This paper will discuss the Black struggle for civil rights in America by examining the civil rights movement's history and reflecting on Blacks' status in contemporary society, will draw upon various related sources to substantiate its argument. The history of Black social change following the Emancipation Proclamation will be provided to show the evolution of the civil rights struggle. Obstacles that impede the movement's chance of success, such as ignorance in both Whites and Blacks, and covert governmental racism will be discussed. The effectiveness of several elements that compose the movement will reveal their progress, and how this has aided the movement as a whole. The paper will conclude that the struggle for equality has produced significant results, but has not achieved its ultimate goal, which is equality between race. This is so because the contemporary White power structure maintains control of society in ways that are less apparent than they were thirty years ago, but retain a similarly powerful grip. To combat racism today, the struggle for civil rights must explore new methods that illuminate racial discrimination and distinction more clearly. Continuing to fight for social justice is the only way equality can one-day become a reality.
Historically, Black groups and leaders have advocated many philosophies that hope to achieve equality. This was the case during two very important times in history, Reconstruction and the 1960s. The first articulated philosophies as means to achieve equality; the second implemented these ideas with great success.
Immediately following the Civil War, during Reconstruction, much of the White power structure was overtly racist and angry. Booker T. Washington encouraged the largely uneducated Black population to begin their struggle by taking small strides. He felt Blacks would be able to enter the dominant culture by learning vocations. This would produce gradual results but would be met with more favorably by Whites, who would therefore be less prone to use violence. His counterpart, W.E.B. Du Bois, advocated a more immediate solution. He wanted the most talented Blacks, such as doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, to lead the their race towards social uplift. In his eyes, this "talented tenth" of the Black population would assume equality on their own terms by leading other Blacks to follow their example. Although their styles differed, Washington and Du Bois articulated a solution to the problem of racism, which laid much of the groundwork for the struggle towards equality. Ensuing generations would use versions of their philosophies to push their message further.
The civil rights movement of 1960s adopted platforms that were similar to those that were created by their predecessors. Nonviolent groups advocated passive resistance, which was similar to Washington?s approach because both worked within the system. Black power groups agreed with Du Bois in that they...