Israel and Oppression

I’ve been talking about oppression for a bit now. I am continuing it now. This week, we are focusing on now is in Israel in the bible. What does the bible say?

God gave Abram the call to move out of faith. Abram went Harran and then to Canaan after leaving Ur. Babylon at this time is still oppressing the nations. Before Abram moved out, God made a covenant. You will have a great nation. The country will be blessed. Other countries on Earth will be blessed through Abram’s descendants. Jesus saves lives. It is believed that God gave instructions to stay in the land God gave them before Israel migrated to the promised land. The instructions are known as the Torah, and the laws are in the first five books of the bible. The purpose of the Torah is to make the system harder for oppressors to plant roots in the land. In the end, Torah gave Israel a set of laws that can set them in sync to live in harmony with God and the land. Moses warns Israelites who oppress traditionally oppressed people groups are not in connection with their God. (Deuteronomy 10:17-19, 27:19, 27:25)

Living in harmony with God, you think, would help seek justice for the oppressed. It didn’t. People fell into the oppression systems. Torah builds to correct checks against oppression. 17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and the Lord, your God, redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. 19 When you are harvesting in your field and overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.

When facing a situation that may involve the powerless and poverty-stricken, it may be looked upon by incompetent or lazy. Those who face this situation may be victims of oppression and circumstances. The justice here meant for the Israelites not to profit or have a quick payment from those less fortunate. the law gives the poor opportunities to better a situation. Everybody faces some sort of help in need. God reminds us to treat others fairly and do our part to meet other requirements. Ruth took advantage to be able to get food. That’s why God’s people were instructed to leave some of their harvest in the fields, so travelers and the poor get it.

Deuteronomy 15:1-11: 1 At the end of every seven years, you must cancel debts. 2 This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. 3 You may require payment from a foreigner. Still, you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. 4 However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. 6 For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many countries, but none will rule over you. 7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then, because of this, the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. God told the Israelites to help the poor when they arrive in the promised land. It’s essential to do that because it is part of processing the ground. Most people came to the conclusion that people are at fault for being poor. This would close hearts and hands. We can’t find reasons not to help the poor. It doesn’t matter the reason; we help them, no matter how it happened.

Deuteronomy 15:12-15: 12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, you must let them go free in the seventh year. 13 And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. 14 Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and the Lord, your God, redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today. Israelites, free your slaves after seven years. Give them as much food as possible. Do not send them off empty-handed. God recognized each person with worth and dignity. Do not forget where you came from because the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and God gave them freedom. Treat your employees with respect and economic fairness. 

Leviticus 25:10: 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and your own clan. The year of Jubilee is celebrated every 50 years. It is marked by canceling debts, freeing ALL slaves, and returning to its original owners all land that has been sold. No evidence that this is celebrated, but if carried out right and practice faithfully, they would have been a society without permanent poverty.

1 Samuel 2:12-17; 22; 8:1-4: 12 Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. 13 Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand. At the same time, the meat was being boiled 14 and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the division brought up, the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. 15 But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”

16 If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”

17 This sin of the young men was very significant in the Lord’s sight, for they[a] were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt. 22 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Chapter 8: 1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. In Numbers 18:20-24, Joshua 13:14, 33, the law said that the needs of all Levites were to be met through people’s tithes. Eli’s sons were priests, so they are supposed to be taken care of by the law. But they took advantage of their position to fulfill their egos; lust, power, possessions, and control. The arrogance undermined the integrity of the whole priesthood. Now Eli knew his sons were evil but never gave them any discipline. God’s sanctuary was threatened, but Eli didn’t care. Eli being the high priest, should have responded by taking action, executing his sons. (Numbers 15:22-31) Eli is responsible for ruining his sons’ life and others, not to mention his own life. When serious problems arise, we must confront them. Even if it is uncomfortable and the consequences are painful. Samuel appointed his sons to be judges over Israel, but they were corrupt as ell, just like Eli’s sons.

It doesn’t get better. Most of the leaders of both kingdoms failed to observe the Torah, where things escalated to one king that was wicked in fulfilling Jerusalem with innocent blood. (2 Kings 24:3-4) The wealthy bribed court officials and the courts accepted bribes. (Amos 5:12-13)

Of course, this did not go unchecked. People stood up and challenged the oppressors. They made sure they reminded them of Moses’ warnings that the oppressive systems would end up ejecting everyone from the land and call those to turn away from their oppressive ways. The prophets warned them about judgment. And that God would establish a kingdom on Earth, and the whole world would have justice and peace.

