The Civil Rights Movement Of Harlem For Community Rights Essay

816 Words Feb 11th, 2016 4 Pages
Most urban historians agreed that the Civil Rights Movement is much more complex than it is portrayed as in the dominant narrative. The current understanding of it, as the period from Brown v Board of Education onwards with a focus on national groups and large leaders like MLK Jr., is too restrictive and ignores the many local movements and struggles that preceded it, undermining the importance of the single protestor in the national story. However, there were conflicting opinions in the field about the role that these grassroots movements play. Some argue that they were the origins of what is now called the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), while others claim that they were antecedents of the CRM. As Shannon King argued in his book, the grassroots movement in Harlem for community rights, though similar to the CRM in some ways, was a separate movement due to its placement within the context of northern society and its interpretation of freedom as autonomy. Different areas have different circumstances and contexts. It is entirely possible for two people to deal with the same issue in separate places, but the context of their struggle changes the issue to reflect the circumstances. In choosing to delocalize the Civil Rights Movement and homogenizing it, proponents of the Long Movement “do not account for the transformations in African Americans’ consciousness and identity.” To Harlemites, “freedom” meant autonomy economically and socially, whereas in the South, it meant…

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