Hip Hop and the Civil Rights Movement Essay

Hip Hop and the Civil Rights Movement Essay

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The Hip Hop movement was born while the Civil Rights movement was aging.
The Civil Rights movement, at its height addressed social inequalities however, in its old
age it began to demand economic equality – enter Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s
Campaign. Although Black Americans were allowed to eat next to White Americans in
restaurants, and were allowed to sit next to White Americans on buses and enjoy equality
in terms of access, white supremacy went underground and manifested as red-lining,
unequal protection under the law, and a greater disparity between once racially
segregated schools that are now economically segregated. The Civil Rights Movement
and the Hip Hop movement are similar, but yet are different. If oppressed individuals
draw upon the strengths and weaknesses of these movements they will produce profound
results socially and economically in the United States and abroad.
It is impossible to separate my voice from this topic, as I was born as an African
American girl in 1984 during a time when Hip Hop could metaphorically be considered
an adolescent. Through conversations with my grandmother, who grew up in segregated
Arkansas, as well as my mother who was a teenager during the turbulent 70’s I have
learned qualitative information about the Civil Rights movement. After much research,
the major concern for Civil Right’s activists was the integration of schools and all public
institutions. Black children had to walk several miles to school – while white students
were provided transportation, Black children were given “hand-me down” textbooks and
supplies and black teachers were provided a fraction of the salary that white teachers
made. After the historic win of Brown v. Board of Educati...

... middle of paper ...

... always been an issue, but hip hop has the
power to cross economic, social and religious divisions. The civil rights movement did
not have the resources that the hip-hop movement has today however it has the resiliency,
the know-how and blueprint to take our society to the next level where individuals will be
less oppressed and more able to positively add to the legacy and values revolution of

Works Cited

hooks, bell. We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Kitwana, Bakari. The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and Crisis in African
American Culture. New York: Basic Civitas, 2002.

Morgan, Joan. When Chickenheads Come Home To Roost: My Life as a Hip Hop
Feminist. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999.

Neal, Mark Anthony. Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic.
New York: Routledge, 2002.

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