Assessment of the Changes, Legacy, and Challenges of Civil Rights in the US

Published: 2021/11/04
Number of words: 1246

Laws fundamentally secure basic human rights commonly referred to as civil rights. By and large, the government administration sets up these laws to shield the masses against discrimination. The present social liberties have not been consistently around and ensured, but their growth has happened over time. Civil Rights Movement was the mother of many of these rights that are enjoyed today. In spite of this, it has achieved little in the way of ending racial prejudice in the United States. Therefore it cannot be considered as a definite win in the fight against racial discrimination. Post-World War II was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and alluded to the period between the 1950s and 1960s. Segregation was a norm for many buses in the south around 1955. This framework isolated individuals based on race especially in places that were dominated by members of the public. Blatant racial segregation was on show under the framework were passengers of the black race were expected to sit in the rear of the buses while their white counterparts sat at the front. Rosa Parks, an American woman of African descent, boarded a bus in December 1955 in Montgomery. She was forced to surrender her seat by a white man, although she had sat in black-designated seats. This was occasioned by the filled places in the area designated for whites upfront. Her decline to the demand occasioned her immediate arrest. This provided the watershed moment for the uprising and development of the movement to advocate for social rights (Hall, 236).

Rosa Parks was sentenced in 1955, a couple of days after her apprehension for disregarding isolation laws, marking the beginning of the boycott of the infamous Montgomery buses. Refusal to utilize something, sell or buy, is a type of dissent known as boycotting, which is held to realize some necessary amendments. Public transport was brought to its knees in the coming years since African Americans would not pay fares required to board buses. In a clear act of dissent, the community walked, car-pooled, and also used cabs. This was done in an endeavor to protest against racial discrimination and fight segregation. Following numerous cases of discrimination like the one that involved Parks in November 1956, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the unlawfulness of bus segregation. At the point when the declaration made by the highest Court in the land to do away with seclusion became effective in December 1956, the boycott of the Montgomery buses ceased. It was the view of many that Birmingham city in 1963 was secluded along racial lines more than any other city. Stores and restaurants declined to offer services to African-Americans, racial prejudice was exercised when recruiting at the workplace, and frequently blacks were subjects of crimes that were violent. A hero in the form of Martin Luther King came to the fore organized peaceful processions with an end goal of getting the government to relax policies that were discriminatory in Birmingham. Peaceful processions involved speeches, picketing, and marching.

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Police dogs and fire hoses were deployed to attack African-Americans while others were captured and detained. Shelling of lodgings and torching of homes of social equality leaders characterized this period. The administration in Birmingham was forced to roll out genuine improvements when pictures of brutality against peaceful demonstrators captured the nation’s attention. The local leadership abolished oppressive recruitment procedures, segregation in restrooms, lunch counters, and in May 1963. Though the amendments were a massive improvement, racial profiling continued unabated. Four American girls of African descent were blown-up and, as a result, killed in church by the Klu Klux Klan in September 1963. The Washington march occurred in the meantime. Washington DC saw approximately 200,000 demonstrators walkthrough in protest in August 1963.

The different races were in solidarity and convened to march in order to say no to seclusion and racial profiling. The culmination of the march was at the foot of Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King made his most famous speech. The Civil Rights Act passage in 1964 was a direct result of the early events that were undertaken by the civil rights movement. President Johnson succeeded in the efforts made by President Kennedy. The bill that enacted the Act of civil rights evoked many questions than answers, and it occupies history books owing to the sheer amount of dispute it drew. Senators dragged the bill for 83 days through filibusters. A long discourse intended to defer deciding on a bill is what is known as a filibuster. Discrimination was finally outlawed in every public spot within the United States’ boundaries under the Act. Additionally, it was wrong to discriminate during the recruitment process, elections, and learning institutions under the Act. When the then President, Johnson, the law came into force, putting pen to paper on the bill. Despite the fact that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is unquestionably one of the most significant achievements of the protests and suffering of civil rights movement leaders, it has achieved little in ending racial prejudice in the United States. Laws that were anti-discriminatory in nature were developed in the coming years owing to the relentless efforts put in by the civil rights movement (Sue et al. 17).

That the civil rights movements have achieved so little and are considered not a win can be reflected by the current happenings in the US. A cellphone video that capture the final moments of the life of a black man shocked the world. An unarmed African-American, George Floyd, was taken into custody by four Minneapolis police officers, accused of trying to pass a counterfeit 20 dollar bill. A white officer, Derek Chauvin, held him down with a knee over his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd struggled to breathe. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Consequently, the four officers who were at the scene were dismissed. This was not enough for the numerous protesters whose demonstrations were broken continuously by smoke grenades and rubber bullets.

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George Floyd is the latest in a string of African-Americans to die through police action. While this is happening, the government denies there is institutional racism in the police while stating that most police officers are heroes. The black community is left reeling and looking to the law to pursue the officers behind Floyd’s death with the same ferocity as they did the handcuffed Floyd. Emotions have soared high, which led to what started as peaceful demonstrations degenerate into an all-out riot and looting. Across America, it is turning into regression with wanton destruction of property, all triggered by Mr. Floyd’s death. Anger is still palpable despite the announcement that the officer, Derek Chauvin, was being charged with manslaughter. However, the black community wants the officer to be slapped with a more serious murder charge and for the other officers to be charged. This is the bare minimum before the blacks can start obeying orders such as the imposed curfew. The fate of these officers will not just matter to George’s family. The black community is appalled by another black man dying at the hands of white officers, often without consequences, and they are demanding justice.


Hall, J. D. “The long civil rights movement and the political uses of the past.” The Best American History Essays 2007. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2007. 235-271.

Sue, D. W., Bucceri, J., Lin, A. I., Nadal, K. L., and Torino, G. C. Racial microaggressions and the Asian American experience. Cultural diversity and ethnic minority psychology, 13.1 (2007) 72.

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