The Civil Rights Movement in 1955

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The Civil Rights Movement refers to the political, social, and economical struggle of African Americans to gain full citizenship and racial equality. Although African Americans began to fight for equal rights as early as during the days of slavery, the quest for equality continues today. Historians generally agree that Civil Rights Movement began with the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and ended with the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Despite the 14th and 15th constitutional amendments that guarantee citizenship and voting right regardless of race and religion, southern states, in practice, denied African Americans the right to vote by setting up literacy tests and charging a poll tax that was designed only to disqualify them as voters. In 1955, African Americans still had significantly less political power than their white counterparts. As a result, they were powerless to prevent the white from segregating all aspects of their lives and could not stop racial discrimination in public accommodations, education, and economic opportunities. Following the 1954 Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, it remained a hot issue in 1955. That year, however, it was the murder of the fourteen-year-old Emmett Louis Till that directed the nation’s attention to the racial discrimination in America. Till was an African American schoolboy in Chicago, and he went to visit his uncle in Mississippi. He reportedly “wolf whistled” at a white grocery store attendant, Mrs. Bryant, and was kidnapped by her husband and her husband’s half brother that following night. The boy’s body, terribly battered, with a bullet hole in the head and a cotton-gin fan affixed to the n... ... middle of paper ... ... strategies for his writing after Martin Luther King Jr. Works Cited Baldwin, James. “Notes of a Native Son.” 1995. James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Ed. Toni Morrison. New York: Library of America, 1998. 63-84. “Trial by Jury.” Time 3 Oct. 1955: 18-19. “The Place, the Acquittal.” Newsweek 3 Oct. 1955:24+ Wakefield, Dan. “Justice in Sumner: Land of the Free.” The Nation 1 Oct. 1955: 284-285. “Ill-Chosen Symbol.” Time 21 Nov. 1955:21 “No True Bill.” Newsweek 21 Nov 1955:34 “No Remedy in Law.” New Republican 21 Nov 1955:5 Newsweek 5 Dec 1955. 5 “Alabama’s Boycott: What its all about.” US News and World Report 3 Aug 1956: 84-88 “Buses Boycotted over Race Issue” New York Times 6 Dec 1955: 31 “Negroes Boycott Cripples Busline” New York Times 8 Jan 1956: 71 “Alabama Indicts 115 In Negro Bus Boycott” New York Times 22 Feb 1956: 1
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