Campaigns organized in favor of a social purpose are referred to as social movements. They are generally focused on either the adoption or the avoidance of change that affects societal principles and structure. Although the scale of each social activity varies, they are all collective. Public signs emerge from the more or less impulsive cooperation of people who share a shared perspective on the community in which they live (Porta, 2015). Collective activity in elementary, panic, and crowd modes characterizes such relationships. A social trend occurs when short-term actions develop into long-term objectives, resulting in individuals’ continued cooperation (Porta, 2015). My choice of social movement is the Civil Rights Movement.
Determination of the Civil Rights Movement as a Social Movement
The Civil Rights Movement was the most popular and the largest mass movement in the United States during the twentieth century. It is considered to be social since it condemned racial segregation and discrimination against the African Americans. It also aimed at ensuring that they were legally recognized and received the federal protection of the citizenship rights due to the federal law and Constitution. Another reason why the above mentioned movement is social is because it used non-violent protest demonstrations and fought against the unfair treatment of the blacks who were politically and economically powerless. The main issue of social actions was unfair treatment of those who are weak, and this is one of the main characteristics of public movements. The Civil Rights Movement was a radical one since its participants focused primarily on constitutional changing of value systems (Ollhoff, 2013).
Stages of the Movement
The Civil Rights Movement started in the 19th century, but it gained the popularity only during the 1950s and 1960s. The first stages of the campaign were based on litigation and lobbying, but after the Supreme Court ruling of the Brown v. Board of Education case it has changed (Ollhoff, 2013). People started using more direct actions which involved sit-ins, bus boycotts, freedom rights, and social movements. One of the boycotts that stood out and also united and mobilized the black communities was the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott (Ollhoff, 2013). It took nearly a whole year and triggered the other boycott operations. Through the Civil Rights Movement Martin Luther King established the Black Power Movement. However, after his assassination the movement was shaken and the number of its followers declined.
Decline of the Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights movements started to decline after the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Due to this people were tasked with more challenging goals like the economic prosperity that was not easy to achieve. As a result of the slow progress, African Americans became frustrated and resorted to riots for the period 1965-1968. The severe repression from the government, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King assassinations together with the violent riots that occured within the black militant community made the decline of the Social movement (Ollhoff, 2013).
Ollhoff, J. (2013). Civil Rights Movement. Edina: ABDO
Porta, D. D. (2015). The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements. Oxford University Press.