African-American Civil Rights
“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.” –Coretta Scott King, page666
The 1960’s were a time of great turmoil in America and throughout the world. One of the main topics that arouse was black civil rights.
In my essay I plan to compare the difference of opinion between these particular writers and directors, towards racism and the civil rights movement in the 1960’s
The movement truly got underway with civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King jr. and Malcolm X in the early 1960’s. Students who wanted to bolt on the equality and protest bandwagon quickly followed. Most of the students went to the Southern states (Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, etc.), to stop the racism and hate crimes.
The truth of the matter is that the violence and abhorrence would get worse before it got better. The Klan became stronger and more violent, committing many more lynching and gruesome murders.
Bit by bit most of the Caucasian Americans came around to the idea of integration, and did not believe that the African Americans as a ‘threat’ anymore.
The only reason that this great monumental change occurred was because of the great leadership of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King jr., and not to mention the thousands of other less famous civil rights leaders, that worked to change the views of their community. There also where lobbyist and protesters that risked there lives and went out on a limb to struggle against injustice. All factors, put together, made one of the better most changes of the twentieth century.
Rob Rheiner (the director of Ghost of Mississippi) has successfully portrayed the blatant dishonesty towards blacks by the police force and Mississippi courts. On one occasion when the accused murderer was in court, the Govener of the state went up and shook hands right in front of the victim’s wife.
Another example of dishonesty against blacks was that a retired judge had taken home murder weapons (mainly from the African American murders) and kept them as souvenirs. It was later discovered that the police officers had also taken home evidence from crimes against the African Americans, for souvenirs.
The murderer portrayed a “couldn’t care less” attitude during the first trial in 1962 and the retrial in 1992. He knew that he would be found not guilty in the 1960’s with the all-male, white jury. In his retrial though he under-estimated the changes in people’s views in the thirty years since his first trial, and he presented a cocky attitude throughout the whole retrial.
The writer of Malcolm X, Bernard Aquina Doctor, has informatively shown (with some bias) the life of Malcolm X. He wanted to show that Malcolm pulled himself out of the gutter to become one of the most famous and respected civil rights leaders in our history so far. He tells us this by showing his life when he hung around with criminals and was into committing small thefts, etc. In this text he was shown as having all the right ideas of how to deal with the problems that were facing minorities at the time, Malcolm believed in violent protest, and Martin L-K jr., another major leader for the civil rights movement believed that protesting should be non-violent. Dr.King though, was forced to reconsider his views when he was thrown into jail and was badly beaten. This text is similar to the Rosa Parks text in the way the writer (for a Rosa Parks book) looked upon Rosa Parks, as Malcolm X, in a revered way.
Rosa Parks a Woman Who Changed a Nation, by Kira Albini, is focused on the great injustice that the black community has been faced with. She talks about the fact that blacks had to pay at the front of the bus and then walk around the outside of the bus to the back door where, more often then not, the bus driver would pull away without them being on, although they paid. Rosa Parks came into fame after she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man; this came at the time the civil rights movement was under way. The story was published throughout America.
The Martin Luther King jr. article in ‘Encarta ‘98’, is an overlook on his life and achievements. It pays special attention to his ‘I have a dream speech.’ It has such quotes as “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it’s creed.” It also enclosed quite a bit of background to the speech exsplaing what he wanted for America, which was equality and justice for all. Kings assassination also covered with details about the FBI’s spying on him and what he has done for American society. The text is purely factual.
The ‘I have a dream speech’ by Martin Luther king jr. has a potent message which is delivered in a powerful manner. He managed too reach both the African American, white American, Latino American, Asian American, and every other type of ethnicity, that was living in America through this time period. Martin Luther King jr. was for the idea of integration and hoped that someday it would be self evident that all men are created equal. Those is shown by the quote “One day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and girls as sister’s and brother’s.” This quote is so dynamic and imaginative.
Alan Parker, who directed Mississippi Burning, made a powerful movie about a small Mississippi town with a large Klan and small-minded residence. FBI agents were called to investigate the murder of one black man and two Jews. When one of the sheriff’s deputies was up on trial for beating a black man, the judge said “crimes were provoked by outside influences,” and the deputies received suspended sentences. This is similar to the movie “Ghost of Mississippi” because of the courts racest attitude, and the fact that he did not convict a white man for the death of a black men. Most of the locals at the trial or in the court system where memebers of the K.K.K and shard the same views as the judge and police. One of the town’s folk said “We don’t except Jews because they reject Christ and have control of international banking cartels, they are the root of what we call communism today. We do not accept papists, because they bow to a Roman dictator; Turks, Mongols, Tartars, Orientals, or Negro’s because we are here to protect Anglo-Saxon democracy for Americans.”
In conclusion, the topic of racism and civil rights of the ‘60’s is a large one with many different viewpoints. I think that martin Luther King jr., had the right idea of integration and non-violent protest. Malcolm X’s idea of integration was untenable. You can not ask to be treated like a King, and while becoming King do what the other King was doing to everyone else. It sometimes seems right to say an eye for an eye, but it was avius in this situation it wouldn’t work because Know would listen that way. The text with the most relevance to me was “The Ghost of Mississippi” because it really showed how unjust African American where treated; the unnecessary cruelty and treatment of blacks wound up having nothing to do with them, but that people felt the need to try and be soupier over someone else. Which has proven to be a fatal mistake, many times.
“We don’t except Jews because they reject Christ and have control of international banking cartels, they are the root of what we call communism today. We do not accept papists, because they bow to a Roman
dictator; Turks, Mongols, Tartars, Orientals, or Negro’s because we are here to protect Anglo-Saxon democracy for Americans.”(page 3)
“One day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and girls as sister’s and brother’s.”(page 3)
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it’s creed.”(page 2)
“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.” –Coretta Scott King(page1)
The Ghost of Mississippi; Rob Rheiner; Columbia Tristar; 1992
Bernard Aquina Doctor; Malcolm X; 1992; Writers and Readers publishing inc.
Kira Albin; Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation; 2000; Zondervan Publishing House
Mississippi Burning; Alan Parker; (I don’t know the company that produced it); 1988
Word Count: 1405