A Brief Background of the
Civil Rights Movement in
the United States
Here begins my investigation of Martin Luther King, Jr., his life, his beliefs, and principles and the nonviolent resistance campaigns he conducted during his short tenure as "the moral leader" of the United States. Much as was done with Part II on Gandhi, Part III on King briefly sets the stage for King's entry into American politics in the mid-1950s. This section will provide a brief background on the Civil Rights Movement in the United States up to the time of King's arrival on the stage.
Civil rights are obligations imposed on government to take positive (or affirmative) action to guarantee equal treatment of all its citizens under the law. Equality is therefore a hallmark of civil rights. Equalityitself is a controversial term because it has different meanings to different people. For some, equality means that everyone has equal material possessions; this is often called "equality of result," but few Americans share this notion of equality. For most Americans, equality means that every individual, regardless of race, religion, gender, and so forth, should have the same chance, or opportunity, to realize his or her full potential, without unfair obstacles placed before them, either by government or private institutions.
Civil rights advocates fight to ensure that individuals are treated equally, no matter what group they belong to. If a woman is denied a promotion because she is a female, then her civil rights have been violated and she is entitled to just compensation. Of