Guest Post by Lizzie Lau – More on Lizzie at the end of this post
February is Black History Month, giving us a great opportunity to reflect on all the great African American leaders that have helped to mold the world what it is today. This year, we will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of many of the Civil Rights events. To honor Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, the following is a look back on some of the greatest moments throughout the Civil Rights Movement.
Brown v. Board of Education Decision
Back in 1896, the Plessy vs. Ferguson case allowed states to decide whether or not they wanted to create separate schools for white and black students. In most states, segregated schools were normal—whites attended one school while blacks attended another. In 1954, the Brown vs. Board of Education case, which was held in Topeka, Kansas, ruled that segregated schools were considered unconstitutional. Although this was a huge success for the Civil Rights Movement, not everyone was happy with the results, and many states and school boards refused to acknowledge and follow the law.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, there were plenty discriminations against individuals who wanted to vote. In some states, certain people, specifically African Americans, were denied their right to vote based on prerequisites set forth by that state’s government. In 1965, the Voting Right Act was passed that made it illegal for government to discriminate against anyone’s right to vote. Prerequisites or any type of voting procedures were now considered prohibited, giving everyone, no matter race or creed, the ability to vote.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of the biggest achievements in the entire Civil Rights Movement. With this act, it became illegal to discriminate against someone based on his or her race, gender or religion. Thanks to this law, there was no more segregation allowed in schools, in public places and even in the workforce.
Montgomery Bus Boycott
In Montgomery, Alabama, the public transit system was segregating their passengers. In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. The next morning, Martin Luther King Jr. asked his fellow men and women to boycott the Montgomery Transit System until action was taken to create a line on the bus that declared a specific white section and a specific black section. The boycott was successful in Alabama, as the loss of black passengers hurt the revenue of the transit system. In 1956, the Browder vs. Gayle case determined that the Montgomery bus segregation was unconstitutional.
March on Washington
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was one of the largest rallies in United States history. Thousands of Americans walked to Washington DC to seek job training for the unemployed, propose a minimum wage, and eradicate discrimination in the hiring process. Many civil rights, religious and labor groups took place in the march, and this event is where Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech took place. It was this event that is said to have turned the tides on the Civil Rights Movement and provide the current laws and lifestyles we have today.
Guest Author: Lizzie Lau is a freelance writer who combines personal opinions and research to create appealing and informative articles on various topics.