“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
This was written July 4, 1776 but yet slavery was not abolished until
1865. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a
restaurant open to the public, if he can not send his children to the best
public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who
represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which
all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color
of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would be
content with the counsels of patience and delay? One hundred years
have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs,
their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the
bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic
And this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not
be fully free until all its citizens are free. John F. Kennedy said this
June 11, 1963 with the signing of the civil rights acts.
During the Civil Rights Movement Essay there were many leaders.
Dr. Martin Luther King was one of this leader.
Dr. King had the
biggest impact on the movement. After organizing the famous 1955
bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama he became the leader of the
movement. In the face of often violent opposition, King challenged his
supporters to maintain a policy of peaceful resistance to injustice. In
1957 King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC), an organization of black churches and ministers
that aimed to challenge racial segregation. King and other black
leaders organized the 1963 March on Washington, a massive
protest in Washington, D.
C., for jobs and civil rights. On August
28, 1963, King delivered a stirring address to an audience of more
than 200,000 Civil Rights supporters. His “I Have a Dream”
speech expressed the hopes of the civil rights movement in oratory as
moving as any in American history: “I have a dream that one day
this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…
have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the
Martin Luther King JR. believed in non-violence. During the
Civil Rights Movement another group of black men believed another
method. The Black Muslims, followers of a predominantly black
religious movement in the United States, who profess Islam as their
faith. Its leaders advocate economic cooperation and self-sufficiency
and enjoin a strict Islamic code of behavior governing such matters as
diet, dress, and interpersonal relations.
Members follow some Islamic
religious ritual and pray five times daily. The Nation of Islam is the
most prominent organization within the black Muslim movement.
The most famous of the Black Muslims was Malcolm X. At the
beginning of his career Malcolm X did not believe as Martin Luther
King. But after taking a trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia he renounced
his previous teaching that all whites are evil, began advocating racial
solidarity, and adopted the Arabic name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.
Another leader of the United States at this time was John F.
Kennedy. John F. Kennedy, the youngest man ever elected to the
United States presidency, assumed the office in 1961. As president,
Kennedy directed his initial policies toward invigorating the country,
attempting to release it from the grip of economic recession. He made
direct appeals for public service and public commitment, paying
particular attention to civil rights. The major American legal and
moral conflict during Kennedys three years in office was in the area
of civil rights.
Black agitation against discrimination had become
widespread and well organized. Although Kennedy was in no way
responsible for the growth of the Civil Rights Movement, he
attempted to aid the black cause by enforcing existing laws. Kennedy
particularly wanted to end discrimination in federally financed
projects or in companies that were doing business with the
government. In September 1962 Governor Ross R. Barnett of
Mississippi ignored a court order and prevented James H. Meredith,
a black man, from enrolling at the state university.
On the night of
September 30, even as the president went on national television to