The title of this article asks a rhetorical question. It has been over 50 years since the beginning of the movement. Although we face many new issues, some of them are just new faces on old problems. Social injustice, racism, poverty, and educational disparity to name a few still exist. Have things changed for the better because of the movement? Without a doubt I would say yes. Is there still much work to be done? I say most definitely. Are we prepared to fight with the conviction of those who blazed the trail to effect change? That is the question we must answer.
In my opinion it is important that we understand where we came from to be better prepared for the work that needs to be done now. There are so many stories to share, more than I can put into a single article. I've share a few of them here. I encourage you to click on the links and read further.
"On March 7, 1965, state troopers and a sheriff’s posse in Selma, Ala., attacked 525 civil rights demonstrators taking part in a march between Selma and Montgomery, the state capital. The march was organized to promote black voter registration and to protest the killing of a young black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by a state trooper during a Feb. 18 voter registration march in a nearby city."
“The first 10 or 20 Negroes were swept to the ground screaming, arms and legs flying and packs and bags went skittering across the grassy divider strip and on to the pavement on both sides,” The Times wrote. “Those still on their feet retreated. The troopers continued pushing, using both the force of their bodies and the prodding of their nightsticks.”
"On May 28, 1963, a small group of students and faculty from Tougaloo College, a private and historically black institution in north Jackson, drove 10 miles to downtown and sat at the lunch counter at the five-and-dime store near the Governor's Mansion.
Joan Trumpauer of Arlington, Va., who would later marry and become Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, was a white Tougaloo student who participated in the sit-in. During a 2009 interview with The Associated Press, she recalled the "ugly roar" of the crowd.
"Basically, it just seemed that it was never going to end," she said."
On June 21, 1964, three young civil rights workers—a 21-year-old black Mississippian, James Chaney, and two white New Yorkers, Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24—were murdered near Philadelphia, in Nashoba County, Mississippi. They had been working to register black voters in Mississippi during Freedom Summer and had gone to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested by the police on trumped-up charges, imprisoned for several hours, and then released after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, who beat and murdered them. It was later proven in court that a conspiracy existed between members of Neshoba County's law enforcement and the Ku Klux Klan to kill them.
On Sunday, May 14, 1961—Mother's Day—scores of angry white people blocked a Greyhound bus carrying black and white passengers through rural Alabama. The attackers pelted the vehicle with rocks and bricks, slashed tires, smashed windows with pipes and axes and lobbed a firebomb through a broken window. As smoke and flames filled the bus, the mob barricaded the door. "Burn them alive," somebody cried out. "Fry the goddamn niggers." An exploding fuel tank and warning shots from arriving state troopers forced the rabble back and allowed the riders to escape the inferno. Even then some were pummeled with baseball bats as they fled.