Babylon and Oppression

I talked a little about oppression, what it means, and how oppression can relate to violence, corruption, veneration, and coercion. The one thing about oppressors is how they can take advantage of the weak. For example, the oppressed can commit crimes, and the crimes are punishable to the fullest extent of the law, while the oppressors commit crimes, and they will get away with it. Black people try to oppress justifiably and ignore it while making black accountability the root cause, not to mention kneeling for the national anthem as a root cause.

Blacks and whites say that no one should kneel over the national anthem and that the United States should respect the Flag. There is the Flag, and there is the military. As Americans, it is a right to be able to protest. There are protocols to follow, but protesting is a part of our democracy. The fact that blacks should keep everything as it is is a disgrace. I hear from black people that there were issues back then about racism and discrimination based on treatment. To whoever says this, do you understand why you feel this way? Because our ancestors made way for us to try to live better. They fought to get where we are at today. It’s not; let’s fight and then stop. You continue to fight and protest every day to make sure we don’t go backward. Our ancestors paid many consequences for doing this, so most blacks who don’t believe in racism and discrimination see it as no such thing. Do you work hard to get your first paycheck and then stop? No, you continue to work hard to ensure you are getting compensation every single time. That’s what black people are doing to ensure we don’t go back to the times of segregation and Jim Crow laws. The way people talk about the Flag is pure Idolatry. It’s a shame to see people get disrespected for protesting during the national anthem.

Idolatry happened in Babylon. We will get to that in a moment. In Genesis, chapters 10 and 11 are where we learn about Babylon. Babylon takes over the Ancient Near East, which includes sacking the city of Jerusalem and razing the temple of God, which is found in 2 Kings 25. Torah mentioned the ancient Israelites were enslaved (meaning the practice of enslaving prisoners of war eventually died out and cause someone to lose their freedom of choice or action) in Egypt for 400 years; this is found in Genesis 15:13 and Exodus 12:40. Several surrounding nations oppressed the Israelites. Babylon is a nation that distinguishes itself in biblical narratives, and the authors described Babylon as flesh-and-blood. When the citizens of Babylon have god-like status, meaning being able to elevate themselves, that’s how the authors described Babylon. Genesis 11:4, “and they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” It’s a significant accomplishment that it is done and that there are human interactions and how to see God. When you have God-like aspirations, things happen. Isaiah describes this in Isaiah 14:12-14. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of the assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Highest. Habukkuk 1:11 talks about how Babylon military worship their own and do not have the God-like mind, such as Idolatry. Reading verse 11, it says, “Then they sweep past like the wind and go on – guilty people, whose own strength is their God. When you ignore others for the pleasure of your success, but make sure that others don’t get to try to make a change, show a real sign of Idolatry, worshiping your own. When people protest, it is not a bad thing to do. It is a sign of the oppressed looking for a change, and nobody should be stopped from protesting and wanting change. The American Flag should not be something you idolize. Habukkuk 1:14-16, humanity is supposed to be like the sea fish- no need to be dominated by rulers to enjoy the ocean. Verse 14, “You have made the people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. Verse 15, “The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet, and so he rejoices and is glad.” Babylon’s taste for conquest and domination is like the fisherman’s with a net. Verse 16, “Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives on luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Greed lives with the oppressors. Every chance they have to get an advantage, they will. Oppressors will make sure the oppressed won’t talk. The empire of Babylon doesn’t last forever. Persian King Cyrus the Great overthrows Babylon and allows nations and Israel to have lands and practice their religion. The word Babylon symbolically refers to oppressive, exploitative systems. The spirit of Babylon lives on, but they were not in charge, which is found in 1 Peter 5:13. John writes down a vision of a mysterious woman named Babylon. She entered all the kingdoms of the world. The first oppressive empire represents humanity’s tendency by evaluating themselves to God-like status by oppressing and dominating the world around Babylon. The writers of scripture believe that shortly after humans founded the empire of Babylon, God began sowing the seeds of a different sort of kingdom.

History and Double Standards of Oppression

What does the Bible say about it? Let’s start here; if you have to define oppression, you are primarily the oppressor. If you experience it, the definition does not need to be determined. The lines of the oppressor are bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Oppression is not new to the world. The old and new testaments are themed with oppression. The first part of that is murder.

