Editor’s note: Students in Jenna Galbreath’s English class at P.D. Jackson-Olin High School in Ensley contributed to Weld’s Project 1963 by writing a number of essays. What the essays may lack in strict grasp of historical specifics, they replace with a substantial amount of youthful appreciation for those who made sacrifices for the generations to come. The best written examples were by Keion Williams, Tramese Davis, and Tikera Yancey.
By Keion Williams
The Civil Rights Movement today lets me know someone fought and struggled to help me have the rights I have today. Without all those different people fighting for what they believed in, I would not be where I am today
If the black race would have sat quiet and took all the beatings and unfair treatment, I probably would not have a proper education or be allowed to do most of the things I’ve done in my lifetime. I wouldn’t be able to sit or go where I want, or even write half [or] spell all the words I typed in this paper. I’m glad people stood up for what they believed in and the respect we deserve as an African-American race.
Since those brave people did all those amazing things, I have many doors opened for my future. I have options just like any other man in this world. I won’t be restricted to some low income job or be living on the streets. I thank those people like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth and many, many more for giving me the opportunity to be the best I can be, and to be a proud African-American.
The Civil Rights Movement consists of fighting for freedom and equal rights. It means things are better for me than … they were then. I am here to appreciate the things that were done for us. Many people died for our rights. They had suffered a lot.
The Civil Rights Movement is very important to many people. It consists of working for your rights. When you think about it, when you are doing what you believe, that is the best thing for yourself and others. The movement is a big part of history. Without it, everything would be the same as of 50 years ago.
Today, I have my rights. I can hang out with my opposite race in peace. I have my freedom. I can sit anywhere I please. I can go anywhere. I can do things without people saying ‘You cannot do this or that because you are black.’ Fifty years ago, I would be disturbed, out of my peace, because of my skin color. Now, since the movement, I do not have to worry about things such as that. I believe that the leaders would say that today is much better for what they worked for.
The 50th anniversary means a lot to me. It makes me happy and appreciative of the things I have now. It’s important because 50 years ago there were huge segregation problems and all people were not treated equally. Now all races get along, go to school together, and even go to the inauguration to see a black president. We had our first black president 46 years after the Civil Rights Movement.
To me that’s something big. We also have biracial relationships, marriages and children. This makes me think of how countless brave leaders and fighters fought for us 50 years ago. It makes me think of Dr.King, who got assassinated for us or Malcolm X, who was murdered for what he believed in. Rosa Parks stood her ground, fought for what was right, and now we have Obama, the first black president.
I think we have a lot to work on but less than what we had to work on 50 years ago. I think we should try to work on racism being completely gone. It’s crazy how after 50 years it still exists. I also think we should work on standing up for our rights without using violence like Martin Luther King did; I think that’s the lesson the foot soldiers taught us.