At the
time of the African-American Civil Rights movement, segregation was abundant in
all aspects of life. Separation, it seemed, was the standard and tradition for Americans
since our inception. Challenging the system that is so engrained in American
society seems nearly impossible to turn over–but change was coming. In order
to create a world of true equality, segregation had to be terminated throughout
all of America. Fifty-three years ago the Civil Rights Act was passed to end
racial discrimination in America. As well, later on the Voting Rights Act to
allow every man to vote and not be discriminated against. In the book March, John Lewis does an excellent job
explaining real life situation to the reader. As readers, we learn how he went
about peaceful protesting, sit-ins, and the belief of clear ideology of equal treatment
under law. John Lewis illustrates how protestors are framed and later on
arrested for crimes that weren’t committed. Lewis was challenging the world and
their view on African Americans. He challenged the world with peaceful protests,
as well as standing up for not only African American rights but also human
rights.  

Segregation
was not only happening in the American South but was also prevalent in the
United States as a whole. In 1961, Freedom Riders took a stand in a peaceful
protest around the south. According to history.com, The Freedom Riders were
groups of white and African American civil rights activists who participated in
Freedom Rides, bus trips through the American South in 1961 to protest
segregated bus terminals. Freedom Riders tried to use “whites-only” restrooms
and lunch counters at bus stations in Alabama, South Carolina and other
Southern states. The groups were confronted by arresting police officers—as
well as horrific violence from white protestors—along their routes, but also
drew international attention to their cause. People were baffled at the fact
that segregation was prevalent in such severity a few miles away from them.

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Throughout
the fight for equality, most of the protest were peaceful protests. Many of the
civil rights movement leaders created their platforms on peaceful protests and
the approach of no violent acts. During the Freedom Riders protest, civilian
threw rocks and even fired firearms at the bus windows because they didn’t agree
with the course of action. In March,
we see this prevalent as well. When Lewis is leading the group of African Americans
over the bridge the white Americans attacked when no African American was
armed. While they ran back over the bridge the whites threw smoke bombs trying
to 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 very
backs. 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 used
to attack our civil rights movement leaders. Anything from racial slurs, gins
and even lynching’s.

Our
civil 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 no
violence. Violence showed weakness in what they were fighting for. Peaceful protest
showed they strongly believed in what they were fighting for and didn’t need to
draw negative attention to oneself as well as the problem they were fighting
for. When the rest of the people decided to take matters into their own hands, they
still believed in being peaceful. Not once was fire fought with fire in the fight
for 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 slurs
seemed to have no end. Lewis also held meetings for the protestors on how to
act when being arrested. Lewis knew there was a high chance for their
protestors to be arrested. He took precautions and warned his followers about
all the possible outcomes. Everyone one went in to ‘battle’ with all the
knowledge of every possible outcome becoming a reality.

Although
the voting rights act was passed, President Johnson, M.L.K., and Lewis believed
the ‘battle would not be over’. Many people still believed they were being silenced
with their opinion of this act. Many people believed that their voices weren’t being
heard 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 believe
in act that were being committed in the mid 20th century. Many KKK
groups as well as white supremists believe their voices and voices of their
ancestors weren’t considered. In 2017 we have human beings believing that African
Americans aren’t people that deserve equal rights also known as the KKK. Fifty-three
years later and we still have people resorting to old way, making it known to
the world that this battle is truly not over.

While
fighting for so many things, Lewis shed light on a huge topic that is still
prevalent in today’s day and age. While we did pass the act of equal voting what
many people don’t take into consideration are the voter ID laws and
limitations. Lewis spoke in front of a vast majority of influential people
about many things. Voter limitations being one of these very things. Lewis
mentioned how before the voters rights act of 65′ “You could not only attempt
to register on the first and third Monday of each month. You had to pass a
so-called literacy test.” This literacy test was based off your ethnicity and
race. If you were black you had to name all the presidents of the united
states, know who the vice presidents were, overall- this test was more of a
reason to not let people vote at their free will. In todays day and age, there
have 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 are
now registered to vote. Due to this and many other instances people have taken
matters into their own hands and have made voting time from two weeks into
three days in some states.

Many
citizens, government, and N.G.Os overcome or attempt to overcome these
altercations by remaining peaceful and civil with everyone around them. Segregation
wasn’t just making racist remarks but it made people fight about little events
that weren’t worth fighting about. Segregation was very hard to endure to those
who were colored in the 1960’s. White people would even take the colored to
court 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 the
colored would either go to jail or even worse have the death penalty. Although
some whites didn’t believe in segregation because they knew it wasn’t right and
they knew the true meaning of the everyday term of “everyone should be treated
the same”. On the other hand colored people also fought back at the whites but
in the most non violent ways to do it. One way was they would have scheduled
marches around town with signs saying “stop segregation” or “segregation is a
crime”. In these marches, many colored people would show how they feel about
what and how the whites were treating them at the time but in the most nonviolent
way possible. In these marches, some whites would also participate to also show
their feelings about segregation and how wrong it was. Whites that participated
in the marches were very courageous to even dare to participate in one of the
marches. During the marches anything could’ve happened. In many marches people
were ambushed killed and even threatened by the sidelines. Many more things had
happened over the period of segregation like strikes, picketing, and sit ins. Many
people have taken a stand with each other and spoken up. We’ve made our voices
heard around the nation. From silent protests to speaking up against the world in
union with our fellow African American brothers and sisters.

In
conclusion, life in the 1950’s was not the easiest for African-Americans. Many
whites still saw African-Americans as an inferior race, a race not worth having
a voice. This meant many simple everyday task were that much harder for
Africans-Americans. Housing Segregation, discrimination in courts,
discrimination in public places prevented many African Americans from living
the 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 in
the park was nearly impossible. Living was hard for African-Americans as well
as trying to work. Many men tried to get work but could not because even though
slavery was gone segregation as well as discrimination was thriving. Many
African-American men may have been well qualified for a job but would be over
looked merely for the fact the color of their skin was two shades too dark. Despite
the double standard in society African-Americans could fight in American wars.
While African-American men were struggling to get simple jobs even hard labor
jobs nobody wanted Uncle Sam had no problem sending them to the front lines to
fight for their country. African- Americans could fight in the Army and lay
their lives on the line for a country that could not even stand to have little
white children and little black children sit in the same class room. While
African-Americans could fight in the Army they were not allowed to be in a same
platoon as White men. While “the fight isn’t over”, we as a nation have learned
to take a stand for those who get put down for racial discrimination. 

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