Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines progress as “to develop to a higher, better, or more advanced stage.” In today’s society, there are many views on the educational and economic progress of African Americans. They have encountered many stages during the civil rights movement such as Jim Crow Laws; and are now entrepreneurs; middle-class Americans, and some attend college. Despite this, presently, African American achievement has not been as significant since. The question at hand is that in modern times, is it “progress or just purely movement”? (Morrison)
The Civil Rights Movement was a political, legal, and social struggle to gain full citizenship rights for black Americans and to achieve racial equality.
The civil rights movement was first and foremost a challenge to segregation, the system of laws and customs separating blacks and whites that whites used to control blacks after slavery was abolished in the 1860s.
During the civil rights movement, individuals and civil rights organizations challenged segregation and discrimination with a variety of activities, including protest marches, boycotts, and refusal to abide by segregation laws. Many believe that the movement began with the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and ended with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, though there is debate about when it began and whether it has ended yet. The civil rights movement has also been called the Black Freedom Movement, the Negro Revolution, and the Second Reconstruction. (Encarta)
Generally put, it was an effort to ensure African American entry into the White Society. Some of the most important goals of African American leaders during the civil rights movement were to gain voting rights, and to gain the right to be able to go to any institution they so chose without being denied service.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, felt that black people could prosper economically and educationally in the “White Man’s World” if allowed the same opportunities as White Americans. Through events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery and the Woolworth Student Sit-In, African American rights has been almost totally acquired in modern times.
Since the Civil War, much of the concern over civil rights in the United States has focused on efforts to extend said rights fully to African Americans. The first legislative attempts to assure African Americans an equal political and legal status were the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1870, 1871, and 1875.
Those acts gave African Americans such freedoms as the right to sue and be sued, to give evidence, and to hold real and personal property. The 1866 act was not active, and was reenacted in 1870 only after the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. The fourth Civil Rights Act attempted to guarantee to the African Americans those social rights that were still withheld. It penalized innkeepers, proprietors of public establishments, and owners of public conveyances for discriminating against African Americans in accommodations, but was invalidated by the Supreme Court in 1883 on the ground that these were not properly civil rights and hence not a field for federal legislation.
The 20th-century struggle to expand civil rights for African Americans has involved the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Urban League, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and others. Another struggle now is that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is indeed an act; not law.
African Americans must indeed struggle to keep this right in the future. However, the 20th-century generation is “lazy because a lot has been accomplished for us, and now we simply take a back seat for it all.” Other views on this represent that African Americans now focus on “accomplishing the miniscule things in life like fixing up the ride with dubs and a system.” (Barnor)
African Americans have achieved a lot since the Civil War. Unfortunately, the progress can be compared to an “S” curve, or a “Learning Curve.” At first, acceptance is slow.
It is then tested to make modifications. After a period, critical growth occurs; until the mature stage, where it is essential and mainstream. Has African American progress reached its mature stage? .