The Civil Rights Movement
The civil rights movement is a kind of political movement, directed the discriminated to be recognized by the society, and treated equally, protected by the law, regardless of their race, skin color, sex, etc. The human rights movements took place in different countries and in different time, but they have always had lots of similarities.
They often arose, as a result of discrimination, bigotry and intolerance, when there had been abandoned the mother language, the lifestyle, rejected and disapproved points of view, ideas, and forbidden to think differently.
The civil rights movement allowed to solve numerous problems, arising in the society, unite the nation and define the possible ways of moving together to future prosperity and fully-integrated nation.
Just after social reforming and political changes in 1960’s, there had been totally banned segregated schools, colored zones in the bus. So, children could communicate, interact all the time and, in turn, pushing the whole generation into the new level of common ground and credibility.This is, what a great nation figuratively needs to move in one direction .
Such movements were typical in those countries, where some group of people was surpassed and there was a struggle for equal rights correspondingly.
Although, there had always been issues with civil rights across the world, but, very often, they left unsolved. First civil rights movement traces back to the 19th century, mainly to the one, leading to the prohibition of slavery across the whole British Empire in 1833, and the second to the abolishment of slavery in 1865, after the American civil war was over. As a matter of fact, that was just the beginning of the continuous civil rights movements, happening at a different time, in many countries. For instance, the UK of the post-war period was not a good place for the immigrants, despite their skillfulness, professional and talent. They were discriminated and prejudiced, once desiring to be employed. It had lasted until Paul Stephenson, in 1963, run a boycott against one of the bus companies to highlight the problem in the British society (Dabydeen, Gilmor, & Jones, 2010, p.496).
Similar things happened in Hong Kong, in the 1970s, where the British Gornment unequally distributed the income and benefits between men and women. Lam (2004) argues, that the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants' Association was the organization to have initiated the program of equal paying either men and women or the retired and married. To put it mildly, married women could easily lose the job, as pregnancy was not encouraged (p.257).
Additionally, great social changes have been observed in the early 1960’s, in Canada’s Quebec. At that time, volunteers initiated a campaign for the Quebec separation, as a distinct territory unit. They insisted on amending the Canadian constitution to officially recognize the Quebec, as an autonomous land. This phenomenon was called the Canadian Quite Revolution, due to the fact, that the rebellion was calm and peaceful. Such an intention was strongly supported by Quebec people, as they wanted to maintain the French language and their specific traditions. The thing was, that they had long been ignored by Canadian policies, that forced British traditions on them (B. Taylor, M., & Owram, 1994, p.268).
Fortunately, Canada had already been democratic and well-developed country, which did care for its citizens to some extent. Canada of the second part of the 20th century had nothing to do with the South Africa of the same period. Woll (2015) states, that in 1948 the National Party came to power in South Africa (p.16). It legalized discrimination, segregation and racism, laying the foundation for the legal system of human rights denial – the Apartheid. Under this system, the society was divided into whites, blacks and colored, according to the Registration Act. However, the black population was mostly bullied. They had to carry special ID cards, fingerprints and a photo with them to be allowed to enter a shop or a bank. The Naional Party Government passed the Education Act, claiming, that black children did not need to get full higher education. They were entitled to attend elementary school to learn basic writing and arithmetics, as they seemed destined for only labor jobs. Therefore, black schools did not receive enough funding and frequently closed down. Schools for the white children, on the contrary, got subsided by the government. The main idea of that period stood for making the African country suitable for the white people.
The Party decided to separate the members of the family to shorten the time of mutual communication.. Women stayed substantially in the rural region and men worked in the factories at the city or, in particular, in the city downtown.
The opposition was rather passive, but it did exist and organize numerous bus boycotts, riots, protest and marches. Women, for instance, united to establish the Federation of South African Women (FSAW). They protested against the Government policy and its barbarian laws. The African National Congress (ANC) was the main opposition party to the regime, but its nonviolent demonstrations, intended to reform the system and overcome injustice and inequality, were insufficient. In 1961, ANC planned an armed attack on military premises and governmental buildings. Unfortunately, soldiers crushed the uprising.
Economy and politics were considerably dependent on the black workforce, and from the 1970’s started to lose control over the situation. It was totally surrendered in 1991, after Nelson Mandela finally released from jail.
USA has had much in common with South Africa. America has become the most powerful country world-wide, owing to its national unity, freedom of choice, speech, and the symbol of liberty and justice. There would be no exaggeration to say, that the civil rights movement contributed to founding the US we know today. Separate leisure zones, colored section in a bus for Afro-American and even separate public schools for black and white students. Under these circumstances, integrationist ideas would have died and no sign of a way out had ever been seen. According to J. Wilson (2013), with the onset of the human rights protection era, some obstacles were overcome, as in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court cancelled racial segregation in schools, that had lasted for almost sixty years (p.25).
Needless to say, repealing the Jim Crow Laws, that prohibited African Americans from marrying the white, attending places where whites used to stay, and shopping in the same mall was a bad practice. American society of such a type would not be able to cope with the problem or some drawback nationally.
One of the underlying questions, splitting the community apart, referred to the so-called Chicano movement. Mexican Americans, who were born in the States or immigrated there long time before 1970’s, proclaimed the southern-western territory of the U.S their homeland, conquered by American troops a hundred years ago. They called that land Aztlán, and presented themselves, as its legitimate owners.
Mexican American always worked out of the city as the farm workers, hereby they struggled for their rights, although working under the sun for the whole year. Dolores Huerta and César Chávez, Mexican Americans, set up the United Farm Workers (UFW), which initiated strikes in support of giving more rights to the farmers. As we know, today, farmer’s rights are taken into account by the government.
Dabydeen, D., Gilmore, J., & Jones, C. (2010). The Oxford Companion to Black British History. Oxford, OX: OUP Oxford.
Lam, W. (2004). Understanding the Political Culture of Hong Kong: The Paradox of Activism and Depoliticization. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
Shu, X. (2015). Guo Feixiong, a Civil Rights Hero. Retrieved from http://chinachange.org/2015/01/08/guo-feixiong-a-civil-rights-hero/
B. Taylor, M., & Owram, D. (1994). Canadian History: Confederation to the present. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.
J. Wilson, J. (2013). Civil Rights Movement. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Woll, K. (2015). Nelson Mandela: South African President and Civil Rights Activist. Edina, MN: ABDO.