American Civil Right Movement Compare and Contrast Essay

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American Civil Right Movement

Compare and contrast the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) on the basis of their leadership, philosophy, and tactics.


Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was a civil rights organization that was initiated by African-Americans in 1957 (Fairclough, 2001). The movement was primarily aimed at ending the segregation and discrimination against the black African population in the U.S. The core philosophy of SCLC revolved around to seek civil rights and economic justice for the people of Southern States having majority of African-Americans.

Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) actually aimed achieving same objectives as those of SCLC but through non-violent sit-in and defiance of segregated dining and lunch services. The core philosophy of SNCC was also eliminating segregation but the mission statement was narrower compared to SCLC.


The most prominent leader of SCLC was Martin Luther King, Jr. Other prominent leaders of this organization included Ralph Abernathy and Joseph Lowery. On the other hand, it was Ella Baker that initiated the SNCC movement and with the support of one of the executive directors of SCLC in 1960. Further, leadership of both organizations consulted each other when planning protests and sit-ins.


The tactics of both SCLC and SNCC fell into same category that is the defiance and civil disobedience to the prevalent discriminatory laws against African-Americans. However, SCLC staged bigger demonstrations such as March on Washington whereas SNCC carried out defiance programs such as violating eating counters segregation (Fairclough, 2001).

2. Assess the effectiveness of the federal government during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations in enforcing desegregation laws throughout the South. Discuss one event during each of the administrations.

President Eisenhower: The U.S. federal government's efforts in the administration of Eisenhower were very limited in the initial years. The Eisenhower administration's record in upholding the civil rights of African-Americans' were not adequate (Sundquist, 1968). One particular example is when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the segregation in school enrollment against African-American. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation should be eliminated from public schools of the Southern States. Eisenhower, due to his dislike for the SC decision did not endorse it and opened the way for resistance to desegregation. In fact whenever during his administration there arose public unrest due to integration efforts, Eisenhower chose to side with Whites.

President John F. Kennedy and his administration's efforts to desegregate the Southern States and specifically the education system are worth mentioning. As the President of the U.S. And head of the state, Kennedy significantly pressurized the state governors to implement the SC orders regarding desegregation of public schools. Kennedy's worth praising efforts are evident from the fact that in September, 1963 11 U.S. states from South desegregated around 140 schools for the first time in the U.S. history and that too in an orderly manner. In one such instance, President Kennedy told Alabama's governor called George Wallace to implement SC's decision in letter and spirit.

Lyndon Johnson was the 36th president of the United States of America and his efforts in desegregating were most prominent amongst all the U.S. presidents. In fact he carried forward the legacy of Kennedy. Johnson was most worthwhile as he approved the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Sundquist, 1968).

3. Describe the strategies and outcomes of the protest demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. Discuss Martin Luther King Jr.'s rationale for conducting the demonstrations as expressed in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." Do you think the demonstrations were a success?

The Birmingham campaign and other protests such as that in Alabama were basically part of the 'direct action' protests organized by the SCLC to motivate the African-Americans to participate in the protests. However, on finding low number of adult volunteers, SCLC motivated African-American school going children and youth to protest and thus mass protests ensued resulting in heightened tension with the White administration (University of Pennsylvania, n.d.). The Birmingham campaign occurred after successful 'Montgomery Bus Boycott and encouraged the SCLC leaders to plan a series of direct action protests to catalyze the process of civil rights reforms. The 'Letter from a Birmingham' was a lengthy and touching letter written by Martin Luther King Jr. And was addressed to the clergymen of Birmingham and rest of the U.S. States that were the victims of segregation. The letter explained in thorough detail that why SCLC leadership as well as King thought direct action as the only option that can deliver positive results in the movement for equal civil rights. The demonstration was a success in the context that after the demonstration broke, the media throughout the world was focused to the civil rights situation in the U.S. Southern states and there were arrests in hundreds and thousands. After the jail was filled to their full capacity, the city administration advised the local and state administration to adopt negotiation. In the letter as well, King mentioned the four stages that every non-violent movement passes i.e. confirmation of injustice, negotiation, purification, and direct action. He said that it was direct action that will bring the Whites to the negotiating table. Soon after the demonstrations, American Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.

4. How did the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. affect the struggle for black equality in America? What is King's legacy?

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. effected the black equality movement in many ways. The most immediate impact of King's assassination was the outbreak of riots in many states and the civil disobedience by African' Americans specifically those aged below 20. Significantly large proportion of the black population got disappointed from non-violent means of achieving their equal civil rights as they believed that King's assignation was the work of White people who feared equality of rights. However, there were some positive implications of his death as well (Dyson, 2009).

For instance, the second American Civil Rights Act 1968 also called the Fair Housing Act was passed hurriedly after the assassination of King. President Johnson urged the U.S. Congress to pass the Fair Housing Act without much change or debate thereby ending the civil riots taking place after the assassination of King.

King's legacy was mainly the elimination of discrimination from social and economic system of the U.S. Of specific importance were his efforts in instigating non-violent movements across the Southern States thereby making an environment where the administration of different states was forced to make efforts for integration?

Further, the most visible legacy of King was the Fair Housing Act in which it was termed that discrimination based on religion, origin, and race in the housing and housing facilities should be removed. One of the most enduring legacy of King is the speech titled 'I have a Dream' that King delivered in March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

5- From the report, determine how the firm is financing investment in assets: long-term debt, preferred stock, and common stock.

I accessed the 2012 annual report of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) pharmaceuticals and assessed the investments criteria and amounts of the company for the FY ending 2012. The company in 2012 acquired an annual short- and long-term debt of $3.7 billion. The total long-term debt of J&J in the year 2012 was $11.48 billion. The company also received proceeds of $45 million in the year 2012. However, the company also incurred an expense of 804 million in retirement of long-term debt.

The main borrowings of the company that are included in the long-term debt of the company are 15% debauchers, 0.7% notes were due and the whole statement of account shows that there were two categories of investment borrowings and other were debentures and LIBOR rate. During 2012, it was observed that the there was long-term debt amounting to $4.7 billion at the end 2012.

The company used its financing activities for repurchase of $12.9 billion of common stock. The company used cash and debt to repurchase 158.3 million shares of the company at a cost equaling $10 billion (Johnson & Johnson, 2013).

The company also financed its growth in purchase of Synthes, Inc. This was done through the issuance of common stock amounting $13,335 million (Johnson & Johnson, 2013). The company did not issue preferred stock to finance the growth.

6- A visiting American executive finds that a foreign subsidiary in a poor nation has hired a 12-year-old girl to work on a factory floor, in violation of the company's prohibition on child labor. He tells the local manager to replace the child and tell her to go back to school. The local manager tells the American executive that the child is an orphan with no other means of support, and she will probably become a street child if she is denied work. What should the American executive do?

The consequences of ignoring the child labor policy are grave. The firms…[continue]


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