The Civil Rights Movement
The 13th amendment, passed on the first of January, 1865 abolished slavery throughout America. Although African Americans were considered free after this amendment was passed, they still had a long and arduous struggle to absolute freedom. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, segregation in the United States was commonly practiced throughout many of the Southern and Border States. Schools, bathrooms, libraries, and even water fountains were segregated. Though there were some laws that prevented segregation and discrimination at this time, they were not strongly enforced. Civil rights activists, revolting of being denied their rights as Americans, attempted to put an end to segregation and discrimination in America by starting boycotts and sometimes just simply talking about the issues of racial discrimination. The struggles for racial equality led to events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, sit-ins, the March on Washington, and much more. This political, legal, and social struggle to gain full citizenship rights for African Americans and to achieve racial equality is commonly known as the Civil Rights Movement (Civil Rights Movement). It was a time of tremendous change, and the Civil rights act of 1964, a bill passed on July 2, 1964, was hoped to end segregation and discrimination once and for all, however following the many years of anti-black violence and hatred, was it enough to change the mindset of the American people?
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
One of the first and most recognized events of the Civil Rights Movement was the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and is regarded as the first large-scale demonstration against segregation in the U.S (Montgomery Bus Boycott). In Montgomery, Alabama there was a city ordinance in place requiring blacks to ride in the rear of municipal buses, in designated sections (Cozzens). If the front half of the bus, reserved for whites, became completely occupied African Americans were required to yield their seats to the white riders (Montgomery Bus Boycott). A white person would refuse to sit in the same row as an African American. White city bus drivers treated the African Americans in an uncivil and vehement manner. For example, it was not uncommon for bus drivers to drive off before African Americans had the chance to board the bus. And yet when African Americans did board the bus, they were required to pay their fair at the front of the bus and then exit the bus and re-enter through the back door. These same white bus drivers were also known to physically beat African American passengers. Some of these violent confrontations resulted in arrests of blacks (Rosenberg). Black organizations such as the Women’s Political Council, or WPC, were formed with a goal of the elimination of segregation on city buses.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott started in 1955 with a forty-two-year-old seamstress named...