Essay on The Civil Rights Movement Of African Americans

Essay on The Civil Rights Movement Of African Americans

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The Civil Rights Movement of African-Americans in the mid-twentieth century sought to end racial segregation and provide equal opportunities in employment and in education. Ending with the Civil Rights Act in the late 1960s, this movement represents one of the most integral time periods for black progression in American history. However, desegregation did not immediately bring significant improvements to the lives of many African-Americans, particularly those in poverty. In fact, the 1970s and 1980s saw extreme economic inequality between blacks and whites, despite increasing social and political equality. This issue was only exacerbated for African-American women, particularly those who were single or with children. Post-Civil Rights America in the 1970s and 80s brought conflict between the government and the African-American community and brought intra-family issues between black fathers and black mothers. This essay will focus on the 1974 movie Claudine and its relationship to these struggles.
Claudine tells the story of protagonist Claudine Price, who undoubtedly displays stereotypical characteristics of African-Americans believed by many at the time; she is a single mother of six children living on welfare in a poor neighborhood in Harlem. Claudine, twice divorced, falls in love with a garbage collector named Rupert Marshall, also twice divorced, despite complaints from her children. Throughout the film, Claudine and her family are periodically visited by Miss Kabak, a nosy social worker who interrogates Claudine about her employment and relationship statuses. Claudine, despite being employed as a housekeeper for a middle-class white family, repeatedly lies to Miss Kabak in order to maintain her welfare checks. Rupert and Cl...


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...irth of a child to an unwed mother.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 officially ended segregation in America and marked the end of the Civil Rights Movement era. Still, the next two decades provided challenges to African-Americans that show that there was no immediate improvement to lifestyle following these acts. Increased economic inequality, as a result of lack of education and employment, caused many poor African-Americans to rely on welfare in order to survive. The welfare system, however, proved complicated and underwhelmed in its benefits, providing no incentive for poor black males to marry single mothers. The welfare system in the 1970s and 80s can be seen as the root of economic and marital issues facing poor black Americans at the time; it “forced men out of the house because it [wasn’t] worth the crap you [had to] go through.”

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