History Repeats Itself: History of Racist Laws


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How did Americans challenge racist laws?

The United States of America was challenged by the frustrated minorities that were residing in various states. These fellow Americans started what we call the Civil Rights Movement This Civil Rights Movement lasted a long time with many back and forths. An example of how these minorities fought back is by making sure their opinions were heard. By this time all male citizens across the nation were giving the ability to vote. Many minorities took advantage of this ability to push their ideas and fight for a better tomorrow. They promoted their ideas by protesting many injustice behaviors. The best example that Zinn brings up is from Albany, Georgia which was a confederate state that enforced slavery heavily. Even after abolishment of slavery the outtake on this occuring did not sit well with many white southerners. As one may expect, this created a lot of segregation in Albany that did not favor the African Americans. The fight against what we call Jim Crows Law took place in which African Americans took to the street to protest these harsh segregation laws and the punishment that would occur for breaking these laws. These Punishments could be anywhere from imprisonment to straight lynching due to the amount of hatred that was filled in many white Americans. The protest allowed their voices to be heard even if these harsh punishments were received as a result. This is just an example of one of the many ways racist laws were challenged. Besides protest, Riots were another way many minorities not only showed their frustration, but ideally expressed how chaotic these towns can truly be. With the introduction of the media;in particular it created an image through the nation of how African Americans were being treated. This worked due to the sympathy these minorities would get seeing how police would abuse them for breaking laws that they were fighting against. The biased decisions that were made against many African Americans in an attempt to defeat their spirit in courtrooms only fueled the fire and ideas of the American people. The biased conclusions and cruel punishments angered many African Americans to continue to revolt. I think a strong example of how this works can be actually used today with how strong of a protest George Floyd’s death caused across the nation. These attempts to silence became the voice that helped minorities earn sympathy and support for their cause.As many White males and females stood by their African brothers and sisters to make this movement possible.

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How did anti-racist protest change after the 1964?

After 1964 the anti-racist protest saw a dramatic shift. We saw a peaceful transition (pun intended) from the ideology of fighting back to allowing the punishment to occur. African Americans understood that they would not win if they were incapable of brute-forcing their way to equality. Instead they would have to break rules and take the punishment, but continue to break rules. A very famous example that even Zinn brings up is the example of Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks was a normal African American lady, she would take the bus to work and vice versa. Rosa Parks was forced day in and day out to vacate her spot on the bus if a white male or female entered the bus. After they vacate they would have to move to the back of the bus or be forced to stand if there were no other room in the bus. This was due to segregation laws;however, Rosa Parks decided to break this social norm and set an example to all the African Americans who were fighting for their equality. Rosa Parks was a good friend to Marthur Luther King who was an inspiring leader for African Americans and put this ideology into effect. Rosa Parks did not give up her seat. This caused Rosa Parks to become headlines as nobody before her has ever stood her ground by doing such an act, creating tension. Rosa Parks was arrested, but she didn’t resist. This sent a very strong message to everyone who was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. These types of protest became a normality where we would see African Americans breaking laws by breaking segregation and allowing the punishment to continue taking place. The behavior got the world’s attention and all eyes were on how America would overcome this, the Vietnam War played a part as well having so many minorities not going to war and accepting the fate of being imprisoned. I related this to today’s era with George Floyd for that particular reason, many protests were accused of taking advantage of the situation by rioting. However; there were many peaceful protestors who attempted to show their side. I have always loved this idea that history repeats itself and even today we see how many minorities are fighting for their ideals.  

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