The 1960s bore witness to the civil rights movement that took place in the United States where leader Martin Luther King proposed and fought for racial equality. In this paper, I will demonstrate how the 1960s bore the first marks of change when President John F. Kennedy respected Martin Luther King’s articulation of non-violence protests that promoted specific goals, strategies and support of the African-American movement. More specifically, I will demonstrate how African-Americans fought for their goals of racial justice and equality by implementing specifically non-violent strategies which were supported and upheld by historical legislation such as the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Opting for slow and gradual political change, the black people’s movement’s main goals were to eradicate discrimination and segregation. Although segregation in public schools was officially struck down by the Supreme Court in 1954, for example, it still had to be abolished in buses and restaurants in the 1950s. As such, outlawing segregation became firmly entrenched in the 1960s.
The goals to end racial segregation and discrimination were primarily achieved by political strategies of non-violence such as Luther’s “I Have a Dream” speech and by political campaigns such as the Birmingham campaign (or the Children’s Crusade). Inspired by non-violent leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Luther prompted African-Americans to fight for change and gave rise to movements like Black Power.
These political winds of change culminated in Kennedy’s support of the black movement in a piece of legislation, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which firmly outlawed any form of discrimination based on race or color, allowed blacks to be served in any public establishment and granted blacks a greater protection to vote.
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