The Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 1950’s and 1960’s Essay

In this piece of work I am going to analyse each source and see if there sufficient evidence to support this claim and if there is enough evidence I will show whether or not the source supports or goes against this claim. The first source I am going to look at is source C.

I believe that this source does not give sufficient evidence to support a claim because the information that it displays is select and does not show enough evidence to show whether the claim made in my title was correct. However I can look at from a southern states point of view and on this small scale I believe that the source does support this claim slightly. It shows how in the 11 southern states shown there was an increase in the number of Negroes in 8 of the states, in the 6 years which it is comparing.

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Yet these improvements are very small amounts and there was even no progression in 3 of the states. So this information shows to me shows that very little progression has been made in the time that the data shows. The fact that Negroes still only made up around 3% of the total school population in the 11 schools highlights the miniscule effect the Civil Rights Movement had in this case.

However I still believe that the source does not provide a sufficient amount of evidence to back either side of the title statement but the information that it does provide does not agree with the statement that the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 50’s and 60’s because of the small amounts of progression that have been made in quite a lengthy time, around 6 years.

Source D is a photograph which shows a large number of Negroes staging a march in Washington in 1963. The main way which this source supports the title statement is that this large number of blacks were being allowed to hold such a march straight through the capital of the country which they are being oppressed in and not be in fear. This shows that the Civil Rights Movement has achieved quite a notable feat because at the beginning of the movement marchers were treated poorly by both police and white opposers to the movement. The fact that the Negroes could march through one of the largest cities in America in full view of the public and the media shows that the movement has really achieved something since it began.

But the source also disagrees with the statement because if the Negroes are still having to protest there must still be problems with inequality in the USA. The photograph was taken in 1963; 13 years after the civil rights movement began. This tells me that perhaps the Civil Rights Movement did not achieve as much as it should have in this time. This I believe to be a key reason why the source disagrees with the title reason.

The next point links quite closely with the last because the banners which the protestors are holding in the photograph are a massive reason as to why the Civil Rights Movement did not achieve a great deal in the 1950’s and 1960’s. 3 of the banners say, “End segregation in public schools”, “We demand voting rights” & “We demand a stop to police brutality” These are 3 of the key issues that the Civil Rights Movement was trying to stop in America.

But because the Negroes were still marching for these issues 13 years after the movement began, I consider the title statement to be a contradiction to the evidence that this source provides.

However the evidence this source does provide is not sufficient enough to make a claim for either side of the argument. Because the photograph was from a Washington DC march, it is unclear whether this was a national trend or whether these marches were restricted to certain areas. Because the march was in the north it is unclear whether these marches would be tolerated in the south or whether they would be met with violence like the 1963 march in Birmingham, Alabama, a southern state. Or whether other areas of America had moved on in their goal of equality. Because of this uncertainty over the national picture the photograph shows I believe it is difficult to say whether or not the source agrees with the title statement. But the information the source shows, in my opinion, does not agree with the with the statement that the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 50’s and 60’s.

Source E is an extract from Martin Luther King’s own book Chaos or Community.

It lists a number of the successes of the non-violent method of protesting. A number of reasons which agree with the title statement are listed for example; Freedom Rides and large numbers of sit ins. These successes prove that the Civil Rights Movement has worked well and has made an impact in creating a more equal and safe America for Negroes. The successes have also contributed in a number of laws been passed such as the segregation bill. So the source has listed a good number of successes and this is why it gives a good argument for the title statement.

But there are also a number of reasons against the title statement. Firstly this is a personal view so there is an element of bias and it is also quite a selfish view as he fails to acknowledge any other way of gaining equality such as the Black Power group. So there are a few issues which go against the title statement.

But like most sources there again is lack of sufficient evidence which means it is difficult to say which point of view the source has, but the information that is supplied gives a stronger for argument than against the statement that the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 50’s and 60’s.

Source F is an extract from a speech made by a Black power follower. The source shows how this section of the Civil Rights Movement thought that violence was the only way to gain their rights.

The parts of the source which agree with the title statement are that yet again the Negroes have gained the courage to fight back against the whites and the whites are letting them perform such an anti-white speech in front of a large audience. This also shows how freedom of speech has been gained by the Negroes which is a stark contrast to before the Civil Rights Movement began. So this is a major reason why the source agrees with the title statement.

But like all of the sources there is also a number of reasons which disagree with the statement. Firstly it is only a one person so is biased and, like King, is quite selfish and says his way is the best way.

However like the other sources there is not sufficient evidence because it is only one persons view and does not give a broad enough overview as to whether this was the general view of Negroes who wanted to fight back against the whites.

Source G is a conversation between 4 Negroes youths in 1967 after the race riots in Detroit. The source shows the violence which was been used by Negroes to confront the white oppressors. It is likely that they were followers of the Black Power movement who believed this method was the best way to achieve their goal of equality.

The two ways in which the source agrees with the title statement are that is that the Negroes now had enough courage to stand up to the whites and the confidence that they could obtain their goal. Because the Negroes were standing up to the whites it shows that the Civil Rights Movement has had some success because before the movement began the Negroes would not of been able to stand up to the whites in this way.

But the main way that the source disagrees with the title statement is that the Negroes have not changed their opinions of the whites. Although the Negroes want the whites to change their opinion of themselves, I believe that if they don’t change their opinions also then no progress can be made. Because of the lack of change I believe this shows how the Civil Rights Movement did not achieve a great deal in the 1950’s and 60’s.

However this source is only the views of 1 set of people. The source talks of 3 other areas where riots have taken place but apart from this it is unknown whether or not this is the view of the majority of Negroes or a minority. So the source does not give sufficient evidence but the evidence it does give shows quite a balanced argument both for and against the title statement but I believe it just shows an against argument overall.

