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How have African-Americans worked to end segregation, discrimination, and isolation to attain equality and civil rights?
Martin Luther King Junior, perhaps one of the most outstanding American statesmen appears synonymous with struggle against segregation by the African American community. Many other activists across the world had initiated the struggle against discrimination and segregation against the African Americans, but the American case was special in several respects. Racial discrimination had evolved in the United States to an extent that the African American community had completely been isolated from normal public and social life. However, this was not to take place for ever since the spirited struggle against such a corrupt social regime would come to an end and several decades later today, one of the African American descendants is president. How this became a successful story is through a tough battle which could only be won with special dedication and commitment. Strategies to end segregation in America began specific with steps such as on transport system, job opportunities, protestations and violent reiteration, repatriation and lobbying for legislation to allow equality.
One of the most potent channels where segregation became rooted in the USA was through the use of public amenities, particularly the transport system. Segregation was manifested in several forms where initially, African Americans would not share a bus with the White. Train transport could not allow mixing of these two races and separate cars were provided, with the conditions of transport exposing the African American community to suffering and humiliation beyond explanation. Several other public amenities systems had similar discrimination policy which deliberately isolated and banished the African American people from a pleasant public life. For instance, hotels, schools and theatres would not permit free mixing of these races. Later on, where the two mixed, the African Americans were reserved for the back sits to make them feel inferior to the White people. This backdrop implies that the African American had no human and civil rights when compared to other Americans. This had to be stopped by the African American community assisted by humane Whites who sympathized with their plight during the regime. A spirited fight was launched beginning with the sensitization and mobilization of the African American community to rally their support for the plight of their civil and human rights. Angry scenes of resistance from the regime’s mechanisms such as judiciary are on record, with courts giving ridiculous rulings and retrogressive laws being passed to brand the African American community as less human before the American law.
One of the strategies that worked well with the mammoth fight was to target the transport system that had a significant demoralizing impact on the African American community. Led by able activism and leadership of Homer Plessey and other anti-segregationists, the attack on the poor policy on public transport was destined for success. According to Brown (2001), Plessey defied the segregation policy in public transport which defined the sections of boarding a train for the two races. Having himself incarcerated for deliberately boarding in the White section, Plessey drew all the attention and sympathy since he had to be subjected to a lengthy court procedure. The local citizens committee liaised with Plessey to follow the judicial proceedings which were unfavorable to the African American community up to the Supreme Court which similarly favored segregation.
Massive following by the African Americans as well as White sympathizers only worked to awaken the African American community for a major revolution against the segregation regime. Blakely, Gelfand and Hull (2006) present Rosa Parks’ brave show of activism when she defied odds and boarded a bus against the segregation regulation drawing a serious reaction from the regime. Her arrest and subsequent conviction on violation of Alabama State segregation laws suddenly caught the attention of hundreds of supporters at the courthouse. With similar courage coupled with the sudden rise of such defiance of the retrogressive rules, these activists had chanted the way for the civil revolution seeking recognition of African American civil and human rights. Perhaps without the initiative by Homer Plessey and Rosa Parks, Martin Luther Juniors mass defiance of bus boycotts in Montgomery would not have achieved the success thereon. This strategy applied the refusal to board buses instead of directly defying segregation regulation, which led to nasty treatment against Luther but eventual ruling by the Supreme Court in 1956 to disband such a policy in public transport (Kelly, 2011).
Additionally, relentless activism was launched against regressive job opportunities that did not favor the African Americans. African Americans had a difficult time enjoying equal employment opportunities which made their lives unbearable, yet the government did not provide for their needs. The segregation policy implied that the African Americans had limited options to cater for their needs, perhaps an impact that can be observed today, with rampant crime being selectively among this community. Jesse Jackson became vocal in providing activism and leading civil activism that targeted business owners for segregation of the African American community (Mis, 2008). While it was not possible to get a job at a White owned enterprise, it was not discriminatory to sell goods and services to the African American community because the Whites would benefit. Such a retrogressive policy was attacked by instigating boyco.............
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