Sunday, January 17, 2021

Civil Rights Movement Myths That Are Taught in School

civil rights - racial justice

*For the majority of the people, history sure can be a yawn-inducing subject. And to understand all that’s happened in the past just further complicates things.

Even the people who have tried to solve the mysteries from the past or tried to ‘correct’ the facts may have over generalized and that too in the wrong direction! Maybe the way you learned about some people from the past presented them as the good guys and they later came to be known as the bad guys. Who knows!

Willing to see how different the told history and real history could be and recognize the messiness you have borne through the school years? The easiest example to explain our case is the Civil Rights Movement.

Let’s start at the beginning and debunk some Civil Rights Movement myths that are taught in school.

1.    Myth: Slavery Ended In 1865

Yes, the civil war ended that year i.e. in 1865. Of course it did! The Emancipation Proclamation meanwhile went into effect and punched slavery right in the face and that’s no forgery. You know this, right?

However, not everything is the same as it is presented. Winning a war and saying “Slavery is abolished!” doesn’t actually work to stop slavery. It is not any more effective than telling your dog to not eat your homework.

In reality, they didn’t do much to end slavery after the end of the Civil War. They did something much, much more American; they simply rebranded the scheme, although on a relatively smaller scale.

2.    Myth: Malcolm X Was a Violent Radical, While Martin Luther King, Jr. Was All About Pacifism

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. are seen as two sides of the same coin in the history. Malcolm X was the militant major who preached violence whereas Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pacifist which was Gandhi-like. However, both of them were pushing for the same results.

The reality is more complex than you think. Malcolm didn’t really favor attacking the government through all his military talk. He emphasized that the blacks should be prepared to defend themselves when need be, even violently but never by initiating violence.

3.    Myth: Martin Luther King Died as One of the Most Beloved Civil Rights Leaders

Do you think there is a figure more controversial than Martin Luther King in the American History? It is not like there aren’t people who don’t hate him but when you get to meet a hater, you naturally presume they have spent a lot of time on white nationalist note boards.

Nonetheless, history writers like to avoid points or events that will mess up the rote stories taught in the classrooms.  For the majority of his last years, the King protested American involvement in Vietnam and promoted activism for the social reprieve of the poor people. All this may sound nice to a lot of you reading this, but it was all this that ruined that King at that time.

So how did these myths surprise you? We’re certain they did!

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