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The Civil Rights Act Passed in 1964, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 510

Essay

Martin Luther King Jr was implemental in getting the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, which ended public segregation and banned employment discrimination based on sex, religion, race or color. This legislation is considered to be the key achievement of the Civil Rights Movement, which was led by Dr. Martin Luther King (King, 2000). The two significant social or political changes that came out of his political stance were the Civil Rights Act and his march on Washington which was the pinnacle point of the of his non-violence protests (King, 2000). Through emphasizing non-violent protests, he dramatically change the way people engage in protests in the United States. He adopted this theory of non-violence from Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian independence movement in the 1940’s (King, 2000). While the Civil Rights Act represented a fundamental change to U.S. policy, non-violent protests represented a signature mark of King’s influence and were adopted as a social shift in the function of political activism. The impact King left behind could be seen in the non-violent activism of Nelson Mandela.   Nelson Mandela was a similarly successful revolutionary who assisted in ending apartheid in South Africa through non-violent protests (Mandela, 1994). Nelson Mandela started his political activism in the 1940’s as a member of the African Nationalist Congress Youth League. Apartheid in South Africa kept blacks and whites apart through racial segregation and it lasted from 1948 until 1994. This was a significant issue in both the U.S. and in South Africa because in both cases blacks were deprived of the same socioeconomic resources as their white counterparts. There were also cases of violence and severe discrimination imposed on blacks that extended beyond the letter of the law, such as killings and unjust criminalization (Mandela, 1994). Nelson Mandela represented a political opposition to Apartheid in South Africa by being an example of non-violent protest for peach and change despite the fact that he was justly incarcerated and given a life sentence. He would only serve 27 years of his sentence and eventually be freed to become the President of South Africa when apartheid was lifted and black South Africans were granted equal voting rights (Mandela, 1994). It wasn’t until the last few years of his imprisonment that he adopted the same theory of non-violence as King, which he promoted in a public address to South Africa. This same public address is what earned him his freedom and ultimately the Presidency. These were important events because it established precedent that would be incorporated into governments throughout the world (Mandela, 1994). Mandela had a social and political impact on South Africa, political in that his actions had a significant influence on ending Apartheid and social in that his achievement in becoming the first black president of South Africa served as an inspiration to blacks throughout the world. It is rather amazing how one man and his principles could fully change the terms of thinking of individuals as they desire to be more effective in making the change the want and they think they deserve as members of the community.

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