Civil Right's Affect on Literature Essay

1061 Words Jul 26th, 2013 5 Pages
Joey Hall
P6
4/16/13
Paper 2

What does America mean to you? To most people this question would evoke
joyful feelings of patriotism. Most people you would think of freedom, liberty, the pursuit of
happiness, and the belief that in this great nation, people are treated with the thought in mind that
all men are created equal. However, until very recently in this country this was not the case.
African Americans in this country were the subject of vicious, hateful, racial discrimination.
They were treated without a hint of human decency and were segregated from the rest of
American society. The South’s “Jim Crow Laws” forced blacks into “separate but equal”
schools, forced them to eat in different restaurants, stay in
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Literature such as this book was an eye opener for many people. Without
writings such as this, many Americans would see parts of the civil rights movement as a
gathering of militant African Americans willing to kill for their freedom. The fact that this man
showed his open mind, and the fact that he came to the understanding he had to change, helped
turn many people to the cause of black people’s freedom.
Another important aspect of writing during this movement, was that for oppressed black
people, it could offer an alternative to violent revolution. Just as black people had done with
slavery years ago, they needed to write, speak, and preach their struggle, not just rebel without
explanation. (history.com) African Americans at the time also needed inspiration from prominent
leaders to find the courage to stand up for their rights. In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1964
book: “Why We Can’t Wait”, King includes a letter he wrote in a Birmingham jail, after he was
arrested for organizing a non-violent protest in the area. (history.com) The letter tries to incite a
sense of responsibility in the black community, and preaches that good people can’t stand idly by
while injustice reigns. In the words of Dr. King,
“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot
sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what…