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Civil Rights Movement: Aims, Ideas, Impacts on Society

The aim of the civil rights movement in the 1960s was to resist all forms of racial oppression as well as to abolish the legacy of slavery as an institution. Outcomes of the movement included granting African-Americans basic civil rights and improving the economic, cultural, and political life of this minority. The passage of the Civil Rights Act led to the secure federal protection of basic rights. The emergence of nonviolent protest effectively changed the United States because the pattern of segregating public facilities by race was broken. This movement played a central role in achieving legal progress because it led to the passage of major rights ratification in the 1960s. It is through the nonviolent protests that Martin Luther King led black activists and African Americans in confronting cultural, political, and economic issues that had prior not been addressed. King by then was a militant black activist who believed that African Americans should not just fight against racial discrimination but seek more effective ways of having civil rights reforms that would become permanent.

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King helped amend the constitution through the African American struggle which enhanced the lives of many citizens. For example, he launched a campaign in 1966 intending to change slum conditions for African Americans. Through his ‘black power’ slogan, he defined the civil rights reforms that were required to enhance the political, economic, and social stability of the nation. He criticized the calls for African American separatism together with armed defense. King recommended citizens that who felt segregated by the government to join the anti-colonial movements and strive for compensatory actions by the government to end poverty, as well as redress injustices based on race.

Further, King tried to change the focus of the nation away from conflict. For example, he criticized the intervention by the United States military in the Vietnam War. He viewed this action by the nation as a civil war by stating that it was immoral. The nation did not pay attention to the nationalist movements in Latin America, Africa, and Asia (Franklin, 2019). In addition, he came up with the Poor People Campaign, which would lobby for reducing poverty.

As a leader of civil rights, King insisted that the Civil Rights Act was the second emancipation. Initially, the act primarily addressed issues faced by African Americans. Further expansion of the act was required to make the legislation more inclusive. It would later bring the elderly, people with disabilities, as well as women in collegiate athletics to be part of the minorities that had to be protected. King addressed issues faced by oppressed people throughout the world, not just in the United States.

The Civil Rights Act led to follow-up laws. Literacy tests together with some discriminatory voting practices were abolished. The Voting Rights Act liberated Americans who had not been able to vote initially because of lacking some skills or having a disability to effectively vote. Through this act, more citizens realized their political rights. Strategies to make voting inclusive for all were implemented throughout the country and a greater voter turnout was realized. People were able to choose leaders that served their interests, and the risk of segregation based on their minority status was reduced.

The Civil Rights Act paved the way for fair housing for all citizens. Initially, minorities, especially African Americans, were denied the right to own houses, sell, rent, or finance property (Powers, 2020). The struggle against racial discrimination resulted in a fair legal system. The Fair Housing Act allowed more minority groups to own houses and sell the property. A more inclusive and just American society came about as the Fair Housing Act offered immense power to African Americans to be involved in economic activities in the country.

The act resulted in inclusive education for all citizens because it brought segregation based on disability and race to an end. More Americans were educated for white-collar jobs. The Equal Opportunity Act protected and enhanced the representation of minorities in all industries in the nation. People with disabilities were educated and could work in certain industries because they had the necessary skills regardless of their disabilities. Another effect of the Civil Rights Act is an enhanced political representation of minorities. By 1965, more than a hundred people from minority groups, especially African Americans, were elected to serve as political leaders (Hagopian, 2020). The number of minorities holding political office has increased since. The United States even elected a black American as president, Barack Obama, in 2008.

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The strategies and tactics which civil rights activists utilized in the 1960s can also be relevant in contemporary ethnic and racial conflicts. Americans have taken part in freedom rides, boycotts, and sit-ins, all of which have been effective (Jeffries, 2019). For example, the 2020 “Black Lives Matter” movement used marches and freedom rides successfully. A series of marches have helped remind this minority about their fundamental rights. The contemporary movements work well, especially because this minority is now represented in leadership positions. It is easy to apply strategies that are based on the ideas of nonviolent civil disobedience. Although there has not been further legislation to improve equality, such methods have reminded people throughout the world about the historical precedents that should be applied. For example, employers who discriminate against employees based on race and disability are likely to experience losses to their business or lose their job if they get reported and people boycott their products or services. Additionally, social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, have enhanced nonviolent protests because the masses can be notified about incidents of discrimination within a short time.

The ideas of the 1960s are still relevant today because there are still educational disparities for minorities, opportunity gaps, unequal recognition, and a lack of community resources. Today’s civil rights movement applies the 1960s ideas of fostering the founding principles of equality as well as the pursuit of opportunities. Contemporary protests have drawn upon these concepts to create cross-agency policies that have resulted in fostering thriving and productive citizens. There are greater avenues for employment and reform criminal justice policies because of non-violent protests. For example, the 2016 ‘Stronger Together’ proposal has helped strengthen communities and encourage equity by focusing on having inclusive social settings.

The civil rights movement impacted diversity by enhancing political, social, and economic mobility for minorities across the nation. It banned discrimination based on race and ethnicity in the United States and resulted in equal access to social and economic resources for women and people with disabilities. Religious differences are not an issue since the nation has incorporated laws to protect religious minorities. Moreover, this reduced economic disparities by enabling minorities and low-income families access to resources and job opportunities. Overall, the civil rights movement ensured a fair and stable country for all.


Franklin, R. (2019). Reclaiming the Great World House: The global vision of Martin Luther King Jr. (Crawford, V. & Baldwin L., Eds.). University of Georgia Press. Web.

Hagopian, P. (2020). The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the politics of Post-Racialism. History and Memory, 32(2), 36-78.

Jeffries, H. (Ed.). (2019). Understanding and teaching the civil rights movement. University of Wisconsin Press. Web.

Powers, B. (Ed.). (2020). 101 African Americans who shaped South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press. Web.

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