Civil rights are rights that every citizen has under the laws of their country’s government. Civil rights are about people not being discriminated against regardless of gender, religion, age, nationality or race. People who are considered a citizen of their country has rights and should be treated fairly under the country’s given laws. This includes the right to free speech, religion, privacy and freedom. It provides greater access to resources for women, religious minorities, African-Americans and low income families.
The civil rights movements are different movements that fought for the rights of a given section of population that was being discriminated against. When talking about the women’s suffrage movement they fought for the right for women to vote. Another example of a civil rights movement is the fight for equal rights and opportunities for people with a disability. There are many movements that have fought for their cause and have helped many people throughout the world. Martin Luther King Jnr, was a non violent leader in the civil rights movements in United States of America (USA).
He is mostly remembered for his famous I have a dream’ speech in which he wanted to talk about a world without segregation and racism. On the other hand there was the Black Panther Party. This party’s original focus was to patrol African American neighbourhoods to protect residents from acts of police brutality using violence if necessary. Martin Luther King Jnr was born on the 15th of January, 1929 in the USA to African American parents. When he was born he was named Michael King but his father later changed his name to Martin Luther King Jnr which is what people refer to him to this day. Life was extremely hard for African Americans when he was growing up. The USA operated under the Jim Crow laws’ that kept the black and white people seperated. Black people had different toilets, schools and even sections of the bus for where they had to sit. They would always be separate from the whites. Luther King Jnr personally experienced this at the age of 6 when he was told that he wasn’t allowed to play with his white friends anymore as his friends’ fathers wouldn’t allow it. Luther King Jnr was always upset by the treatment of African Americans. He took up the cause and in 1955 he had his first major role in the civil rights movement. Luther King Jnr was often in trouble for organising peaceful protests and in 1963 was arrested and was prisoned. Luther King Jnr was frustrated as a result of Rosa Parks, an African American, being arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on the bus. Luther King Jnr contributed by organising a boycott of the cities buses. After 381 days of protesting, the court finally ruled that the segregation laws should no longer exist. Luther King Jnr always used non-violent tactics in his protests even when the protesters themselves were met with violence from the police. A few years later in 1963 he gave his famous I have a dream’ speech. There were large crowds of people to hear him and other activists speak about the importance of civil rights. His speech has become one of the most famous in history. It focuses on Luther King Jnr’s dream of a society where white and black people live together. In October 1964, he won the Nobel Peace Prize after his long hard fight for civil rights. Unfortunately, Martin Luther King Jnr was assassinated in 1968 in Tennessee. He was standing on the balcony of his hotel where he was shot. James Earl Ray was convicted of his murder and lived the rest of his life in prison. Luther King Jnr will always be remembered for his effort during the civil rights movement and his dream that one day everyone would be treated equally. A statue in memory of him now stands in Washington D.C. Every year on the third Monday of January America has a federal holiday marking Martin Luther King Jr Day.The Black Panther Party was a political organisation founded in 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. They wanted to challenge police brutality against the African American community. There were around 2000 members of the black panther party and they all dressed in black berets and black leather jackets. The organisation later broke down due to internal tensions, deadly shootouts and FBI counterintelligence activities that were all aimed at weakening the organisation. The founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale met in 1961 while they were students at Merritt College in Oakland California. They both protested at the college’s Pioneers day celebration when they honoured the pioneers who came to California around the 1800’s, leaving out the role of the African Americans in settling the American West. They founded the Black Panthers after the assassination of the black nationalist Malcolm X and after police in San Francisco shot and killed an unarmed black teen named Matthew Johnson. The early activities that the black panthers did included monitoring police activities in black communities in Oakland and other cities. Their popularity grew as they introduced multiple social programs and engaged in political activities. They were involved in numerous violent encounters with the police. An incident happened in 1967 when Huey Newton allegedly killed Oakland police officer John Frey. Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1968 and was sentenced and locked up in prison. A court decision later reversed the conviction and he was free to go. Within the party there was violence too. Incidents happened where people were tortured, beaten up and murdered. Chicago police gunned down and killed black panther party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in 1968 whilst they were fast asleep in their apartment. Over a hundred bullets were fired but experts determined that only one of those bullets came from the panthers side. The black panther party was officially dissolved in 1982. Martin Luther King Jnr wanted people to be involved in nonviolent protests and work through the legal system to change it. He wanted to show the establishment that it was time to mix it up and change through peaceful means. The black panthers on the other hand wanted to reveal the strength of the black men. They thought that the only way they were going to get change was through threats and force. The black panther party believed that you need a revolution to get authority’s attention. Meaning that they need to fight and take back what was stolen from them. This is the complete opposite of the civil rights movement which was a more peaceful and nonviolent approach lead by Martin Luther King Jnr. Black panthers did bring some needed changes but did so using violence at times. Luther King Jnr always tried to deliver his message in a non violent way. His peaceful protests and a willingness to sacrifice for another one’s beliefs was always more effective than violence in changing hearts and minds. Martin Luther King Jnr’s approach seemed to be more successful as he was loved and heard by everyone. His protests were well planned and calmly done with everyone going to see him. He was successful without using any violence and this shows that you don’t need to be violent to get your point across to everyone. The reason why I chose Martin Luther King Jnr is because I had heard of what he had done for civil rights and wanted to learn more through further research. I chose The Black Panthers Party as the violent civil rights group. This group sounded very intriguing and I wanted to find out what they were about. Although they tried to support the minorities they used the same violent behaviours that they were fighting against. Luther King Jr was definitely more successful in achieving civil rights for African Americans as he had an important voice that people would love hearing and his message was always one of nonviolence. He continued to fight for his cause in a non violent way even though he often clashed with the authorities. He was the youngest person to ever receive the high honour of the Nobel Peace Prize. This shows how important his work has been and how it has been recognised by the world.