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The Analysis of the Civil Rights Movement
The origin of the African-American lobby group traces back to the Civil War period. Despite not being so much at the center of attention, the community members in the military had challenged the discrimination in service on several occasions. In fact, the prejudice against the blacks in the southern United States had pushed them to head to northern states in search of better jobs. Indeed, the end of the Civil War and the commencement of reconstruction period saw resentment against racial inequality. Individuals such as Ida B.
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Wells increasingly opposed racial segregation, creating the earliest foundation of the movement (D. Fridan and J. Fridan 21). Again, on returning to their homes, the African-American service members increasingly favored the rejection of second-class citizenship. Since then, several activist practices have taken place calling for fair and equal treatment of all citizens in the United States. However, it was not until 1954 that the movement started to gain vibrancy due to the case of Brown vs. Board of Education. In the ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the principle of separate but equal did not have a chance in public schools and was unconstitutional. The verdict brought new energies to the African American activists who aimed at using it to further their agenda in the fight for equality.
A successful movement requires conducting an effective social mobilization which, in return, will create the need for resources, including money, labor, media, solidarity, and knowledge. Each of these has a role in reaching an awareness and understanding in an efficient way, as well as pressurizing leadership to repeal repressive laws. As such, the paper focuses on the evaluation of the Civil Rights Movement and its utilization of social mobilization to achieve its goals.
At the time of its origin, the social lobby was not as strong as it was later in the 1960s. The inception stages of the African-American lobbying for equality faced severe challenges. First, there was not enough money for the task, meaning that the campaigns would become limited to a few areas around the United States and that the economic impact would hardly be felt. Sustaining a flourishing crusade needed the media advertisement and the production of materials such as posters.
Further, funds were necessary to ensure that those on the campaign trail had food and water. The monetary support came from several quarters, including donations from the sympathetic white population. Furthermore, performances such as concerts contributed to the increased movements capital, which was quite necessary to rejuvenate its activities. However, the contributions made by the poor black communities accounted for the largest amount of the money. African-Americans, especially those residing in the southern cities, have raised the funds over the years, which they would later send to their leaders (Frost 440). On reaching the top, the money would be properly distributed among the planned activities of the lobby group.
Moreover, this mode of resource mobilization created an opportunity to bring the community together in a solidarity push. With the funding, it became possible for the movement to reach out to the majority of the people, inspiring them to join the lobby group. The growth in their capital enabled the Civil Rights Movement activists to make their operations visible and their voices clearly heard. Besides, another financial way of empowering the group was through pressurizing banking institutions. That was propagated through requests for the community members to move their money from major banks and put it in credit unions. The success of this campaign method was gaining momentum as more African Americans were earning a salary through these institutions.
In the early ages of the movement, few of those who joined it were educated, which posed a real threat to the activities of the group as it was expected to operate within the law. The majority of the African-Americans was denied a formal education; therefore, the chances of success for the group remained small. The community had become weakened after a while, as the majority of its members could neither read nor write. Thus, the illiteracy level dwarfed their mode of communication. The few who were educated, for instance, Ida B. Wells, could make their point through media articles. However, few of the fellow community members would read her opinion, hence slow effectiveness of the movement.
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Nevertheless, the contribution of literate members at the time had helped create separate but equal schools. Hence, by the 1960s, several African-Americans could read, which fundamentally boosted the movement with more people being able to read and write messages in support of the civil rights activists (Hall 1247). Further, the 1960s saw the group employ expertise in its activities, thus bolstering its effectiveness in dealing with matters such as the law. Furthermore, the movement attracted educated individuals such as William Fitts Ryan, who was both a lawyer and a politician. The expertise also helped the movement consolidate its campaigns and provided its activists with the necessary information about legal requirements for their activities. Moreover, it provided them with the opportunity to understand their rights and fight for them, hence enlightening their fellow community members who were at the time largely not able to read and write. Thus, the success of the 1960s mobilizations had knowledge as a resource. The ease of communication and the ability to read and understand the laws had assisted movement leaders.
Human resources exist permanently in individuals as opposed to the social organizational structures. People typically decide themselves how to use their efforts, but for the extreme cases where extortion thrives. However, for most social movement organizations, the idea is to fight for freedom; hence, no forced participation. By being a part of the lobby group, activists provide their expertise and abilities to the organization in which they are serving. Its core benefit relates to its capacity to combine and deploy persons at ease to their preferred location (Lin 4647). However, the capability to employ these individuals has a dependency on the cooperation of the personnel.
