Throughout history African Americans have been treated unfairly. African Americans were made slaves when first arriving with the first European settlers (Macionis 2012). The African slaves that were brought against their will to America were traded with little regard to whether or not he/she had family. Some families who were brought into slavery were separated to ensure obedience by his/her owner.
African Americans have fought for equality against the majority group. Even though slavery was abolished throughout the country in 1865 it did not change the mindset of the white’s in America. The treatment was the same regardless that slavery was no longer legal. In 1868 the Fourteenth Amendment reversed the Dred Scott decision, this reversal gave citizenship to anyone born in this country regardless of color. Prior to this decision African Americans were seen as less than human because they were not citizens and had no rights.
African Americans have been fighting against this inequality for decades and made headway because of the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. , Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X are noted activist during the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X were complete opposites when it came to their beliefs of what needed to be done in order to be taken serious. Malcolm X was known for his belief of “by any means necessary” where Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in non-violence. Both men were concerned with different issues during the Civil Rights movement.
Malcolm X was a charismatic leader for the Nation of Islam who encouraged “black identity. ” He also believed that African Americans were superior to their white counterparts. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted equality between the races. Separate but equal was not acceptable to Martin Luther King, Jr. Separate but equal was never equal for the subordinate group, especially for the African Americans. The Jim Crow laws were created to further degrade African Americans. Separate but equal was practiced throughout the U. S. not only in the South, but was more oticeable in the South. Separate water fountains, restrooms, post offices, neighborhoods, schools, and hospitals were common in the South in order to avoid the races from mixing. African Americans fought against the Jim Crow laws during the Civil Rights movement. A well-known case that fought against integration was that of Brown v. Board of Education. President John F. Kennedy was a known supporter to the Civil Rights movement he had a hand in releasing Martin Luther King, Jr. from jail, he also forced Gov. George C.
Wallace to allow the two black students to attend the University of Alabama. Segregation became illegal and the U. S. was forced to integrate the schools allowing African Americans and other minority groups the same opportunities that are afforded to the white race. The Jim Crow laws were slowly abolished after the Civil Rights movement was it became clear that separate but equal would not work. The nation took notice when African Americans and whites who believed in the Civil Rights movement marched in Washington D. C. Martin Luther King, Jr. ade his famous speech “I Have a Dream,” and excerpt from his famous speech reads: “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ”