Thursday, October 6, 2011

Obtaining Full Civil Rights for African-Americans

The general outline of the struggle by the Blacks for civil rights in the United States during the 1950's and 1960's is well known: Martin Luther King, voting rights, desegregation, and bus boycotts. But in addition to these general notions, more specific facts can shed light on the details of the process by which African-Americans gained full access to the rights first delivered to them a century earlier, immediately after the Civil War: in the late 1860's and early 1870's, Blacks had more access to voting and other civil rights than they would have in the 1930's or 1940's. Things had actually regressed rather than progressed. When the Democrat party gained control of the federal government, in the forms of Woodrow Wilson and FDR, segregation was introduced into many social institutions. (Wilson actually discouraged Black students from applying to universities.) It would not be until the late 1940's that progress toward civil rights would resume: Eisenhower began integrated the Army, forcing Truman to finish the process. When Eisenhower moved from being a general to being a president, he continued the integration process: he ordered the famous 101st Airborne unit to integrate the high school in Little Rock, Arkansas - when the governor of the state, a member of the Democrat party, had refused to integrate the school, and had in fact sent the state's police to keep Black students out.

The Republicans carried the move toward from integration from the 1950's into the 1960's: when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was presented to Congress, Cengage's history textbook tells us, it was clear to President Johnson that

the Democratic Party would continue trying to block it. Consequently, he and his allies in the U.S. Senate courted crucial Republican support for curtailing a

Democrat-led filibuster. Finally, the Republicans defeated the Democrats, passed the Civil Rights Act, and ensured that African-Americans in the south would have their full civil rights. Martin Luther King's dream was fulfilled by his friends, the Republicans in Congress. Despite the anti-Black sentiments of the Democrat Party, the Republicans won, ensuring equality for all Americans.