Historically the civil rights movement has not only defined in American History, by showing the world the shining example of Americans fighting for racial and social justice, but it is also notable that the true pioneers of Civil Rights have now, become legends in our time-their names; Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Seale, Huey Newton and the list goes on. When one thinks about the iconic nature of these individuals-one must consider many factors including their deeds, struggles, and accomplishments. Right now America stands at a critical juncture in its race relations, and the civil rights issues of the present and past have/are going largely ignored. So when asked the question, why, is the Civil Rights Movement in danger of becoming obsolete the major standout reasons are;
Lack of Civil Rights Historical Knowledge
There is clear ignorance by most American’s more specifically students of the basic history of the Civil Rights Movement is a growing challenge — in fact, it has worsened, according to a 2011 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The report says that states academic standards for public schools are one major cause of the problem. Eight of 12 states were tested based on the current knowledge of Civil Rights. The most earning A, B or C grades for their treatment of Civil Rights History are southern states where there were major protests, boycotts or violence during the movement’s peak years in the 1950s and ’60s. Surprisingly Alabama, Florida and New York students were given mostly A grades.
“Generally speaking, the farther away from the South — and the smaller the African-American community — the less attention paid to the civil rights movement,” the report says. “Across the country, state educational standards virtually ignore our civil rights history,” concludes the report.
While it is a proven fact that in classrooms around the world students are now being taught the history of the movement, but it is only a small backdrop in most history classes. Civil Rights historians believe that class materials and books water the content down to exerts from speeches-Like Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream,” and Malcolm X’s “By any means necessary.”
Growing American multiculturalism
The census showed that as of July 1, 2011, 50.4 percent of the nation’s population age 1 or under was either Hispanic or a race other than White. “That is a surprising percentage. Twenty years from now (chart below) shows what Time magazine calls “The Browning of America,” which means that the racial makeup of American will be mostly people of color. There’s that historical notion as well.
A Growing Separatist Movement
There is a growing premise that race is not the salient characteristic and many question if race should remain a guiding principle of civil rights law today. Example, many Gay and Homosexual organizations now consider their fight for civil liberty the “New Civil Rights.” As time goes on the Civil Rights movement must seek a new life and possibly become a structure that closer resembles “Human Rights.”
Lastly, the separatist potential in our laws and our society, and separatism’s growing threat to our sense of national community. Groups like the Tea party may cause struggle to Civil Rights due to the dangers of separatism in the context of separatist politics, entitlements, education, and speech, exploring the legal and social issues surrounding each of these areas. Civil Rights law can either bring us together or drive us apart and that the choices we make now will determine the character of our national future.
In addition to the separatist nature of other groups, the Civil Rights advocates must place value in teaching and understanding what it means to be an, “Active,” American Citizen. They must learn how to identify injustice at all times (even internally). They must learn about the role of individuals (people) in their complexities, as well as the importance of structure. Also, they must see that all people can come together collectively to confront oppression. They need to know that as long as race is a barrier to access and opportunity, and as long as poverty is common for people of color, the dream has not been realized. GLG
- Harry Jackson Jr. says ‘Civil Rights Movement was Intended to be a Revival of Christianity’; ‘NAACP has Forgotten that it is Christ’s Organization and has Become a Black Organization’ (blackchristiannews.com)
- Rev. T.J. Jemison Remembered As Civil Rights Movement Pioneer (npr.org)