Civil Rights: A Promise Betrayed
The struggle for civil rights was a battle for the rights instituted in the Constitution; a promise betrayed. Many events influenced the struggle which can be traced throughout the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and the 1960's. Voting rights, assured through the 15th amendment, were denied to blacks through violence and harassment. Education was not fully guaranteed to blacks, and many did not receive any at all. Public facilities remained segregated, with none being close to "separate but equal". The human dignity of blacks was as slaves, the 13th amendment not being of use. Violence was evident in the everyday lives of blacks. The denials of civil rights were ever-present in the lives of blacks, and an influential part of the struggle for the rights established in the Constitution.
The voting rights of blacks were many times denied through hostility and persecution, disallowing the rights stated in the 15th amendment.
The refusal of voting rights was especially seen in Alabama, where only 335 out of 15,000 blacks were registered to vote. The scarcity of voters was due to many restrictions placed on blacks. The poll tax was a fee that blacks had to pay in order to vote, which many could not afford. The grandfather clause stated that one's grandfather had to be eligible to vote in order to vote, a requirement which almost no blacks could meet. The intimidation of the Ku Klux Klan was a factor that turned many blacks away from voting. There were also incidents of state government oppression. An example of this occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963. The SCLC confronted the police commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor and encouraged teenagers and school children to march. Connor responded by using attack dogs and high-pressure water hoses against the demonstrators. This act...