Friday, February 5, 2010

Exploration Six

"The only thing that's right was the day we start to fight", this is part of the lyrics from a song which students sang during the Civil Rights Movement. This is a really powerful film which showed us how students strive for their rights with non-violent direct action. During 1950s to 1960s, there was a practice of racial segregation, black residents were not allowed to do basic things like receiving seats in the lunch centers and sitting at the front seats in buses. Black residents decided to fight back in a non-violent way to restore their sense of dignity and to fight for their rights and freedom.

The students organized a series of nonviolent direct action,which is to take direct action without relying on violent tactics, in order to end racial segregations. The leaders organized workshops to train and teach students techniques in nonviolent direct action.They dressed nice and took seats in a orderly way in downtown luch counters. They sat on streets downtown and some of the participants were arrested by the police for "disorderly conduct". Black residents started staying out of town and they stopped spending money downtown on national retail merchandises. Eventually, there are more and more random violence to the blacks downtown.

I think the most memorable part in this film is when all the students and all the blacks marched to the city hall. The eighteen year-old Diane Nash, who was a female leader in the student movement, asked the mayor of Nashville,"Do you feel it is wrong to discriminate against a person solely on the basis of their race or color?", the mayor admitted that he did. The mayor then allowed black residents to be served in downtown lunch counters. This was a huge turning point in the whole movement.

The police keep using massive violent action to stop the student movement, which was totally nonviolent. However, the group of students never gave up and showed us that freedom and rights should never be stopped by violent attacks. It's really touching how students were willing to accept death in order to fight for their human rights and freedom. They were determined to be free and nothing could stop them.

As students nowadays, we are very fortunate that we are living in a democratic country and we have the Bill of Rights and the constitution to make sure that we enjoy our rights and freedom. We have to thank those people in the civil right movements in the history who helped the country making a great step towards an equal world with social integration. We are living in a more democratic world because of their sacrifices and courage to "fight" back, in a non-violent and civilized way.

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