New Issues during the Civil Rights Movements Assignment

New Issues during the Civil Rights Movements Assignment Words: 1097

“What new issues emerged for the civil rights movement in the period 1965-1970? How did black leaders respond to those issues in different ways? ” During the period 1965-1970, new issues had emerged for the civil rights movement, such as the question of whether Martin Luther King’s philosophy of non-violent tactics were too moderate and limited, poverty and voting rights. During 1965 to 1970, black leaders responded to these issues in a number of ways. Responses to these issues included the forming of Black Nationalist groups, voter registration campaigns and campaigns to get rid of poverty.

An issue that emerged during 1965-1970 for the black civil rights movement was voting rights. Even though blacks had been given the right to vote since 1964, they often were frightened and intimidated by the whites if they went and voted. An example of this is with Fannie Ion Hamer. When Hamer came back from registering to vote, she was met by the owner of the plantation where she and her husband had worked for 17 years and was told that she would either leave or withdraw her name from the voters roll. She left and that night 16 shots were fired at the house she and her husband were staying in.

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Blacks were forced to do literacy tests, which most failed, before they could become registered voters; this was done to prevent the blacks from voting as they didn’t have very good literacy skills. By 1965 very few blacks were still not enrolled for example in Selma and Alabama, where only 350 blacks were registered to vote. The voting had become a new issue because many black civil rights leaders realized the significance of blacks voting to get their own people into positions of authority and create more progress for blacks in America.

Another issue that emerged in the 1965-1970 for the black civil rights movement was the question whether Martin Luther King’s philosophy of non-violence stance was too moderate and limited. Martin Luther King’s tactics for making America desegregated was all non-violence, for example sit-ins, marches, signs or protests, boycotts, freedom rides and wait-ins. At first these tactics worked. The freedom rides achieved to desegregate bus terminals, issued by the Interstate Commerce Commission. The sit-ins worked because the protesters annoyed the whites, but not enough for them to take violent action from the police.

Bills and laws were being passed. In the 1963 Birmingham campaign led by Martin Luther King the sit-ins, boycotts and mass marches managed to desegregate Birmingham. But by 1966 Black Power emerged and was an alternative philosophy to non-violent protest that civil rights’ activists could use. To some black leaders the methods Martin Luther King had always seemed too fair and his aim of winning concessions from the white majority appeared too inadequate. This was an issue to many blacks, because even though the non-violent methods worked most of the time, blacks were still getting beaten for it and or even killed.

The Black Power became a very good alternative because it united black people to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It was a call for black people to define their own goals, doing whatever is necessary to get what they need. The Black Power proved its point in the riots that emerged in Watts, Selma and Chicago, where blacks got what they wanted using means of violence. The riots showed that violence can be the answer too, the total opposite of Martin Luther King’s beliefs. Poverty was another issue the civil rights movement had to face in the period 1965-1970.

Poverty of blacks occurred because of blacks being denied skilled jobs that paid well, this led the blacks to not having enough money for education, housing and food supplies, which led to theft among their own people. Blacks in ghettos believed there was no point in going to school if in the end they weren’t to get any good, well paid jobs. Blacks found that there was no use in working if their jobs paid a little more than the Social Security payments for the unemployed. These beliefs created a cycle of poverty and that in order to change and progress further than they already are they needed to break that poverty cycle.

This proved to be a great challenge for conservative black groups and leaders but was one of the significant factors for the rise of nationalists groups. In response to the issue of voting rights, black leaders held many voter registration campaigns and demonstrations. An example was the Selma Campaign in 1965, which became a significant campaign. Marches from Selma to Montgomery, which had been banned by the Federal Court, was led by Martin Luther King. On one march the marchers were met by State Troops and so King led them in prayer and marched them back to Selma.

This cost the support of many King’s younger supporters, but the Selma Campaign was still a success. This led to the introduction of the Voters’ Rights Bill, which ensured that obstruction to voting would be prevented and many more blacks were now enrolling. In response to the questioning of Martin Luther Kings non-violent methods, black leaders started to form nationalists groups which had more violent policies. For example, in 1966 the Black Panthers were formed. They called for the arming of blacks, to have all blacks released from prison and for blacks to receive compensation for centuries of exploitation by whites.

This group also used a lot of violence, but younger blacks found this more appealing than Martin Luther King’s tactics, as they had more aggressive approaches and could relate to blacks who had grown up in the ghettos. Finally, in response to the issue of poverty, black leaders held campaigns for this problem too. During 1968, King organised the ‘Poor Peoples Campaign’. This was an attempt to bring together all of America’s poor ??? not just blacks ??? and was obviously not fought along racial lines.

This would have been a great way to deal with the poverty of America because it would have brought together many different groups of people in order to achieve common goals. In conclusion during the civil rights movement in years 1965-1970, the new issues that emerged were voting rights, the question whether Martin Luther King’s tactics were too fair and limited and poverty. These issues were responded by the black leaders in different ways such as the forming of Black Nationalists groups, for example the Black Panthers, voter registration campaigns and campaigns to get rid of poverty.

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