Civil Rights Movement, Types, Leaders, and Activists

CIVIL RIGHTS

In the 21st century today, there is a lot of awareness about civil rights and the privileges of people or citizens of a country. People are finding out more and more about their rights wherever they are. It is very important to know what your civil rights are and how you can fully exercise them to the fullest without fear. The civil rights movement in the US started during the marginalization of African Americans in the 50s and 60s. There are different categories of rights generally but we will be focusing solely on civil rights and political rights. Civil and political rights go hand-in-hand and work together because they deal with related issues and have a lot in common.

In this article, we will be exploring civil rights, political rights, their characters and intricacies, the history of how it came about, and basically everything pertaining to civil rights and how it affects us directly and indirectly.

WHAT ARE CIVIL RIGHTS?

Definition

Civil rights are the fundamental entitlements granted to humans under a democratic system of government where there is equality and fairness in the political system regardless of sex, race, religion, nationality, political association, disability, color, cultural beliefs, or locality. These are rights of individuals that are not to be interfered with by other humans, social organizations, or even the government. No one has the right to infringe on these rights. Civil rights are also called political rights because they circulate the political system. Civil rights give people political freedom and they are to be exercised without any form of discrimination whatsoever. Infringement of a person’s social and political right is an offense punishable by the law.

POLITICAL RIGHTS

Political rights are rights that have to do with the political freedom of people. It has to do with the freedom and right everyone has to vote and participate in politics without being forced or coerced into it and also without any form of intimidation whatsoever.

CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Slavery
Picture of slaves

After the abolishment of slavery during the civil war, discrimination was still an issue for blacks and other races of skin color. They were still treated differently and were victims of racism and they had to endure a lot of violence and hate crimes against them by the whites. When they had enough of it all, they, alongside some white people who wanted to help them fight started the civil rights movement. This movement took place for almost 20 years. during this movement, black people tried as much as possible to take up public offices and to be in leadership positions so that they can make some changes in the system. Prior to that, black people were not allowed to vote or exercise any political power or freedom. They did not have equal protection rights with the white people. The first turning point was in 1868 when the blacks were granted equal protection rights as the whites under the country’s 14th amendment. This great feat was followed by the approval of voting and enfranchisement of the black American men under the 15th amendment in 1970. Some whites, however, were not pleased with this development especially the ones in the South. They in a bid to frustrate the progress the blacks were making, decided to come up with a set of laws called the Jim Crow laws.

JIM CROW LAWS

These laws were created by some of the whites who didn’t agree with the move for blacks to be equal to the whites, these were the ones from the south. They made laws that stopped blacks from being in the same environment as whites, separate churches, separate parks, separate towns, public bathrooms were separated. Interracial marriage between blacks and whites was illegal and voting was more difficult for the blacks because a literacy test was introduced and no one can vote without passing the literacy test. Most of the blacks weren’t literate so they couldn’t pass the test which meant they weren’t going to vote. Although these laws were not approved in the northern states, the blacks in those states still couldn’t live free and normal lives. They were still being discriminated against in public places and it was very difficult for them to get into schools.

PLESSY VERSUS FERGUSON CASE

This started up as a result of an event that took place on a public train that happened on the 7th day of June in  1892  when an African American passenger, Plessy bought a train ticket from New Orleans to Louisiana and took a seat in a whites-only car seat. He boarded a train car and refused to sit in the side meant for black people. After failed attempts by the conductor to have him leave, he was arrested and thrown in jail. He was convicted and filed a petition against the n then presiding judge, hon. Ferguson with the claim that his conviction was a violation of the equal rights acts under the 14th amendment. Prior to that, in the early 1880s, the blacks and whites moved and mixed together, but after the laws passed by the senate, “Negroes” and colored people can not be in the same railroad cars as whites. This was the law that led to the Plessy versus Ferguson case.

The ruling of this case was that the blacks would ride in separate cars from the whites but they’ll be of equal standards.

