The people of America are particularly differentiated by their skin pigmentation or what some of us call race. When we talk about race what comes to our minds is black and white. The Native Americans are largely white while African Americans are black. They both make up a significant part of America’s society. Before the beginning of the nineteenth century, the blacks faced discrimination and were segregated as well. They had neither position nor say in society.
They were discriminated against because of the color of their skin color: black. At the start of the century, there was an overriding thought that all human beings are biologically the same but the social orientation makes them unequal. Gradually, conscious efforts were made to ensure equal rights of all American groups: white, black, women, men children, and so forth. There were public rights lobby groups who actively engaged the government to accord equal treatment of all citizens regardless of their race. All these efforts culminated in the signing and implementation of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
Women’s actions during the Civil Rights Movement
The beginning of the movement was when Rosa Parks refused to leave a seat in a public bus for a white person to sit, then came the bus embargo where the people of Montgomery protested about racial discrimination. Women were an integral part of the entire process and events. They had a legitimate reason in the sense that women, especially black, were not treated equally with men. They led demonstrations, spearheaded the call for equality, and made personal sacrifices all the way to the realization of the act which brought much-sought equality for all (Hine 124).
Women who took part
The women who took a great part in the Civil Rights Movement to help equalize the rights of all American citizens, themselves included, were led by leaders like Rosa Parks, Ella Park, Correta Scott King, and Willa Player among others. They transformed the Civil Rights Movement into what it is today. They formed groups, led demonstrations, funded the movements, and always spoke the ugly truth.
There are many organizations that took part and events which took place in the history of the civil rights movement. Some of them will be studied below.
This is an acronym National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It is an organization whose main aims are to advocate for improvement and development of African American people lives. It was formed in order to specifically monitor and to represent the black people of America in the quest for justice, equality and fairness. When the civil demonstrations began in Montgomery, NAACP had to spring to action by petitioning the constitution.
Civil rights actions by women
1955 Montgomery bus boycott
It began when Rosa Parks denied a white male the place she had sat on. She was apprehended and prosecuted for apparently breaking the law. This sparked outrage in the black community of Montgomery. Then this developed into the black staying way from public buses for a whole year. At the end of the year the Supreme Court resolved that sitting in a bus depending on your color was illegal.
1957 little rock nine
This was in Arkansas. What triggered the long search for the abolishment of racial discrimination in public institutions in America was a small mischievous act in which a message laden stone crushed the Bate’s window. It had a warning written on a paper that then it was just a rock but after that it will be dynamite. The owners of the house (Daisy Bates and L.C Bates) then began a long journey in championing the elimination of all kinds of discrimination in public places especially schools in the state of Arkansas.
1965 MLK leads five-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
Martin Luther King Jr led a remonstration which lasted a whole week from Selma to Montgomery in the state of Alabama. He wanted the literacy examinations which the blacks were being subjected to be eradicated and that blacks had all the rights to be allowed to take part in elections. This led to riots in which some of the demonstrators were killed sparking outrage throughout the country.
Montgomery bus boycott
Rosa Parks was a black woman who was the subject of the year long shunning of public buses by blacks in Montgomery. Parks had left out a white male standing on a public bus. She was detained and arraigned in court which was met with public indignation all over the state which spread all to other parts.
Mother of the civil rights movement
She is therefore regarded the mother of civil rights movement because after her trial, she joined the demonstrators as one of the leaders and continued to participate in the movement all her life.
Other major women leaders
Coretta Scott King
She is the Martin Luther King Jr’s widow who continued after her husband’s quest for the rights of blacks in America. She led many organizations touching on the black people, participating in numerous activities and giving several lectures besides authoring many publications on her husband’s life.
She was one of the leaders in the movement but decided to stay and work at the back of the picture organizing several meetings, forums, marches and demonstrations. She was a silent operative who devoted her life to the movement. She is widely known for establishing a countrywide movement of female blacks and underprivileged students who resorted to peaceful resolution of issues they had instead of violence.
She was the one who educated the civil rights leaders. Though she was born to a slave she never believed that skin color would be a divisive issue in a civilized society. She argued that the real problem was lack of knowledge and not racial discrimination. She is regarded as the brain behind the movement’s arguments.
She is perceived by many as a role model due to her multiple achievements both in her academic and work life. She is an embodiment of civil rights struggle who upheld the strongest will in bringing liberty to blacks and marginalized people. Her students are many and she was a leader that many women look up to now.
Civil rights Act of 1964
The act grants equal rights to every citizen. It is specific about taking part in elections and it gives powers to the legal offices to offer reprieve to vulnerable groups residing in communal settlements. It further prohibits prejudice by those who offered employment against the seekers on the racial, gender and creed.
In conclusion women have been part of the civil rights movement all along. The memorable occurrences that triggered most of the events in the movement were revolving around women. The likes of Rosa Parks who asked themselves and others fundamental questions have shaped our world view on racial matters. Women still play an important role in all the communities of the world. They are resilient and patient in their undertakings.
Hine, Darlene Clark. Black Women in America. 8th ed. New York: Carlson Publishing Inc. 2008.