Essay On The Civil Rights Movement

1071 words - 5 pages

The civil rights movement was a mass popular movement which saw to secure African-American's equal opportunity and rights. The movement began in the late 19th century but peak during the 1950s and 1960s as African-American men and women, along with whites, organized and led the movement at national and local level. It was in response to the racial inequality in the south that saw education, economic and legal cases have a blatant bias towards blacks.

During the 1960's, America was divided over the voting rights of African-Americans who had gained freedom from slavery over a century ago but yet had the right to vote. During this time there was racial unrest but president at the time, Lyndon B. Johnson, encourage the Voting Rights Act, which would see African-Americans be granted the right to vote. As Lyndon carried on from where JFK left off, his passion to see this act passed was shown through his speech called "We will overcome" This speech would see many boundaries broken that were set by his predecessors.

His speech was directed at congress and was broadcasted to everyone all over the country. In his speech he starts it off by urging "members of both parties, American of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me". This can be seen as a call for unity as he needs everyone's help on this cause and he wants the full support of congress and all Americans.
He then tries to use a great deal of pathos to rally the American people as he mentions recent violence during peaceful protests in Selma and Alabama. This is get a sense of sympathy for the cause at hand and to again rally more support by the public for the cause. The mention of violence gave the speech more of a great deal of meaning and heightened the emotion of the people who listened.

The delivery of this speech broke ground on how the president addressed congress as it was extremely rare for the president to address congress in person to advocate a legislative bill as mentioned before. This presented his strong stance on the fight for civil rights and help the legitimacy of his promotion of his ideas as it seemed like a personal passion for himself. He also made himself very human in his speech implying that he is not just the lead of the country but also a part of the American people. When addressing what action needs to be done over the civil rights he doesn't state "this country needs to" but instead says "we need to" after all the speech is called "We shall overcome". He states in the speech that it is a general feeling among the American people that something needs to be done about the voting situation.

To connect with the American people further he states lines straight from the constitution and uses it to state that in fact negroes do have a right to vote. He uses quotes such as "All men are created equal" and states that the constitution is a document that all American citizens must live by and that it includes all Americans...

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