Civil Rights and the Growth of Our Country


One of the primary goals of American Civil Rights Movement was to ensure that African Americans get adequate economic opportunities and achieve economic equality. The 1963 March on Washington was a march aiming to achieve “Jobs and Freedom.” Indeed, the black-white unemployment gap seems to have emerged around twenty years prior to the movement, in the 1940s. Analysis of the primary source, U.S. Census data, for different years in the 1940s, allows us to see that the two-to-one gap in employment of white and black workforce was persistent. Analysis of another primary source, Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 1954 allows us to see that the black rate of unemployment was 4.9% higher than the white one (9.9% to only 5%), i.e. almost twice as high.

THESIS STATEMENT: The accomplishments Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s improved the economic conditions of African Americans, fostered economic growth in the United States, and helped to advance democracy within the society.

The achievements of Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s improved the economic conditions of African Americans. The greatest achievements against economic discrimination of the African-American population were the passage in 1964 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited any discrimination in employment and public accommodation, as well as passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination of black people in rental of housing and sale of property.

Analysis of another primary source allows claiming that the economic situation improved for black Americans following the passage of the aforementioned acts. The 1974 article in The Time magazine “Races: America’s Rising Black Middle Class” provides descriptions of numerous successes of black Americans in the economic sphere in the years following the passage of the anti-discriminatory legislation. The article explains that the legislation and its subsequent enforcement by the U.S. federal government, changing opinions and attitudes of the public, and a passionate desire demonstrated by the African Americans themselves to grow upwardly mobile caused a rising number of the black people in the middle class. This was possible owing to availability of higher paying jobs, open access to managerial positions, better attitudes by employers, as well as broad education opportunities. Despite the fact that by the time the article was published, the black population had by no means reached the level of economic equality with Caucasian Americans and there were still persuasive problems, African Americans made considerable advancements. The article suggests that the struggles to achieve the economic equality with the white population got realized in the 1970s, namely through legislation and a variety of other means of federal assistance.

Next, the Civil Rights Movement had a powerful economic impact on American society. Desegregation of various industries brought black workers to factories and plants across the States. This led to thriving textile, mill, and other industries. Specifically, the economic rise of the textile industry was so impressive that its results could be seen by the level of black workers living standards. Not only were African Americans now able to find better jobs and receive decent wages, they started selling their children to colleges. To illustrate, the share of black workforce at textile companies across South Carolina, leaped from less than 5% back in 1963 to over 20% in 1970. Moreover, as Wright thinks, “the civil-rights movement opened the South to inflows of capital, creativity and new enterprises from around the world,” so the U.S. economy and not only black but also white citizens became long-term beneficiaries of the dramatic changes brought by the Civil Rights Movement.

Finally, the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement helped to advance democracy within the society. Based on the secondary source “Race Relations in the United States, 1960-1980,” successes of the black population energized and inspired other ethnic minorities as never before. In the 1970s, there were movements in the Indian American, Latino, Asian American, and LGBT communities. Similarly to African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, these new movements emerged as a result of being on the margins of the U.S. political, economic, and cultural life. These minorities realized that through forming a group consciousness, it was possible to air their grievances in a more powerful way. In order to reach their aims, the minority groups used the rhetoric, tactics, and forms that had been earlier used by the African American movement. For instance, on February 7, 1973, Indians from the American Indian Movement decided to occupy the town of Wounded Knee, and they held it for 71 days. At the time, that was the third most documented event after the Vietnam War and Watergate.

In summary, the Civil Rights Movement was a success in the United States, and it fostered the economic growth. Black workers got a chance to find jobs in a variety of previously in accessible industries. Along with the growing incomes of these workers, the industries started getting higher revenues. Also, the Civil Rights Movement fostered the advanced of democracy in the country as the representatives of other races got inspired to unite and fight for their rights. Thus, the Civil Rights Movement contributed to the growth of our country.

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