The struggle began with non-violent protests. Backed by students, the civil rights movement trudged onward. African Americans staged mass protests to show their support. Despite all this, many racial barriers still remained in the South. Black objectives were redefined in the 60’s when militant black consciousness developed. The great society emerged providing hope for all. Liberal optimism swept the nation and liberalism influenced internationally. The latter part of the 60’s was characterized by discontent.
Jim Crow laws made African Americans second class citizens, but they fought against segregation using passive resistance. During World War II black activism originated, followed by the Supreme Court reversing the Plessy v. Ferguson trial. This led Martin Luther King, one of the great civil rights leaders, to emphasize the need for voting rights.
Black students organized sit-ins to protest segregation. Using that as an example, student activists formed their own civil rights organization and focused more closely on local issues. African Americans helped president Kennedy win the election of 1960. Freedom riders sought to deplete segregation of the upper hand in the Deep South.
African Americans had built up momentum and were staging mass protests. The leaders of these protests focused their efforts on Birmingham. In awe at the numbers gathered during the March on Washington, the public supported the civil rights law. The civil rights act eliminated “whites only” public facilities.
In spite of the civil rights act, many racial barriers remained in the south. Civil rights leaders played a big role in Mississippi. They encouraged voter registration and recruited white volunteers. King concentrated on the voting rights issue in 1965, resulting in civil rights workers forming their own political party. Militant blacks, such as Malcolm X emphasized black separatism and political power. He encouraged urban black military, and it increased in the mid 1960’s. The civil rights movement reaffirmed constitutional principles.
Kennedy was one of the greatest presidents this nation has ever seen. Barely defeating Nixon, his charisma captured American hearts. Kennedy had many great programs in action. Johnson pushed these programs, to take them to the top. Kennedy also developed a more active foreign policy. Although the bay of pigs invasion ended disastrously, Kennedy still was able to put an end to the Cuban missile crisis. Tragically, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Johnson continued Kennedy’s foreign policy. The government was stepping up at this time. Expanding social welfare programs, and waging a war on poverty were just a couple of the Great Society programs. The great society was a package of programs hoping to help the economy. Great society programs had mixed results.
The late part of the 60’s was characterized by discontent. The civil rights movement spawned social activism. There were many protests, especially on college campuses. The counterculture rejected traditional standards and style. Many young people followed this trend and it began to be accepted. Feminism experienced a rebirth. The battle for women’s rights showed great discontent in America. Ethnic groups gained more power.
Martin Luther King was the key leader in the civil rights movement. It seems like he got things done, and others were inspired by his courage. President Kennedy did many great things for our country and his charisma was in all our hearts. Without these great leaders where would we be today.