John F. Kennedy's Civil Rights Speech

1526 words - 7 pages

Does everyone deserve civil rights? John F. Kennedy believed so during the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Right Movement began around 1950 and ended around 1970. A few of the major leaders were Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and John F. Kennedy. The purpose of the Civil Rights Movement was to end discrimination and prejudice among whites and blacks. Many African Americans did not have the same rights as Caucasians mainly due to their skin being a different color. A famous speech delivered by John F. Kennedy was “The Nation Faces a Moral Crisis Regarding Race” on June 11, 1963 at Washington D.C.. A major theme of John F. Kennedy's speech was racism. In “The Nation Faces a Moral Crisis ...view middle of the document...

In addition, he knew that African Americans receiving equal rights would come with opposition; however it would be a victorious battle. Kennedy desired to unite blacks and whites, and end segregation between all races “I am therefore asking Congress to enact legislation giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public- hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments” (Kennedy). All of the major civil rights leaders including Kennedy believed that everyone should be able to use the same facilities. However, at the time, people of color were forced to use different facilities than whites, and colored facilities lacked proper sanitation. This separation hindered the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., men and women in America becoming united as one, from happening. Martin Luther King Jr. yearned for equal opportunity and rights for all men, as stated by Robert Dallek, in John F. Kennedy's Civil Rights Quandary “”I have a dream that on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood […] I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low; the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together””. King himself faced discrimination and opposition. He was unable to use facilities that were open to whites nor was he given the same opportunities as whites; nevertheless he continued to pursue his dream and make it a reality, but he was thrown in jail multiple times and was finally murdered for that dream. His dream was finally accomplished through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Understanding the gist of this speech makes it easier to see John F. Kennedy's purpose.
Kennedy desired to change the world's perspective regarding race. He wished to pass a bill that would bring equal rights and opportunities to all men and women “Originally proposed by John F. Kennedy in 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, carried out under Lyndon B Johnson, caused great controversy […] It was the precursor to other attempts (such as affirmative action) to redress discrimination against minorities” (“Civil Rights Act 1964”). Kennedy proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 hoping that it would ended segregation, yet Kennedy was murdered before it was passed. Kennedy's successor successfully passed the bill, and it helped minorities to have more rights. Kennedy gained support for his belief and speech regarding race by stating that it was a moral issue “I think the speech that President Kennedy made was forceful […] He was the first president to say that the question of civil rights was a moral issue” (JFK and Civil Rights: It's Complicated). Kennedy argued that civil rights were a moral issue. To Kennedy, it meant that as an American, it was believed that all men and women were created equal,...

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