Black History Month remembers many civil rights movements

Pictured%3A+Mural+of+Martin+Luther+King+Jr.+painted+by+Michigan+City+High+School+students.+

Pictured: Mural of Martin Luther King Jr. painted by Michigan City High School students.

Dalin McCully, Feature Reporter

Each February, Americans celebrate Black History Month, which honors, the perseverance and achievements of African Americans, such as those who were catalysts in the Civil Rights movement.
The nation’s people also celebrate the achievements of prominent black figures who have contributed greatly to various areas of life such as government, art, music, and science.
Discrimination was heavily accepted throughout the United States against blacks, women, and other minorities. However, Civil Rights Movements have united people from different backgrounds to fight for equality in America.
Black History Month often highlights cardinal movements, speeches, and individuals during the 1950s who worked to improve social conditions for minorities. It is closely associated with the achievements of blacks, however, the protests, marches, and laws that were passed did not exclude the rights of others.
The most prominent leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in his “I Have a Dream” speech of seeking to spread equality between all people.
The blacks’ peaceful protests in the form of civil disobedience gained power and national attention rapidly. Large marches were held where people of all races united to end institutionalized segregation. Their work led to equal education opportunities, jobs, and constitutional rights.
On this account Junior Myon McGee said, “I have the opportunity to go to school with a lot of amazing students of all races and the civil rights movement segwayed into integration in schools.”
Although the Civil Rights Movement is commonly associated with the achievements of African Americans, multiple other groups during that time period were inspired by their perseverance to fight for equality and opportunity as well.
The Chicano Movement was a Mexican American Civil Rights Movement which dawned in the 1960s. This movement put heavy focus on the desire for Mexican Americans to be accepted more in the United States and for them to have the ability to hold more political power.
The movement addressed a broad section of issues from farm workers’ rights to voting rights.
Members of the Chicano Movement utilized any avenue of protest such as school walkouts in protest of discrimination.
The American Indian Movement(AIM) focused on the success of the Native Americans in the country. At that time AIM’s motives were directed toward tribal sovereignty, spiritual matters, and leadership while also addressing issues such as police brutality and aiding those who were forced to move away from reservations. AIM members also worked diligently to protect their lands from safety issues represented by coal mines.
They continue to protest for the rights to their lands in modern times such as the recent Dakota Access Pipeline.
Gender equality and LGBT rights became catalysts to new movements as well. Two Feminist Movements took place which sought for women’s’ rights.
The first movement focused on women’s suffrage while the second movement was concerned with reproductive freedoms, educational equality, and the rights of female minorities.
Senior, Elissa Hachem said, “The movement for women during that time made it possible for me to feel just as important and powerful as men today.”
LGBT activists sought to counteract societal shame with taking pride in their sexuality and fighting for same-sex privileges.
The combined efforts of all of these groups caused the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to be passed by President Johnson. This law liberated millions of minorities and led to desegregation of all public places, equal employment opportunities, rights to vote regardless of gender, race, or religion.
The enactment of the Civil Rights Act enabled and inspired new laws to be passed in modern times which encourage equality all groups of American society.
Although leaders such as Malcolm X and Dr. King did live long enough to experience a racially equal America, their efforts now allow all to make better lives for themselves.
“Thanks to the movements that were going on during the civil rights time, my political opinion as a woman of color is now able to hold merit,” said Sophomore, Natalie Parker.
Michigan City Area Schools celebrates the month with festivities, which engage students artistically and academically. The Michigan City Human Rights Commision hosts an annual Black History Month art and essay contest, where all students K-12 can creatively display their appreciation and receive awards.
“The cultural diversion and customs throughout our school gives me a better perspective and learning experience,” said Senior, Conlan Martinez.
The people’s achievements the nation remembers during the historic month continue to inspire those of all ages and backgrounds. Black History Month brings attention to the sources of inspiration for other civil rights movements to arise which influenced all Americans.

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