Factors Attributed to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s

What were the most important factors that contributed to the turning impulse of the civil rights motion in the 1960s?

The motion was made up largely of peaceable protests and other similar Acts of the Apostless of societal opposition. Many because celebrated and still remain celebrated to this twenty-four hours, such as Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Some of these Acts of the Apostless will be discussed farther in this essay. The intent of these Acts of the Apostless was to convey to illume the legion unfairnesss that African-Americans had to confront when populating in America. The beginning of the civil rights motion itself can be traced back to the Second World War.

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Approximately 3 million inkinesss registered for the US Army during the Second World War. [ 1 ] They all fought for their state merely like the Whites and expected to return to America with certain rights that they should hold earned, contending for their state. Besides during the war many more occupations were available to inkinesss than earlier. This can be seen in the American demographics where many inkinesss migrated to the North of the state in the hunt of occupations. Before the war about 77 % of inkinesss lived in former slave provinces but by 1950 that figure fell to 68 % and proceeded to fall during the sixties. [ 2 ] During this clip racial segregation was challenged lawfully, by administrations such as the NAACP ( National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ) with the first major conflict and triumph being the “Brown vs Board of Education” . In 1951, a few black pupils in Virginia protested against the unequal position they had in the instruction system. Finally the tribunal ruled that the instruction of black kids separate to white kids was unconstitutional. [ 3 ] This tribunal instance is seen as one of the first major triumphs for the civil rights motion and one of the biggest factors in what drove the motion farther to seek and integrate society. This was go oning while people had to cover with the economic wake of the Second World War. The war ended and so did the war-time production industry. This has been estimated to impact the black population “two and one half times every bit badly as white workers” [ 4 ] So occupations that were available to black workers, were one time once more unavailable.

The same clip, in the west segregation was still comparatively undisputed. This was exemplified in the instance of Emmett Till. The 14 twelvemonth old Chicago indigen was sing relations in Mississippi when he allegedly whistled at a white adult female in a shop. He was beaten, mutilated, shooting in the caput and subsequently disposed of in a river. The work forces who perpetrated this were acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury in merely under an hr. No farther attending was given to the instance, even when the female parent of the male child sent a wire to President Eisenhower. While many people tried to disregard and bury the instance, the impact was shown as 50,000 people came to Till’s funeral.

While the civil rights motion was still turning, it was the likes of the NAACP, who were middle-class and sought to contend segregation through legal agencies. However there were some who thought that a mass battle, whether violent or nonviolent would be much more effectual. This manner was foremost seen in 1955-1956 with the Montgomery Bus Strike. The work stoppage, famously, started after Rosa Parks refused to give up her place to a white rider. Parks, who was a secretary for a local office of the NAACP, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor of the city’s segregation Torahs. Martin Luther King Jr. who was a Baptist curate and the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association was instrumental in organizing a one-day work stoppage of all the Montgomery coachs. The one twenty-four hours boycott finally extended to a 381 twenty-four hours one which catapulted the issue into the national media. While at first the demands of the protests were rather moderate and didn’t even want to dispute segregation, alternatively inquiring for a more gracious intervention of black riders and holding a first-come, first-serve system for the seats on the coachs. The city’s opposition to this, nevertheless, brought approximately more terrible demands.

This act brought frontward the thought that the alteration many African americans were looking for, wasn’t traveling to be gained through legal agencies, but through a mass battle similar to the 1 in Montgomery. The “new” leaders of this motion such as Martin Luther King Jr. saw the battle as a moral one, on which the hereafter of America depended on. King besides said that the battle was non specifically against Whites: “we don’t like the thought of Negroes holding to stand up when there are vacant seats.” [ 5 ] King besides preached that this battle be non-violent so as to coerce the governments into dialogues. King believe that force would non be an appropriate solution. King knew about the opposition they would confront and was confident that they could digest: “We will fit your capacity to bring down enduring with our capacity to digest agony… . We will shortly have on you down by our capacity to suffer.” [ 6 ] The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a success as the United States Supreme Court ruled Alabama’s segregation Torahs as unconstitutional and as a consequence inkinesss were allowed to sit anyplace on coachs in Montgomery. The recoil to this governing finally ensured that the integration of coachs was short lived. However Martin Luther King Jr.’s celebrated motion had started.

In 1957, an administration was set up so that this motion had a way. The administration was named the SCLC ( Southern Christian Leadership Conference ) . The administration was set up by sermonizers, similar to King Jr. , and sought to utilize non violent action to coerce the governments and to seek and set up a right to vote for black people. The success of this motion and one of the biggest factors in why the civil rights motion gained so much impulse in the 50s and 60s was because of the committedness of the people involved. Even though the purpose was hard to achieve, everyone in the motion was wholly devoted to the cause. This passion was a really of import driving factor in the success of the civil rights motion.

However the constitution of this motion was non without its jobs. The SCLC found itself in struggle with already established administrations like the NAACP. The NAACP saw the SCLC as sabotaging the methods of the NAACP as they saw protesting as a menace to their legal methods. However after the successes that the late fifties gave the civil rights motion and the recoil from the freshly created White Citizens councils around the South many inkinesss became more unified in their attempts. This recoil made King and his associates look towards the authorities for support. King met with President Eisenhower who was non forthcoming with aid, alternatively mentioning many other jobs as a ground he couldn’t aid: “Reverend, there are so many problems.. Lebanon.. Algeria” [ 7 ] With this deficiency of aid and more inkinesss seeing their old triumphs come to nil. The Brown instance from 1954 instance ensured that while a triumph resulted in the schools being virtually unchanged.

