Civil and Women Rights in America
The second half of the twentieth century saw a tremendous expansion in individual rights and consciousness of rights among various groups of Americans. Women and black Americans were exposed to discrimination and prejudice of the highest order (Landau 36). The whites considered themselves all powerful, superior and more intelligent than black Americans. Movements to fight for the rights of women also arose. Their impact and contribution human rights domain are still felt today.
The African- American civil rights movement emerged between 1955 to1968. The movement fought against racial prejudice and rampant discrimination directed against black Americans. It sought to restore black people’s ability and right to vote. This movement had prominent and historical people in activism such as Martin Luther King Junior, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks.
Black power Movement sprung up from 1976 to 1975. It emphasized the ideologies of the African-American Civil Rights Movement (Landau 30). It advocated that black Americans should be treated with dignity. It propagated for politically and economically emancipation of black Americans. Above all, it fought against the oppression of the blacks by the white Americans. One of their successful events was the Montgomery Buus Boycott which occurred in Alabama between 1955 to1956. Greens Boro sit-ins of 1960 in North Carolina became very influential in the quest for civil rights (Landau 25). In 1965, its members marched without violence from Selma to Montgomery.
President John F. Kennedy’s contribution in advocating for the rights of women is indispensable. In 1961, he set up a commission to investigate women’s issues. Eleanor Roosevelt became the chair person of the President’s commission on the Status of Women. The commission presented its findings and recommendations in 1963. It described and exposed discrimination against women evident in work environments.
The Feminists movement or Women’s Liberation movement began in the 19th century rose. Its second wave began in 1960s. This wave expressed the concerns of women in terms of gender inequality afflicting them in laws and culture. Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, caused the reemergence of this movement which lasted until the 1980s.
Women’s Health Movement also emerged in 1960s to 1970s. This movement contained many other groups. These groups include; Boston’s Women Health Book Collective, National Black’s Women Health project and Nationals Women’s Health Network. The movement advocated for the amelioration of women’s health care in America. It was against male’s domination in health care sector. This led to many women becoming midwives and even training as health care professionals in various medical schools.
Civil and women’s rights movement in United States of America faced a lot of challenges and oppositions. These oppositions formed the critical challenges against the efforts of many activists. A couple of activists lost their lives in the cause of fighting for civil and women’s rights. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Earl Ray epitomize some of the human rights activists who were assassinated while struggling for respect of humanity and human rights for all.
Activists found it difficult to convince the whites to share economic and social power with the black Americans. Women were also under represented in various American leadership positions. Segregation against blacks and women was very prominent during this era of the 20th century.
The second half of the twentieth saw major civil and women rights activism. This is the period that witnessed fearless and charismatic leaders stand up and fight for the rights of women and the black Americans. Although the activism efforts were faced with great challenges, they changed a lot of perceptions against the black Americans and women. The impacts of these activities are still felt today. They are used are reference points in human rights activism.