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Further, their conduct and success depend on the social and economic benefits they expect to derive. In the case of the Civil Rights Movement, its growth drew members from all parts of the United States. The group attracted individuals from different professions who joined the movement as volunteers in their locality to fight for the rights of African-Americans. The organizational structure was characterized by local branches which soon became regional and united to form a national movement. Furthermore, the lobby was also joined by various bodies such as church communities which assisted in offering services required for its achievements (Greene 154-155). The more there were participants in the party, the stronger it became and the bigger the influence it had on the nation.
With most people being volunteers from local zones, their deployment became easier, and they fulfilled their mandate to the best of their abilities. Again, most people were assigned duties where they were deemed to cooperate with those who worked alongside them. The labor force had as well become critical in offering consistency and persistence in realizing the set objectives of the party.
One of the greatest political opportunities for a social movement organization is the extent to which the media cover its activities. The higher the level of press coverage, the better the chances of a thriving campaign. Having media attention concentrated on the goals and issues related to the lobby group has significance in consensus mobilization. The more the number of informational materials disseminated through the press, the larger will be the number of people it reaches (Gerhards and Rucht 573). Thus, with a wide area of coverage, the support base of the social movement will inherently increase. The media platform also provides an opportunity for endorsement by parties that have reliable connectivity with the population.
In the early times of the Civil Rights Movement, the use of media platform was still a challenge, considering that many of its proponents were not well educated. Again, these individuals did not have enough ways and means to disperse their opinions through the press. However, activists such as Ida B. Wells who still had the opportunity and access to these facilities made their views known. By the 1960s, many media outlets were operating in the United States, with an increasing number of journalists joining the movement. Further, as mentioned earlier, the population, especially African-Americans, had become more educated, learning how to read or write (Armstrong 118-119). At this instant, the broadcast of their message had gained enough momentum to allow a progressive push of their agenda.
Furthermore, the media presence allowed the group to capture the attention of the majority of the American citizens. Consequently, the Civil Rights Movement became the subject and the topic for discussion nationally, hence giving prominence to activists grievances, aims, and goals (Younge). As the people were better informed and there was a debate thriving amongst the citizenry, the social movement was gradually making steps to the achievement of its objectives.
Social movements success is a product of solidarity. For a lobby group to achieve its goals, people with shared goals and interests come together to propel their agenda. All individuals willing to join the movement to achieve its core objective should not be deprived of the opportunity. A higher number of participants in such associations has significance in demonstrating the degree of public support the lobby group enjoys (McCarthy et al. 479481). Again, those who wish to render their support through other means other than physical presence should as well be encouraged. In fact, a diverse group involving financiers, professionals, and players who make a bodily appeal, will most probably meet its objectives.
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Since its originality, the Civil Rights Movement has had its numbers increasing on a constant basis. As more people became aware of the group, and others began to understand their freedoms, the need to join the group was evident. Individuals made personal contributions in monetary terms, expertise support, and physical presence. The combination of these aspects of support to the lobby allows it to reach the success levels it aspires.
Moreover, the Civil Rights Union brought together several campaign groups with similar ideologies that were meant to win liberty for the African-American community. Such movements included the Poor Peoples Campaign, and Southern Christian Leadership Conference, among others. The movement also had other partners who endorsed its activities on several occasions. Such supporters included the American Federation of Teachers, Youth International Party, and the National Association of Social Workers. Other organizations which played a crucial role in offering their solidarity included the National Welfare Rights Organization and the American Friends Service Committee (Carson et al. 119). The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee also rendered its support through finances and endorsements, although in a limited manner.
The push by the Civil Rights Movement to assert the rights of the African-American owed its success to several social-organizational resources. The need for money, media, labor, knowledge, and solidarity during the struggle was essential to the achievement of the results. Without the money, most lobby groups would likely fail due to the high costs of publishing and preparation of campaign materials. The more the revenue collected through various means, the better the campaign, and hence, the chances of reaching expected results.
Secondly, the media have become a vital component in social movements mobilization. More than any other time in the history of humankind, people have access to first-hand information in real time. Media play a crucial role in advertisements, which in turn creates awareness among the population. For rights lobby groups, the platform has become the best stage on which to engage the vast majority. Further, the success of social movements depends on labor. For better management and coordination, the groups require a functioning secretariat that addresses its administrative needs, hence ensuring proper planning and consistency in its activities, with no possible distractions.
Furthermore, knowledge is an important factor in dealing with social organizations. Control of people in a rights movement requires knowledge and skills to manage a crowd. A simple misconception of the facts by the followers could lead to violence due to raised emotions. Additionally, expertise in matters such as law could help ensure that the groups operations abide by the set guidelines to avoid unnecessary confrontations with government agencies. Other professionals such as journalists would help in the creation of compelling advertisements while politicians would offer assistance in political matters. Finally, solidarity becomes the backbone of a real movement. Without unity, the abilities of the group are curtailed and any chances of succeeding become dimmer.
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