Cain killed Abel because of jealousy. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) Beforehand, God gave power to humanity to rule over the care of the world. People use violence and coercion in their ways. Violence is a part of the world so much; it’s a way that controls the world. (Genesis 4:23, 6:5) There was so much violence that God gave humanity a second chance to only a select few people. God sent a flood to wash away the violence, and God gave Noah, his family, and a few animals a second chance. God blessed humanity with power and authority over the world. God told society not to kill; otherwise, someone else will come for you if you kill. In other words, somebody else will kill you. That is how the cycle continued. (Genesis 9:1-6) Within a few generations, violent warrior-king Nimrad begin building an empire. (Genesis 10:8-12, 11:1-9) Because of this continues the cycle of building evil, oppressive empires. How does oppression work?

  1. Violence: The physically strong on an individual level or military strong on a larger scale allows people to take what they want. An example of this biblically is Cain and Pharoah. In today’s world is protesting, our greatest democracy.
  2. Coercion: The threat of negative consequences for not appeasing the power is enough to keep the weak in line. Pharaoh does this when maintaining the children of Israel enslaved by upping their work quota. Today’s example would be Donald Trump and the government shutdown.
  3. Corruption: Powerful people can influence judges to rule in their favor. Influential people can create systems to keep in power.
  4. Veneration: Powerful people want to be like a god. When you place yourself as a source for someone else’s power, security, and status, you get to define right and wrong under the control you have. That means your followers will do the work of oppressing those who oppose you, especially oppressing the people that love you.

Rudy Giuliani, Michael Cohen. Consequences can be death, homelessness, rape, slavery, abuse, and fraud if they stay on the right side of the law. When an oppressed person is on the wrong side of the law, they are helpless against the system. A poor person has to choose between survival and breaking the law or their moral conscience. The oppressor doesn’t face this.

Quoting Jeffrey Kranz: For example, in the book of Proverbs, a sage says he doesn’t want to become wealthy—as this would lead to him denying the Lord. But he also doesn’t want to become poor and choose between starvation and stealing (Proverbs 30:8–9). To some readers, this might seem like an obvious “do the right thing” scenario. If you’re poor, you can still choose to do what’s right and not steal—and if you steal, you face the consequences.

But this is key to understanding how the Bible authors viewed this problem: in an oppressive system, the influential people are already stealing from the weak; they’re just not prosecuted. The prophet Ezekiel says this about the wealthy families, the government authorities, and the religious leaders in Jerusalem during his day:

The land practices extortion and commits robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice. (Ezekiel 22:29)

You can see how this is a problem. Oppressive systems create a double standard, allowing the powerful to get away with things the weak would never be able to do. This isn’t just an issue with primitive civilizations. People are still protesting systemic injustice today. For example, in the USA, a black man accused of paying with a counterfeit $20 bill can lose his life, while a white man accused of ethnic cleansing and war crimes can get his face on the $20 bill.

Oppression is a wheel that keeps spinning. The powerful grows in power, that is easier to take advantage of the weak. Men are taking advantage of women, stronger vs. weaker. Wealthy vs. the poor of oppression. With oppression, it is hard to reverse. The author of Ecclesiastes talks about the power of oppression in Ecc. 5:8,10. The fact is that most oppressors don’t think of themselves as oppressors. The things that make them justify prejudice and corruption are the following:

  • “It was either them or me.”
  • “I’m doing what I have to do to protect my family.”
  • “If I look weak, I’m inviting people to take advantage of me.”
  • “Life’s not fair.”
  • “If they want a different outcome, they should have made better decisions.”
  • “I can’t become complacent and settle for less.”

The exchange of power can happen, but another oppressive force replaces it. The writers of the Bible share the problems of the oppressive systems. Babylon.

Basic Oppression

What is Oppression? The word oppression is a prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. The state of being subject to unfair treatment or management. The mental pressure of distress. Why are there Women’s Rights? What about the LGBTQ community? The Civil Rights? These groups formed because there is oppression in these groups. Let’s look at Women’s Rights—a movement created by four women over a cup of tea in the United States. The group’s purpose is to fight for equal rights and opportunities and greater personal freedom for women.

  • Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law.
  • Women were not allowed to vote.
  • Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation.
  • Married women had no property rights.
  • Husbands had legal power over responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could beat or imprison them with impunity.
  • Divorce and child custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women.
  • Women had to pay property taxes, although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes.
  • Most occupations were closed to women, and when women did work, they pay only a fraction of what men worked.
  • Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law.
  • Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students.
  • With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in church affairs.
  • As a result, women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect and were made dependent on men.