Source H is article talking about the lead up and effect of Martin Luther King’s assassination. It was written in 1998 so had the benefit of hindsight and was written for British school textbooks.

Again this source gives a very balanced argument on whether or not it agrees with the statement that the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 50’s and 60’s. The for argument is that it shows how most public opinion had changed to support the Civil Rights Movement and lists some of the successes of individual Negroes such as one who was voted as Mayor of Los Angels. In the modern day a number of Black Americans have held high ranking jobs in American military and government, such as Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. So these parts of the source agree with the title statement but in the same article it also states how violence descended when King was murdered and Racial riots begun again almost going against all of King’s work in his life. So these sections of the source disagree with the title statement. So unlike other sources this has a very close argument for both and also supplies sufficient evidence to make a argument for either but if a choice has to be made I think that this source shows more reasons that agree with the statement that the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 50’s and 60’s.

Source I is a table showing the percentage of Negroes above the voting age who were registered to vote in 9 of the southern states. The source shows that in all but 2 states the number of Negroes who were registered had increased in 6 years. This shows that progression had been made and this was probably a direct result of the Civil Right Movement.

So the source is agreement with the statement and this stage because it is showing that the movement had almost directly contributed to more Negroes being allowed to vote in southern states.

However the source has a number of reasons why it does not agree with the title statement. The first reason why the source disagrees with the statement is that the figures are in very small amounts. On average the increase in total number of Negroes registered to vote was only 10% and this is larger because of the states of Mississippi and Arkansas who had huge increases without these the average would be much lower. And some states even saw a decrease in the number of Negroes eligible to vote.

This, in my opinion, shows that the Civil Rights Movement achieved only a small amount of success because in almost 21 years since the movement began, most southern states still didn’t allow over 60% of their Negro population to vote. This shows that the Civil Rights Movement did not achieve a great deal in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Another reason why the source does not agree with the title statement is that, like I mentioned before some Negroes still could not vote. The Civil Rights Movement were striving for equality in a country which declares itself as “The Land of The Free” but some of the country’s people could not even have a basic right. And even through all the campaigning the figures show that a very bare minimum of progress had been made. This reason links closer with the last but the fact that even after 21 years, over 40% of the population in the southern states still did not have the right to vote shows me that the Civil Rights Movement did not achieve a great deal in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The final reason why this source does not agree with the title statement is who the data was collected by. The source states that it was given from official figures. This may be so but there is also the possibility that the figures have been glorified or even made up to paint a much brighter picture of the issue of equality. If the reality was that in the 6 years between the 2 collections there was a decrease in the number of Negroes registered to grow, I believe that the government may have covered up this issue by producing figures which claim the opposite. I think that further information would be required to remove this question but as it stands it is a possibility.

But I believe that the source does not give sufficient information to make a claim either way. The table only shows southern states and because of this anyone reading the figures would not have a whole nation perspective. So the source becomes less useful because it does not give enough information to make a claim either way that the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

But from the information given I believe that the source disagrees with the statement that “the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 1950’s and 1960’s” because of the reasons I have talked about.

Source J is an extract of the conversation involving Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor. In it Connor talks about how he, as police chief, was dealing with the marching and then rioting in Birmingham, Alabama by men, women and children Negroes.

I believe that the source does support the statement because the Negroes had the courage to and were allowed, to a certain extent, to march in the streets of America. This shows that the attitude of senior white Americans had changed to allow the Negroes to march and the attitude of the Negroes themselves had changed as they became more courageous and intent on reaching their goal of equality.

This change in points of view is evidence that in the 13 years since the Civil Rights Movement had begun, Negroes had gone from the lowest social class who were ignored and treated with disgust to members of the community who now made a real vocal impact to highlight their plight and bring it to the attention of the white American public. I believe this source shows that the Negroes had earned the right to protest and highlight their plight to a national and worldwide audience.

However the source also highlights a strong argument that the Civil Rights Movement did not achieve a great deal in the 1950’s and 1960’s. What Bull Connor says is a testament that white opinions of Negroes had not changed during the time period since the Civil Rights Movement.

When answering the question of whether segregation should be kept in Birmingham, Connor’s response was, “I may not be able to do it but I’ll die trying” I believe that this quote shows the severe racial discrimination encountered by the Negroes and the extreme views of some white Americans when talking about segregation. This quote also came from the mouth of a police chief who was supposed to be protecting from the Negroes from the mob of angry whites trying to harm the Negroes.

This quotation in my opinion illustrates that even though the Civil Rights Movement had been working for equality for 13 years the opinions of whites all over America but mainly focused in the south, had not changed since the movement began. The abuse the Negroes also had to injure was also a demonstration of the lack of change in opinion of the white Americans.

But, I believe that this source does not contain enough evidence to really pick sides on whether or not it agrees with the title statement. The main argument against it is only shown as the opinion of one man and from this source we cannot see if this was the general feeling or just this mans own belief. And the fact that 13 years into the Civil Rights Movement Negroes still had to protest over things like trying to change the attitudes of police to them. In my opinion that shows that the movement had not achieved a great deal. So because of the lack of sufficient evidence I believe that it is difficult to conclude whether or not the source agrees or disagrees with the statement that the Civil Rights Movement achieved a great deal in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

So now that all of the 8 sources have been analysed to show whether or not they agree or disagree with the title statement, the conclusions that I can make is that the majority of them do not provide sufficient evidence to support either opinion and the sources which have enough evidence show both arguments for and arguments against the statement in the title.

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