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The civil rights movement in the United States

Dr. Osama Idrous

Dr. Osama Ahmed Idrous Ahmed

Africans Americans


The arrival of US President Barack Hussein Obama to the White House in 2008 represents a milestone in the history of African-Americans since the arrival of the first group of African slaves to the US territory in the year 1526 in South Carolina. Since then, the civil rights movement evolved to claim the rights of African-Americans firstly, as human beings having the right to freedom and other rights, as a result of the American society development. The most important issues in the history of the civil rights movement in the United States that related to African Americans are: slavery, reconstruction, in the African community development, the United States, participation in the US major military conflicts, racial segregation, and the civil rights movement in the early fifties and sixties of the past century.


The history of African-Americans:

African-Americans are the ethnic group of African descent (referred to as black Americans or African Americans, formerly The Americans Negroes) live in Americas, the term is used in particular to refer to those who are of African descent and live in North America, They were enslaved and brought from Africa to the Americas by slave traders during the second half of the past thousand years forced to work in the agricultural and industrial activities in the so-called New World, despite the fact that some of them are descended from immigrants, from Africa and the Caribbean, Central America or South America.. Black Americans are the largest ethnic minority in the United States and they represent the largest ethnic group in second place after the White men in the United States. Since 1619; organized Africans groups found access to North America which was then a British colony. At that time was the slaves could buy their freedom by working in the crop. As they could make families and marriages from other colonists or Indians or white niggers. In about 1640 and 1650, there were many farms owned by the families of Negroes who started to be considered to be as rich families. In 1640 the Virginia court witnessed the legalization of slavery.

The Dutch West India Company introduced the collective system of slavery in 1625 through importing African slaves to the new colony Amstdram (New York), but all were freed when the slave colony surrendered to the British army. The British colony codified slavery in the 1641 and the passed the law of Virginia in the year 1662. And successively version of the legislation that codified the British colonies clearly linked the slavery of the African race, and then the ethnic polarization of whites against blacks was very clear. The popular conception completed the system of slavery based on race in the year 1700 where churches were established and blacks were separated in the northern and southern cities in 1800. Before the year 1775 it reached the percentage of census Africans in the colonies to 20 percent, making them the second largest ethnic group after the British.

Before 1860, there were 3.5 million Americans enslaved Africans in the United States as a result of the slave trade across the Atlantic, African Americans were living free in all over the country , they were 500,000 and in 1770 , the Africans Liberals helped the colonies to obtain their independence from the British during the American Revolution. The contribution of African Americans during the Great War, which contributed to the melting of ethnic differences as all soldiers of all races were  fighting side by side and they were completely  integrated. James Armestid played an important role in the victory of Yorktown in 1781 which established the United States as an independent state, as well as the Prince Whipple and Oliver Cromwell who greatly helped George. In 1863 and during the Civil War US President Abraham Lincoln announced the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that all slaves in states that seceded from the Union were free. Texas is the last state in declaring the emancipation of slaves in 1865.

The reconstruction process of post-war period in the United States concerning the development of African Americans has rushed to form clusters for themselves, as well as schools and communities and civic associations so that they are far from Whites control or censorship. In 1890, the Southern states adopted the Jim Crow laws of deprivation and apartheid for Africans. These acts included apartheid, who supported the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. Began then, the publication of numerous US laws that promote apartheid.

The civil rights movement devoted its efforts between 1954 and 1968 to the abolition of racial discrimination against African Americans, especially in the southern United States. Many leaders of the black elite backed the best known Martin Luther King and others. The most important event during this period was that organized the march in Washington to demand jobs and freedom to put pressure on President John F. Kennedy and then Lyndon Johnson. Johnson declared his support by the issuance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination in public places, work, trade unions, and the law of the right to vote (1965), also expanded federal powers in the American States to ensure the protection of Black American voters. In 1966, Black Power movement, which emerged in 1966-1975 continued, and expanded the goals of the civil rights movement to include political and economic self-sufficiency, and the freedom from white power.

November 4, 2008, formed the pinnacle of success for the civil rights movement of the Black Americans with the success of Democratic Senator Barack Obama in the defeating the Republican Senator John McCain to become the first African American to be elected president of the United States, with at least 95 percent of American voters of African descent, also received tremendous support from the educated and young whites, the vast majority of Asians and Americans of Hispanic, and the Indians also entered several new States in the list of States supporting the Democratic Party. Obama lost the white vote in general, but he got the highest percentage of white votes than any Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter. The following year, Michael Steele was elected as the first black president of the National Republican Party.


The census of 1790 in the United States was the first to show that the number of Africans (including slaves and free) was nearly, 760 000, or about 19.3% of the population. In 1860 at the beginning of the American Civil War, the population of African Americans has risen to 4.4 million, but the percentage rate fell to 14% of the total population in the country. «By 1900, the census of black population doubled and reached 8.8 million. In 1910, 90% of African Americans have lived in the south, but a large number of migrants to the North began to look for better job opportunities and better living conditions, and to escape the Jim Crow laws and violence actions. The Great Migration extended since 1916, during the period of 1960 and 1890 more than 6 Millions of blacks moved in the period 1970, but the period of 1980 witnessed the migration of African-Americans toward the southern regions.

Graphics which showed the percentage of the African American population living in the South America during 1790-2010, noted the major declines between 1910-1940 and 1940-1970, and the reverse trend post-1970. Nonetheless, the absolute majority of the African American population has always lived in South America.

