The Civil Rights Movement vs. The BLM Protests: A Comparative Analysis

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The Civil Rights Movement was marred by the Malcolm X and Martin Luther King assassinations. More on that here. On the other hand, the Black Lives Matter protests were incited by the extrajudicial killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. They happened amid an economic recession, nationwide lockdown, and climate change concerns.

Let’s see how close a resemblance the BLM protests bear to the CRM.

The Purpose

CRM was a social movement against systemic racism and segregation between the mid-1950s and late-1960s.

While CRM happened within the US, BLM was more of an international movement that started within the US but quickly spread to neighboring Canada and across the pond. Its main goal was to end racially motivated police violence against the black community.

The Dissemination of News

There was no Twitter or Facebook—no internet—during the ’50s and ’60s. During this time, the CRM found an unlikely ally in the press. Previously overshadowed by news about white people and reportage of black criminal activity, the white press soon found competition in the black press. The African American media became an avenue of protest and a way to spread the word for civil rights activists.

Conversely, it was much easier to disseminate news during the BLM protests. The movement began using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter to keep people updated, pressurize the criminal justice system and Congress to do right by the victims, and pass police reform bills.

Civil Rights Act signing

The Power of Boycotts

Both movements are non-violent. They were carried forward through peaceful protests, fliers, news media, and boycotts. The latter was an incredibly powerful force for positive change during the CRM.

Take the Montgomery Bus Boycott, for instance. Announced by the Montgomery Improvement Association after Rosa Parks was arrested for violating segregating laws, this 381-day boycott brought the operating bus company to its knees.

Conversely, BLM protestors carried out a Black Friday boycott in Ferguson when a grand jury decided not to indict the killer of a black teen, resulting in an 11% reduction in sales in 2014.

More Comparative Analysis to Come on Kennedys and King

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