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Civil Rights and Women's Liberation

            The Civil Rights Movement in the American South in the 1950s and 1960s was one of the most significant and successful social movements in the 20th century. Millions of African Americans fought for achieving racial equality before the law. A major factor in the success of the movement was the strategy of protesting against discrimination without using violence as an alternative to armed uprising. This movement's success inspired many other social movements, including the Women's Liberation Movement. This paper explores the connection between the Civil Rights Movement and the events of the Women's Liberation Movement, occurring in the 1970s-1980s. The latter of the two was the collective social struggle for equality that aimed to eliminate forms of oppression based on gender and to free women from male supremacy. Throughout the paper, the Civil Rights Movement will be regarded as the precedent that opened the doors for the Women's Liberation Movement. It will be discussed that the Civil Rights Movement influenced the Women's Liberation Movement in four key ways. Firstly, it provided women with a model for success on how a successful movement should be organized. Secondly, the Civil Rights Movement broadened the concept of informal leadership to include women, even though black women had to deal with sexism from both white men and black men. Thirdly, by fighting for equality, the Civil Rights Movement changed the culture of advocacy and made social justice a legitimate cause. Finally, by eventually excluding women from formal movement leadership, the Civil Rights movement spurred women to organize their own movement in order to fight for their rights. .
             The activists involved in the Civil Rights Movement gave women a model for success. The protest tactics such as sit-ins, boycotts and marches demonstrated that the movement used demonstrated the power of solving social problems through collective action without being aggressive.

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