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Essay Paper on Civil Rights Movement

In 1947, Branch Rickey of the New York Dodgers made history by signing Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers, the first African American major league baseball player. Jackie made a huge step for himself but also for all African Americans in the nation. A few years later, in 1954, the Supreme Court settled a case called Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas where they reversed Plessy vs. Ferguson stating that segregation was constitutional as long as equal facilities were provided. This action got the ball rolling for the civil rights movement because it showed the African Americans that the federal government was now on their side. 

In 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and ignited the progress of the movement. Soon a pastor, Martin Luther King, emerged as a great leader for the movement. His unique non-violent approach to achieving the goals for civil rights established King as an effective guide for the African Americans’ in the nation. The main goal of the civil rights movement was to provide African Americans with equal rights in society. Most of them held lower position jobs than whites, and earned less. This goal was too large to accomplish all at once, therefore smaller goals were made from this one vast aspiration. One of these objectives was the desegregation of schools.

Since the Supreme Court ruled that segregation is illegal in Brown vs. Board the NAACP tried to make schools in the south integrate. The idea was not accepted well and after a year, Governor Faubus of Arkansas closed the first high school that mixed white and black students. African Americans also pushed for desegregation of lunch counters, busses, and public facilities such as toilets and water fountains. They wanted what was specified for them in the Declaration of Independence: “the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Martin Luther King organized a non-violent approach to protesting against segregation in the south. He adopted this idea of peaceful demonstration from the leader of India, Gandhi. King used this passive rallying to show the whites that the African Americans were serious about gaining equality.

Rosa Parks displayed passive resistance to white supremacy when she refused to give her seat up for a white person. She just remained seated and was taken to jail. There was no violence involved, although there were many threats. African Americans joined together and showed their opposition to inequality at lunch counters across the south that were reserved for whites. Black people sat at the counters and refused to get up until they were served. Another strategy was to fill up all the jails till there was no room left.

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