Imagine walking into a Woolworth’s store on a sunny afternoon only to be greeted by twenty pairs of white people’s eyes all directed towards the door. Imagine sitting down with two other blacks and demanding service. Next, imagine service being denied, and seeing a woman dragged by her hair across the floor, other blacks beaten in front of everyone, and no one making a move to help. This is a common scene at many sit-ins across the country today. The reason for these sit-ins is people fighting for civil rights.
Civil Rights is the nonpolitical rights of a citizen. Blacks are becoming the subjects of violence, their self-esteem is lowered, making them feel inferior and most importantly they are denied their freedom of choice. Many actions have been taken to try and resolve the problem, that blacks are being denied their civil rights. First, one part of the problem is that blacks are becoming the subjects of violence. More specifically physical violence, which is when someone uses physical force to harm another person.
Some ways harm is inflicted onto its victims are by beatings, many times in public, people being burned to death as a result of their house being set on fire and lynching, in which a person is hung. One specific example of physical violence is a scene at Woolworth’s where Anne Moody and two other blacks, a male and a female, sat down at the reserved white counter and demanded service. After many taunts and threats, an open display of hatred was inflicted upon them. They had food dumped upon them and were pulled off the stools. At one point Anne was dragged by her hair, off the stool and across the floor.
A few other men and women, including whites, soon sat with the blacks at the counter. The men were punched with brass knuckles and kicked repeatedly. Another example of the use of physical violence is in the story The Invisible Man. In this story, a few black men were mislead into thinking they were to read speeches in front of a group of people. When they arrived there, there were nothing but white men with liquor and a dancing white woman. The black men were forced to put on blind folds then were forced to fight each other. It became a despicable scene and many of the men were bloody and knocked out.
One man, even with blood filling his mouth, used his wits and survived the brawl. He came to realize that he and the other black men were fighting for the sheer pleasure and entertainment of the drunken white men. He won the fight and was given the privileged to read his speech to an incoherent audience. The next example of violence being part of the problem is the assassination of a civil rights leader and speaker, Malcom X. Although he initially believed that violence was the way to solve the problem of blacks being denied their civil rights, he changed his belief and left his group, The Black Muslims.
He founded his own new group which believed in cooperation among races, the complete opposite of his former group. On February 21, 1965, Malcom X was shot at a rally in Harlem by some members of the Black Muslims. The last example is the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He too was a great speaker and civil rights leader. He presented his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of 200,000 people in Washington, but on April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee. Acts of violence can happen anywhere and to anyone.
If no action is taken to try and solve this problem many members of the black community will become victims in one way or another. The next time there is a beating, it could be your brother, the next time there is a house fire it could be your next door neighbors who are killed in the blaze, or even worse the next time there is a lynching it could be you. Another part of the problem is that by being denied their civil rights blacks have acquired low self esteem and a feeling of inferiority.
So many times, blacks have gotten the brunt of racial slurs and stereotypes, been rejected from public services like being waited on in a restaurant or from being hired for a job. For instance, in Clarendon County of South Carolina, members of the black community challenged the law of separate but equal in the courts. The black children were given a test by Thurgood Marshall using white dolls and black dolls. One row of four dolls were laid out on a table, two white dolls and two black dolls. When asked which doll is the pretty doll, the black children responded the white doll.
When asked which doll was the ugly one, they chose the black doll. When asked which doll was the better doll or the one they most wanted to be like, the black children chose the white doll. Lastly, when asked which doll was the bad one or the one most like them, they picked the black doll. Another representation of how blacks have lowered self esteem and a feeling of inferiority, is in the story The Invisible Man. In the story when a blind folded black man is forced to fight numerous other blacks all blind folded, he does not resist and he knows he has to fight just for the white men’s entertainment.
After the fight, the black men are then tricked into thinking that they are receiving pay for this brutal act. The white men rolled out a carpet with gold pieces and coins strewn out on it. All of the black men dove for the coins and the white men jeered at them in a circle surrounding them. When they tried to pick up some of the coins on the floor, some of them would be shocked by electricity because they carpet was rigged with electrodes. Some of the men would try and crawl off of the carpet but the white men would throw them right back on and watch them scramble to gather every cent up.
While all of this was going on, the one black man who won the fight, knew there was nothing he could do to try and stop all of this from happening because he knew he was inferior. Blacks are not inferior and should not have to have low self esteem. Blacks are as worthy as anyone else and action must be taken to make people realize this fact. If not, then blacks will continue to be oppressed and the torture of the feeling of never being qualified enough for the whites will burden the shoulders of the blacks.
The last part of the problem is that blacks are denied their freedom of choice. All Americans are given the right to choose numerous things, that is after all why The Untied States of America is considered “… the land of the free… “, as stated in the Star Spangled Banner, our nations anthem. One example of a person being denied their freedom of choice is when Rosa Parks sat down in the front of a bus. The front of the bus was reserved for whites only and the back was for the blacks but she sat down anyway.