CIA World Fact book gives in 2006, the ratio of 12.9% reducing, deliberately the black population census in order to reduce the base of their political power. In 2000, 54.8% of African Americans living in the South. In that year 17.6% of them live in the Northeast and 18.7% in the Midwest, while only 8.9% live in the western US. According to the 2000 census approximately 2.05% of African Americans were of Hispanic or Latino, many of whom may be from Brazil, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, or other Latin American countries.


The majority of African-American are Protestants, at the end of the 17th century, when slavery was abolished, the US allowed  the African to create a unique form of Christianity that culturally influenced by African spiritual traditions. According to a survey in 2007, more than half of African Americans belong to churches historically black as the majority of whom are Baptists, with large numbers of Methodism and a few Pentecostal, while one fifth belongs to the Evangelical Church or traditional Protestantism. 12 million of Americans African descent Baptists distributed on four categories including the National Baptist Convention and the National Baptist American Conference.

There are 6 million Methodists and the largest of their sectors are the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Pentecost is an essential part of the Church of God, about 16% of Americans of African descent Christians are members of the white Protestant Church.

Historically, between 15-30% of the enslaved Africans who have been recruited to America were Muslims, but they have been converted to Christianity, mostly in the era of American slavery. But during the 20th century embraced many African-American Islam, mainly through the influence of the black nationalist groups that ushered practices Islamic distinctive, which included the American Moroccan temple scientific, was the largest of these gatherings Nation of Islam, which was founded during 1930, attracted at least 25,000 people (in 1968) and included members of the activists emerged, including Malcolm X and the boxer Muhammad Ali.

There are a relatively small number of American Jews of African descent estimated from 20,000 to 200,000 and most of them are part of major groups such as Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox branches of Judaism, despite the fact that there is considerable number of people who are part of the informal mainstream Jewish groups.


The social and economic situation of African Americans improved a lot since the civil rights movement and recent decades have seen a significant expansion in the African American middle class all over the States. A great number of them got higher education and employment opportunities, as well as representation in the highest levels of the US government.
However, due to, partly, the legacy of slavery , racism and discrimination, African Americans as a group there is still a disparity in the educational, economic and social level and deprivation in many areas: the continuing social problems, political and economic issues for many African Americans including inadequate access to health care, insurance , institutional racism ; discrimination in housing, education, police and criminal justice and employment fields, leading to the spread of crime, poverty and drug abuse among blacks more than whites communities.

One of the most dangerous in African-American community’s issues is poverty which has a definite link with health problems, low educational attainment, and the deficit in the psychological performance. In 2007, the average income of African-American was $ 33.916 compared with whites $ 54.920.

Politics and social issues

African-Americans more involved in the American political process, from groups and other minorities in the United States based on voter registration and participation in elections among these groups in 2004.kma level record African-Americans to achieve higher levels of education than the level of immigrants to the United States .llomirkyin Africans also the highest level of representation in Congress than any minority in the United States.

African Americans tend to vote overwhelmingly in favor of the Democrats in most elections, African-Americans portfolios tend to vote for Democrats in presidential elections in 2004, Democrat John Kerry won 88 percent of African American votes compared to 11 percent for Republican George Bosh.

Historically, African Americans support the Republican Party because Republican President Abraham Lincoln contributed to the granting of freedom for slaves.

After more than 50 years marriage rates have declined for all Americans, while the divorce and remarriage rates without births rose up .These changes were the largest amongst the poor American. After more than 70 years, marriage rates have declined more than before.


In 2000, African-Americans made significant progress in the field of education, but they remained at the rear of the overall level of education for whites and Asians though they headed the rest of the minorities. In colleges is a black half white, but most of Latin minorities. There is a larger proportion of female graduates compared to Black male.
Polls of US Census showed that by 1998, 89 percent of African Americans between the ages of 25-29 have completed high school less than whites and Asians, but more than those with Spanish. Standardized tests and grades showed that African Americans historically came after the Whites, but some Studies indicate that the gap between them was lessened. Many policy-makers suggested that this gap will be eliminated through policies such as affirmative action and the abolition of apartheid and multiculturalism.

The civil rights movement after Obama

Today, a lot of US organizations and movements are working to raise the level of African-Americans in the United States in all areas of work, education, health and others. But recently appears a new mobility carried out by what is known as the movement (black life means nothing). An international activist movement working inside the African-American community, and organize violence against blacks broader such as racial issues, police brutality and racial inequality in the criminal justice system in the United States.

In 2013, the movement began on social media after the death of the student Martin Treifun who was shot by a white police officer called George Zimmerman. Then the movement has been recognized on the national level, especially with the renewed violence against African Americans policeman. In 2014, demonstrations were renewed year after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. The scope of demonstrations continued to expand whenever a new incident occurred.

In 2015, the movement expanded to the White House by pressing the presidential candidates from both parties to adopt a motion issues. Although the movement has become a powerful influence that spread its activities to join large segments of the American people, but its organizational structure is still not clear. In any case, this movement will add more to the civil rights movement and American who arrived in the advanced stages in influencing the course of events in the United States.

Since Ferguson, many other protested against the deaths of Americans African, including: Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Jonathan Ferrell, Sandra Bland, Samuel Dobos and Freddie Gray. In the summer of 2015, Black began presenting public challenge towards the politicians; including politicians in the presidential elections of the 2016 clarify their positions on the issues related to the United States BLM. Black life movement is however, a decentralized network without any formal hierarchy or structure.


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