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Civil Rights and Liberties Term Paper

African Americans Quest for EqualityIn the song, My Back Pages, Bob Dylan sings in the second verse, “Half-cracked prejudice leaped forth; Rip down all hate, I screamed; Lies that life is black and white; Spoke from my skull, I dreamed.”  When Bob Dylan wrote these words in 1964, many Americans hated one another because of the color of their skin.  They thought that life was black and white and the two shall not meet.  However, the situation changed rather dramatically in the nearly 50 years that followed with the country ultimately electing a black man twice as President.  When Dylan wrote this song, the country was at a turning point following hundreds of years of discrimination and the struggle for equal rights for blacks.  It was a long journey to equality with progress coming quickly at times followed by periods where no progress was made at all. Ultimately, we weren’t able to rip down all hate but significant progress was made in the quest for equal rights and liberties for African Americans.
For many years, the Pre Civil War Era was dominated with the discussion of whether slavery should be abolished. All that changed and the abolitionist movement began when William Lloyd Garrison started publishing The Liberator in 1831. The Liberator, a newspaper that advocated complete abolition of slavery, had only 3,000 subscribers nationwide. However, it gained notice for its views especially when the legislatures of a few southern states tried to indict Garrison for treason. Garrison’s newspaper lasted for thirty-five years until the end of the Civil War. Another early important voice against slavery was Frederick Douglass, who was a close friend of Garrison. Fifteen years after Garrison first started printing The Liberator, Douglass decided to start his own abolitionist newspaper called The North Star. However, the biggest impact on the movement at this time was made by Harriet Beecher Stowe and her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This book was published…


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