American Black Civil Rights

American Black

Civil Rights

The 1960's were a time of great turmoil
in America and throughout the world. One of the main protest issues
was black civil rights.

The movement really got underway with
civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X in the
early 1960's. Students who wanted to jump on the equality and protest
bandwagon quickly followed. Most of the students went to the southern
states (Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana) to try and stop the racism
and hate crimes.

The truth of the matter is that the violence
and hatred would get worse before it got better. Even though the Negroes
had very few rights they were not assaulted and abused nearly as much as
when the college kids came and started to 'help' them. Then the Klan
became stronger and more violent committing many more lynchings and hangings.

But gradually most of the whites came around to the idea of integration,
and did not see the blacks as a 'threat' anymore.

The only reason that this great and monumental
change occurred was because of the great leadership of Martin Luther King

Jr and Malcolm X, not to mention the 1,000's of other less famous civil
rights leaders, that worked to change the views of their community.

Also there were lobbyists and protesters that risked their lives and went
out on a limb to fight against injustice. All these factors, put
together, made one of the biggest changes in the twentieth Century.

In my essay I plan to compare the differences
of opinion between the six writers and directors etc. towards racism and
the civil rights movement in the 1960's.
- 2 -

Rob Rheiner (the director of 'Ghosts of

Mississippi') has successfully portrayed the blatant dishonesty toward
blacks by the police force and the Mississippi courts. On one occasion
when the accused murderer was in court, the Governor of the State went
up and shook hands right in front of the victim's wife. Another example
of dishonesty against blacks was that a retired judge had taken home murder
weapons (mainly from the murders of blacks) and kept them as souvenirs.

It was later discovered that police officers had also taken home evidence
from crimes against blacks, for souvenirs.

The murderer portrayed a 'couldn't care
less' attitude during the first trial in 1962 and in the retrial in 1992.

He knew that he would be found not guilty in the 60's with the all male,
all white jury. But he under- estimated the changes in people's views
in the twenty years since his last trial and still had the same cocky attitude.

The theme of this text is different to all the others I have studied.

The writer of Malcolm X, Bernard Aquina

Doctor, has informatively shown (if not with a bit of bias) the life of

Malcolm X. He wanted to show that Malcolm dragged himself out of
the gutter to become one of the most famous civil rights leaders of the
twentieth century. This is shown by his chequered life, when he hung
around with criminals and committed small thefts, etc. In the text
he was shown as being right a lot of the time, as when Malcolm believed
in violent protest and Martin Luther King believed in non-violent protest.

'Dr King was forced to reconsider his views [on non-violent protest] when
be was thrown in jail and beaten up'. This comment by the writer
makes Martin Luther King appear wrong and Malcolm right. This text is similar
to the Rosa Parks text in the way the writer looked upon Rosa Parks \ Malcolm

X, that is, in a revered way.

'Rosa Parks, a Woman Who Changed a Nation'
by Kira Albin is focused on the great injustices that the black community
had to suffer in the 1960's and beyond. She explains how the blacks
had to pay at the front of the bus and then walk around the outside to
the back door where, more often that not, the bus driver would pull away
without letting them on, even after they paid. Rosa Parks rose to
fame after she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, this
came at a time when the civil rights movement was under way, and the story
was published throughout America. It is similar to the Malcolm X
text as I explained before.
- 3 -

The Martin Luther King Jr article on Encarta

'98 is an overview of his life and achievements. It pays special
attention to his 'I have a dream' speech. It has quotes such as 'I
have a dream that one day