The United States, despite its libertarian ideals and emphasis on equality, has more than once turned its back on its own citizens. Slavery, the most bruising, shameful mark in the history of this democracy, divided the American culture even after the Civil War ended and the slaves were freed. In the nineteenth century and twentieth century black society continually fought for their civil rights, pursuing an equality of opportunity that all citizens should find inalienable and duly granted at birth. Despite this, this pursuit of happiness was not without a long and complex history. From the Atlanta Compromise of Booker T. Washington to the Niagara Movement's eventual creation of the NAACP, the struggle for African American equality has been consistently evolving. Regardless of the differences in philosophical approaches towards achieving equality, the common factor within the civil rights movement has been the stress of unity, and the search for peaceful resolution through legislative and judicial means.
[...] There was a shift from passive aggression to radical violence, and there was great strife within the civil rights movement itself. Notably, "within the black community, the black power ideology came to mean a sense of black control over the community and an effort to instill self-pride" (LeMay p. 283). This was obviously a terrible strike against unity between blacks and whites, and so the term "reverse discrimination," gained usage within white culture. The Black Panthers, finally, organized a party that was political and militant above all else. [...]
[...] Located in Harlem, UNIA became a center for the black struggle for equality. It influenced Black Nationalism and Black Muslims. Much like Tocqueville's analysis years before, Garvey promoted a large scale black migration back to Africa, specifically to the nation of Liberia. As the once Solid Democratic South began to wane in power, particularly following the juxtaposition of the far-politically different Roosevelt administration, the United States Congress began to address major issues focusing on civil rights. In 1957, the U.S. [...]
[...] Because the possibility of earning equal rights through hard work and earnesty was obviously squelched, the most viable and immediate option would be to challenge the establishment through the judicial system. Case after case, the NAACP failed to achieve a single victory. Then, in 1915, the NAACP won a case which overturned the grandfather clause within the Oklahoma constitution; it was the first legal victory for the Civil Rights movement (LeMay p.156). In the years following this important landmark in voting rights, came an even more decisive battle. Segregation within the public education system, as described constitutional by Plessy v. [...]
[...] King himself noted, generation of young people has come out of decades of shadows to face naked state power; it has lost its fears, and experienced the majestic dignity of a direct struggle for its own liberation They are an integral part of the history which is reshaping the world, replacing a dying order with a modern democracy' (Takaki p.404-405). Born from these non-violent ideals came one of the most influential forms of exacting change in the history of democracy. [...]
[...] Unfortunately, because of their rhetoric, the Black Panthers were targeted by the government as more of a danger to democracy than a benefit. The ideals were suppressed, the people were repressed, and so the radicalism became nefarious in the mainstream American mindset. Further harming their image was their alliances with multiple other unfavorable organizations, such as the Students for a Democratic Society and the Communist Party. Despite this, the Black Panthers did produce federal legislators, and worked effectively with the democratic process. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee