Essay on civil rights

Authors Avatar

Adeel Amin 12P

Why did a mass Civil Rights movement emerge in the late 1950’s?

The importance of civil rights for Black Americans was at an all time high within in the late 1950s.Black Americans having been oppressed not only within in their rights of freedom yet also in terms of education and employment felt that it was time for a major change. Thus various civil right movements had to be implemented. However, it is key to understand the reasons why a civil rights movement did not occur earlier on for it allows us to gain an insight into the levels of segregation and lack of opportunities that Black Americans faced.

During the inter-war year period of 1920 to 1941, Black Americans amongst other minorities suffered from the racial segregation that had deemed to govern the way in which they would live their lives. During the year known as the ‘Roaring Twenties’ America was enjoying unprecedented prosperity having become the worlds leading industrial nation. However, this affluence was only shared mainly by the white Americans, whilst conditions for Black individuals only seemed to get worse; arguably discrimination, prejudice and racism reaching a peak during these years. Moreover, the latter was upheld by a radical groups known as the Ku Klux Klan made up of different individuals some  possessing a great deal of power such as governors and police officers. They felt that segregation of Black and White Americans was correct and used violent means such as ‘lynching’ to enforce the same.

 It is ironic then that Black Americans played a huge part in providing the financial support for some of the Southern states, yet only 5% registered were allowed to vote. Thus changes that could have been brought about for Black American’s was forcibly at an all time low for their influence on any political agenda was minute in comparison to the power heralded by White individuals. Furthermore, there was no apparent leader who had any political interest for Black civil rights, for fear of affecting their career and the level of authority they possessed due to White Americans turning against them. In addition to that there were no real judicial laws that would enhance things for Black Americans and the courts could do very little for them. This was not only due to the lack of influence the courts would have on White Americans  but on occasion it was because the courts themselves where made up of White individuals who believed in deep rooted segregation. Many members consisted of the Ku Klux Klan who would utilize various means in order to keep Africans powerless and to maintain the state government.

Join now!

There were several methods induced in order to keep Black Americans powerless and none more so then in education for a lack of education resulted in many Black Americans not having the ability to challenge or understand their circumstances. Thus resulting in many Black individuals remaining illiterate. Moreover, the strict control over the infrastructure made opportunities for them that much more harder for joining groups such as Trade Unions was bared, knowing the great influence they could cause if they were given any power.

However, it is also important to understand the extent to which Black Americans tried ...

This is a preview of the whole essay

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

A real strong point of this essay's quality of writing is the use of words like "however", because these are constantly reminding the examiner that the student is aware of alternative interpretations (see Response to question section). Similarly, using words like "furthermore" shows that the student knows that an argument is stronger when there is more than one piece of evidence for it. However, the student could improve their quality of writing by structuring their essay more carefully: they could do a paragraph for each new argument and begin it with statements such as "Another interpretation of the movement was...". This would reinforce the student's understanding of alternative interpretations and leave the examiner in no doubt that the student is appreciating the need to include them.

The essay would benefit from more precise forms of evidence. Instead of saying "in the late 1950’s", the student could have learnt and used the exact significant event and year: often, students say things happened in general periods because they are unsure of the date, but knowing the year will prove that you have a strong grasp of your knowledge rather than a general understanding of the period. Also, the student could improve by quoting statistics: for instance, "due to poverty and unemployment" would become much better if the student said "due to poverty and unemployment, which rose among black people to _____ million by 19__" because it would show that the student understands that the rise in unemployment was large and significant. Not quoting a statistic means it might be a tiny number that wasn't really a cause of the movement. However, the conclusion is good: some students do a short conclusion because they run out of time or think they have said everything in the essay, but this student avoids falling into that trap because they reach a judgement - need for a leader - and even explains why it can take a long time for the movement to happen, which shows they have enough knowledge of history to understand why some historical events take longer than others. To make it even better, they could add in a few words summarising the alternative point of view, such as "Although it was clear that..." before launching into their judgement, as this would provide the continuing consideration of other views that examiners look for.

The question requires the student to provide several reasons why a civil rights movement emerged, and in the third sentence of the introduction the student points out the need to do this, which is good as it shows they understand the need to think widely enough to know there is more than one interpretation of all historical events. However, the student spends the second, third and fourth paragraphs talking about why the civil rights movement wasn't as strong as it could have been, which is bad because it suggests they don't have enough knowledge to answer the actual question. The student could improve by having a short paragraph just before the conclusion that starts with "However, it could be argued that the civil rights movement didn't emerge as strongly as first thought..." because this would show they were thinking outside the box about history, but also know enough to answer the question set rather than the one they'd like to answer. After the fourth paragraph, the student confidently discusses the various reasons why, such as poverty and World War Two. If they had put these first, the examiner would have instantly seen that they are thinking widely and not just focusing on one possible reason.