Students And The Civil Rights Movement During The 1960's

1114 words - 4 pages

The 1960's was a decade of tremendous social and political upheaval. In the United States, many movements occurred by groups of people seeking to make positive changes in society.

During this decade, the Civil Rights movement continued to gain momentum. The black community was continually persecuted and discriminated against by prejudice white individuals and figures of authority. Blacks everywhere struggled to end discrimination. They demanded the right to vote, to receive quality education, and to become respected individuals in the community which shunned them. (Sitkoff 35) Students, in particular, played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960's. Many college students were outraged by social injustices and the intolerance shown by their universities. Many individuals participated in boycotts and sit-ins in an attempt to change their community for the better. (Blumberg 18) The young people during the 1960?s greatly influenced the course of the Civil Rights movement by their efforts and actions. Students played a large role in the desegregation of both public grade schools and universities. College students also formed and took part in new political groups such as the Black Panther Party and Students for a Democratic Society. (Blumberg 73) Because of their heavy political involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, students across the country created a new institution: the political university. (Curry 77)

During the 1960?s, many student riots occurred on college campuses. The majority of the rioters were middle class students seeking a voice in the administration of their school. These riots were violent and sometimes fatal.

A major issue during the Civil Rights Movement was the fight to desegregate schools. Many blacks fought to receive the same quality education as white people in grade school, high school, and even at the college level. Black school children, who were able to attend integrated schools, experienced extreme racial discrimination from both their peers and their teachers, in an effort to force them to return to segregated schools. (Curry 83) By 1965, at the elementary and secondary levels, 1,160 of the 3,028 southern school districts contained both white and black students. (Sitkoff 45) Almost 10% of all black children were attending school with whites. (Sitkoff 45) The amount of desegregation that occurred at public universities was greater than that of elementary and secondary schools. (Sitkoff 45) Nevertheless, many conflicts and riots occurred on college campuses when blacks attempted to enroll. James Howard Meredith was the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. James Meredith attempted to register in the fall of 1962. (Curry 74) Because of several violent threats, Meredith was accompanied by federal marshals. State officials tried to block his entrance to the building. Protest...

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