At thetime of the African-American Civil Rights movement, segregation was abundant inall aspects of life. Separation, it seemed, was the standard and tradition for Americanssince our inception. Challenging the system that is so engrained in Americansociety seems nearly impossible to turn over–but change was coming.
In orderto create a world of true equality, segregation had to be terminated throughoutall of America. Fifty-three years ago the Civil Rights Act was passed to endracial discrimination in America. As well, later on the Voting Rights Act toallow every man to vote and not be discriminated against. In the book March, John Lewis does an excellent jobexplaining real life situation to the reader. As readers, we learn how he wentabout peaceful protesting, sit-ins, and the belief of clear ideology of equal treatmentunder law. John Lewis illustrates how protestors are framed and later onarrested for crimes that weren’t committed.
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Lewis was challenging the world andtheir view on African Americans. He challenged the world with peaceful protests,as well as standing up for not only African American rights but also humanrights. Segregationwas not only happening in the American South but was also prevalent in theUnited States as a whole. In 1961, Freedom Riders took a stand in a peacefulprotest around the south. According to history.com, The Freedom Riders weregroups of white and African American civil rights activists who participated inFreedom Rides, bus trips through the American South in 1961 to protestsegregated bus terminals. Freedom Riders tried to use “whites-only” restroomsand lunch counters at bus stations in Alabama, South Carolina and otherSouthern states.
The groups were confronted by arresting police officers—aswell as horrific violence from white protestors—along their routes, but alsodrew international attention to their cause. People were baffled at the factthat segregation was prevalent in such severity a few miles away from them. Throughoutthe fight for equality, most of the protest were peaceful protests. Many of thecivil rights movement leaders created their platforms on peaceful protests andthe approach of no violent acts. During the Freedom Riders protest, civilianthrew rocks and even fired firearms at the bus windows because they didn’t agreewith the course of action. In March,we see this prevalent as well. When Lewis is leading the group of African Americansover the bridge the white Americans attacked when no African American wasarmed.
While they ran back over the bridge the whites threw smoke bombs tryingto blur the vision of the Africans. They used police bats to beat the African Americans.The innocence of every day African Americans were stripped from their verybacks. Even when being beaten alive by people they still remained fairly calm.They didn’t fight back nor did they retaliate. Many methods of attack were usedto attack our civil rights movement leaders.
Anything from racial slurs, ginsand even lynching’s. Ourcivil rights leaders such as Lewis and M.L.
K believed in non-violent protests.They believed in order to get the attention they deserved there needed to be noviolence. Violence showed weakness in what they were fighting for. Peaceful protestshowed they strongly believed in what they were fighting for and didn’t need todraw negative attention to oneself as well as the problem they were fightingfor. When the rest of the people decided to take matters into their own hands, theystill believed in being peaceful. Not once was fire fought with fire in the fightfor equal rights.
When sit-ins took place in dinners, as shown in March, the protesters were ridiculed.Food was poured over them, sauce was poured over their heads, and racial slursseemed to have no end. Lewis also held meetings for the protestors on how toact when being arrested. Lewis knew there was a high chance for theirprotestors to be arrested. He took precautions and warned his followers aboutall the possible outcomes. Everyone one went in to ‘battle’ with all theknowledge of every possible outcome becoming a reality. Althoughthe voting rights act was passed, President Johnson, M.
L.K., and Lewis believedthe ‘battle would not be over’. Many people still believed they were being silencedwith their opinion of this act. Many people believed that their voices weren’t beingheard Fifty-three years ago the act passed but not everyone agreed with it.With our president, Mr. Trump, we notice how so many man and women still believein act that were being committed in the mid 20th century.
Many KKKgroups as well as white supremists believe their voices and voices of theirancestors weren’t considered. In 2017 we have human beings believing that AfricanAmericans aren’t people that deserve equal rights also known as the KKK. Fifty-threeyears later and we still have people resorting to old way, making it known tothe world that this battle is truly not over. Whilefighting for so many things, Lewis shed light on a huge topic that is stillprevalent in today’s day and age. While we did pass the act of equal voting whatmany people don’t take into consideration are the voter ID laws andlimitations.
Lewis spoke in front of a vast majority of influential peopleabout many things. Voter limitations being one of these very things. Lewismentioned how before the voters rights act of 65′ “You could not only attemptto register on the first and third Monday of each month. You had to pass aso-called literacy test.
” This literacy test was based off your ethnicity andrace. If you were black you had to name all the presidents of the unitedstates, know who the vice presidents were, overall- this test was more of areason to not let people vote at their free will. In todays day and age, therehave been different rules put into play that many people do not agree with.Just recently there has been a change in voting, once a child turns 18 they arenow registered to vote. Due to this and many other instances people have takenmatters into their own hands and have made voting time from two weeks intothree days in some states. Manycitizens, government, and N.G.Os overcome or attempt to overcome thesealtercations by remaining peaceful and civil with everyone around them.
Segregationwasn’t just making racist remarks but it made people fight about little eventsthat weren’t worth fighting about. Segregation was very hard to endure to thosewho were colored in the 1960’s. White people would even take the colored tocourt just for having a nice car or even not addressing a white person as “sir”or “madam”. In simple court cases, no matter how simple the cases was thecolored would either go to jail or even worse have the death penalty. Althoughsome whites didn’t believe in segregation because they knew it wasn’t right andthey knew the true meaning of the everyday term of “everyone should be treatedthe same”. On the other hand colored people also fought back at the whites butin the most non violent ways to do it.
One way was they would have scheduledmarches around town with signs saying “stop segregation” or “segregation is acrime”. In these marches, many colored people would show how they feel aboutwhat and how the whites were treating them at the time but in the most nonviolentway possible. In these marches, some whites would also participate to also showtheir feelings about segregation and how wrong it was.
Whites that participatedin the marches were very courageous to even dare to participate in one of themarches. During the marches anything could’ve happened. In many marches peoplewere ambushed killed and even threatened by the sidelines. Many more things hadhappened over the period of segregation like strikes, picketing, and sit ins. Manypeople have taken a stand with each other and spoken up.
We’ve made our voicesheard around the nation. From silent protests to speaking up against the world inunion with our fellow African American brothers and sisters. Inconclusion, life in the 1950’s was not the easiest for African-Americans. Manywhites still saw African-Americans as an inferior race, a race not worth havinga voice. This meant many simple everyday task were that much harder forAfricans-Americans. Housing Segregation, discrimination in courts,discrimination in public places prevented many African Americans from livingthe American Dream.
All of these examples are only the tip of the ice berg.Going out to eat, shopping, even just going for a Sunday afternoon stroll inthe park was nearly impossible. Living was hard for African-Americans as wellas trying to work. Many men tried to get work but could not because even thoughslavery was gone segregation as well as discrimination was thriving. ManyAfrican-American men may have been well qualified for a job but would be overlooked merely for the fact the color of their skin was two shades too dark.
Despitethe double standard in society African-Americans could fight in American wars.While African-American men were struggling to get simple jobs even hard laborjobs nobody wanted Uncle Sam had no problem sending them to the front lines tofight for their country. African- Americans could fight in the Army and laytheir lives on the line for a country that could not even stand to have littlewhite children and little black children sit in the same class room. WhileAfrican-Americans could fight in the Army they were not allowed to be in a sameplatoon as White men.
While “the fight isn’t over”, we as a nation have learnedto take a stand for those who get put down for racial discrimination.