The discrimination of the blacks in America
The inception of the Birmingham campaign
The major participation human rights bodies. The two major ones were southern Church Leadership Conference and Alabama Christian Movements for Human Rights.
The initial situation in Birmingham
The segregation of the blacks such that they could not access the services meant for the whites for example white-only hotels and schools.
The manifestos set by Luther and Shuttlesworth to ensure the survival of the blacks
The major problem that made it difficult to eradicate the segregation was support from the legal institutions that denied the blacks justice.
Impacts of the campaign
The national impact that included the attention of the president and this led to the adoption of the Civil Rights Movements Act of 1963 that protected people from racial discrimination.
The local authorities removed barriers like signs that indicated the white-only areas in Birmingham and other parts of the country.
There was also the formation of biracial committees to represent all the parties in stakeholders
The current situation
The Birmingham city council equality laws that prohibit racial discrimination
The fruits of the Civil Movement Rights Act are enjoyed by people across the states and it was one of the early successes of the Birmingham movement.
Although there are isolate cases in the country, there is a high level of equality in the country.
Racialdiscrimination in the united state of America has a long history. Theequality levels observed in the current society are a result ofvarious movements that agitated for the rights of the blacks. Thedominant white community enjoyed more privileges than the blacks.Birmingham was one of such places where there was an intensesegregation of the blacks. The Lutheran movement that led to protestsattracted the attention of the local and the national governments andit lead to the development of platforms that supported equality.Although there are still cases of racial discrimination in thecountry, the society upholds equality of the blacks and the whites.
TheAmerican society has experienced many social movements aimed atachieving racial fairness between the blacks and the whites. Historyhas it that the Native Americans did not have a place for the blackcitizens, and they looked down upon them. For this reason, they didnot take active parts in critical decision-making processes andcouldn’t mingle freely with the whites. As civilization started toinfiltrate the land, the blacks saw the need to agitate for theirrights. However, they did not have aggressive leaders to champion theprotests. When a team of able leaders took the platform, the peopleengaged charged movements to liberate themselves.
Oneof the most memorable protests in the American history is theBirmingham protest of 1963 led by Martin Luther King Junior, JamesBevel, and Fred Shuttlesworth. The movement carried out itsactivities under the Southern Leadership Conference (SLC). Themovement sought to bring into focus the integration of NativeAmericans in the developmental and decision-making processes inBirmingham, Alabama. In April 1963, Martin Luther junior under theSCLC joined hands with the Birmingham’s already existing socialmovement to fight for the rights of the blacks (Apsel, 2015).
TheAlabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) was themainstream movement that fought for the rights of the localsespecially for the blacks. The blacks mainly composed of themovement’s members and students attacked the existing segregationof the city and put a lot of pressure on the merchants trading in thecity. Since this was the Easter season when any people did extensiveshopping, the movement had a lot of impacts. The group’s leader,Shuttlesworth, manifested that the goal of the campaign was to ensurethe survival of the blacks in the city (White, 1998).
Duringthe time, Birmingham was the one of the most racial cities when thewhites and the blacks could not see each other eye to eye. The racialdiscrimination was so high that each of the groups had their socialinstitutions and could not come together to discuss on any matter.There were hotels for the whites and schools for the blacks. Blackscould not find employment in a white territory. The blacks facedsegregation in terms of property ownership and aces to qualityservices. The manifesto by Shuttlesworth was meant to break the chainand put the blacks on the same social status just like the whites.The instigating factors to this discrimination were the culturalbackground and the legal institutions. The Native Americans despisedthe blacks since they considered them inferior. The legal systemsworked to the benefits of the whites with outright denial of justiceto the blacks (Colaiaco, 2010).
Thelegal institutions tightened the noose on the operations and gave thegreen light to law enforcers to use force to dispel the crowds. Theleaders enlisted the help of student volunteer who marched in thestreets, but they faced the wrath of the law enforcers. The policeused high-pressure water to dispel the students.