TYPES OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND EXAMPLES

The following are the various types of civil rights;

RIGHT TO LIFE

This is the most important of the civil right. Without this right, no other right can be exercised. The right to life is based on the belief that no one is permitted or has the right to take a life except in a situation where a person is convicted although, in some countries, it is illegal to serve someone the death penalty. Other than that, no one is permitted to take another’s life unlawfully. Murder is a very serious offense in any part of the world because it is an infringement of the number one fundamental human right of all rights. Whenever the government is about to make a major decision, it has to consider the lives of its citizens and whether or not they’ll be in danger. According to the European Convention on Human Rights which was amended on 1st June 2010, no one is to be subjected to torture, inhumane treatment, or any degrading treatment or punishment

RIGHT TO LIBERTY AND SECURITY

This right deals with the state/ government ensuring the security of its citizens and residents.  And everyone has a right to make whatever decision they want and to be free. No person will be denied their rights and liberties except in the following cases;

  • Lawful detention after conviction by a court of law
  • Detention of a person for educational purposes  under educational supervision
  • Deportation of illegal migrants

RIGHT TO EQUALITY

This right states that we are all equal under the law and everyone is entitled to equality in every aspect of life for all classes and groups of people, whether old or young, rich or poor, male or female, Muslim or Christian, black or white, everyone is equal with equal rights and privileges. And everyone will be judged the same way and treated alike. This right implies that we are all equal before the eyes of the law and we all should have equal opportunities and fair hearing in the justice system.

RIGHT TO VOTE AND BE VOTED FOR

This is also known as the right to suffrage which is the right to vote and be voted for in public elections. Voting is arguably the most important part of any government. And voting is the process through which a leader is chosen in any state. Every citizen is supposed to vote to be eligible to contest in public offices. Contesting in public offices should be a right open to all citizens. In some parts of the world, however, women are not given the right to vote on any issue concerning the public because they are seen as weaker vessels who should not be involved in politics. Some of these places have even made it taboo for a woman to be caught trying to participate in politics. Some let women vote but never let them go as far as running for public offices based on the belief that men are not to be governed or ruled by a woman, under no circumstance. Thankfully, the world is gradually waking up to the capabilities of women and the fact that women can offer a lot only if they are given the chance to do so. There are however limitations to the right to vote and be voted for. They are;

  • Insanity; people who are not in their right minds are stripped of their rights to suffrage because they cannot make proper and logical decisions that will be beneficial to the state.
  • Conviction; convicts are stripped of their rights to participate in any form of politics in any state
  • Age; no person under the legal age of eighteen (18) is allowed to participate in any electoral process as they are considered as minors.
  • Nationality; a person has to be a citizen of a state before he or she is suitable to vote in that state. Migrants are not allowed to participate in elections unless they have fulfilled all conditions for naturalization.
  • Sex; In some countries, women are not allowed to vote or be voted for into public offices.

FREEDOM OF DECISION

Everybody is free to make their decisions the way they want and do what pleases them as far as it is not illegal or it doesn’t go against any law of the  state.No one is to be discriminated against based on their looks or gender or sexual preferences. Everyone is to be respected regardless of their preferences.

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

This is the right that lets everyone move as they like and move around to wherever they please without being obstructed by individuals or the government. The freedom of movement is only limited however to public places or government-owned places. Getting into private properties without proper permission or a warrant is called trespassing or harassment and is an infringement on the right or freedom of movement. A conviction can also be a limit to the freedom of movement because if you are arrested, and a case is being investigated, you might be required to remain within the state for questioning until proven innocent.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION

We all have our beliefs and religions. There are a lot of religions in the world like Christianity, Islam, traditionalism, Buddhism, etc. These religions have their practices and it’s all based on personal preference. So on no account and under no circumstance should anybody be forced to practice religion against their will or wish. And each religion should respect the other accordingly.

RIGHT TO PRIVATE AND FAMILY RIGHT

These are rights that give you and your family the right to keep all happening in your life private without the interference of any individual, organization, or government. Only you can give anybody else the right to be involved in your personal affairs and dealings as far as it’s not illegal or against the laws of the state. Sometimes police investigations can be a limitation to these rights when they are dealing with cases and need to investigate properly.

LIMITATIONS TO CIVIL RIGHTS

As much as rights are not to be messed with or abused by anyone, there are some limitations that stop these rights from being abused by some individuals. Some of these rights are taken away from people as part of a punishment for an action that was against the good of the state. Although rights are very important and are not supposed to be interfered with, there are some instances where rights are generally limited.

They are:

  •  Stopping a criminal from committing more crimes and harming others around; when the police are stopping a criminal who is on the run, if he or she gets violent, it is not a crime if the police shoot the person in question to stop him or her from harming them and others.
  • In order to stop a riot in a  lawful action; if there’s a riot that gets out of hand and violent, lives can be lost in the process which limits the right to life.
  • To effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a lawful convict/detainee
  • In a military government; the right to life is limited when the government in power is not a democratic system of government.
  • Conviction; Being convicted can be a limitation to a person exercising their rights and privileges. Being convicted can  have an individual stripped of their voting rights, freedom of movement, rights to privacy among others
  • Age; For some rights, age is a very limiting factor. for instance, a person who is not legally an adult cannot exercise the right to vote.
  • Crises; in cases of crises or terrorism attacks, the right to movement is limited, the right to life is even infringed on.
  • Military government; rights are only applicable in a democratic system of government. In military governments, almost all the rights of citizens are taken away from them and they are punished when they try to fight for those rights.

