Civil rights are referred to as the basic rights every person has under the law and constitution. The constitution and law protect every citizen’s rights regardless of faith, gender, skin color, ethnicity, nationality, disability, or age.
The term civil rights come from the Latin word ‘ius civis,’ which translates as ‘rights of people.’ The rights that every citizen has to include free speech, the right to practice religion, a fair trial, privacy, and freedom of thought. However, for ages, social and political injustice has been predominant in some areas of the country.
The Reasons for Civil Right Movement
The people having African origins face constant discrimination in society. However, white people do stand up and show moral and social support whenever injustice is happening. Fortunately, we live in a digital age, and any inequality or prejudice is instantly talked about on social media, and within minutes hundreds of like-minded people share views and thoughts calling to correct any wrongdoing or injustice based on skin color.
The most prominent event in history was the ‘Civil Rights Movement’ in the late 1950s and 1660s that led to the memorable and remarkable speech of Martin Luther King Jr. ‘I Had a Dream’ in 1963. The black Americans struggled to get equal rights under the Federal and State constitution.
African slavery was abolished a long time ago, but discrimination was still dominant, and the black Americans with African roots continued to be persecuted and endure the impact of racism. However, many White Americans stood up alongside Black Americans to lead an unprecedented movement for equality.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 allowed every citizen to cast a vote freely, but many Black citizens were finding it hard, particularly in the country’s southern states. The black population was asked to give literacy tests that were quite confusing and not easy to pass. The black population saw some gains from the act, but segregation laws and discrimination increased every day.
The Contribution of White Americans against Racial Discrimination
Over the years until now, racial injustice has more or less subsided, albeit one or two events that trigger the saying again that discrimination still exists in the norms of the society. However, over the years, the personal relationship has played a crucial part in bridging gaps and allowing white and people of color to get together and enjoy each other’s company, thoughts, and work.
There have been many White American civil rights activists in history and even now who personally care about the rights of black citizens and want them to have equal rights like everyone. The racial dynamics of urban cities are quite big and diverse as compared to rural settings. Today, many events and conferences are held to discuss discriminatory practices and find viable solutions for them.
It is generally known that black citizens have been the subject of most racial injustice and discrimination since history. The poverty rates and unemployment are also seen to be highest in areas where there is most of the black population.
The common goal is equal opportunity for high-quality housing, education, and work for everyone from White to Black and other people of color. When it comes to honoring the activists of the civil rights movement, there are only a few white people who get the credit or are talked about.
The black citizens led and inspired the movement, but many key white individuals equally supported the struggle that many people do not know about. The famous representation was that of ‘Atticus Finch,’ a fictional character from a novel by Harper Lee called ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ where he defends a black person on the trial of a sexual misdemeanor.
Popular White Civil Rights Activists
Schools serve as the best place to teach young kids why harmony and love should be practiced to everyone regardless of skin color, religion, age, or other physical features. Some of the well-known white civil rights activists are
- Anne McCarty Braden, a journalist in Louisville, Kentucky, asked the white southerners to support the civil rights movement and went against the racist estate practices. She helped a black married couple to buy a house in a white neighborhood community.
- Edgar Chandler was a congregational minister and director of the Church Federation in Chicago in the 1960s, and he supported Martin Luther King Jr.
- Virginia Foster Durr was a housewife in Alabama who stood up against Southern white male domination and the poll tax. She was a dear friend of Rosa Parks and a sister-in-law of Hugo Black, who was Supreme Court and heard many crucial cases on Civil Rights. She joined liberal political leaders and played a part in approving legislation needed for the Voting Rights of 1965.
- Bob Fletcher worked as a fireman, farmer, and historian but most famously known for taking care of farms of expelled Japanese Americans.
- Eric Kulberg was the photographer of the famous civil rights march in March 1963, where Martin Luther King made the historic speech of ‘I have a Dream.’ He was just 18 at that time but got an experience of a lifetime capturing some of the iconic images. Kulberg wanted to remove any hint of biasness and wanted to portray the voice of African Americans through different mediums of art such as images, radio, film, and television.
- Rachel Horowitz planned many events and marches to allow the civil rights movement to pick up momentum. She had leadership qualities that allowed her to plan and organize the movement. She worked with labor unions during the 1970s.
- Fred Rogers was a popular television celebrity who was famous for his music, writing, and production. He gained a massive following due to his TV show called ‘Mister Rogers Neighborhood,’ which did a marathon run on TV from 1968 to 2001.
It has almost been more than 56 years that the Civil Rights of 1964 took place that strongly highlighted the social and political injustice that African Americans faced. The movement was successful as it ensured equal rights for every citizen, no discrimination at school, work, public places, and economic stability for underprivileged minorities.
Samuel Edwards is a notable historian who not only taught political science in numerous institutions but also written books on politics and African Americans. In his recent online article for history magazine he talked about the struggle and impact of White American civil rights activists on the civil rights movement.