And here’s a NEW (anonymous, of course) assignment 6 example essay from one of your classmates (my comments in Hypothes.is):
The 1960s was a period of many changes that took place in American history. During this time, there were dramatic changes politically, for instance with the Vietnam War. Among these political changes, many social changes also took place during this period. Reflecting on how dramatically these social changes shaped America for years to come, it is reasonable to believe that these social changes were a necessary precede to the political changes that took place. One of the biggest social changes that took place during this time was the fight against racism towards African Americans. This fight for change was termed The Civil Rights Movement which involved social movements in America where the goal was to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans. The powerful movement brought about so many great changes for the lives of not only African Americans, but also other minorities such as women.
The Brown vs. The Board of Education case of 1954 was an important beginning to the Civil Rights Movement. In this case, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that legally mandated segregation in Public Schools was unconstitutional under the fourteenth amendment’s equal protection clause. The reason that this case was so important to the Civil Rights Movement was because African Americans realized that they actually had a fighting chance. Seeing that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of African Americans encouraged a greater confidence among them to protest against the segregation they were facing with Jim Crow laws of the South, and across the nation.
African Americans took this confidence and began organizing nonviolent protests and practicing civil disobediences such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. At the center of this movement was Martin Luther King Jr. who was the famous leader of this movement. In 1957, King and other African American ministers formed an organization called the Southern Christian Leadership conference. This organization led nonviolent demonstrations in Birmingham in hopes for the desegregation of public facilities in the South. At the time, these protests did nothing to change the ways of the South. White Clergymen insisted that these protests were unjust and unwise, and that race relations would sort themselves out with times. The SCLC persevered with protests, but King was arrested on Good Friday in 1963. While in jail, King wrote a famous later called “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” in which he stressed that unlike what white clergymen believed, these social problems would not be able to work themselves out and they cannot be silent about them, instead they must continue to fight for change.
Although the fight was not easy, with Martin Luther King Jr. at their lead, African Americans fought on. The fight was not an ugly one, as there was a lot of violence against African Americans that accompanied these protests. Some of this violence included water cannons and unleashed dogs. Thankfully for them, President Kennedy realized this unnecessary violence and took to their side. As a response to this violence, On June 19, 1963, President Kennedy sent a bill to congress. However, before the bill was able to move any further, President Kennedy was assassinated. Lyndon B. Johnson was the preceding president, and as a tribute to Kennedy he made sure to get the bill passed. On July 2, 1964 President Johnson officially signed this bill that became known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in public facilities, federally assisted programs, employment, and voting and also called for full desegregation of schools. Not only did this act apply to African Americans, but also outlawed discrimination of a number of biases such as race, religion, color, and national origin. As can be seen by this amazing achievement, it is easy to see the importance these protests played on the history of this country.
The remarkable fight that African Americans led for social justice paved the way for other minorities in the country. This was a time when people started to realize they had a voice and a right to free speech and protests. Of these people who realized they had a voice that needed to be heard were women. In 1966, The National Organization for Women (NOW) was established and took the leading role in fighting for women’s rights. Women at the time were seen as biologically inferior to men, and inequality and discrimination often existed in the workplace in this time period. In the speech given by Gloria Steinman at Vassar, she describes this noticeable inequality stating “The truth his that a women with a college degree working full time makes less than a black man with a high school degree working full time. And a black women make least of all. In many parts of the country New York City, for instance women has no legally guaranteed right to rent an apartment, buy a house, get accommodations in a hotel, or be served in a public restaurant. She can be refused simply because of her sex” The NOW took a leading role in trying to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. The Equal Rights Amendment was a prosed amendment that would guarantee equal rights for women and give congress power to enforce legal equality between men and women. Although sex was added to categories of discrimination in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, people were not taking it serious. With the continued fight among women for equality, the Equal Rights Amendment was finally passed in 1972.
Protests and activists didn’t stop there. Among the country people began fighting for many other changes. For example, many people began protesting the Vietnam War. Another example of this was homosexuality. At the time homosexuality was not widely accepted, and seen by many as an illness. Noticing the achievements of those fighting for race and gender equality, a gay power political movement erupted with a fight for equal rights of the LGBT community. After their own personal fight, these activists won some major political victories such as having homosexuality removed from the APA’s list of mental disorders.
As can be seen by the achievements of these activists and protests, it is clear to see why the social changes in America were more important than the political changes that took place. Without these social changes occurring, the political changes that took place after may not have occurred. The protests that these many groups formed were important in changing the mindset of America. Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, these changes would not occur on their own. He stated “Time is Neutral, it can be used for good or evil. There is nothing inevitable about progress; the passage of time does not guarantee that solution of social problems. People of goodwill cannot afford to be silet in the face of injustice; they must use time creatively” to realize “the promise of democracy”.