The Civil Rights Movement & the Segregation in the 1950's
Times were very bad for the African Americans in 1950. They were treated unfairly, and Jim Crows Laws made segregation legal. African Americans were segregated in many ways. The had to use restrooms for blacks only, water fountains for blacks only, and even schools for blacks only. Even hospitals had segregations. They had different waiting rooms and whites were treated first no matter how made the emergency was. In buses, blacks had to sit in the back and if a white person came, the black person would have to give up the seat. The schools for black children were overcrowded, and people called this fair because of the "Separate but Equal" law. There were some Civil Rights Movement leaders that started protesting these situations. There was an organization that fought against segregation, and it was called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The leader for this organization was Thurgood Marshall, a very intelligent, black lawyer. He fought for the civil rights of black people. He didn't get a lot of money for his services, but he still helped these poor people. He was known as the "little man's lawyer. Marshall won 29 out of 32 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. He helped win a very important case, Brown vs. Board of Education. This was about an 8 year old girl that had to go to an all black school miles away in a bus instead of going to an all-white school very close to her house. Thurgood Marshall argued that segregation went against our Fourteenth Amendment. Finally on May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that school segregation went against the Constitution. The school slowly started integrating, but it wasn't easy though. This victory gave many African American hopes.
Another event proved that African Americans were eager to fight for their rights. Rosa Parks was a very brave and strong lady that fought injustice silently. One day, on her way home from work in Montgomery, Alabama, she was asked to give up her seat on the bus. She refused to give up her seat; she was arrested and sent to jail. This made a lot African Americans very angry. People asked Martin Luther King, Jr. for help. Martin Luther King, Jr. arranged a boycott. He gathered many African Americans together and convinced them to not use the buses. This was very difficult for lots of African Americans, but they stopped using the bus services. The boycott worked, and the Supreme Court forced the Montgomery Bus Company to stop segregation in buses. Martin Luther King, Jr. liked nonviolent ways to protest against all the segregation that was taking place. Finally, in 1956, a federal court ruled that the bus segregation in Alabama was against the law. This was another big achievement for the Civil Rights Movement.
With the support and encouragement of Martin Luther King, Jr. a lot of African Americans started protesting nonviolently. In February 1960, four African American college students decided to have a "sit-in". They sat down in only white section of lunch counter in Woolworth's store and ordered. They didn't get served, but those students didn't move. They sat there for the rest of the afternoon. The next day, different students joined in, and finally hundreds of college students joined the "sit-in". Finally on July 25, 1960, the first black person was served lunch at Woolworth's. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a letter to the college students and telling them how happy he was that they were protesting nonviolently. Things were changing, and people started believing that things can be different.
On August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. with more than 250,000 people decided to go on a March to persuade Congress to pass the Civil Rights bill. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous speech, "I Have a Dream". This speech inspired and moved a lot of people. He started his speech with reminding people about the Emancipation of Proclamation. He stated that blacks still didn't get equal rights. He also reminded people that we were all created equal and deserved equality. His dream for the future was that one day, whites and blacks will live together like brothers and sisters. After the March, President Kennedy sent the Civil Rights bill to the congress, but before that bill could become a law, President Kennedy was assassinated. Later President Lyndon Johnson took over the project and made sure that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 becomes a law. This law banned segregation and banned unfair treatment of workers based on their color, sex, or religion.
Martin Luther King, Jr. proved that fighting with words works better than fighting with fists. This was a turning point in American history. Now, we are truly a country that proves that we all created equal, and deserve equality.