White Resistance to the Civil Rights Movement Essay

1503 Words Oct 29th, 2012 7 Pages
Civil Rights

Throughout Reconstruction, southern whites felt constantly threatened by legislation providing rights for former slaves. The Civil Rights Bill of 1875 was the last rights bill passed by congress during reconstruction. It protected all Americans’ (including blacks) access to public accommodations such as trains. With the threat of complete equality constantly looming, violence toward former slaves gradually increased in the years following the Civil War. Beatings and murders were committed by organized groups like the Ku Klux Klan, out-of-control mobs, and individual white southern men. During Reconstruction, white southerners had limited governmental power, so they resorted to violence in order to control
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The first thing that can be observed upon glancing at George Lewis's book “Massive resistance” is its cover image. It is a photograph of elementary school children and women protesting against desegregation in New Orleans in 1960. The main focus of the picture depicts two women yelling loudly along a sidewalk. At their side, a young schoolboy holds a poster that reads: "All I want for Christmas is a clean white school." Other women and children stand in the background. One person is holding a poster that refers to states' rights, as others gaze toward the street. Two women are attending the event wearing handkerchiefs and curlers, indicating that they possibly had rushed out of their homes to partake in the morning's activities. Above the scene is the book's title, Massive Resistance. To a reader who might be unfamiliar with the general topic of this book, the cover’s text and image might illustrate somewhat of a contradiction. What people fail to consider is that 'massive resistance' did not solely amount to what is visible in the photograph on the book's cover. This does not depict all that stood in the way of African-Americans struggling to gain their civil rights. Women and children yelling from sidewalks with posters was one of many responses used by American Southerners in opposition

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