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Prominent Groups and Individuals in African American Civil Rights Management

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The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured Peoples was not organized only in the eve of the Civil Rights movement. It was actually instrumental in the gradual growth of the African American political consciousness since its establishment in February 12, 1909 in New York. Apparently, it is one of the oldest civil rights organisations in the country. It was also one of the most influential. The aim of the NAACP was to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination (Watts 2010: 200). It is clear that the organisation was and is not just focused on the African American people. However, in the 1950s and 1960s, its objective was to arouse national consciousness about the inequalities suffered by the African Americans. In order to achieve this, the NAACP was involved in lobbying activities. Its leaders seized every opportunity to speak in public about the issues confronting black Americans. It also did publication work, utilizing the avenues provided by the mainstream media while publishing their own. The NAACP distinguished itself from other groups in the Civil Rights movement for its tendency to use the courts to question the legality of practices that were considered as racist or discriminatory. While the NAACP was more focused then making the public aware of the issue of racial equality and litigation, the Congress of Racial Equality or CORE was one of the first groups that took an active role in consolidating the ranks of civil rights advocates among the ranks of the students. CORE was founded in 1942 by students based in Chicago. The group was greatly influenced by the principles laid out by Mahatma Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. Its aim was to secure equality for all people throughout the globe (deGregory 2009). At first, CORE was interracial and it does not have a formal organisational structure. However, as it tried to realise its aims, it expanded to the south, where African Americans were suffering the brunt of racial discrimination. Its working-class black membership swelled and soon CORE’s immediate objective was geared towards the end of the Jim Crow laws and racial segregation and discrimination of the African Americans in general. CORE became a trailblazer in employing militant but non-violent actions to further its cause. It was one of the first groups in the Civil Rights movement to apply coercive non-violent tactics. Among its most prominent actions are the Journey of Reconciliation in 1946 and Freedom Ride in 1961. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference became widely known, especially because it was able to produce leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. It was founded in 1957 by a group of mostly African American church ministers. The SCLC mirrored a basic fact about the leadership in the Southern black movement of the 1950s and 1960s: ministers wielded influence out of all proportion to their numbers (Fairclough 2001: 13). The SCLC’s aim was also to eradicate social ills, including racial discrimination which at that time was in the form of Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. The organisation’s immediate objective then was to mobilize the churches for Civil Rights movement. Its methods were mainly in the forms of boycotts and other similar