The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement

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The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement

Mariela Guerra (PSA), Staff writer

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For decades in the United States, we have looked back at the Civil Rights Movement and the changes that it has made on our country. As students in the U.S., we learn very soon about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

Parks and her story of discrimination for not giving up her seat sent her to be a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. King is commonly known for his peaceful protest and also became a leader in the movement. The Civil Rights Movement sprouted because of the different factors of discrimination that people of color faced. The purpose of this movement was to gain social justice and for blacks to gain equal rights under the law.

Starting in 1954 and ending in 1968, the Civil Rights Movement and the supporters from all races fought to take down discrimination against people of color. This movement started around the same time as World War II; people of color were discouraged from joining the military and they were not getting better-paying jobs despite the incline in war-related jobs. As a result of this, thousands of African-Americans. threatened to march on Washington. This was a way of demanding equal employment rights. This ended with President Franklin D. Roosevelt issuing the Executive Order 8802 on June 25, 1941. This is just one example of the challenges that people of color faced, these challenges pushed them to fight back for equal rights.

The challenges were seen many times before the Civil Rights Movement started. There were Jim Crow Laws, which were implemented locally and statewide in the Southern United States where racism was common. Jim Crow Laws put Whites above Blacks by having different facilities, making interracial marriage illegal, and prohibiting Blacks from voting by putting in place a literacy test that they could not pass when they had been forbidden access to equal education. We also see these challenges in cases like Plessy v Ferguson in 1896 that determined segregated facilities had to be equal. Jim Crow Laws were in response to people of color holding office and taking leadership roles during reconstruction.

The Civil Rights Movement resulted in legislative changes, in order to make the rights for people of color equal. One example would be the Executive Order previously talked about, that gave equal rights when it came to defense jobs. Another example is when the Supreme Court declared segregated seating unconstitutional because the bus boycott started by Park that went on for 381 days. A major result was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned segregation in public places and discrimination in workplaces. This act was expanded to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

During the Civil Rights Movement, supporters fought against many different forms of discrimination. The movement resulted in legislative changes to give people of color rights equal to Whites. The movement was brought on by decades of discrimination that Blacks faced in the United States, even after slavery was abolished. While the legislative changes didn’t end the problem of racism and discrimination definitely, the Civil Rights Movement served as an example of the accomplishments that could be made to increase equality standards. As people of the United States, we should continue to look back at this moment and appreciate it for not only the changes it brought but also because it serves as an example of empowerment and making change for the better of a country.

Sources –

Editors, “Civil Rights Act of 1964.”, A&E Television Networks, 4 Jan. 2010,

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