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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Civil Rights Movement

 The Civil Rights Act of 1866, the United States' first federal law to affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law, was enacted on April 9, 1866.

In 1955 Rosa Parks, a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The incident galvanised the black community and led to a successful year long boycott of the Montgomery bus system and the birth of the American civil rights movement.

One of the leaders of the boycott was a young minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, named Dr Martin Luther King Jnr.

In 1963 Dr Martin Luther King, now the Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta gave at the climax of a Washington interracial march his famous "I had a dream" speech to 250,000 followers. A passionate believer in non-violence, King’s unique combination of the message of Jesus (love your enemies) and the method of Gandhi (non-violent protest) gave both a strategy and a philosophy to the Civil Rights movement. " I want to be the White man's brother and not his brother in law" he once wrote.

People during the American Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s were encouraged to march in their finest clothes so as to reframe the very idea of what a disrupter looked like.

When three civil rights activists trying to get to get black voters registered to vote in Mississippi were murdered by the Ku Klax Klan in 1964, the national outrage over their death helped spur support for the Civil Rights Act.

Peaceful civil rights marchers in Alabama were attacked by police and white vigilantes on March 7, 1965 in an event known as  "Bloody Sunday." Led by Dr Martin Luther King, the marchers intended to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; 3,200 people eventually completed the march on March 21-25 protected by the federalized Alabama National Guard.

The third Selma Civil Rights March frontline

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