American Reform Movements

American Reform Movements


Print page


 Civil Rights Movements

Most people believe that the civil rights movement started in the early 60s but it started even before the 1960s.   African Americans have been fighting for their rights ever since the Constitution!  African Americans fought in the Civil War for their freedom from slavery, this led Congress to pass the 13th Amendment  which abolished slavery in the United States in 1865. In the late 1950s African Americans were finally overcoming segregation. Three leaders that helped the African Americans get their freedom were Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr, and Charles Hamilton Houston.

Harriet Tubman was the conductor of the underground railroad after she escaped herself from the South in 1849.  In 1850 she guided many slaves to the North states and Canada  so they can escape  from the South. This happened during  a time when there was much compromising with the North and South so they wouldn’t have to start a Civil War.

Martin Luther King Jr. is considered the most important figure in the modern fight for civil rights.   He was the reason why many African Americans put their foot down to segregation and fought for their rights to stop being discriminated because of their skin color. King was the greatest civil rights movement leaders in the 20th century because he fought in a nonviolent and public way with his words and actions that inspired many.

Charles Hamilton Houston was known as “The Men Who Killed Jim Crow”.  He was a key prosecutor in almost every civil rights court case used to overturn the effects of the Jim Crow laws of the South. 


  The Women in progressive  movement 

”At the end of the nineteenth century, American politicians, journalists, professionals, and volunteers mobilized on behalf of reforms meant to deal with a variety of social problems associated with industrialization.’

Women played a big role in the progressive movement because they were concerned about many social issues like public health and safety, child labor, women working under dangerous conditions.  Women wanted other women to see what was going on so women can stick together and fight for the rights of their children and themselves. One well known woman in the progressive movement was Jane Addams she believed in an ”individual’s obligation to help his or her community, but she also thought the government could help make Americans’ lives safer and healthier‘.  Jane’s friend Ellen Gates Starr and her were founder of the Hull House it was a settlement house. Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr lobbied for the construction of playgrounds, the setup of kindergartens throughout Chicago, legislation to make factory work safer, child labor laws, and enforcement of anti-drug laws. 


Mexican (Chicano) movement

The Chicano movement was started over conflicts of civil rights in the Hispanic/Mexican community in America.  When President Kennedy went into office he appointed  Hispanics to posts in his administration and also by considered the concerns of the Hispanic community. Latinos but more Mexicans began demanding that change should be made in labor, education, social and political equality. Hispanic students played a big role so they could have an equal education, they formed the Chicano Student Movement.  One of the first actions they took was a walk out of their school as a protest for having a poor education system.

Latinas played a big role as well they were called Chicanas, they wanted equal women’s rights but they didn’t want to join the Women’s Movement because they believed that the Women’s Movement was just for middle class women and not for the poor. There were many leaders in the Chicano Movement like Cesar Chavez, and Dolores Huerta.

Cesar Chavez was the labor leader during the Chicano movement.  He led nonviolent protest by going on a hunger strike.  He wanted to bring attention in low pay labor in farms by starving in his protests.   

Dolores Huerta was a labor leader and civil rights leader as well, she co founded  a workers’ union with Cesar Chavez that is known today as United Farm Workers. Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta were a team together Cesar was the dynamic leader and speaker  and Dolores was  the skilled organizer and tough negotiator.

 If it wasn’t for these movements and all the great leaders that each movement had, I will probably not be here sitting in a class with the whites or having the same education as them. I’ m proud to say I’m an American and that my parents fought so much for their family to be here in America with my brother and I.  America is a place for progress because it gives citizens the freedom to change for the better.