Fight For Equality Inside The Civil Rights Movement

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Civil rights are the rights that all citizens possess which protects their legal and social equality. They are formed by a nation or state and can only be undone by a higher power, the Supreme Court. The civil rights movement started in 1954 and eventually ended after years of fighting. All throughout history, there have been riots, protests, votes and changing of laws that were all centred around the idea of civil rights. Especially in America with the civil rights around African American citizens as the fight for equality began. They were often used in comparison to dogs or other species of untrainable fauna. The two main types of protesting are violent and non-violent. Malcolm X is a strong example of a violent protester. “If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary.” – Malcolm X. He clearly had very strong views on violence and its effectiveness. Whereas Rosa parks was a non-violent activist. Only refused to give up her seat to a white man, yet is sparked a new form of protest. Suddenly violence wasn’t the only answer.

Malcolm X is an infamous figure, throughout history and was known for being a violent protestor. Proving the accusations of animalistic behaviour in African Americans at the time. By no means was this true, but he gave the accusers reasons to believe so. The riots he caused only led to the destruction of his reputation. Malcolm X had extremely racist views towards white people, saying that “ we should be able to kill the dogs they set on us and the two legged dogs who control them” (July 26th 1964). Malcom X’s provocative remarks such as “ the chickens coming home to roost”(year unknown) (as a response the President John F Kennedy’s assassination) earned him a reputation as a violent thug and was just as bad as the men making remarks about himself. The protests he lead were in some cases designed to be non violent yet they got out of hand. But some were intentionally violent as he saw that as the best way to portray his arguments. One of Malcolm’s most famous incidents was the Harlem riot. The Harlem riot was supposed to be “peace through understanding”. ( on July 16th 1964 a riot was started in Harlem. A group of African Americans stormed Harlem and eventually police were called to the scene. Malcolm X was one of the leaders of this riot, once again displaying his need for violence. Malcolm was assassinated on 21st of February 1965. He was shot to death by Nation of Islam members while speaking at a rally of his organisation in New York City.

Rosa parks was just like any other African American woman, she worked, prayed and caught the bus. But one day in 1955 she refused to obey the law and refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, thus sparking a need to rebel and therefore brought about the bus boycott. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear”.

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~Rosa parks -(1955) ( . Her unlikely presence in this situation meant that she had just become a non-violent activist for black rights. In comparison to Malcolm X, her form of protest is much more civil and makes more sense. How can you protest when you become the very thing you are trying to abolish. Stated in her biography; “I had no idea that when I refused to give up my seat on that Montgomery bus that my small action would help put an end to segregation laws in the South,” Parks wrote in her autobiography for kids, “Rosa Parks: My Story.” “I only knew that I was tired of being pushed around.” Rosa parks’ little action led to big change. Her will to stand up for what she believed in was beyond any that America had ever seen before“No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in”. ~ Rosa Parks ( She was never planning for this to happen, she was only tired of the world she was living in and saw an opportunity to change it.

Although neither violent or non-violent protests manage to achieve equality as much as what was expected. It is made apparent that Rosa Parks’ method of non violence was able to affect the most change out of the two. The reason this is true is due to the facts that it demolished the stereotype of animalistic and hostile behaviours that we’re originally associated with African Americans. The reason Malcolm X’s violent protests were unsuccessful was because all he did was confirm these ideologies based around his race. He said things on national television that would not be acceptable if it was said today. (Especially around president John . F. Kennedy. Refer to Paragraph 2, line 6. The civil rights helped the African American community demolish segregation. It also put an end to employment discrimination on the basis of colour, race, sex and religion. Although Malcolm X’s violent protests managed to grab the attention of those in power. It was the wrong kind of attention. It added to the atrocity that was the African American reputation.

Throughout the civil rights movement, several passionate activists rose to the surface and displayed there opinions through different methods, both violent and non-violent. Rosa parks’ non-violent method worked best in terms of portraying her beliefs, as violence only cemented the idea of animalistic behaviours in African Americans. Over all, the method of non-violence to convey ideas and beliefs seemed the most efficient and a massive amount of respect was gained from it. The civil rights movement allowed the African American community to eradicate of almost all segregation laws in the south. This of course was the first step forward in creating the world we now live in today. If Rosa Parks never protested with non-violence and only violent protests were held, then the hostile stereotype placed on African Americans would still exist and segregation would still reign society. 

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