A Single American Nation
Background: When the First World War began, African-American leaders pressed the government to provide black men the right to go to combat to prove their devotion to their country. Hoping that their service would lay a stake on citizenship that the nation would have no choice but to honor, the “New Negro” of the 1920s adopted a more militant stance toward civil rights. The civil rights struggle envisioned at the time, however, made few concrete gains. Discrimination and disenfranchisement persisted.
African-American leaders responded to the Second World War much as they had to the First, offering their services while expecting recognition in return. They intended to fight a “Double-V Campaign” against fascism abroad and racism at home. They helped to kill fascism abroad; racist policies at home survived, but only for a time. Less than a decade after the war ended, the Brown case struck down the principle of “separate but equal” in schools. A grass-roots movement emerged to challenge discrimination elsewhere. By 1965, nonviolent means had murdered Jim Crow. Yet, the 60s were nothing if not a violent decade, marred by war, riots, and assassinations. By the end of the decade, Americans were as divided in some ways as they had ever been, and hopes for integration into a single American nation largely gave way to an emphasis on the unique needs and interests of different groups within the nation.
Resources: When writing your response, draw from material in the following video:
- Beacham, T. Gilmartin, B., Grobman, S, Ling, C., & Rhee, V. (Producers), Libretto, J. (Director). (2004). Let freedom ring: Moments from the civil rights movement, 1954-1965 [News program]. New York, NY: NBC Universal. Retrieved from http://digital.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=40565&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=
Also in your response, draw from at least TWO of the documents listed below:
- (1962). “The bottom of the economic totem pole”: African American women in the workplace. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6472
- (1962). The Port Huron statement of the students for a democratic society. Retrieved from http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/huron.html
- (1969). “The cycle of poverty”: Mexican-American migrant farmworkers testify before Congress. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/7024
- (1970). “We must destroy the capitalistic system which enslaves us”: Stokely Carmichael advocates black revolution. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6461
- (1976). “Self determination of free peoples”: Founding documents of the American Indian Movement (AIM). Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6897
- Steinem, G. (1970). “All our problems stem from the same sex based myths”: Gloria Steinem delineates American gender myths during ERA hearings. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/7025
- Truscott, L. (1969, July 3). Gay power comes to Sheridan Square. The Village Voice. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/stonewall-village-voice/
Instructions: After reviewing your Instructor’s Guidance and completing the weekly reading assignments (including those in the resource section below), please post a substantive discussion post of at least 200 words that analyzes the development and success of the Civil Rights Movement using the following questions as the basis of your analysis:
- What precisely did the Civil Right Movement gain?
- What objectives did it fail to achieve?
- How were the approaches of Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcom X to Civil Rights different? How were they the same?
- Why did so many new movements emerge by the end of the 1960s? (i.e. regarding Native Americans, Women, Chicanos, etc)
- Was the nation more or less divided in 1970 than it had been in 1950?
Your initial post should be at least 200 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and properly cite any references. You may use additional scholarly sources to support your points if you choose.