DrDuffy2009's Blog

Blog # 3: Similarities and Differences between the Civil Rights Movement and Apartheid

Posted on: April 23, 2010

Compare and contrast the post-war civil rights movement in the United States and apartheid in South Africa. Using documents from the reader, lecture notes and the Upshur text, address how these two movements are related in terms of methods and strategies from the 1950s through the 1990s. Make sure your analysis is based in factual information. Additionally, address how the movements are both similar and different. Due April 23rd.

       Equally the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and Apartheid in Africa were noted in history as two major events and or activities that altered the lives of African Americans all over the world…forever. Both events impacted the daily lives of Blacks in some way, shape or form. In essence in both movements, African Americans were fighting for what they believed in, they were fighting for equal rights, and to end racial segregation to name a few of the main issues. The two shares many similarities and differences. However, it appears that they share more similarities than differences.

       The Civil Rights Movement refers to the political, social, and economical struggle of African Americans to gain full citizenship and racial equality within the United States of America. Although African Americans began to fight for equal rights as early as during the days of slavery, the quest for equality continues today. Prior to 1955, African-Americas in the south as well as the north had been denied the rights of fellow white Americans. Rights in which had been granted to them under the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments by U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution was looked at as a law in which white people wrote and were supposed to uphold. African-Americans began to challenge their stance in American society; they were determined that they would no longer be viewed as second-rate citizens. They fought for voting rights, the rights to drink from the same water fountain, the right to attend the same schools, the right to feast in the same places, overall the right to be considered a human being.

       The Apartheid Movement held in Africa shared many similarities to that of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. From my understanding, the term apartheid meaning apartness or separateness was coined in the 1930s and used as the political slogan for the Afrikaner National Party in the early 1940s. Apartheid in essence is viewed as a system of LEGAL racial segregation. The rights were abridged from Africans…the majority while the rights of the white man were still maintained. These Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of “white-only” jobs. It seems as the purpose of apartheid was to separate all races from each other. So as you can see, Africans not only endured struggles in America, ironically, they faced the same issues in their native country, South Africa. Basically a struggle for freedom in a white man’s world

      Both major events happened around the same time. The Apartheid started in the 1940s while the Civil Rights Movement started in the 1950s…nearly ten years separating the two. Even though they virtually started around the same time, they ended at very different time points. The Civil Rights Movement ended in 1968, although African Americans began to fight for equal rights as early as during the days of slavery, the quest for equality continues today. Apartheid on the other hand took its troll for 46years, not ending until 1994.

      The difference between they two were that The Civil Rights Movement encountered people who were fighting for a better life, fighting for rights, fighting for equality. African Americans were being heard even if whites did not want to listen. Their voices were being heard in the United Sates. Also here in the United States, we had people fighting for us, fighting for our voices to be heard. Whereas, in South Africa they had no one fighting for them, they had no one to voice their opinions. Some of the voices here in the U.S included Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Charles K. Steele and Fred L. Shuttlesworth to name a few. The Apartheid on the other hand had so many rules going on that Blacks could not get ahead no matter what it was that they did. They were not even considered citizens. So essentially they really did not have a voice in what was going on. They were at the bottom of the pole. There were also two different reasons in which they both started. The Civil Rights Movement started when a young woman by the name of Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a public transit mobile. Soon afterwards another woman by the name of Rosa Parks was arrested for the same activity. Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. become two of the biggest founders of the Civil Rights Movement. They started the Montgomery Bus Boycott and essentially this is what kicked off of the movement. Apartheid on the other hand started through the election of the Afrikaner National Party. The National Party argued that Africa should be split up into “Race” nations, so there were nations of white, black, and colored. After the creation of these nations soon afterwards, Blacks were stripped from everything even their citizenship. This in essence is what started the Apartheid in South Africa.

     The two were similar in that they involved some form of violence, they both had boycotts, they dealt with Black oppression from Whites, there were problems of inequality, there were problems of discriminations, and racial segregation to name a few things. At the end of the day, both movements forced Africans to move closer together and act as one so that we can gain equality as a whole.


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  • tamalynp: Thanks for your submission, Ms. Duffy! Have a safe holiday season.
  • Mr WordPress: Hi, this is a comment.To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts' comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.


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