Civil Rights

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September 22, 2010

The Civil Rights Movement

Civil rights for blacks became a major national political issue in the 1950's and early 1960's. Thousands of Americans, white and black, were demonstrating across the South in an effort to end segregation in stores, restaurants, hotels, libraries, and all public places. Fair housing and equal employment opportunities were also a major concern. The demonstrators used tactics such as picketing, marches, demonstrations, voter registration, and various forms of civil disobedience. Thousands of civil rights demonstrators were arrested, and hundreds were beaten. Those who did not want the old ways of treating blacks to change dynamited scores of churches and homes. It was always important thought that the demonstrators and their acts were none violent, as Martin Luther King Jr. believed that nonviolence could and will overcome violence. Black people faced many hardships when it came to daily living. They were not allowed to attend white schools, they were not allowed to eat or shop in the same places as most white people. Even transportation was segregated so that blacks and whites were separated. One of the biggest blows for black equality came when Oliver Brown challenged the School Board of Topeka so that his child could attend school. The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, announced its decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas on May 17, 1954.  The decision declared that the system of segregated public schools in the United States was unconstitutional. Second step for black equality came with Rosa Parks story that has become legendary in the civil rights history. On December 1, 1955, she boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. During her ride, she was told to move out of her seat and to the "colored section" in the back. She refused and was arrested. Her arrest triggered a systematic response among the civil rights community in...