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Free At Last: The U.S. Civil Rights Movement - download pdf or read online

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Sample text

Considered by many the finest oration ever delivered by an American, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech drew on themes from the Bible and from such iconic American texts as the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. King organized his remarks in the style and structure of a sermon, the kind he had delivered at many a Sunday morning church service. The speech began by linking the civil rights cause to earlier promises unfulfilled. ” When the nation’s founders wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, “they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

And that had extended to the unofficial-but-understood idea among baseball officials and team owners since before the turn of the century that the major leagues were for white players only. Blacks would have to play on their own circuit, the Negro leagues. But then came Robinson, bursting past the color barrier on April 15, 1947, as an infielder for the team in the racially diverse New York City borough of Brooklyn. He became a pioneering symbol that transcended sports, a large first step on a lengthy path toward driving home the concept of equality.

On a personal level, Brown’s real legacy is that it serves as a constant reminder that each child, each of us, is somebody. ” Even then, resistance continued in parts of the South. In September 1957, when black students were forcibly turned away from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, Marshall flew to the city and filed suit in federal court. His victory in this case set the stage for President Dwight Eisenhower’s declaration of September 24: “I have today issued an Executive Order directing the use of troops under federal authority to aid in the execution of federal law at Little Rock, Arkansas....

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