The Unifying Elements of the Civil and Women's Rights Movements

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The Unifying Elements of the Civil and Women's Rights Movements

During the 1960s, the accepted American way of life was challenged. People began to question, and ultimately reject, traditional societal roles and values. This led to the mobilization of like minded individuals who sought to effect change through gaining political influence. The Civil Rights Movement, the Free Speech Movement, the Women's Rights Movement, and the Antiwar Movement were the result of such mobilizations. Participants in these movements were uniformly deemed leftists or radicals or revolutionary bums by the mainstream. This oversimplification obscured the true linkages that existed between the different movements. From the inception of the Women's Rights Movement, it has drawn on ideas originating in the Civil Rights Movement. In particular, the Civil Rights Movement played a significant role in sparking the Women's Rights Movement, and it continued to influence the women's movement because of their shared ideologies.

By the early sixties, older women had grown increasingly frustrated with their domestic duties, resulting in the formation of associations like the National Organization for Women (NOW) that focused on changing discriminatory laws (Bloom and Breines, Taking It To The Streets, 460). But, it was the Civil Rights Movement that was the catalyst for the mobilization of young women. Female activists within the Civil Rights Movement realized while they were working towards racial equality, that they had not achieved such equality with men themselves. In 1964, women within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a prominent civil rights group, published a position paper that highlighted injus...

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...expressed similar views. The culmination of this were the joint demonstrations that were held between women's groups and the Black Panthers. The Civil and Women's Rights Movements were connected, and they influenced each other considerably.

Works Cited

Beal, Frances. "Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female". Bloom and Breines, eds. 525-530.

Bloom, Alexander and Wini Breines, eds. "Takin' It To The Streets". New York: The Oxford University Press, 1995.

"No More Miss America." Bloom and Breines, eds. 481-484.

"NOW Bill of Rights." Bloom and Breines, eds. 473-475.

"Principles." Bloom and Breines, eds. 484-485.

"Redstockings Manifesto." Bloom and Breines, eds. 485-487.

"SNCC Position Paper: Women in the Movement." Bloom and Breines, eds. 45-47.

"Women Support Panther Sisters." Bloom and Breines, eds. 495-496.

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