When you are revisiting the word oppression definition, I read many of these things just a moment ago rule under the word oppression. Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law. Women were not allowed to vote; married women had no property rights; it falls under a prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. Women had to pay property taxes, although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes; most occupations were closed to women, and when women did work, they paid only a fraction of what men worked. Oppression falls under the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control. Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect and were made dependent on men. The last part of the oppression definition falls under mental pressure or distress. The backlash when the Women’s Rights group introduced legislation at a convention, multiple attacks came from the press and women who attended the convention. The press’s attack on the articles produced made the women from the convention rethink their position. Still, the negative views about the women’s call for expanded rights were so livid and widespread that it had a positive impact far beyond anything organizers could have hoped. So, the movement developed to get the American civil rights vote, and the women’s rights won the civil rights vote in 1920. However, just because they won did not mean it is a time to end. They continued to march, petition, and lobby for women’s suffrage. A woman named Alice Paul drafted an Equal Rights Amendment for the United States Constitution in 1923. This draft started a second wave of activism in the 1960s. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed, and the Civil Rights Act prevented employment discrimination based on sex, race, religion, and national origin. After the Civil Rights Act was passed, there were new issues that came up. The Women’s Rights group wanted to create women’s shelters and rape crisis hotlines to care for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. They also wanted to develop child care centers so women can work outside the home. The group wanted to work with women’s healthcare professionals to provide birth control and family planning counseling. And the group wanted to offer abortion services for low-income women. After the group planned all of these ideas, the Equal Rights Amendment is re-introduced.

The LGBTQ community is another group that suffers from oppression. June 28, 1969, a series of events between the police and the LGBTQ protesters stretch for six days. Setting it up, Stonewall Inn is a gay bar in New York City. Back then, it was illegal to serve alcohol to a gay person, and homosexuality was a criminal offense. On (The Night of) June 28, plainclothes officers from the New York Police department arrived at Stonewall Inn to raid with a search warrant, which authorized them to investigate the illegal sale of alcohol. One lady tried to slide out of a patrol car, and on the third time, the cop bodily heaved her in, and the community accused the officer of police brutality. It’s from this day forward is when the LGBTQ community started marching in New York. The purpose of the group is to demonstrate equal rights. The FBI doesn’t need to report hate crimes. It shows an incomplete picture of hate crimes and how they can stack up to others, especially in the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Watch works for the LGBTQ community to bring rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people with activists to representing a diversity of identities and issues. Human Rights Watch group documents and expense abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide. It includes torture, killing and executions, arrests under unjust laws, unequal treatment, censorship, medical abuses, discrimination in health and jobs and housing, domestic violence, abuses against and denial of family rights and recognition.

The Civil Rights Movement aims to dedicate activism for equal rights and treatment of African Americans in the United States. In 1868, the 14th Amendment gave Black people equal protection under the law. In 1870, the 15th Amendment granted Black American men the right to vote. Whites were unhappy about this, mainly in the South because Blacks are now on an equal playing field. To marginalize Black people, keep them separated when Black leaders reconstructed (reinterrogate Southern states from Confederacy) to erase the work done. Jim Crow Laws were established in the South in the 19th century. Blacks couldn’t use the same public facilities as whites, live in the same towns, or go to the same school as whites. Interracial marriages were illegal, and Black people couldn’t vote because they could not pass a voter literacy test. Jim Crow Laws were not adopted in the Nothern States, but they still experienced discrimination at jobs, buying a house, or getting an education. Laws were passed in some states limiting voting rights for Black Americans. Before WWII, Blacks worked as low-wage farmers, factory workers, domestics, or servants. When the war-related boomed, blacks were discouraged from joining the military. Thousands of Blacks threatened to march in Washington to demand equal employment rights. An executive order was issued and allowed national defense jobs and other government jobs to all Americans regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin. Tuskegee Airmen broke racial barriers because the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps earned more than 150 distinguished Flying Courses. An Executive Order ended discrimination in the military when the Cold War began. And then, Rosa Parks happened. Parks refused to give up her seat and was arrested. The incident sparked outrage and support. Parks became the “mother of modern-day civil rights movement.” Parks’ courage incited the MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association) boycott, which lasted 381 days. On November 14, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled segregation seating was unconstitutional. In 1954, the Supreme Court made segregation illegal in public schools in Brown v. BOA.

