From the two videos provided, I fully understood the central message of both museums. Both museums showed significant evidence of the different instances of unjust treatment and segregation that black individuals faced in both places. Themes that were strongly discernible included; segregation, degradation, violence against those who protested, and an apparent lack of acceptance from society (Cooper, 2018). In addition to this evidence at both locations, a few similarities about slavery were made evident and how it seemed like slaves sometimes looked on their lives with relative contentment or resignation to their fate. A few instances were not as clear as the rest but most likely represent how blacks were treated. From these two museums, it is apparent that life for enslaved people and other minorities in the South was rough at best.
I believe segregation began with the civil war and slavery in this world. Segregation occurred in all aspects of life during this time; this included housing patterns and income distributions, transportation patterns, and even medical care. Segregation was prevalent in both Birmingham and Mississippi during the Civil Rights movement because of the violence taking place by society against those who disagreed with segregation and discrimination by whites (Eskew, 2018). If a black person was treated with respect and dignity during this time, they might receive a fair wage and even housing in the Southern states.
Themes 0-2 show how society treated blacks in both places. This treatment was not suitable as it was blatantly discriminatory against blacks. Most of the victims in these two locations knew that segregation was wrong, and they protested against it. Additionally, themes 3-7 show how society treated blacks as part of the civil rights movement that took place at these two sites. Many instances of violence and degradation occurred because whites did not want to see blacks receive any special treatment or rights from them (Cooper, 2018). Segregation, by way of black-only areas, was also shown. Segregation was still intruding on the lives of blacks despite what they tried to achieve during the civil rights movement. Segregation is one of those subjects thought to be over and done with after integration, but it still exists. It has now progressed to become a means by which another race is kept in its place.
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Themes 8-10 show how such segregation is still being practiced today in two different countries. We all know how blacks were poorly treated during slavery. However, segregation is still happening today, as I am sure you have seen recently on your local news. This discrimination and violence against blacks are so severe that some have taken to their self-defense method and have taken up the cause of armed revenge (Eskew, 2018). Segregation has been a part of society for many years, it is not going to go away quickly, and it does not seem that there will be any hope for its abolishment in our lifetime. However, the fight for equality continues in many different ways. One of these ways is through education, equality, and human rights awareness programs such as those offered at two of these museums.
Themes 11-12 show the different ways society has been discriminatory and violent against blacks through segregation and other means, even to this day. We can see blatant examples of such aggression and denigration within these two museums against blacks. This aggression was also not limited only to those who advocated for equality but was also directed at those who refused to follow the rules of society and laws that discriminated against people of color (Cooper, 2018). As we have seen previously, I believe that segregation still exists today in many forms, whether it is defined as an in a one-race area or within a specific racial group, or it is even hidden as discrimination by another race against a minority. Segregation can also be disguised as racism.
During the Civil Rights movement, segregation was the most overt and common form of discrimination that blacks faced. I believe that segregation is easily the most oppressive form of discrimination. This is because it is so apparent, standard, and severe to the victim. It is not just like violence or degradation but a full-on attack on the person’s dignity and self-esteem; this makes it very effective in destroying confidence, self-worth, and ability to succeed in life.
Themes 13-15 show how this was true for many individuals during the civil rights movement and many African Americans today. Segregation was so bad for blacks during the civil rights movement that it almost destroyed their will to succeed in life (Cooper, 2018). Many blacks did not have the confidence and drive to work as hard as whites because they were being held back in every aspect of life and mistreated by society. Even after the civil rights movement, this practice has also affected many blacks today. Therefore, I believe this is why some black individuals reside in poor areas and are more likely to commit crimes even if they are afforded opportunities to do better.
In conclusion, I believe that the civil rights movement and segregation tie together very closely. Segregation was brought to an end, and blacks were allowed to obtain equal rights under the law, but this did not put an end to racism and discrimination. Segregation has been replaced by a new form of racism that is more covert. Just because something is not as obvious does not mean it is not as bad, and thus I think it may be worse because if you do not see it, you cannot fight against it.
Cooper, P. H. (2018). A City Embraces Its Past, Looks to the Future: A Perspective on the Evolution of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The Public Historian, 40(3), 211-231.
Eskew, G. T. (2018). Two Mississippi Museums: Museum of Mississippi History; Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.