The Civil Rights Movement—discover advocates of then and today
Advocates use social media to promote awareness of influential members of the Civil Rights Movement. | Photo Courtesy of mshistory.mdah.ms
NOTE *** All of this information was gathered off of @itsourbookclub’s Instagram stories and then backed up by research. This piece is meant to advocate for the understanding and seeking out of truth about activists and history makers of the past.
This February’s Black History month, social media sites, particularly Instagram, have taken action in the spreading of the word of those involved in the social rights movement throughout the ages.
Many accounts, such as @itsourbookclub, have committed to posting daily inspiration and informative pieces about martyred and lesser recognized historical figures in the black community.
This piece will attempt to honor those who, like Martin Luther King Jr., have sacrificed their comfort, their freedom and their lives for a cause they believed strongly in. It is the duty of those who follow to learn their stories, and carry them with us as we seek to reconcile races and bridge gaps, as they would if still alive.
The youngest of 20, Hamer grew up in a family of working sharecroppers. She picked cotton at the age of six and because of her family’s need for her help, was unable to continue school. As one of the few female black Americans to combat and win the then-racially charged literacy test, Hammer is known today as one of the leading advocates for women’s and black’s suffrage. As with many activists of the time, she was often jailed and beaten. After sharing her stories of abuse at the hands of officials during the Freedom Summer event, Hamer concluded:
“All of this is on account we want to register, to become first-class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America.”
In her third attempt, Hamer successfully acquired the right to vote. She ran for a seat in the United States Senate and continued to advocate for the rights of black agricultural workers.
A more recent advocate for justice—2010—Tiwanda called the police after a dispute with her boyfriend. Upon their arrival, one of the officers sexually assaulted in her home. In attempt to turn in the officer, Moore recorded a conversation on her Blackberry.
The Chicago Tribune states:
“It is illegal in Illinois to record conversations with another person without their knowledge, with stiffer penalties if the victim is a law enforcement officer, but the law also exempts recordings made in an attempt to document a crime being committed.”
In her case, she recorded the officers in attempt to prove innocence. It was an act of self defense.
“In her criminal trial, Moore admitted she wasn't aware of the law, but believed the internal affairs officers were committing a crime by trying to bully her into dropping her complaint against the officer,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
She was then charged with two accounts of felony wiretapping—resulting in two weeks of prison and a 15 year sentence. Because of her efforts, wiretapping laws were declared unconstitutional.
This use of social media for good, as seen in this Instagram account, gives us hope for our generation. The power of stories is weighty. However, the sharing of these people’s stories honors those who have passed away. Thinking of activism in its form during the mid 1900’s—the Civil Rights Marches, riots and the beginning of desegregation of schools—it might seem that it has all been done. Perhaps, all we can do is look to the past for those who stood for what they believed in and marched for equality and freedom.