Civil Rights Initiatives in 20th Century Essay
Despite the fact that USA was an independent state advocating for freedom and equality to all, the Jim Crow Laws that were in practice from 1886 to 1965 proved otherwise (Laderman and Leon, 2003). These laws advocated to racial segregation in the utilization of public facilities between white Americans and African Americans.Civil Rights Initiatives in 20th Century Essay
Despite the fact that this segregation was supposed to lead to separate but equal utilization of public resources and amenities, the conditions of African Americans kept deteriorating. In addition to this, discriminatory voting practices were put in place that disqualifies most African Americans from exercising their democratic right.
All these factors led to development and growth of the civil rights movement in the United States of America. Several civil rights initiatives were developed by African Americans to fight for their rights as humans and as citizens of the United States of America. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a prime example of a civil rights initiative that was formed during the 20th century.
Under the chairmanship of Edgar Nixon and support of influential people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., NCAAP fought for political, social and economic equality for all (Dye, 2010). At the same time, the initiative advocated for the elimination of racial discrimination and racial segregation in the United States. The Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 was one of the most successful demonstrations that NCAAP organized (Jeffrey, 2009).Civil Rights Initiatives in 20th Century Essay
After refusing to give up her seat on the African American section of the bus, Rosa Parks, an African American woman and a civil rights activist was arrested and charged by the court of law. NCAAP took advantage of this situation to air their grievances against the Jim Crow Laws.
With the assistance of Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) that was led by Martin Luther King Jr., the bus boycott lasted for 381 days. This move by the African Americans in Alabama led to a decline in business for bus services. Due to its impacts, the Supreme Court repealed the section of the law that supported racial segregation on public transport. The court termed this law as unconstitutional (Shores, 2005).
NCAAP, through Martin Luther King Jr. also played a critical role in the organization of the Washington March on 28 August 1963. The peaceful demonstration was successful, attracting over 250,000 people from all over the United States. These people were from different races and backgrounds.
The main aim of the demonstration was to urge the government to increase minimum wage, bring an end to police brutality and to advocate for the rights, freedom, and equality of minority races in the United States (Shores, 2005). It is during this day that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous speech, I Have a Dream. As a result of this demonstration, the Civil Rights Act of 1965 was passed. Consequently, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was also passed.
Initiative Impact on Current and Future Policies
NCAAP was found to bring equality not just for African Americans but also to all Americans (Jeffrey, 2009). This came about as a result of the increased oppression on minority ethnic groups in the United States of America, more so, African Americans.Civil Rights Initiatives in 20th Century Essay
However, the Montgomery Bus Boycott brought to an end an era where people were judged by the color of their skin to enjoy public transportation services. At the present moment, residents of the United States of America can board any bus and take any seat in a bus or a taxi. Therefore, all the policies that have been developed and will be developed with regards to public transportation have to be equal to all races in the United States.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 brought to an end any form of racial discrimination and racial segregation in the United States. All residents of America therefore had equal rights and equal opportunities. This law has resulted to the increase in education, employments, political participation, and social interaction not just by minority groups but also by all Americans. It is as a result of these laws that any American citizen can get medical care at any hospital, dine at any restaurant, travel using bus, train, or airplane without discrimination.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 gave African Americans, members of other minority groups and poor white Americans the chance to exercise their voting rights. All the qualification, standards, and practices that had been put in place were eliminated with this amendment. As a result, any American citizen who is of age has the right to take part in state and national elections regardless of his/her race, religion or gender. This has paved way for the development of democracy in the United States.
As a result of the civil rights initiative of NCAAP, every American citizen now has access to public amenities. Despite the fact that elements of racism and discrimination are still in place, there have been tremendous improvement on racial segregation and discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, or religion. Therefore, an average American in the modern world has chance to exercise his rights and freedom to the fullest as compared to an average American during the 20th century.Civil Rights Initiatives in 20th Century Essay
Dye, T.R. (2010). Understanding Public Policy. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Jeffrey, O. (2009). After the Darkest Night Comes the Day: Change. Chicago: AuthorHouse
Laderman, G. and Leon, L. (2003). Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions. Santa Barbra: ABC-CLIO
Shores, E. (2005). Rosa Parks: Civil Rights Pioneer. New York: Capstone Press Civil Rights Initiatives in 20th Century Essay