January 24, 2018
Activism for adults and teens is a way they can best
utilize advocacy to fight for the causes they care about. Activism in the 1960s
was prominent for causes such as racial segregation, women’s rights, and war.
With the help of the 35th president of the United States and
activist John F. Kennedy, acts of empowerment were shown in people of color,
women, and youth.
The March on Washington was a non-violent protest where
about 250 thousand people attended, including President John F. Kennedy, in the
fight for African Americans to be granted equal opportunity in jobs and
freedoms. Novelist and poet, James Baldwin, spoke on the event saying, “That
day, for a moment, it almost seemed that we stood on a height, and could see
our inheritance; perhaps we could make the kingdom real; perhaps the beloved
community would not forever remain the dream on dreamed in agony.” August 28,
1963 was a day of hope and determination. It also maximized the message
marchers declared of racial harmony and a belief that black and white American
could live together in peace. Months and years after the march, he event helped
stabilize and strengthen those who continued to commit themselves to the ongoing
struggle for social justice. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was later passed on
July 2nd, 1964 and banned discrimination in employment and public
In 1963, about one-third of American workers were women
and earned 60 percent of what men earned on average. Women were often given
less male dominant jobs like service jobs; while men had more of the
manufacturing and construction jobs. When women were granted the same jobs as
men, they still received lower wages than men. The Presidential Commission on
the Status of Women communicated that women were exposed to discrimination at
work including less pay than men and were promoted less. President John F.
Kennedy was presented the issues on women within the workforce, education, and
the law in 1961. Kennedy saw the need to open up the workplace to more women.
In 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW), was a feminist group that
fought against gender discrimination, violence against women, and achieve
abortion rights. The NOW organization filed lawsuits for equality, and staged
rallies, marches, and many other non-violent protests. By the 1970s, women with
professional jobs increased, more women began to move into senior positions in
government, and more females were elected in congress.
As the youth grew more educated than before, many decided
to become more involved in civil and women’s rights. SNCC, Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee was created with the goal to increase student
involvement in the Civil Rights Movements. With this approach of commitment to
civil rights, It empowered past efforts to change and create new powerful voices.
SNCC conducted and involved themselves in sit-ins, freedom rides, the March on
Washington, and even protested against the Vietnam War. SNCC was said to have
paved the way of “landmark federal civil rights” legislation, and made
significant gains in black voter registrations in the south.
Activism, with the help of John F. Kennedy, brought about
empowerment in people of color, women, and youth. People of color brought many
races together for the March on Washington to present a message that they will
not stand down if they all stand together. Women proved that they are capable
of anything a man can do. Women standing together were the start of an era to
break the status quo of women in house work. As the youth was granted better
education, they were exposed to the real world problems and used their young
voices to fight against the odds. All in all, the early 1960s wasn’t the start,
but the most impactful time in history for equal rights in all gender and
colors due to the laws and acts that were passed after the events stated. Activist
today still use the power of standing together as a way to be heard, just as
the activists in the early 1960s.