By Jessie “Decipher” Kim, Staff Writer
Prominent members in the civil rights movement were Martin Luther King Jr. and W.E.B. Dubois, who were also brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Rosa Parks sparked the movement when she refused to give up her seat on a bus, was awarded honorary membership into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The sororities and fraternities that comprise of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, also known as the Divine Nine, were largely built in response to the social injustices faced. By forming these bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood, college students created a platform in which social and political advancements were possible.
King was a leading force in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, rallying those in the community to participate in boycotting the bus. He also participated in the freedom march to Washington, where he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which reached Americans from east coast to west coast due to the relatively new invention of the television. Dubois began the Niagara movement, uniting a group of African American scholars and professionals, and later assisted in forming the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Parks was arrested for not moving to the back of the bus on Dec. 1, 1955 in Montgomery, AL. This injustice was the spark others needed and thus the Civil Rights Movement began. The goal of the Civil Rights movement was to end segregation, access to jobs, housing, and equality in general. The movement had major campaigns of civil resistances such as, boycotts, sit ins, and marches. Many of the participants practicing civil resistance during the Civil Rights Movement were peaceful. If violence broke out, it was often because of the counter protesters against them.
The turning point in United States history was the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, a legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Only after the signing of this bill did discrimination become illegal in legal matters involving housing, jobs, etc., but many individuals still faced discrimination daily. Discrimination and racism have not been completely eradicated, but society has shown slow improvements.
The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the executive order legally changed the “slave” states to “free states.” All slaves were legally free, but they did not have rights as a citizen. Former slaves experienced rampant discrimination, most prominent in the South. Jim Crows laws, local and state laws found only in the South, enforced racial segregation and continued to deny African Americans civil liberties. One case that made it to the supreme court involved Homer Plessy, an African American man who attempted to sit in an all-white railroad car.
In 1890, the state of Louisiana had passed the Separate Car Act, segregating the railway cars into black and white only. Two years later, when Plessy refused to move to the all-black railroad car, he was arrested and thrown into jail. The infamous Plessy v. Ferguson case was a Supreme Court decision that stated the doctrine of “separate but equal” did not violate the 14th amendment.
Racial segregation, disenfranchisement, exploitation, and violence were all experienced throughout the 1800s and 1900s and are still issues prevalent today.
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: All personal statements, beliefs, and opinions in this article are subject to the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jade Times and/or Delta Phi Lambda.
- The Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved from www.pbs.org/johngardner/chapters/4b.html.
- Plessy v. Ferguson – Case Brief Summary. Retrieved from www.lawnix.com/cases/plessy-ferguson.html.
- Jim Crow Museum: Origins of Jim Crow. Retrieved from www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/what.htm.
Featured Image: Ted Eytan via Flickr