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African-American Civil Rights
How have African American Civil Rights changed over the past 150 Years?
African American civil rights has a long history. African American people had a very hard time because they did not have civil rights for a long time. How did they have civil rights? Also, how have African American civil rights changed? It is a long history from when they were slaves.
From the 1600s, African Americans were treated as slaves who worked for white people. At that time, African Americans were discriminated against by white people. They were even not treated even as humans; they were treated as things or animals. Of course, they did not have any civil rights. They had a very difficult life.
In 1861, people who lived in the north were against having slaves, but people who lived in the south wanted to allow slavery. Then the Civil War between the North and South began. Finally, the North won, and the slaves became free. However, in fact, the slaves who lived in the South could not be free.
A few years later, many people started to change their thinking about African Americans because of the Harlem Renaissance. People had the first experience to hear about the African American experience and also the first time to share the experience of African American people.
In 1951, the Bus Boycott occurred. There was bus segregation so that white people would sit in the front seats of the bus, and black people would sit in the backseats. Black people could not sit in the front seats. Therefore, 40000 black people joined the bus boycott which means black people did not use the bus until the bus system was changed. Finally, bus segregation was eliminated.
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed, which said everybody should have civil rights. President John F. Kennedy supported the act, and after his assassination, the next president continued to support it. Finally, that act was authorized by the Senate.
In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was supported by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was connected to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1870, the 15th Amendment, which says everybody has a right to vote, was created. However, there were three rules: poll taxes, literacy tests, and the grandfather clause. These rules made it so that black people could not vote. Thus, the voting law was remade to make sure that everybody could vote. Finally, African Americans gained the right to vote.
In conclusion, African Americans finally got the civil rights that all people should have. It took a very long time. I think it was very hard, and I also respect African Americans because they worked very hard, and they did not give up. Also, I learned when many people work together, they will have a lot of power. I think that the most important point is “Do not give up”. However, there are still discrimination against African Americans, but I believe it is going to be solved.
© KCC - ESOL 197-0 Students, Summer 2005