discrimination in public facilities, forcing the whites to share in return creating equality. In the 50's African Americans would have to give their seats up to a white man if asked to. This was horrible. Although there were so many seats allotted to each race, the blacks would still have to be put out for the white man. This must have been humiliating. They needed a voice. Who would be brave enough to stand up completely for their rights? Then came along Rosa Parks, enough is enough. They would finally have a voice. This would be the beginning of Martin Luther King Jr.

Over the years African Americans fight for equality has been long and stressful. They remained very patient over the years. After the end of slavery their rights were still limited. If caught violating laws they would face the aspect of being forced or loaned back into slavery. The obstacles they were faced with are disheartening and cruel. Their wives and mothers were raped and their children were beaten or sold to other masters. African Americans had no voice. From the beginning they were sold into slavery and faced with unbearable punishments. African Americans were beaten by police, attacked, arrested, and murdered. During that time they must have felt as

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