The Modern Day Civil Rights Movement
Often times you will hear someone saying that history repeats itself. In this case there couldn’t be better quote to describe the Black Lives Matter movement better. Many will agree that the Black Lives Matter movement is the modern day version of the Civil Rights movement however this is not entirely true. Back in the mid to late 1900s there was a movement lead by the black community that lasted about 15 years called the Civil Rights movement. The majority of the Civil Rights movement was to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans.
During the Civil Rights Movement, one of the most prominent symbols were the white only signs. Due to the white superiority of the day most of the laws had no place for an African American. In the eyes of the law and most non- colored people, African Americans were not considered humans. They were considered property and with this thought being in the minds of others, African Americans moved towards changing the laws in order to eradicate this ideology. Some people say that in the aspect of eradicating the ideology the Civil Rights movement failed and that is why the Black Lives Matter movement is active today. Once the laws were change black people started to get comfortable and the ideology behind the laws never changed. Therefore, one should remember the Black Lives Matter movement and the Civil Rights movement can be heavily compared but there are differences that still need to be highlighted.
The Black Lives Matters movement started in 2012, by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, after the murder of Trayvon Martin and is still in effects. Trayvon Martin was a 17-year old black male that was murdered by a white male by the name of George Zimmerman. During the case of Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman the media depicted this story with a racial discrimination and police brutality focus. Many black people felt that the case was handle in an unjust manner. Starting with the way George Zimmerman was treated. During the trial Zimmerman was protected to the utmost degree while Treyvon Martin’s family had minimal regard. This angered many blacks to see because they felt that if the races were swapped and the shooter was black and the victim was white then there would not have been such protection over the shooter. In addition, to the protection that George Zimmerman received he was also let off as not guilt. This was a huge disappointment to the black people as a whole. Therefore, just like in the mid-1900s blacks felt that they were not being treated equal due to the color of their skin however take notice that most of the issue was in how the situation was handle socially. The laws were in place however the ideology is the precise reason why there was a huge contraction between what should have happened and what actually happened.
Thus the reason why one could say that another civil rights movement has begun because the Civil Right Movement failed to fix the social reasoning or ideology behind discrimination. Time after time black people are discriminated against and every so often they get feed up with the mistreatment and stand up for themselves. Again let’s look at the whites only signs. These signs were created under the Jim Crow laws. These laws were put in place in order to “please both parties”. Blacks wanted equality while whites wanted segregation. In trying to please both parties the “separate but equal” movement started. This is when the white signs started to pop up. No longer did the blacks have to hold their bathroom matters, wait to quiche their thirst, or stand. They were now able to do all of those thing, but there was a catch. Due to the still prevalent ideology that blacks were of the lesser race these designated areas were of lesser quality. Often time the very signs signified inequality. There would be time that there would be just a white only sign and no black only sign. This could be looked at as blacks did not even qualify to be acknowledge; they were not merely worth that. If there was a sign at the designated area then it was most likely damaged or deface in some way, shape, or form. These signs were the very symbol of how little the whites care about the blacks well beings. For instance, the bathrooms for the colored people were often times dirty and/or broken is someway. The water fountains were simple less appealing with the stained mouth pieces. It would not have been unlikely to have to walk unbearable distances to find the black color facility or to sit in the direct sun or even stand due to where the black only signs were places. It was as though the whites only sign was a “VIP only” sign.
One of the biggest movements with the whites only signs was seen on the public busses. During the time period blacks were expected to sit in their designated spot which was in the back of the bus. This was one of the most symbolic forms of discrimination and racism. Being pushed to the back of the bus symbolized suppression. Though black people had the “right” to be on same bus as white people. They could not wait for the busses in the same areas as white people nor could they sit where they wanted to when they got on the bus. If they were to sit in the front of the bus they were to go to the back of the bus if a white person was to board the bus. There were even signs on the bus very vividly position that designate the colored station. What made it worse and different than today is that this bus set up was law not just social order. In addition to just the simple fact that there was physical discrimination the bus showed that no matter what due to darkness of your skin you are supposed to adhere to the white superior race.
Due to such magnitude of discrimination, black people started a movement via protest and advertisement. The reasoning behind such methods was in order to target the intended audience. During the civil rights movement black people did not have their own talk shows like they do now or radio shows. The breaking news of their communities was not a part of the broadcasted news. Because of this very reason black people had to protest to get the attention of the media which was the quickest way their voices could be heard by the government. Despite the fact that the media of the time often depicted the protest as violent acts they were often times non-violent. Most of the times the protestors were hurting families of someone who had lost a loved one or had being treated poorly due to the white superiority present and simply wanted their voice to be heard. That is where I believe things went a little wrong.
During the Civil Rights movement, the main focus was to get the laws that were in place change. For example, many of the protest were for the change and abolishment of the Jim Crow laws. Though it is believed that this should have been the first step to change it is also believed that the Civil Rights Movement in a way failed because it never fixed the root of the problem which was the poor ideology. At the time the laws that were in place stemmed from the ideology that blacks were an inferior race. It is believed that once the laws got eradicated the real issue was never approached. The “white only” signs may have been taken down however their connotations were never removed. Look at the busses today. Despite how hard people like Rosa Parks fought to eradicate the arranged seating of blacks, blacks are still often seen in the back of the bus. What is that? One would not say this is due to racial discrimination however that it is still socially ingrained in society. This could be the very reason why we have movements like the Black Lives Matter Movement popping up. There was unresolved business to be taken care of. The Civil Rights Movement is now over and the laws are changed however blacks are still found on the “blacks only” side. To this very day the ideology that the Civil Rights Movement failed to fix is still being worked on.