While I was working on my Bachelor’s degree in History, I had to create a capstone on a chosen topic. I chose to do mine on the Martyrs of the American Civil Right’s movement.
Of course there are several upon several people that could be written about under that category, so I had to narrow it down. I picked a sample portion of the people officially recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as martyrs.
For my research I watched documentaries, read books, legal documents, FBI files, and of course research done by others on helpful websites. To keep these reads short, I intend to just post the portion relative to the martyr mentioned in my paper one at a time.
I hope posting these will inspire people to look the stories up and learn even more about the people mentioned and the history around them. I also intend to continue my research. I truly believe we must remember our past if we are to understand our present world.
Soon, I will post the first martyr that is featured in my paper, but today I will post my capstone introduction below:
A Review of Civil Rights Martyrs
The Modern Civil Rights movement is recognized as being from 1954–1968. In those years there are forty people officially recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “martyrs” of the Civil Rights Movement. Even though there are several martyrs of the Modern Civil Rights movement, only a few are commonly recognized. It is important to not only recognize and remember the martyrs of the movement, but to also acknowledge what some of their legacies mean in terms of the movement.
Martyrdom is traditionally associated with religion and persecution, but it is also used in cases of politics and civil rights. The Merriam — Webster dictionary defines the word “Martyr” as “a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of a principle”. Another definition of the word states that a martyr is anyone who endures suffering because of a belief or principle. While this definition is similar to the one from Webster, it does not stress the idea that the suffering must be voluntary. One of the issues with the term is that some people feel it makes it seem as though the person that lost their lives chose to do so, which is often not the case. The SPLC includes activists targeted and assassinated specifically because of their activism, random victims killed for the purpose of disturbing a movement, and other deaths that bring attention to the struggle
The first Martyr story will be posted on this coming Friday.