Civil Rights Movement Is Considered Term Paper

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The movement merely asked the founding fathers of this country to live up to their promises and provide freedom and equal opportunities for all.

In the early phases of the civil rights movement leaders asked the government to live up to its promises and provide equal opportunities from all. It received much support from minorities and even whites living in the United States.

After the period of 1965, considered the 'highlight' of the civil rights movement as described in this work, the emphasis and goals of the civil rights movement changed somewhat. Instead of merely seeking de-segregation among the goals adopted by the civil rights movement included access to equal employment opportunities, trade unions, utilization of affirmative action programs, fair housing and a "redistribution of wealth and services, changes in the functioning of institutions" and structure of fundamental affairs within the United States.

The moral fiber of the nation's Constitution and governing authority was in essence called into question by those who had been discriminated against. The self-image and economic structure and foundation of the country was challenged by those who had been unfairly exploited in the past. Representation among freedom fighters and civil rights campaign leaders became more radical. Individual's including Malcolm X surfaced and argued for collations to be formed between radicals, and anti-discrimination campaigns were more active and aggressive than the conservative movements of the past.

Major Achievements

The Civil Rights Movement experienced many ups and downs during the course of its lifetime. The movement created an expanding Black middle class in the United States and representation among governing authorities by minority leaders. The idea of 'separate but equal' no longer resounded, and was instead replaced by the idea that everyone deserved fair and equal representation and benefits.

The March on Washington is often considered the single most crowning achievement of the civil rights movement and the single largest protest to take place in the capital since its creation; it virtually "paved the way for a series of mass demonstrations" that furthered the movement and set the stage for the eventual passage of the civil rights act of 1964, which is considered the most important civil rights legislation passed "since the Reconstruction."

Other campaigns that augmented the civil rights movement included the Birmingham campaign and the efforts of individuals who dedicated their life to the civil rights era. Was their resistance to the civil rights movement? Absolutely. The North's reaction to the movement is considered more ambiguous than the reaction in the south; many polled in the white felt that southern white supremacist operating in the south were not necessarily justified in their actions. However following the passage of certain rights including the voting rights act many white Northerners faced integration particularly in schools and within other urban areas; at this point more resistance developed such as that seen in the south.

There were many southern leaders that attempted to preserve their way of life, while others were more progressive and open to civil rights legislation and changes.

The civil rights movement merely demanded what this country promised when it was established, namely democracy, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

Many have claimed that it was difficult to define the boundaries of the civil rights movement as it touched so many lives in so many different ways. The civil rights leaders and organizations that surfaced during this time were often seen in the greater context of the fight for freedom and liberty, however there is a large body of evidence that the civil rights movement accomplished more than merely eliminating racial barriers in this country. Rather the civil rights movement transformed the consciousness of individuals living in this country and helped people to truly understand the principles of democracy and freedom.


The civil rights movement is credited with changing the face of this great nation. Prior to the civil rights movement racial segregation and discrimination were blatant facts of life for many people living in the United States. It wasn't until the mid 1950s that the movement for civil liberties and freedom began in earnest in this country. The civil rights movement is the changing point during which the governing body of this nation was forced to recognize and uphold the constitutional rights guaranteed to all citizens.

During this time many strong leaders emerged that fought adamantly for the rights guaranteed all citizens under the constitution of the United States. There are many highlights of the civil rights movements, and many leaders that still resonate in the hearts of many, including Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X the civil rights movement stands out as a turning point in American history where an underserved and underprivileged group of citizens decided to take a stand for their rights under the law. Though much of the civil rights campaign was non-violent in nature, particularly the protests led by Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement also spurred some aggression, discontent and violence. However, despite this the end result of the campaign was the movement in this nation toward equality and peace for all.

One thing is certain, the nation that stands today is much better for the achievements and successes of all the individuals who fought for liberty and justice during the civil rights movement. This era will be remembered as one that changed the social landscape of this nation permanently, and afforded all people equal opportunity without regard to race, gender, color or national origin.


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Pocket Books, 1965. Abridged.

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Dittmer, 3[continue]

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