The Impact of Journalism on the Civil Rights Movement
The aim of this research is to uncover more of the stories behind the story of racism during the Civil Rights Movements. The scope of this research encompasses a look at how a band of idealist journalist changed the civil Rights movement (Whitaker 34).
Media has the ability to describe history by using journalism as a tool to break down stereotypes, help educate, present the truth and influence the public. Bridges have been built between people who would otherwise have nothing in common as a result of media educating about other cultures within the whole of the population. During the Civil Rights Movement, the media helped to display to the entire country and the world the immense and menacing racial tensions afflicting the southern states. As a result, people began to demand changes in the laws, and situations slowly continued to improve over time.
Journalists during the Civil Rights Movement had the ability to change the way blacks in the United States existed because they were able to use their affinity and authority to influence the public to demand changes in the laws. One such journalist was Osborne Elliot, a Caucasian editor of Newsweek magazine, who published “The Negro in America: What Must Be Done” (Whitaker 37).
He and other journalists wanted readers to understand the black point of view and perspective of the social issues they were facing on a daily basis. While covering issues during the Watts riot, one of the journalists named Fleming suffered a fractured skull and jaw when black militants chased him while he covered the “son of Watts” protests. His empathetic response was, “If I was a young black man growing up on the streets of Watts…I might feel like hitting some white guy in the head, too” (Whitaker 37).
The courage that journalist had during the civil rights movements as they delved into the heart of the dirty realities of racism and segregation proved of paramount importance to catapult America into the present day of equality and equal opportunities for all citizens.
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