As “The Civil Rights Movement in the USA in the 1950s and 60s” article states, Civil Rights are “rights that anyone in a given society is entitled to as a member of that society; the rights that the US Constitution gives to its citizens” (131). Although the 50s and 60s are popularly referred to as “the Civil Rights Movement,” in fact Black people’s struggle for civil rights spans all the way back to when the first Africans were brought to the Americas. However, for this week’s readings and videos, we focused primarily on the latter movement since that was when the largest and most coherent push for increased civil rights by African Americans led to transformative social and political change.
Black men are most often depicted as the primary leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Names like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael are well known for their activism and historically powerful speeches. However, Black women were not only vital to the movement’s many successes, but they actually constituted the majority of movement participants.
For this week’s writing response, construct a 450-word statement that addresses the following questions:
What do you know about the role of Black women in the Civil Rights Movement? Or put another way, who are some of the Black women that you already knew about and who have you just learned about in this week’s reading and video material? Why do you think Black women are often overlooked when it comes to popular history about the movement? Finally, although the Civil Rights movement led to voting rights for all Black people, what earlier constitutional amendment was necessary to ensure that Black women would actually be able to vote?
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