Published Sunday, February 17, 2013

BHM: Civil Rights movement was pivotal struggle for equality

By TYLER BYRD

Madras Middle School

(Editor’s Note: Tyler Byrd is one of four Madras students chosen to read portions of their essays at the school’s Black History Month Program.)

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Although the Civil Rights Movement took place 50 years ago, it is important that people globally remember these events.

History has a significant impact on my future as well as yours. Therefore, it is our obligation to share with you the importance of remembering this pivotal struggle for equality.

Remembering our ancestors, their pain, and their struggles made it possible for all Americans to have equal rights and opportunities.

On February 1, 1960, four African-American male students entered into a store in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Although the students were allowed to purchase materials for school, they were not allowed to eat at the store’s lunch counter because the lunch counter was still segregated.

As a result, the students remained at the counter and refused to move. This was called a sit-in, and because of sit-ins, all citizens, regardless of race, have the right to eat at restaurants of their choice and not be denied service.

Additionally, Rosa Parks refused to move from a seat that blacks weren’t allowed to sit in when white passengers were waiting.

She was sent to jail.

This act of civil disobedience made it possible for me to sit in a seat of my choice on the school bus.

Today, I am not challenged with painful consequences, harsh penalties, or cruel injustices simply because of the color of my skin.

If individuals forget the past, generations to come will lack knowledge of where our country came from and appreciation for where we are today.

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