Courseworks

The Nature of Southern Segregation

Eyes on the Prize v. I, narrated by Julian Bond, was launched by the episode entitled “Awakenings.” It documents two events that helped focus the nation’s attention on the oppression of African American citizens: the lynching of 14 year-old Emmett Till in 1955 and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, motivated by the arrest of Rosa Parks, who refused to relinquish her seat on a public bus to a white person. The legal and social separation of whites and blacks in a wide range of situations in order to keep blacks from advancing economically, socially, and politically and to prevent them from exercising their legal and political rights (Altman 215).The Nature of Southern Segregation has its roots in racist ideology, first seeing blacks as savages and then as biologically inferior, supported this racist system. The South enforced this racism in all its educational institutions, including schools and the various social places.Southern political leaders merely had to warn the white middle class of the threat of racial equality to stir a negative reaction and to keep the south segregated. The politicians would dredge up the deepest fears of these southern people, by painting a bad picture of what the south would be like if segregation laws were changed. The threatened middle class would then immediately stop any progressive southern politician, as well as any member of the upper class, intent on modernizing the South.The cases of Emmett Till, Moe’s Wright, and Rosa Parks put a lot of emphasis on southern segregation and the evils of that system. The lynching and martyrdom of Emmett Till and the bus boycotts lead by Rosa Parks was very pivotal moments in American history and the Civil Rights Movement.Reactions of White Southerners to the Civil Rights MovementThe Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was a student civil rights group that grew out of the sit-in movement. In the spring of 1961, SNCC workers arrived in Albany, Georgia, to organize local African-Americans to fight against segregation there. Martin Luther King, Jr., was invited to the city to give a speech after more than five hundred demonstrators had been arrested. King joined the demonstration and was himself arrested. In January 1965, SCLC and SNCC set aside their differences over to launch a combined voter registration effort in the Selma, Alabama, area. More than half the county’s residents were Black, but only one percent of Blacks were registered to vote.After Sheriff Jim Clark arrested a highly respected community leader, local teachers and other groups marched in protest. But the Selma campaign escalated further after violence broke out during a nighttime march in Marion, a neighboring town. Jimmy Lee Jackson, a young Black man trying to prevent his mother from being hurt by a police officer, was killed by a state trooper. In response to Jackson’s death, SCLC proposed a symbolic march from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital.Governor George Wallace banned the march, but six hundred people gathered to participate just the same. In what was later called “Bloody Sunday,” state troopers, under orders from the governor to stop the marchers, beat and tear-gassed the demonstrators as they marched over the bridge out of Selma. The beatings made national news. Eight days after the Bloody Sunday incident, the president called upon Congress to enact a comprehensive voting rights bill.White Southerners were taken back by these acts. Acts that was happening for years but never seen by a majority of southern whites. The Civil Rights Movement was thrust into Americans households and whites had to look at segregation laws more closely. Those actions on Bloody Sunday were very pivotal in changing southern whites’ views about the south and their way of life.Contrasting View of the Vietnam ConflictThe Vietcong guerillas and sympathizers of North Vietnam were responsible for the fight against the liberation of the people of their country against the United States in the Vietnam War and yet the villagers suffered the consequences for the actions taken. Entire villages filled with women and children were destroyed by American soldiers sent to find guerillas and capture or kill them. These villages were set ablaze and young boys were killed, because the U.S. troops were told to use their discretion and kill anyone that seemed to be a threat to them. With those orders the soldiers felt that a child of eight or nine years of age can be a killer just as a man of twenty-five or twenty- six. With the U.S. being armed with more sophisticated weaponry the guerillas used homemade bombs and grenades made from weapons that were either lost or stolen from the U.S. and strategically placed them in the path of tanks, thus causing the tanks to be destroyed and taking captive any survivors. The actions taken by the U.S. may have been necessary, but these same actions were extremely barbaric and inhumane, and in a sense creating a sidetrack from the “order” that war is supposed to establish. President Ho Chi Minh, founder and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Communist North) had an obsession with gaining the independence of his country.After rebuilding his army after an attempt to fight France to retrieve the emperor of Indochina Minh, he was able to fight successfully against the U.S. in their effort to stop his communist followers from controlling Vietnam. Minh made great sacrifices for his country going into war against France and eventually the United States.Both countries ignored his warnings and paid extreme penalties for it. Prime Minister Pham van Dong was a leader of North Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict. He was prime minister of the Unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and also a close friend of Ho Chi Minh. He played a major role in the war against the French leading him to attending the Geneva Conference in 1954 and becoming prime minister of North Vietnam in 1955. Though both men were instrumental the successes of the Vietnam War, however still they realized that not all tactics taken were wise ones.The sacrifice of human life was too great for the war to have accomplished what seemed to be so little. This brings us to the treatment of the POW’s caught during the conflict. It was documented that when the U.S. wanted to obtain information about the guerillas’ whereabouts they would get a female sympathizer and wraps wire around the breasts, and attaches it to an electrical shock device to use as a sort of shock treatment to obtain information. The POW’s for the U.S. were treated with very little dignity. Everett Alvarez Jr (1964-1973), the first prisoner of war for the U.S. during the conflict, Robinson Risner (1965-1973) another POW that was interviewed. Both spoke of the harsh treatment and ridicule they endured during captivity. Yet no military personal for the U.S. felt the tactics used by them as torture was cruel or unusual. Both prisoners spent at least five years captured for interfering in another countries conflict. With this and the death of hundreds and the capture and release of nearly six hundred, did was our efforts there worthy of the lost lives?

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