Friday, 28 February 2014

Alabama History and Civil Rights Movement

As we mark the Black history month, I would like to celebrate my life as an African American. I was born in the beautiful state of Alabama. This state has amazing landscape. Alabama bears the footprints of Civil Rights Movement and the glorious history of liberation of blacks.

Center for learning

As a university girl, at the University of Alabama, I carry the history in my vision and thinking. While graduating with major in History at the university, I was introduced to history not only through lectures and books but by the writings on the wall, on campus and in cafeteria. My university days have shaped my ideals and beliefs. My professors who had seen the Civil Rights Movement in America were the living libraries of the historical events. Many of them actively participated in the movement.

One of my professors, who was a staunch Marxist, believed that capitalism is the root cause of racism. He argued capitalists believe that racism is important to sustain the class divide. He was a white American and was deeply critical of racism. He criticized that the capitalists used church to subjugate the blacks. Theology was used as a tool for the oppression of blacks and to uphold the superiority of whites.

Though I am not a Marxist, but I admire my professor because he was a man of letters. Extremely well-articulate with a towering personality, he made history walk in college lectures and informal chats. My interest in history grew more with his teachings and finesse in history.

University of Alabama carries the history of segregation. The African American students were not allowed to study there. The then governor of Alabama, George Wallace blocked the entry of African American students. His move raised a roaring controversy. Segregation was made unconstitutional in 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education but George Wallace was no short of adhering to the ideology of segregation.

President John F. Kennedy used deployment of National Guard troops under federal laws to dismantle segregation at the University of Alabama in 1963. This brought an end to the aggressive segregation divide at the University of Alabama. The entry of African American students ushered a new era in the history of liberation of blacks.

The rich history of Alabama does not stop only at the doors of University of Alabama but walks all the way through famous historical sites. The historical places which witnessed the Civil Rights Movement such as Birmingham saw the light of Birmingham Campaign. The golden pages of history also include the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In 1963, the Birmingham Campaign led by Martin Luther King was launched. This served an important force in the Civil Rights Movement in America. The Birmingham Campaign marked the protest against segregation laws prevalent in the city.


The huge significance of Birmingham Campaign reflects in the words of President John F. Kennedy,  "The events in Birmingham... have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them."

Montgomery Bus Boycott is another glorious moment in the history of Civil Rights Movement. The arrest of Rosa Parks followed the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This was a turning event in the history of liberation of blacks. The Montgomery Bus Boycott brought the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which declared the segregation on public buses unconstitutional.

The rich history of Alabama speaks volumes. I feel blessed to be born in Alabama. My Alabama commemorates the Black history month along with millions of Americans. Let Alabama talk his history. Alabama continues to march in the hearts of people who stand hand in hand to fight against discrimination and oppression and pledge for equal and plural society.

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