The driver told her she had to move back but she refused and just sat there. She eventually was arrested for her disobedience and as a result the bus boycott went under way. Another example is when Anne Moody and two other black people chose to sit down at a reserved white counter in a Woolworth’s store. Usually if a black person wanted service at this store, they would have to go to a back window or door in the back of the building from the outside. There they would get their food like take-out and be forced to either eat it outside the store or to leave.
The last example is Brown VS The Board of Education, which was when Brown, a black man went to court because his little girl could not go to the school he wanted her to. Brown’s daughter was bussed to a school far away from her house for the simple fact that she was black. There was a school that she went past everyday that was right down the street from her house, but one she could not attend because she was black. Brown insisted that his daughter be able to attend school at the white school because it was more convenient and more logical.
In the constitution it clearly states, “… all men are created equal… ” and nowhere does it say that, “… all men are created equal, except blacks… “. So why are blacks being denied their right to choose? Blacks are not being treated equally, as any other man would be. The segregation of whites being superior than blacks has to stop. If not, schools will continue to be segregated, public places will remain divided, treatment between whites will remain superior to blacks, and blacks will remain helpless towards making any choice regarding themselves.
There is a major problem out there that needs to be solved. Blacks are being denied their civil rights. There have already been numerous attempts, using many different solutions in order to try and solve it. Some were successful, but most were failures. One solution used is a march. Marches are a non-violent gathering of people coming together to express a problem and to try and find a way to resolve this problem. In order to have a march there must first be a gathering of a large group of people and a decision has to be made on exactly what is to be addressed.
Then the destination of where this march is to start and where it will end has to be figured out. Also the decision on who is to speak has to be made. Lastly the times have to be mapped out, what time the march will start and what time it will end. One example of a march is the March on Washington. It took place in Washington in 1963. There were 200,000 present when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech, “I Have a Dream”, to the participants of the march. This speech expressed that King wanted equality for all.
As a result of this march and the assassination of JFK, the act of 1964 was passed which says that racial segregation in public accommodations is outlawed, The Justice department can interfere when it comes to issues involving schools or voting, and it prohibits racial discrimination when hiring people. There are benefits to having a march, which are that in a march there is an exorbitant amount of people which gains recognition for the cause and also with the amount of people dealing with a march, support is also gained. Although there are some benefits of having a march, there are more drawbacks.
One is that there is a risk for things to take a wrong turn very easily. When a large group of people congregate to support something they feel very strongly about, arguments can escalate and fights or riots can brake out. Another drawback is that there are no immediate results from a march. It took a year for the civil rights act of 1964 to be passed after the march on Washington in 1963. Also, marches are hard to organize because it is hard to control how people will react when you are dealing with a large crowd of people. The last drawback is that marches are time consuming.
It takes many weeks to prepare a march because every detail has to be worked out perfectly in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly and even then, there are no guarantees. Marches are not the best solution. Another solution used is a strike. A strike is when workers refuse to do their jobs and do not work until they are satisfied with what their bosses or companies do to solve their problem. To have a strike, workers must come together and organize what their problem is. Next they must decide when the strike will happen.
They also need to pull together and decide if there will be picketers or if someone will speak. A general spokesman needs to be appointed because someone needs to be able to negotiate with the company. An example of a strike is in 1968 when the trash men went on strike in Memphis, Tennessee. Two benefits of striking are that the problem is recognized and that you gain support by protesting if picketers are used. Even though the benefits of a strike are proficient, the drawbacks are more severe. If there is a strike, workers receive no pay and may even be fired.
Places of work shut down because no one is there to run or operate the work place. Lastly, citizens lose whatever service the striking workers provided for them. This last drawback has an effect on everyone, not just the strikers. The drawbacks make this solution a failure to the problem of blacks being denied their civil rights. The last solution is taking court action. To take court action, lawyers must be hired, all of the information or facts must be gathered and organized and funding must be provided in order to pay for the lawyer fees and any other fee that might come about.
An example of blacks taking court action is in the case of Brown VS. The Board of Education. As a result of this court case, black schools gained the right of separate but equal. This means that anything a white school has, a black school has to have the same. There are many benefits to taking legal action these benefits are: it gets your point across to the public and government, it uses no violence for the point to be addressed, if the case is won, legal action will be taken to see that the problem is solved and the solution enforced, it shows intelligence, and it has long term and wide spread change.
In regards to the other two solutions addressed in this paper, this solution is not that laborious to organize such as a march and it shows intelligence rather than getting fired from a job or leaving hundreds of citizens without services. What needs to be done is people need to start getting together and flood the courts with cases of physical violence inflicted upon them as a result of the denial of civil rights, cases of low self esteem and feelings of inferiority due to the denial of civil rights and cases of the loss of freedom of choice, all because blacks are being denied their deserved civil rights.