SLAVERY AND FORCED LABOUR BEFORE CIVIL RIGHTS

Slavery was a very common thing before the movement for civil rights even began. In fact, wealth was measured by the number of slaves a  person had. People were forced into labor against their will, especially the African-Americans at that time. The European Convention on Human Rights however states (i.e after the civil rights movement was established) that;

  1.  No one shall be held in slavery or servitude
  2. No one shall be required to perform any form of forced or compulsory labor

However, there are exceptions to the term, “forced labor” they are;

  1.  Any work that needs to be done as detention or conditional release
  2. Any service that is in the interest and well-being of a community
  3. Civic obligations
  4. Any service of a military character

 CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS AND ACTIVISTS

These are people who have led movements for the rights of others. They stand up for themselves and give voices to others to fight for their rights. They are known for their fights against oppression and injustice of any kind. Some were even jailed for standing up and fighting and some died in the process. The first activists recognized in history are honored with monuments and public holidays. These people changed the course of history and because of them, people have become free and access their rights that were initially denied them. Their struggles will never be forgotten. Some of these activists are;

OLYMPE DE GOUGE

A french woman born originally by the name of Marie Gouze born on 7th May 1748. She was a playwright and political activist in France who began her playwright career in 1780 and started speaking out against the slave trade in French colonies in the year 1788.

She used her writing and plays to send out public messages to the government on their policies regarding women and slavery that she didn’t agree to. In 1971, she published an article on the public declaration of women and of the female citizen, she advocated for french women to have the same rights and privileges as french men. This however was frowned upon by french men and the government. She was executed on the 3rd of November 1793  by a guillotine for going against the Revolutionary government and for being associated with the Girondins.

HARRIET TUBMAN

Born as Araminta Ross, in March 1820 in Maryland, Harriet was a black slave, born into slavery. She experienced slavery first hand and as a child, she was whipped, beaten, and maltreated by her masters. She survived a very severe injury as a child. She was hit and injured severely when her master wanted to hit someone with a heavy piece of metal and ended up hitting her instead.

After she recovered from that injury, she started having spiritual visions and encounters which she said were from God. Harriet was a very religious person because of this. In the year 1849, Harriet managed to escape from her masters to Philadelphia where she became a free person. But she wanted to help others get out of slavery so she went back to Maryland for her family and friends. Bit by bit, she went to and fro to help other slaves escape.

At some point, she was wanted by the slave masters but they couldn’t get a hold of her. She was known as Moses or Minty by both the slaves and the masters looking for her. She rescued over 70 people in 13 trips and it is vital to note that none of these people were caught or died in the process. They all made it through successfully. Harriet advocated for the rights of black women and black slaves.

In 1850, a law was passed against slaves who were fugitives and she joined forces with a man named John Brown and they led slaves further to Canada. She also worked in the underground railroad first as a cook, then a nurse, and then as a spy for the Union army. She is known as the first woman to lead a movement during the civil war. She planned and led the Combahee raid at the Combahee River in southern Carolina were over 700 slaves regained their freedom. Harriet retired in 1859 in her home in Auburn, New York where she was taking care of her two aged parents before she fell ill and eventually passed on on 10th March 1913  of pneumonia in a home she helped established for olf African-Americans. She was aged 93.

FELA KUTI

Born as Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti ON 15TH October 1938, was the son of Nigeria’s women’s rights advocate Funmilayo Ransome Kuti in an average middle-class family in Abeokuta. his father was a reverend and he was a cousin to the prolific playwright Wole Soyinka.

In 1958, his parents sent him to London to study medicine which he changed to music and started his career in music where he chose the trumpet as his major instrument. He formed a band named Koola Lobitos which was jazz and high life band. In 1960, he married his first wife, Remi who gave him 3 children one of which is now a renowned musician like his father. He moved back to Nigeria in 1963, then moved to Ghana in 1967  then to the US in 1969  where he stayed for 10 months. He met Sandra Smith and found out about the Black Panther Movement which changed and shaped his political beliefs and his music. In 1970, he came back to Nigeria and reformed the name of his band to Nigeria 70.

