HIST 2050C Week 6 Social Movements and Their Impact on Equality

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Social movements have played a critical role in today’s society, advocating for various causes such as racial equality, fair wages, and improved working conditions. These movements are essential for societal growth and prosperity, aiming to ensure that everyone is treated with equality. This paper examines two significant social movements that have addressed the mistreatment of African Americans. Despite legal advancements, individual attitudes may still undermine the principles of equality.

HIST 2050C Week 6 Social Movements and Their Impact on Equality The Montgomery Bus Boycott

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a civil rights movement aimed at ending bus segregation. It took place from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956, although opposition to segregation had been ongoing since 1954. Through various demonstrations, including women refusing to give up their seats to white passengers, the activists made a difference. Despite the risk of arrest, they stood firm in their belief that the existing system was unjust. Eventually, on June 5, 1956, a Montgomery federal court ruled that racially segregated seating on buses violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (History.com Editors, 2010). This boycott garnered international attention and shed light on the struggles and potential solutions within the civil rights movement.

Timeline for the Montgomery Bus Boycott:

  • March 1954: The Woman Political Counsel (WPC) meets with the Montgomery Mayor to discuss recommendations for the bus system.
  • March 2, 1955: Claudette Colvin is arrested for not giving up her seat to a white woman.
  • March 1955: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and E.D. Nixon meet with city officials to address bus segregation.
  • October 21, 1955: Mary Louise Smith is arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman.
  • December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks’ arrest ignites the bus boycott.
  • December 2, 1955: The Woman Political Counsel calls for a one-day bus boycott.
  • December 5, 1955: Over 80% of the black community participates in the boycott, and Martin Luther King Jr. is elected to lead the Montgomery Improvement Association.
  • December 8, 1955: The city refuses to comply with the demands presented by the M.I.A.
  • January 30, 1956: Martin Luther King Jr.’s home is bombed, but he urges peaceful protest.
  • February 1, 1956: E.D. Nixon’s home is bombed.
  • June 5, 1956: Federal district courts rule that bus segregation is unconstitutional.
  • November 13, 1956: The Supreme Court ends segregation on buses.
  • December 21, 1956: The M.I.A. ends the boycott, and bus segregation in Montgomery officially ends.

HIST 2050C Week 6 Social Movements and Their Impact on Equality Black Lives Matter

One of the most significant social movements in history is Black Lives Matter (BLM). It gained momentum following the death of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, and the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman. BLM’s purpose is to combat racism and empower black communities to address violence inflicted upon them. As Turan (2021) notes, BLM’s influence extends beyond its own movement, inspiring other initiatives like the Women’s March and Me Too movement.

Timeline for Black Lives Matter:

  • 2013: Black Lives Matter movement begins after the death of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman’s acquittal.
  • July 2014: Eric Garner dies after being put in a chokehold by a police officer, leading to protests and riots.
  • August 2014: Michael Brown is killed by a police officer, sparking riots and protests.
  • 2016: Black Lives Matter organizes further protests against police brutality.
  • June 2017: Black Lives Matter activists counter-protest at the white supremacist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • May 2019: Isiah Lewis is shot by the police, prompting a rally of approximately 100 people against police violence.
  • 2020: George Floyd’s murder by the police triggers widespread protests and riots. The officers involved are charged with murder.
  • 2021: Black Lives Matter movement is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • April 20, 2021: The police officer who killed George Floyd is convicted.
  • Artifact

HIST 2050C Week 6 Social Movements and Their Impact on Equality

The chosen artifact that resonates with the Black Lives Matter movement is the song “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby. This song highlights the discrimination experienced by black men and women on a daily basis and the fear they face when confronted by law enforcement, individuals who should protect their civil liberties. The lyrics convey the pain and fear felt by many, emphasizing the urgent need for change and equality.

Connections between the Movements

Both the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Black Lives Matter are civil rights movements focused on advocating for the rights of African American citizens. They share a common goal of challenging the unjust treatment faced by the black community. Although peaceful protest is the desired outcome, emotions can sometimes lead to uncontrolled reactions, especially when one’s family or survival is at stake.

HIST 2050C Week 6 Social Movements and Their Impact on Equality Reflection

This course has provided valuable insights into the impact of social movements on our society. Before taking this class, I recognized the significance of social movements but underestimated the depth of their influence on communities. I now realize the vast array of movements that have shaped and continue to shape our nation, broadening my understanding of the struggles faced by marginalized groups. As I pursue a career in Social Work, this knowledge will be invaluable in caring for individuals with diverse experiences and advocating for social justice.

HIST 2050C Week 6 Social Movements and Their Impact on Equality Conclusion

Studying social movements has equipped me with knowledge and perspectives that will greatly benefit my future in Social Work. By understanding the obstacles and civil rights movements that have impacted various communities, I can better serve individuals and maintain an open mind when addressing social injustices. Equality should prevail in all aspects of life, and everyone deserves fair treatment and equal opportunities.


A Timeline of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press. (2013, December 5). Retrieved April 9, 2022, from https://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2013/12/a-timeline-of-the-montgomery-bus-boycott.htmlHistory.com Editors. (2010, February 3). Montgomery Bus Boycott. History.com. Retrieved April 9, 2022, from https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/montgomery-bus-boycott Ness, I. (Ed.). (2015). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement. In Encyclopedia of American social movement (1st ed.). Routledge. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/waldenu/reader.action?docID=3569966 Turan, Cyan. (2021, April 21). A timeline of the black lives matter movement. Yahoo! Retrieved April 9, 2022,Lil Baby. (2020). The Bigger Picture [Recorded by Lil Baby]. On My Turn [Album]. Quality Control Music, Wolfpack Global Music, Motown Records, Capitol Records. Retrieved from https://genius.com/Lil-baby-the-bigger-picture-lyrics