History Of Civil Rights In America

1584 words - 6 pages

America is a young country and has already developed a rich and multi faceted history. Its history is both bright and ominous as we as a nation have been openly discriminating against African-Americans for many years. For nearly as many years as Americans have been discriminating against African-Americans, people have been fighting for some form of equal rights for everyone, especially the African-Americans. History has shown that African-Americans have had some of the most valuable personal contributions that invariably led to the balancing of the tides of the American population.
People are always the driving force behind change and with any major transformation in history there are always individuals that have excelled in setting the gears of reform in motion. This country’s agricultural and economic standings were founded on the basis of discrimination of African-Americans. “The South was a region characterized by production for the market of a number of agricultural staples in which slave labor was both the major capital investment and an important intermediate product”(Wright, 2003). African-Americans comprised a significant amount of the work force as it pertained to agricultural products and with the prevalence of the slave trade in America; African-Americans were not considered people, but rather property. This distinction created a natural segregation between African-Americans and whites. As African-Americans began to grow more bold and created ties to one another the Underground Railroad was formed to help slaves escape the South into free northern states and Canada. One of the most famous conductors of the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman. “In the 12 years from her escape in 1849 to the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad became the most dominant force of abolitionism” (“Women in History”, 2012). She was known to many throughout the country as the “General” because of her daring and infamous trips to the South to lead some 50-60 slaves to freedom. After the end of the Civil War slaves were legally free, but many slave owners in the South refused to adhere to these new laws and those that did still treated the African-Americans as worse than second-class citizens. These continued ill treatment of African-Americans led the way for such spirited leaders as Martin Luther King Jr.and Malcom X. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X had contrasting styles that had the same goal. They both wanted fairness in this country and they wanted the discrimination of African-Americans to come to an end. Martin Luther King Jr. was an active pastor in Montgomery, Alabama, who preached passive resistance. “On August 28, 1963, the historic March on Washington drew more than 200,000 people in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. It was here that King made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech emphasizing his belief that someday all men could be brothers” (“Martin luther king jr, 2012). This...

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