Theprotests had various impacts on the position of the blacks in thesociety. The intensity of the campaigns made the police to used earlyforce to counter the protestors and the images of inhuman treatmentflared throughout the land. Most of the whites thought that theblacks would calm down after failing to gain the support of thegovernment, little did they know that a revolution had just begun. President Kennedy could no longer ignore the protests and in one ofhis speeches he said, “The events in Birmingham have increased thecries for equality that no city or state or legislative body canprudently choose to ignore them (Andrews & Gaby, 2015)."
InMay 1963, the Birmingham campaign ended up in victory when the localinstitutions agreed to remove the barriers that discriminated againstthe whites and the blacks. There was a demolition of the signs thatindicated “Blacks only” or “White only” in restrooms anddrinking fountains. The local institutions were also compelled toestablish a biracial committee to oversee the intended changes thatwould give the black the same rights s the whites (Andrews &Gaby, 2015).The early success plans of the campaign were the settingup a Negro job improvement plan and the release of jaileddemonstrators. The campaign paved the way for the civil right act of1964 that gave people the right to demonstrate without facing inhumantreatment like the situation observed in Birmingham (Andrews &Gaby, 2015).The law was also prohibited discrimination on any groundsfor workers while seeking employment. It also increased the attentionto the discriminative nature in the south and the government awakenedfrom the slumber. It helped to enforce disaggregation in the placeswhere segregation was still being practiced.
Onthe national arena, the campaign sparked different feeling among thecitizens, and it was the mother of many movements. The blacks aroundthe country embraced the idea of having a status in the community.After the presidential announcement of the relevance of the protestsin Birmingham, the government could not address the issue inisolation, and it became a national issue (Andrews & Gaby,2015).There were demolition and removal f signs that physicallydiscriminated the whites and the blacks. The federal and localgovernments took the responsibility of ensuring social cohesion atthe local level. However, the desegregation did not prove to be afast process since the whites also retaliated with bombing of SixthStreet Baptist Church that killed four young girls (Klobuchar, 2009).
Thecurrent situation in Birmingham is a reflection of the previousefforts of revolution leaders who sought a community-based ofequality of all the citizens. Following the Under the Race RelationsAct of 2000, the city council of Birmingham has continued to see tothe implementation of various objectives that support equality. Theyinclude supporting equality of opportunity, promotion of goodrelation of people with different backgrounds and the elimination ofunlawful discrimination. The act also presents a framework forfuture actions. It also strengthens the policymaking procedures thatimprove service delivery. The situation in Birmingham is arepresentation of the efforts being carried out at the national levelto achieve racial equality (Birmingham City Council, 2003).
Conclusively,racial discrimination is America still has a historical significance.The discrimination directed towards the blacks has not been intenseexcept isolated cases in Baltimore and North Carolina. There has beenrecent burning of churches in the in North Carolina and these maytrigger a standoff between the whites and the blacks (Green, 2015).However, the local and national institutions are doing everything toensure that the racial discrimination history does not repeat itself
Andrews,K. T., & Gaby, S. (2015, June). Local Protest and Federal Policy:The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.In SociologicalForum(Vol. 30, No. S1, pp. 509-527).
Apsel,J. (2015). Martin Luther King, Jr.,“Letter from a Birmingham Jail”and Nonviolent Social Transformation. GreatBooks Written in Prison: Essays on Classic Works from Plato to MartinLuther King, Jr.,230.
BirminghamCity Council. (2003). RacialEquality.Retrieved fromhttp://www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=Lib-Accessibility%2FCFPageLayout&cid=1223092717840&packedargs=website%3D4&pagename=BCC%2FCommon%2FWrapper%2FCFWrapper&rendermode=live
Colaiaco,J. A. (2010). Letter from Birmingham jail. CivilDisobedience,37,197.
Green,E. (2015). Black Churches Are Burning Again in America. The Atlantic.Retrieved fromhttp://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/07/arson-churches-north-carolina-georgia/396881/
Klobuchar,L. (2009). 1963Birmingham Church Bombing: The Ku Klux Klan`s History of Terror.Capstone: Minnesota.
White,M. L. (Ed.). (1998). AWalk to Freedom: The Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the AlabamaChristian Movement for Human Rights, 1956-1964.Birmingham Historical Society: Alabama.