Friday, February 5, 2010

Exploration Six: The Civil Rights Movement

I found the documentary to be extremely interesting and moving as well. Living in the current era we do, it is difficult to imagine being so separated from people of other ethnicities, races, and religious beliefs. Yet only forty years ago, the country was divided based on nothing more than the biological pigmentation of the human body. Quite the depressing thing to think about.

The college students in Nashville, Tennessee, used non-violent direct-action to create a stir in the city, leading to the eventual desegregation of the city. To think that individuals my age leading such a large movement- it sends chills down my spine. They did this through a series of sit-ins at "white only" diners and restaurants, and through boycotts of the downtown merchants and shopping district. To use such subtle planning to set a chain-reaction of human nature in motion is an awe-inspiring deed. My favorite source in the movie was Diane Nash, who at the tender age of 18, called the mayor of Nashville out in public, leading to his approval of desegregation.

As the boycotts continued into neighboring states in the deep south, the racial tensions sharply increased, and white supremacists felt it was their "moral" obligation to stop those, African American or sympathetic white, who protested the unequal treatment of an individual who had different colored skin. One of the most memorable quotes for me, was when the governor of Alabama, John Patterson said, "We can't guarantee the safety of fools- and that's that these people are. Fools." Who would have thought that someone was "foolish" for trying to obtain equal treatment- it truly is not an unreasonable request.


  1. I too thought about how crazy it is that our country was so segragated by the color of our skin! It is amazing that we cant even imagine our country being like that anymore!

  2. I agree with the quote by the governor of Alabama about the "fools". It is pretty hard to realize how the lives is so much easier for the Blacks now a days, after Reverand Mr. King helped the Blacks earn their rights.

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  4. From John Patterson's point of view, he might have thought that they were "fools" because they were intentionally putting themselves in dangerous situations. I think a lot of white people during this time thought it was crazy that African Americans were willing to go to jail for what they thought was a hopeless cause.