Effectiveness Of The Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement - History - Essay

730 words - 3 pages

Effectiveness of the Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement
Martin Luther King had a dream that one day his children would “live in a nation where
they are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. King’s
leadership of the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement significantly pushed America towards being
the land of the free that it claims to be. The Civil Rights Movement’s peaceful methods
effectively gained the sympathy of whites and the media and brought attention to the racism that
permeated America. While the Civil Rights Movement was largely successful regarding their
push for freedom by organizing nonviolent confrontation that elicited desegregation and new
legislation, they were met with harsh backlash and the United States still struggles with issues of
race and equality today.
Many African Americans sought to peacefully protest segregation of whites and blacks in
all realms of society, which was successful in some cases but triggered immense backlash from
the white population in many. African American students across the South implemented sit ins in
which they sat at the counter of white restaurants and waited to be served. Students from the
cities of Greensboro, Nashville, and Atlanta all participated in the sit ins, yet were met with
hostility. Many students faced being arrested, tortured, and beaten by white mobs. Despite the
backlash, all three cities were successful and sparked 78 towns across America to participate.
While the sit ins sought to desegregate restaurants, the Freedom Rides sought to desegregate
public buses. The Freedom Riders bravely and peacefully rode into the deep south on integrated
buses in order to provoke violence and gain national attention in order to gain the sympathy of
the public. The riders faced multiple merciless mobs that blockaded the buses and attacked the
riders. Through the brutality, the riders persisted and eventually let themselves be arrested in
order to fill up the jails. Riders from all across the United States came to be arrested in the deep
south, filling up the jails and gaining the desired national attention. In the end, the Freedom
Riders successfully desegregated interstate travel, emphasizing the effectiveness of the
nonviolent movement.
African Americans throughout the South participated in nonviolent protests that ended de
jure segregation, however, across the United States work remains to be done due to the
implications of ​de facto​ segregation. Due to the persistent issue of white flight, leaving primarily
minority populations in inner cities with failing job opportunities and an exodus of money and
investment. The divide between suburban white communities and black urban communities
results in schools that tend to be mainly white or mainly black. Furthermore, because the inner
city communities have less opportunity they tend to be poorer, leading the schools in that area to
have less tax money for funding resulting in poorer schools that consist of primarily minority
groups(De Facto School Segregation Growing).
Speeches, protests, and rallies organized by the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement were
triumphant in producing legislation that combated racism. The March for Freedom in
Washington lead Congress to enact the Civil Rights Act that eradicated ​de jure​ segregation and
set an important precedent for future legislation. The Selma March and the nationally televised
horrific event of Bloody Sunday lead to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was
extremely successful in increasing African American voting registration and elected officials in
government. Unfortunately, in 2013 the Supreme Court case of Shelby versus Holder struck
down the 4th and consequently the 5th provisions of the Voting Rights Act which stated that
state governments must be approved before they make any changes to voting laws(Shelby
County v. Holder). This new decision dangerously opened new doors in which states could pass
discriminatory legislation without federal approval. Many states have already implemented voter
ID laws that some critics have argued have affected minorities adversely.
The nonviolent Civil Rights movement effectively ended segregation by law by passing
the monumental Civil Rights Act. Furthermore it ultimately brought national attention to the
issue of racism in the United States and inspired other oppressed groups to rise and fight as well.
However, many issues that the Civil Rights Movement risked their lives fighting for persist
today. It is the responsibility of today's world to fight for change and take a part in activism in
order to fulfill King’s dream of equality and the dreams of many across America.

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