The American Civil War and the Black Lives Matter: Analytical Essay

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The American Civil War stands at the central spot of American history and defines a pivotal movement that would change the course of the nation’s politics and economy. The war, which started in 1861, split America into two factions (Kingseed 3). The central element of the American Civil War was slavery. As slavery flourished in the South, it gradually died out in the North. The then-President Thomas Jefferson condemned slavery as an inhumane act (Kingseed 4). Even though he was a slave owner, he saw the need to abolish legalized slavery. After Jefferson died in 1826, states’ rights and nullification came into conflict, but the significant issue that underscored them was slavery (Kingseed 4). With the end of the civil war and the ratification of the 13th amendment in 1865, slavery was legally abolished (Lebron, “Opinion | Who First Showed Us That Black Lives Matter?”). Nevertheless, the violence against black people increased at an unprecedented scale.

Similarly, the Black Lives Matter movement started in 2013 with the death of Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot seventeen-year-old Martin due to unfounded suspicions (Lebron, The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea x). Later, for the shock of the American black population, Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Martin. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi created #BlackLivesMatter to find justice for Martin’s death. The movement gradually gained traction and started to mobilize actions against discrimination and racial prejudice embedded in the American justice system.

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Both events have parallelisms between each other in terms of the aspects of discrimination and slavery. African Americans, during the time of slavery, were lynched, tortured, and killed. Even after the Civil War, African Americans still underwent discriminatory treatment from the system. Although the American Civil War was fought to abolish slavery in the South, it is also a movement created to eradicate inequality and restore humanity. On a similar scale, the Black Lives Matter movement represents a renewed fight against inequality perpetrated against the black community. Trayvon Martin’s murder is one in a series of incidents targeted against blacks, and it stems from prejudice and racism still existing within the layers of the social and political system.

However, the American Civil War differs from the Black Lives Matter movement in terms of the period of both events. Furthermore, white society played a significant role in driving the fight to the fulfillment of its goals. On the other hand, African Americans stand at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement. Also, in the second movement, a significant share of the fight is done through online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Furthermore, unlike the American Civil War, which was between two factions of America, the Black Lives Matter was a fight against the entire justice system of America to push for reform laws that will protect African-Americans from the discriminatory and racial assaults.

Both events reflect the fact that despite the American Civil War, racism and discrimination still exists within the American society. Moreover, the event is only the beginning of the African-Americans’ efforts to eradicate racial prejudices. Despite the American Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, African-Americans still struggles under discriminatory practices, which only denotes that the fight against inequality and racial injustice is far from over. Therefore, the Black Live Matter movement signifies the evolving nature of the struggle against racial injustice, prejudice, and discrimination.

Works Cited

  1. Day, Elizabeth. “#Blacklivesmatter: The Birth Of A New Civil Rights Movement.”
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