Civil Rights Essay

2435 words - 10 pages

On January 20th, 2013, Barack Obama was inaugurated into his second term as president of the United States. In his speech, he made history when he made a reference to gay rights, he said:
We the people, declare today that the most evident of truths -- that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth (Obama).
Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall were all historical movements regarding women’s, black, and gay rights. These three groups eventually all came together during the Civil Rights era. Some people believe the civil rights era was just a moment in the 1950s into the 1960s that only included issues regarding African Americans. The Civil Rights era was not just a racial movement in the 1950s and 60s, it also led to gender and ethnic debates and it continues into the present day. To better understand this situation, one has to know the history behind these three groups.
One of the three groups was African Americans. Their fight for equality started when African slaves were brought over to the United States in 1619. For more than 100 years, they went through the horrors of slavery that seemed to never end. Change started to come about in the 1780s, when slavery was made illegal in the northwest territory. In 1808, congress banned the importation of slaves, which eventually led to the liberation of slaves in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. African Americans were eventually given the right to vote in 1870. While this was happening, women were just starting the battle for suffrage.
In July of 1848, over three hundred men and women gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, for the first women’s rights convention. These men and women protested the mistreatment of women in social, economical, political and religious life. This was led by Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott. These conventions also were held in places like Worcester, Massachusetts and thousands of women and men came to support the women’s suffrage movement.
There were other ways women were advancing their political status. Due to the fact that women did not have the same rights as men until earlier in the 20th century, some would dress as men to achieve higher political status or to get a better job. Gay women would cross-dress just because it made them feel more comfortable (Alsenas 21). Homosexuality was not an abnormal thing in the 19th century, it was just hidden by men and women very well. It was typical for members of the same sex to show friendly affection to each other, and even sleep in the same bed (Alsenas 12). When people would come out as homosexual; doctors automatically presumed they were mentally unstable and...

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