The ruling made this a significant momentum shift in Civil Rights. As always, when you are in the right direction, something always happens. On September 3, 1957, nine Black students, known as the Little Rock Nine, arrived at Central High School to begin classes. Instead, the Arkansas National Guard met the Little Rock Nine (ordered by Governor Orval Fabus) and a screaming, threatening mob. A couple of weeks later, they tried again and made it inside but was removed for their safety when the violence started. President Eisenhower put federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine to and from classes at Central High. Students still faced harassment and prejudice. These efforts brought a significant need for attention to desegregation and fueled protests on both sides of the issue. On September 9, 1957, President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law. The purpose of this law is to make clear about voting. Before Eisenhower signed it into law, it was difficult for Black citizens to vote. The literacy tests were confusing, misleading, and nearly impossible to pass. After Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act, an incident on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, NC, four college students stood against segregation. The college students refused to leave when Woolworth’s lunch counter refused to serve them. The next several days, many people joined their cause. They were known as the Greensboro sit-in.

Some of the protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing. Protesters launched a boycott of all segregated lunch counters until the owners caved and the original four students were finally served at Woolworth’s lunch counter. The efforts established the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to encourage all students to get involved in Civil Rights Movement. On May 4, 1961, 13 Freedom Riders, seven Blacks and six White activists, wanted to test the 1960 decision by the Supreme Court in Baynton v. Virginia. The ruling is that segregation of interstate transportation facilities unconstitutional. The Freedom riders went on a bus tour of the American South to protest segregated bus terminals. Freedom riders got a ton of international attention, so the Freedom Rider expected some violence.

On Mother’s Day, 1961, the bus got to Anniston, AL, where a mob greeted them, and the crowd threw a bomb into the bus. The Freedom Riders escaped but got beaten badly. After finding a bus driver, the journey continued under police escort on May 20, arranged by Robert F. Kennedy (John’s brother) and Governor John Patterson. After the police escort left, the bus was attacked again. On May 24, 1961, a group of Freedom Riders reached Jackson, MS; the group was arrested for trespassing in a whites-only facility and sentenced to 30 days in jail. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction. It was brought to the court’s attention by the NAACP what was going on, so the bus ride continued. In the fall of 1961, the pressure was brought on to the Kennedy administration; the Interstate Commerce Commission issued a regulation prohibiting segregation in interstate transit terminals. Then, the famous march on Washington movement took place on August 28, 1963. It was organized by Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and MLK. Many as 200,000 people of all races met in Washington, D.C., for a peaceful march. The purpose is to force civil rights and establishing job equality for all. I have a dream speech became the slogan for equality and freedom.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, initiated by President John F. Kennedy before his assassination into law on July 2. The incident of Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965, when 600 peaceful demonstrators marched to Selma to Montgomery after the killing of a Black civil rights activist, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by a white police officer and to encourage legislation to enforce the 15th Amendment. When the protesters neared the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were blocked by Alabama state and local police sent by Governor George Wallace, which by the way, is a vocal opponent of desegregation. Protesters refused to stand down, and protesters moved forward and were viciously beaten and tear-gassed by police. Dozen of protesters were hospitalized. MLK pushed for nonviolent protests and eventually gained federal protection for another march. President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law on August 6, 1965. He took the Civil Rights Act of 1964 several steps further by banning all voter literacy tests and provided federal examiners in certain voting jurisdictions. The law also allowed the Attorney General to contest state and local taxes. Poll taxes were unconstitutional in Harper v. Virginia, the state board of elections in 1966. The civil rights movement suffered tragic consequences. On February 21, 1965, former Nation of Islam leader and Organization of Afro-American Unity founder Malcolm X was assassinated at a rally. On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient MLK was assassinated outside his hotel room. Looting and riots followed, which put pressure on the Johnson administration to push through other civil rights laws. Then, the Fair Housing Act became law on April 11, 1968, days after King’s assassination. It prevented housing discrimination based on sex, race, national origin, and religion. This last legislation was the final legislation enacted during the civil rights era. The Civil Rights movement era is an important one because Black Americans and leadership put in tons of effort and risks to put us today.


  1. History of the Women’s Rights Movement – National Women’s ….
  2. Civil Rights Movement: Timeline, Key Events & Leaders ….
  3. LGBT Rights. LGBT Rights | Human Rights Watch. (n.d.).