There is a lot of misunderstanding about what took place in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. For sure, the social and political transformations changed the nation. Yet, the history of what occurred remains full of myths. This incorrect thinking can lead to further problems in the current day. Therefore, in an attempt to begin getting people to broaden their understanding of the era, here are three of the biggest myths about the Civil Rights Movement:
Myth: The Movement was Southern Only
A general tendency exists to portray the Movement as one that took place in the South. The former Confederate states become the setting for protests and unfortunate brutality. Feature films, books and documentaries largely promulgate this myth.
In reality, the North and West were major players in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King made forays into Chicago. He even lived in the Windy City in 1966 to highlight the need for fair housing legislation in the North.
California was the sight of urban protests in Watts. Furthermore, the West was the base for Chicano organizations that pushed for fair rights for farm workers.
Myth: The Movement was Concerned Only with Racial Segregation
There is another myth that the Civil Rights Movement was only concerned about ending racial segregation. Yes, African Americans suffered from this egregious system of racial separation from the 1890s to 1964. But, Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and others fought along with Dr. King to eradicate poverty and protect the right to vote.
Another central focus of all of these leaders was a fair living wage. At the time of his death, King was coordinating a poor people's campaign in Washington that would have involved various groups within the larger Civil Rights Movement. Viewed in this light, racial segregation becomes one of many areas of concern for activists.
Myth: The Movement Ended in the 1960s
Last, the belief that the Movement ended in the 1960s remains largely unchallenged. History books wind down in 1968 with the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, for example. Yet, Native Americans and Feminists became extremely vocal in these latter years of the 1960s, gaining increased momentum in the 1970s.
Since then, the push for equality continues into the present day among immigrants, students and transgender persons. Americans with disabilities should never be forgotten either. Relegating civil rights to the past can make Americans erroneously believe that all goals have been accomplished when there is work to be done.
Civil Rights Realities
The Movement was of national scope, fought against various types of injustices and continues into the present day.
Popular myths can cause people to misunderstand reality. They can think that their contemporary problems are not part of the Movement. However, civil rights attorneys work hard each day to ensure justice for those who suffer discrimination.
Anyone who has his or her rights trampled upon can have an attorney file a federal or state lawsuit to force the discriminator to recognize the wrongdoing. Contact a civil rights lawyer like Marie A. Mattox, P.A. for more information.