Failures of the American Civil Rights Movement

Success and Failures of the Rights Movements

I believe the rights movements of the 1960s were successful in achieving most of their goals and aspirations, if not all. An example of such movements was the American Civil Rights Movement that took place in the 1960s. The Civil Rights Movement aimed at advocating for equal rights among people of color in the US by bringing an end to discrimination against black people (Powledge, 2019). During the 18th and 19th centuries, the black people had their civil rights abrogated by the various governments that were in place. The Civil Rights Movement had quite a number of success tied to it. One achievement of the movement was in 1961 when the Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations prohibiting segregation in interstate transit terminals. With this law in place, it became constitutional for passengers of African American ancestry to use interstate travel. In 1964, the movement succeeded in ensuring the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law (Powledge, 2019). The signing of the Act guaranteed equal employment for all people, irrespective of color. The law also abolished the use of voter literacy tests and allowed federal authorities to ensure public facilities were integrated. Black people were, therefore, free to register as voters and also join public learning institutions as a result of the integration. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act was signed into law as a result of the Civil Rights Movement. This particular law prevented housing discrimination against people based on race, sex, national origin,and religion. The Civil Rights Movement was, therefore, successful because it led to the abolishment of racial segregation and discrimination against black people in the US. One recent success of this movement was the election of Barack Obama as the first black president. Therefore, the suffering and brutal treatment that the movement leaders faced when they were championing for the above changes were not in vain because they succeeded in improving the rights, stature, and welfare of African Americans and gave confidence for future struggles for protection of civil rights and other justices.

The American Civil Rights Movement

The American Civil Rights Movement, however, also had its share of failures. One of its shortcomings was the inability of its leaders to push for more justices (Lauren, 2017). For example, the movement did not push more for economic justices as it did for political justices. The movement though resulted in tremendous political progress for the African Americans, had a less economic impact to offer. Therefore, the biggest failure of this movement was its inability to promote significant economic reforms to help the black people by addressing the significant economic discrimination that black people were facing. Despite numerous laws that were passed because of the contribution of this movement, there was, and there is still widespread employment and housing discrimination in the country. The leaders who spearheaded the movement faced endless attacks from the police and, many times did not continue with the push of liberating the African Americans from other economic injustices. Some of these leaders gained popularity amongst the masses and were elected as representatives by their electorates. However, these leaders, later on, failed to continue championing the rights of their people.  Another failure of the American Civil Rights Movement was the disconnection between black and white activists. The black activists felt that the white activists who had involved themselves with the movement wanted to take over it. As a result, the movement, to some extent, ended widening the rift between the black and white people instead of mending it. The disconnection between the two groups resulted in the inability of both the white and black activists to speak in a common voice, thus reduced the relevance of the movement in its push for the civil rights changes. Surprisingly, those who were spearheading the movement were only interested in seeing the discriminatory laws being changed but placed less emphasis on changing the mindsets and perceptions that were held by the white people that black people were inferior. The movement, therefore, failed to correctly articulate its primary goal of promoting inclusivity and equality amongst US citizens. In conclusion, the movement saw a period of remarkable changes in civil rights in America. Despite the various failures that were associated with it, there is no doubt that the Civil Rights Movement had was succeeded in championing the fundamental rights and freedoms of African Americans in the US.



Lauren, P. G. (2017). ” To Preserve and Build on its Achievements and to Redress its Shortcomings”: The Journey from the Commission on Human Rights to the Human Rights Council. Human Rights Quarterly, 307-345.

Powledge, F. (2019). Free at last?: The civil rights movement and the people who made it                         (p. 620). Boston, MA: Little, Brown.

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