A look back at civic engagement and social action from colonial America to contemporary times.
Created by SamKram on Oct 21, 2009
Last updated: 11/18/09 at 12:18 PM
Tags: activism america civic engagement medill news service chicago social movements
American Activism has no followers yet. Be the first one to follow.
Ever since Obama promised to change an ailing health care system, protesters for and against said change have besotted. American cities. Words such as "tea parties" and "public option" have become a part of everyday vernacular.
Sparked by the invasion of Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, anti-war protesters have become a fixture on the nightly news. In early October, many protesters including Cindy Sheehan, who attracted national attention by camping out in front of President Bush's ranch, were arrested in front of the White House.
The organization rallies against hate crimes committed due to sexual orientation and protects the civil liberties of the gay and lesbian community.
The Fund supports legislation that protects tribal land and the rights of tribes who have lost their territories to the U.S. government.
In response to a police raid on a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, protesters took to the streets in what was one of the first major oppositions to the subjugation of the gay community.
Co-founded by César Chávez, the group succeeded in providing Latino and non-Latino workers with improved wages and working conditions. It now covers many other unions and is referred to as the United Farm Workers of America. Chávez was a catalyst for the "Chicano" activist movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Vietnam War and the civil rights movement galvanized a young generation who had become disillusioned with the violence at home and abroad. Activists embraced "counterculture" lifestyles as a means of escaping the strict cultural boundaries that defined past decades.
"Second Wave" advocates including Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem called for the end of sexual discrimination in and out of the workplace and women's liberation from the "cult of domesticity." In 1967, affirmative action was put into effect to promote equal opportunity for women and minorities.
African Americans and whites banded together to protest the racial inequality permeating American society. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, was a response to such activism and legally protected the civil liberties of all citizens no matter their race.
The oldest national Native American organization, the Congress continues to work to protect the rights of Native Americans.
The organization protects the rights of Japanese Americans. It helped defeat the proposed alien land law in California in 1946 by highlighting the contributions made by Japanese citizens of the U.S. In 1987, the House of Representatives voted in favor of formal apologies and financial reimbursements should be made for the Japanese who were forced to live in internment camps during World War II. The group had lobbied tirelessly for this.
The women's suffrage movement finally achieved victory after decades worth of struggle when the 19th amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote.
It may not have been the most popular movement, but temperance activists worked diligently to remove alcohol from daily life with their efforts resulting in the ratification of the 18th Amendment. During the late 1800s and early 20th century, women led marches to various drinking establishments where they would pray for the souls of the patrons and the proprietor.
Founded to combat anti-semitism, the organization has evolved into a defender of all minority groups. It has been very active in the passage of hate crime legislation.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been instrumental in such landmark cases as Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down the "separate but equal" statute. The Association along with other civil rights group championed desegregation during the 1960s.
The Sierra Club, one of the most influential environmental groups in the U.S., was founded in May of 1892 to advance conservation efforts. Since then, countless organization have taken up the mantle of protecting our natural resources and advocating a "greener" lifestyle.
Thanks to the political maneuverings of abolitionists, African-American men secured the right to vote under the 15th Amendment. However, women were not allowed voting rights and Jim Crow laws prevented many black men from going to the polls.
The convention was the brainchild of notable suffragists Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The convention attendants drafted the Declaration of Sentiments, which proposed that "all men and women are created equal."
Frederick Douglass, one of the most famous African-American abolitionists, successfully escaped his master by fleeing to New York. Douglass founded an abolitionist newspaper and met with President Lincoln on several occasions.
The abolitionist movement became a "militant" endeavor around 1830 and sought the immediate freedom of slaves as well as civil rights for individuals of every color. Slavery was finally made illegal through the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865.
Colonists begin to openly challenge parliamentary law including wrongful taxation, which would ultimately result in the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775.
Quakers in Germantown, Pa. stage the first formal protest against slavery in North America by signing the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery. Many Quakers would become major figures on the activist circuit including Susan B. Anthony and Jane Adams.
"PBS in the Classroom: Activism Timeline" http://www.pbs.org/niot/get_involved/timeline.html "Black Past Organization: African American History Timeline" http://www.blackpast.org/?q=timelines/african-american-history-timeline-1600-1700 "Ohio History Central: Temperance Movement" http://www.blackpast.org/?q=timelines/african-american-history-timeline-1600-1700 "The United States Constitution" http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html "Columbia University: Stonewall and Beyond" http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eresources/exhibitions/sw25/case1.html