Civil Rights in the 1960's and Today
In 2017, the right to liberty and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, or civil rights, are still being oppressed. Many marginalized communities and persons continue to face discrimination, and racism unfortunately continues to be a prevalent phenomenon. In many instances, such as the recent wave of African-American men being shot by white police officers, events with racial themes or undertones continue to dominate the news cycle. Nevertheless, while the issue of civil rights continues to be a very relevant sociopolitical concern, there are more civil rights today than the 1960's, during the height of the civil rights movement. Although many believe that race relations today are at an all-time low, based on the amount of media coverage given to the topic, there has actually been consistent progress over the last 150 years, since the passage of the 13th Amendment.
The 13th Amendment was passed following the Civil War and abolished slavery. However, while slavery became illegal, segregation remained legal and racism was still rampant. Crimes committed against persons of color were often overlooked entirely. Segregation remained legal until 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that public schools must be open to students of all ethnicities (Morris, 2006). Despite the end of segregation, however, discrimination was still legal. Businesses could still choose to not hire someone based on the color of their skin. This remained until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which effectively prohibited discrimination in the workplace.
The 1960s were a time of progress for civil rights, but this was the result of intense political debate and activism. Demonstrations and marches being led by civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X were often met with overt hostility and police brutality. Police officers would actively turn firehoses on those who had gathered peacefully. These instances were common throughout the South, where the civil rights movement...