He stopped singing love songs and started singing on political and social issues in Nigeria. He named his house the Kalakuta Republic which housed his family, had a recording studio and a health facility. He declared Kalakuta free and an independent community from Nigeria. He set up the African Shrine and changed his name to Anipulako directly translated in Yoruba to ‘he who carries death in his pouch. He released the song zombie which was criticizing the then-military government in Nigeria. That led to soldiers coming to beat him severely and burn down his residence. He responded to this attack by sending his mother’s coffin to the residence of the then General Olusegun Obasanjo and sang ‘ coffin for head of state’ and ‘Unknown Soldier.

He moved then to Crossroads hotel after Kalakuta was burnt down and decided to marry 27 women in 1978. These women were mostly dancers, singers, and performers with his band. He did this to debunk rumors that he kidnapped and kept women with him against their will. He married them so that it will be that these women were staying in his house legally so that the government will not have a reason to say he kidnaped or abducted the women. and women are;

  • Suru Eriomola
  • Shade Shodeinde
  • Alake Anipulako Kuti
  • Laide Kuti
  •  Damiregba Kuti
  • Omotola Osaeti
  •  Ronke Odason
  • Remilekun Taylor
  •  Funmi Kuti
  • Kikelomo Oseyni
  • Naa Lamiley
  • Aduni Idowu
  •  Sewaa Kuti
  • Kevwe Oghomienor
  • Omolara Shosanya
  • Ihase Anipulako
  • Folake Oladejo
  • Tokunbo Akran
  • Adejonwo Ogunitro
  • Emaruagheru Afesumo
  • Tejumade Adebiyi
  • Omowumi Oyedele
  • Najite Kuti
  • Bose Kuti
  • Adeola Williams
  •  Lara Kuti
  • Omowunmi Afesumo

Despite his many wives which he later divorced, Fela surprisingly had only 8 children most of which are following in his footsteps. They are;

  • Femi Kuti; is Fela’s first son who sings afrobeat just like his father born 16th June 1962 born in London and raised in Lagos. He started music by playing the saxophone in his father’s band and then he started his own band. He, just like his father is a nationalist and activist against bad government. He started writing his songs after the death of his father. He released Africa for Africa album to reiterate the bad governance issue his father was talking about.
  • Seun Kuti
  • Yeni Kuti
  • Sola Kuti
  • Kunle Kuti
  • Omosalewa Kuti
  • Motunrayo Kuti

Fela Kuti was arrested over 200 times in his lifetime because of his open opposition to the government. He was vocal in his views on corruption in Nigeria and Africa. the longest time he spent in jail was 20 months in Nigeria in 1984. Kuti was known all over Africa, he has a concert in ghana where a riot broke out while he was performing his ‘zombie’ album. After this, he was banned from Ghana for life and was not to be seen there under any circumstance. He was a traditionalist who believed that colonialism is the problem of Nigeria and Africa. Fela wanted to run for president at one time but was denied candidacy by the government. He formed his own political party which he called Movement Of the People (MOP) which was meant to clean society like a mop.

He eventually stopped releasing albums in the 90s due to his deteriorating health. Rumor has it that he refused to treat himself of it. On 3rd August 1997, his death was announced by his brother Okiloye Ransome-Kuti. He died of AiDs a day before and didn’t treat it because he was an AIDs denialist although his wife always said he didn’t die of AIDS.  Fela lived a very controversial life and sent out messages and made impacts that have not and will not be forgotten quickly because of how much it has affected Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

Malcolm X

A picture of Malcolm X
A picture of Malcolm X

Born as Malcolm Little on 19th May 1925 in Nebraska to Helen Little and Earl Little, he was the fourth child out of seven children. Both his parents were activists for Negro rights as his father had lost four brothers to racist issues with the whites. They moved to Michigan in 1926 because of threats from the Ku Klux Klan.  His father died when he was six in an alleged car accident although his mom strongly believed that his father was murdered by the Black Legion, a racist group that didn’t like how Earl opposed them. they struggled after his father’s death as not all of his benefits were released to his family because some alleged that he committed suicide.

in 1938, she suffered a nervous breakdown and was sent to a hospital which resulted in the children who were minors at that time to be sent to different foster homes. He attended Junior High school and started high school but dropped out in 1941 because his teacher had told him that his dreams to become a lawyer were unrealistic as a black man. After dropping out, he stayed with his half-sister for a while and then moved to Harlem in Newyork where he got on the railroad and he also he got into a lot of bad habits like pimping, robbery, gambling and he even had sex with others just to get some money. During the second world war, he was called up by the military but he pretended to be mentally unstable.  After the war, he went to Boston and got into robbing rich white families and he got caught one day at a repair shop where he went to fix a stolen watch. In February of 1946, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for breaking and entering. His siblings wrote to him while he was in prison about a religious group called the Nation of Islam and he took interest in it.

