The Civil Rights Movement: The Struggle Continues

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Civil rights are the rights to personal liberty and are provided by the law. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights promises everybody civil rights. But many people, including lots of black people, have been denied their civil rights. Black people, and also some white people who help them, have struggled for these rights for a long time. Many people have helped and many kinds of groups have been formed to help win equal rights for everyone. Things are a lot better used to be, but the struggle is not over. Soon after the Declaration of Independence was signed there were groups that tried to end slavery. They were in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland, and Connecticut. It took a long time to win freedom for slaves. Lots of slaves were taken to freedom in the North on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad is the name of the system that slaves traveled in secret from one place to another. They usually hid during the day and traveled at nighttime. Some slaves even fought to be free. Nat Turner was a preacher that led a slave revolt in Virginia in 1831. But they all ended up being executed.. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 freed slaves in the Confederate states. But it did not guarantee anyone an education, a job, or a place to live. The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution made slavery illegal. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments were passed later, and they were supposed to give blacks all their civil rights, especially the right to vote. The Reconstruction period was 1865 – 1877. During this time many black people had important government jobs. Louisiana, South Carolina, and Mississippi had black lieutenant governors, and Mississippi’s speaker of the house was black. The superintendent of public education in Florida was black. The South had 22 black representatives in Congress. White Southerners who hated blacks started the Ku Klux Klan in 1866. It was also called the KKK. They tried to stop black people from voting and having other civil rights. They would wear white sheets and masks with pointed hoods. They would beat up blacks and public officials. They would burn crosses by the houses of people they wanted to scare. The KKK was declared illegal in 1... ... middle of paper ... ... bad that they boycotted all the buses in Montgomery. They lost so much money that the law was changed so blacks cold sit anywhere just like whites. During the boycott was when Dr. martin Luther King Jr. became an important black leader. He didn’t believe in using violence. He received the Nobel Peace Prize. But in 1968 he was assassinated and there were riots in 50 states because the blacks were so angry and frustrated. From that time until now there have been new laws passed and things have gotten better. But even now blacks and other minorities are involved in the civil rights movement. Lots of like Spanish Americans, Jews, Orientals, Native Americans, immigrants, homosexuals and others are involved now. The leaders, black and white, sometimes don’t agree on how to win civil rights. Most people are working peacefully, but others, that are called militants, think peace hasn’t worked and that violence is necessary. Many people think that blacks still do not receive fair treatment from authorities like the police. Even now the civil rights movement is still working for equal rights for all like we were promised in the Declaration of Independence.

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