The Church's Role In The Civil Rights Movement

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The civil rights movement was a mass movement against racial segregation and discrimination. Even though African Americans were freed from slavery, their social status was still not the same as White Americans, especially in the South. Blacks were not given equal opportunities in their education, job opportunities, or allowed to access white facilities. The Jim Crow Laws were established in 1874 and lasted until 1975. They were laws created intended “to separate the white and black races in the American South” (“Jim Crow Laws”). The purpose of these laws were to keep blacks “seperate but equal”, when in reality they weren't equal to White Americans at all. Dennis Sullivan discussed in class how people believe our society should be rights based, …show more content…
It was an African American civil rights group that worked to “harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protest in pursuit of civil rights reform” (“Role of Religion”). They worked together to promote MLK’s ideas of nonviolence while boycotting and protesting. The church became an important symbol in the battle for civil rights. In fact, “the SCLC's leadership, most of whom were ministers, believed that churches should be involved in political activism and held many of their meetings at black churches” (“The Role of Religion”). African Americans reliance on their religion and place of worship during this time has helped them further execute their goals and dreams. Professor Boehrer discussed that people who show passion toward things they are devoted to often suffer while doing so (class, 2/27). MLK and his followers were indeed passionate about receiving civil rights, and showed their passion by suffering through hard times and moments of discouragement. This also reflects Thomas Merton's ideas from “St. John of the Cross”. He wrote “No one can become a saint without solving the problem or suffering” (Merton, 3). Therefore, MLK can be considered a saint because while solving the problem of inequality in the south, he suffered a great amount for others and his freedom. Their sense of passion and suffering helped many ministers and the church itself serve as a successful site for organization and a community engagement place for many supporters of the

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