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The Civil Rights Movement 50 years later

first_img Published: Jan. 30, 2015 Audio ScriptThe Civil Rights Movement 50 years laterJan. 30, 2015 Reiland Rabaka             The year is 1965, and America is experiencing a dramatic cultural transformation. Anti-Vietnam War protests erupts on college campuses. The counterculture revolution is changing the status quo. The British rock-and-roll invasion blasts ashore with the arrival of the Beatles at Shea Stadium and the African-American civil rights movement is at its zenith.             Remembering the movement 50 years later on the eve of Black History Month is Reiland Rabaka, a professor of African, African American and Caribbean Studies in the department of Ethnic Studies at CU-Boulder.CUT 1  “For those of us that do African-American history we really say the civil rights movement flows from about 1954 with the Brown verses the Board of Education decision until about ’65. (: 12) And the reason we say ‘65 is because that’s the year that’s considered ‘Freedom Summer.’ That is the year that Malcolm X is assassinated. You have the passage of the Voting Rights Act. You have the watts rebellion. You have a lot of things that are going on.” (:27)             Another reason 1965 is significant, says Rabaka, is what many people may not know is at the point that Martin Luther King Jr., began to move away from fighting exclusively for civil rights and instead campaigned for poor and middle-class Americans – black, brown or white – and at the same time opposing the Vietnam War.CUT 2 “After the March on Washington they know about ‘I have a dream,’ but they don’t know about the part where Martin says, ‘I’m afraid that they have turned my dream into a nightmare,’ when he talks about Vietnam, when he talks about rampant unemployment, when he talks about substandard education, and not just for black children but for lots of children in America. (:19) And, in fact, Martin Luther King Jr. left this world leading a poor people’s campaign. He didn’t call it the poor black people’s campaign. It was for people in general.” (:28)             1965 also saw the rise of more social movements that Rabaka says were inspired by the Civil Rights Movement.CUT 3 “’65 is the end of the civil rights movement for a lot of people and the beginning of the Black Power movement that is going go from 1965 to 1975. And the Black Power movement is going to be the movement that is going to be a prelude to the hip-hop movement. (:16) And so you really have these sort of series of movements on the part of African-Americans that have really been instrumental, in lots of ways, of expanding the realm of possibilities for American democracy.” (:29)             Rabaka argues that the civil rights movement continues today in the form of remixing our concept of American Democracy.CUT 4 “In my hip-hop classes I talk about the ways in which the civil rights generation remixed American democracy they remixed American culture. (:07) And by that what I mean is that the so-called Founding Fathers of the United States of America they started a democratic project but it is really up to us to finish that project. And we need to do that by emphasizing progress not perfection. (3:12)             Black History Month actually began in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Associating for the Study of Negro Life and History declared the second week in February to be “National History Week.” In 1970 it was expanded to a month and in 1976 the U.S. government officially recognized it.-CU- Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more