Analyzing the Civil Rights Movement: The Significance of Nonviolent Protest, International Influences, the Media, and Pre-existing Organizations
This essay is an analysis of the success of the mid-20th century civil rights movement in the United States. The civil rights movement was a seminal event in American history and resulted in several legislative victories, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. After a brief overview of segregation and Jim Crow laws in the southern U.S., I will argue that the success of the civil rights movement can be attributed to a combination of factors. One of these factors was the effective strategy of nonviolent protests, in which the American public witnessed the contrasting actions of peaceful protestors and violent local authorities. In addition, political opportunities also played a role in the movement’s success, as during the Cold War the U.S. federal government became increasingly concerned about their international image. Other reasons for the movement’s success include an increased access to television among the American public, and pre-existing black institutions and organizations. The civil rights movement left an important legacy and ensuing social movements have utilized similar framing techniques and strategies.
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