The actions of a few pupils in the South formed the SNCC ( Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee ) . A few pupils sat in the “whites only” subdivision of a cafeteria and refused to go forth until they were served. This became a sit-in as more pupils joined them. This tactic became more widespread through the sixties. “By August 1961, harmonizing to the Southern Regional Council, more than 70,000 inkinesss and Whites had participated in sit-ins and three 1000 had been jailed.” [ 8 ] This administration was responsible for the “Freedom Rides” that occurred in 1961. The SNCC sent representatives on interstate coachs to the South to protest segregation in installations on Greyhound coachs in the South. The representatives were attacked by a racialist rabble coercing the SNCC to direct more representatives for “jail-ins” Robert F. Kennedy, the lawyer general, was forced to move and state the administration that if they ended the freedom drives and sit-ins and alternatively focused on trying to derive voting rights in Mississippi they would be offered a revenue enhancement freedom. [ 9 ] The SNCC hence established its central offices in McComb, Mississippi. However Kennedy did non maintain his word and before the terminal about all of the staff were imprisoned. This act was another important factor as this caused the SNCC to move further against segregation. This coupled with Martin Luther King Jr.’s plans to process on Washington to seek and stop the segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, was instrumental in fostering the cause of the civil rights motion. Attempts to stop segregation in Birmingham would be the toughest challenge was the theoretical account white supremacist metropolis. It had a famously racist head of constabulary Eugene “Bull” Connor and the freshly elected governor of Alabama, George Wallace, who to the full supported segregation.

The sit-ins and Marches that went on in 1963 were met with ferocious opposition as dissenters were subdued with firehoses while the constabulary used constabularies Canis familiariss to assail the dissenters. These events were show on Television and caused 1000s more people to back up the cause of the civil rights motion which brought force per unit area unto Kennedy. He decided to do an understanding with functionaries in Birmingham and to denote his purpose to present civil rights statute law. In June of 1963 Kennedy submitted the Civil Rights measure to Congress. A few months subsequently the March on Washington took topographic point with around 250,000 people take parting. The two different sides of the civil rights motion saw the March otherwise. The activists saw the March as a vehicle to paralyze Washington and demo the restlessness the inkinesss now had and the hawkish methods they could use if they were unsuccessful. The more moderate people such as King Jr. saw the March as an indorsement of the Civil Rights Bill that Kennedy had submitted. While the March was by and large seen as successful, more hawkish black patriots like Malcolm X were critical of the March stating that it ended up thining the original purpose which was to demo the choler and resource of the inkinesss. [ 10 ] Malcolm X particularly criticised the fact that Whites were allowed fall in the March. In the terminal the March turned out to be much excessively moderate for some in the civil rights motion.

From this stemmed a split between the SNCC and the civil rights motion. The SNCC became a more left-of-center motion, more hawkish and extremist. This was a major event in the history of the civil rights motion. There were now two schools of idea, so to talk, and the SNCC became more extremist due to the changeless force inkinesss had to digest, the moderateness of the civil rights motion and how slow the authorities acted. This spread and how big it grew was a really of import factor.

The last event that will be discussed that impacted this divide between the SNCC and the civil rights motion was the Mississippi Summer Project. The SNCC sought to register more black electors in Mississippi. The SNCC realised there would be backlash from the Whites, but the administration realised that the Whites actions would be on the media and would therefore draw attending to the cause. A 1000 voluntaries headed to Mississippi but about right off three work forces were kidnapped and were subsequently found murdered. This was merely the beginning and by the terminal of the six hebdomad run over one thousand people arrested, 6 inkinesss murdered and about 40 black churches burned. [ 11 ] These Acts of the Apostless forced antecedently dovish members of SNCC to build up themselves in the involvement of self-defence. The SNCC created a new political party ( MFDP ) so as to conflict the established Democratic Party in Mississippi. The MFDP fought for a place alternatively of the Democratic party. However they were put under force per unit area to endorse down from this by the Democratic party, President Johnson, who offered a via media which the SNCC were non willing to take, and even some leaders of the civil rights motion like King. The SNCC refused and staged a protest which lead to nil but the apprehensions of those involved. This was the last of import factor as due to this event the SNCC started looking to the ideals of Malcolm X and the black patriotism he promoted. The SNCC became increasingly leftist and in 1965 a took an anti-Vietnam stance declining inkinesss fall ining the ground forces because “blacks should non contend in Vietnam for the white man’s freedom, until all the Negro people are free in Mississippi.” [ 12 ]

Slowly this hawkish attitude started taking over the sentiments of many inkinesss and the challenge to King’s leading non merely came from the SNCC but from many others. This turning combativeness easy started taking over the civil rights motion and the thoughts of Malcolm X were implemented over the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr and so the civil rights motion as it was known earlier came to an terminal.


  • Harvard Sitkoff,The Struggle for Black Equality, ( New York: Hill and Wang, 1993 ) , 64.
  • Jack M. Bloom,Class, Race and the Civil Rights Motion( Bloomington: Indiana University, 1987 ) ,142
  • Maning Marable,Race, Reform, and Rebellion( Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1984 ) , 14.
  • Malcolm X and George Breitman.Malcolm X speaks: selected addresss and statements. ( New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990. ) , 14-17
  • Michael J. Klarman,Brown v. Board of Education and the civil rights motion[ electronic resource ] : abridged edition of From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality, ( Oxford: New York, Oxford University Press, 2007 ) , 55
  • Michael Eric Dyson,I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr., ( New York: Free Press, 2000 ) , 107.
  • Philip S. Foner,Organized Labor and the Black Worker1619–1973 ( New York, Prager, 1974 ) , 272
  • Ronald Steel,In Love with the Night: The American Romance with Robert Kennedy( New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000 ) , 159


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