The Women Were Silent

April 20, 2011 in 1960s-1970s

The Civil Rights Movement began in 1955 after the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The Civil Rights Movement began to restore the rights of African-American people in the southern United States. The United States since the Civil War ended in 1865 struggled with the race issue. The Jim Crow laws were made in 1876 and lasted until the Supreme Court ruling on Brown in 1954. The protest and riots continued in support of the Civil Rights movement by men like King and Malcolm X. The women that protested and demonstrated during the Movement were very important to the cause through the willingness to volunteer. The women that were participating in this cause were not doing so by speaking out but volunteering their services. These women made their marks in the complete opposite of these males who were publicly voices their opinions. Women like Ella Baker, Rosa Parks, and Septima Clark had different views on how the protesting should be conducted. Women during the first half of the 20th century was trying to find their position in society and did not achieve their voting rights until the 19th amendment many years after African-American males had gain their rights. Rosa Parks was important for the struggle for African-Americans in the south to overcome the oppression of their race during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement. Her story is well known and started the bus boycotts that occurred after she was arrested in 1955 in Montgomery Alabama. The actions by this woman were worth more than her words could ever say. She became a leader in her actions and not in her words like her male counterparts had became with their speeches and writings. Other women contributed to the Civil Rights in other positive ways. Ella Baker, in the same ways as Parks, never spoke out in public. She lead the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was a labor organizer in the south. Ella Baker believed that the Movement should be a group effort instead of focusing on what King and Malcolm X were saying in their public addresses. Septima Clark was the leader of desegregation efforts long before the nation cared for racial equality. Clark would go on to help create the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and become active during Jim Crow in the southern United States. Rosa Parks, Septima Clark, and Ella Baker could of spoke out but they did not. The actions by these women inspired a generation. The women did not know at the time they were making key protest during the Civil Rights Movement. These women were the silent leaders of a revolution that was taking place in the south during the 1950s and 1960s. Septima Clark was the female that began the movement during the Jim Crow south. Rosa Parks and her bus boycott in Montgomery and Ella Baker’s volunteer work helped the cause. These women continued in Clark’s footsteps for the United States to become racially equal.



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