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The Civil Rights Movement How the Change Became and Overcame

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The Civil Rights Movement How the Change became and overcame

Kevonna L. Jones

Southern New Hampshire University


The Creator, whose divine power and laws of justice created to sustain the universe, not divide and be filled with hatred wouldn't want to see his will not being done with the evil sin of slavery. United States was created to be the land of the free not enslaving millions of black people in this country bringing America to the hour of judgment to be the downfall as a respected nation (X, 1963).  America wrote a check marked with justice, equality, civil rights, and freedom to African Americans but the check was returned marked insufficient funds due to the unjust laws of segregation. During Abraham Lincoln’s president term he hoped reconstruction would return the nations antebellum status quo minus slavery but he was assassinated April 14, 1865 leaving Andrew Johnson with presidency which he embraced white supremacy and continued to oppose African American suffrage.

Johnson was honoring the Jim Crow laws and the existing black code declaring that America was a country for white men and would remain for white men while he was president as he stated in a letter to the governor on Missouri. Once Johnson declared that United States  had been restored under his leadership using restoration instead of reconstruction opposing his powers of the federal government he sweep the changes of the south with a unfulfilled  promise of emancipation. The roots of the civil rights movement lie deep in the history of this nation.

Across the south some centuries ago young black American men and women challenged Jim Crow laws and administrators who enforced it by, individuals using civil disobedience as a weapon of change. Disobedience was utilized by many civil rights leaders challenging white America’s segregated political, social and economic trends which highlight America’s false promise of being the land of the free (Litwack, 2009). That’s when black Americans started to become concerned about their relative position in the nation capitalizing gains such as voting rights, education achievement, in clerical and professional positions, in skilled labor, in political representation, and in the entertainment and sports industries which lead to the civil rights movement. (Litwack,  2009).

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started the civil rights movement so that black Americans could be treated equally with just laws demanding their god given rights (King, 1963). He was tired of being treated like animals rather than human beings, tired of being disrespected, tired of enduring extraordinary violence, intimidation, and the harassment so he was seeking a change. There was a nonviolent campaign of four basic steps of: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. Meanwhile Dr. King, reverend Fred Shuttlesworth along with the Alabama Christian movement was trying to negotiating the privilege of equal rights they were denied or told to “wait” they grew resentment of the word wait and decide to take direct action by doing protest, sit ins, and marches throughout the south(King, 1963).

Activists, seeking to change the way things were found themselves beaten in the train and bus stations, in the streets and parks,  churches, homes schools and buses were being bombed some were even thrown in jail or prison. This type of behavior took a toll on the black families but it didn’t stop them seeking freedom because knowing that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed (X, 1963). The protest and marches lead them to Birmingham, Alabama as King stated injustice was there and injustice anywhere is a threat everywhere (King, 1963). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the victims thrown in jail as he continued to have protest and marches in Birmingham, Alabama after being ordered from the court that, that type of behavior was not allowed there.

April 16, 1963 King wrote a letter from the Birmingham city jail of Alabama expressing his reasons and thoughts for African Americans civil rights to be treated equally. He stated that there are two types of laws the just and the unjust. A just law is a man- made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of god, an unjust law is a code out of harmony with the moral law. His letter was directed to white critics of the civil rights movement charging white moderates and clergy with hypocrisy for attacking unlawful demonstrations but not unjust laws. He stressed that days, weeks, and months went by and black Americans were still victims of a broken promise (King, 1963).  He explained that the non-violent direct action was to create a crisis to foster tension to a community which has constantly refused to negotiate so they was forced to confront the issue that could no longer be ignored (King, 1963). Drawing attention to injustice describes what makes a law unjust. King hoped that his letter would reach the white moderate understanding that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice would fall in purpose to become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress along with understanding the present tension in the south is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality (King, 1963).

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