Success and failure are the sides of one and the same coin, and sometimes everything depends on the angle you take to look at them. The Civil Rights Movement emerged, reached its climax and slowly withered, yet it has brought its results. Only because of the fact that in the end of the great battle the issue of financing came to the forth and literally stifled the movement, there is no ground to claim that people gave up the will to fight for their rights.
The Way It All Started: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity
Inspired by the most rebellious and yet so natural urge to become a part of society and casting off the label of outcasts, the Afro-Americans had the heart to start the longstanding battle which brought much suffering and pain to all those involved.
It is completely incredible that even children, feeling the rebellious atmosphere, participated in the protests as far as their feeble flesh and strong spirit allowed them. Feeling that the freedom gets one step closer to them with every beating of their hearts and every word said in defense of the Afro-Americans, the black people came united to create the unparalleled movement. This was much like an escape from the prejudice and injustice of the world of white people.
Among Moody’s reminiscences there is the following one: “I was called to the front door of the church to help lead the marches in a few freedom songs.” (49) Nowadays there are probably very few people who could understand the stinging feeling of grief which Moody’s words are shot through with:
It’s a shame, it really is a shame. This morning Medgar Evers was murdered and here you sit in a damn classroom with books in front of your faces, pretending you don’t even know he’s been killed. (Moody 47)
It was clear then that the movement was to succeed. The people were so much determined that there was hardly anything that could stop them. At least, so it seemed then.
The Passing: Halfway to Freedom
Things changed dramatically when the movement was considered to be “all over” by “white liberals” (Walker 81) and was supposed to be unprofitable for them. However unbelievable that might sound, this very pathetic reason drove to the cessation of the movement. There are still a lot of issues to consider about it, though. As Walker said, recollecting the old black lady and her participation in the rallies and the movement itself: “For such a woman the Civil Rights Movement will never be over as long as her skin is black.” (81)
It was obvious that the movement could be called to halt as long as people remembered where they belonged to and who they really were. A matter of self-identification and the national pride, the movement could not be stopped, especially in such a trivial way. Deep in their hearts, the black people were sure that the game was worth the candles. These bloody battles did have their effect, and the positive results were to come – though, perhaps, only the descendants could see them.
The Time to Crop: Dead or Alive?
No matter what politicians might say about the cessation of the movement and its uselessness, it did bring its crop, rather bitter though, with the tough battles and with shedding the blood of the innocent. Fading away as time passed, the pain subsided, but people still remember about the sufferings which they had to survive and the fights they had to take. As long as they keep all those reminiscences, the movement cannot be called a failure. The first victory in the long-lasting battle for pride and liberty, it will stay in people’s hearts for good.
Moody, Anne. From Coming of Age in Mississippi. The Portable Sixties Reader. Ed. Ann Charters. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003. 45-51. Print.
Walker, Alice. The Civil Rights Movement: What Good Was It? The Portable Sixties Reader. Ed. Ann Charters. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003. 80 86. Print.