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African-American Civil Rights
How Have African American Civil Rights Changed Over The Past 150 Years?
African Americans had no civil rights before the Civil War. Because they were owned like animals, they could not have their own property. However, this is now the 21st century, and almost all people believe that everyone should have civil rights. Therefore, African Americans have civil rights today.
I think one of the biggest changes for African American civil rights is that they have the right to work and earn money. This right was declared by Abraham Lincoln the first time; however, it was inadequate. African Americans could get true rights to work after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law included the right to seek employment, too.
As the second civil right, I want to refer to the right to vote. African Americans had no right to take part in politics at all when they were slaves. They finally gained the right when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, but African Americans were required to take literacy tests and pay taxes. They did not have a true right to vote. Finally, they were granted the right to vote after the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The last civil right is the right to express individual thoughts. While African Americans were slaves, they could not get educations because the owners were afraid that the slaves would communicate with each other and scheme plans against the owners after gaining educations. In fact, African Americans had many different languages, and it was difficult for them to communicate. The slave owners wanted to keep the slaves uneducated. However, African Americans started to express their thoughts after the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. They communicate and shared their lives through music, art, and literature.
Though many movements, African Americans gained their civil rights gradually. However, their civil rights were often limited by discrimination, and African Americans were limited to use their rights. This was unfair and had to be improved. African Americans started from zero, and they have changed their civil rights widely. Also, they continue to make progress even today.
© KCC - ESOL 197-0 Students, Summer 2005