The Civil Rights Movement: Like a Mighty Stream. Chapter 45. 1.
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These civil rights leaders were influenced by their Christian beliefs as well as the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. They believed that non violence transforms weakness into strength and breed courage in the face of danger. It proved a powerful tactic when opponents on integration resorted to brutality, shocking the nation and increasing nationwide support for the movement.
The integration of Central High School revealed the strength of public opposition to desegregation. The governor defied a federal authority and used the Arkansas National Guard to prevent black students from entering the school. Angry white mobs surrounded the school, and white students insulted and attacked black students. Eisenhower issued an executive order, sent federal troops, put the Arkansas National Guard under federal control, and provided military protection for the black students, demostrating his resolve to enforce federal authority.
By engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience and direct action, protestors challenged white resistance to desegregation and highlighted injustice at the local level. In the case of freedom riders, peaceful activists compelled the federal government to step in and enforce the law. Jialing's and violent reactions to peaceful demonstrations brought attention to the struggle for justice and won support across the nation. Leaders were Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. Franklin McCain, Ella Barker, James Farmer.
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” reinforced King’s message of non-violence and explained the moral responsibility of people to disobey unjust laws. It was also a call to immediate action. In his “I Have Dream” speech, King outlined his dream for a nation that lives up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It expressed the desire for equality of all people that lay at the very heart of the civil rights movement.
The Civil Rights Act banned discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin. The most important Civil Rights law since Reconstruction, it gave the federal authorities the power to enforce school desegregation, outlawed discrimination in labor unions and employment, and opened opportunities for minorities in many other aspects of life. It effects were widespread and long term.
The Twenty-Fourth Amendment outlawed poll taxes, which had been used to deny African Americans their right to vote. Although it was a key victory in the struggle for voting rights, blacks still faced other challenges in exercising their political right to vote, including literacy tests, intimidation, and even violence.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed tactics used to prevent African Americans from voting and provided for federal supervision of voter registration, helping to encourage participation by the disenfranchised. By 1968, the number of African American voters more than tripled.