It was an African-American movement that portrayed the image of the whites as devils. prior to that, everyone in prison knew he hated religion in any form and nicknamed him “satan”. But all thee changed when his brother told him about the Nation of  Islam. He stopped smoking cigarettes and stopped eating pork. He wrote to the leader of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad, Elijah who told him to pray and seek forgiveness from God and make his ways right which he did and became a member of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm changed his surname from “little” to “X” because Muhammad told them to do so and also to honor his African roots and background that he will never know. He hated the name “Little” because it was the name of his slave master.

Meanwhile, the FBI had their eyes on him after he wrote a letter from prison to president Truman telling him of his communist beliefs. Even when he got out, they were still on his trail because they thought he had dealing with communism still but their interests shifted to his serious involvement in the movement of the Nation Of Islam. he married Betsy Sanders in January of 1958 and had six daughters; Atallah, Quibilah, Ilyasah, Gamilah Lumumba, Malika, and then Malaak.

He first came into the limelight in 1957 when an African-American nation of Islam was being beaten by the police and when another member tried to intervene, he was severely beaten and severely injured. He was taken to jail without medical treatment and when Malcolm X heard about it, he went and demanded to see the man at the police station. The policemen initially refused to let him but when they saw that a crowd of African-Americans was gathering, they let Malcolm see the prisoner and he insisted that he be taken to the hospital.

They reluctantly agreed to let him go to the hospital. when they came back to the station after his injuries were treated, there was more crowd of African, American Muslims, while Malcolm and an attorney tried to get bail for their brethren to no avail. Malcolm came out and dismissed the thousands who were outside with a wave of his hand without a word and they all left. this surprised the policemen there and he was put under surveillance after that incident. Malcolm always preached in line with the nation’s belief system which was that;

  • blacks were supreme to the whites
  • the blacks are the real owners of the world
  • the whites are devils

Malcolm didn’t entirely agree with African American civil rights movements because he said they were settling for less. He called the activists stooges of the whites. He opposes the NAACP and its statements about nonviolence saying that the Blackman needs to be defended by all by means necessary. He also opposed the NAACP’s objective which was to get equal rights as the whites, he said the African-Americans should be taken back to Africa to lead-free lives or let the blacks be given their own country separate from America. The NAACP disassociated itself from him and all he stood for. His major audience and followers were the African Americans from the northern and western cities who believed that he bore and related to them better than the NAACP. They were tired of being peaceful and nonviolent.

He met Cassius Clay who was a boxer and convinced him to join the Nation of Islam, where he mentored him. Cassius was later renamed Mohammed Ali by Muhammed Elijah and they became very close friends. On the 8th of March, of 1964, Malcolm left the Nation Of Islam for Sunni Islam and although he tried to convince his friend, clay to join him, he refused and ended up leaving alone. Ali broke ties with him and later said it was his greatest regret.

After leaving the Nation of Islam, he changed his name to Malcolm Shabazz and he founded his own religious movement, the Muslim Mosque and the Organisation Of African Unity, went on to different places and spoke about the rights of blacks, he went on pilgrimage to Mecca and even gained an audience with the prince. He went to Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria where he was given the nickname Olawale ( he who has come home) by the students he spoke to, visited France, Cairo, the United Kingdom among other Places. however,  it was rumored that Muhammed Elijah was envious of him and his movement and the Nation Of Islam began threatening his life and his family, they had his car bombed and even burnt his house this all happened in 1964.

1964 was the period where Malcolm received a lot of threats to his life. On February 21st, 1965, was getting ready to give a speech when he was attacked and shot in the chest, arms, legs, and shoulder with a total of 21 gunshot wounds. Eyewitnesses identified the gunmen as Nation members who were Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3x Butler, and Thomas 15x Johnson. They were tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died at age 39. Although his life was brutally cut short and the world knew that he had so much to offer, Malcolm X still remains one of the greatest civil rights activists to ever live and will never be forgotten.

MIRIAM MAKEBA

Born on the 3rd of March 1932, Miriam Zenzile Makeba in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her birth was a very troubling one for both her and her mom as they both almost died in the process. when Miriam was 18 days old, her mum has arrested for selling a local beer of malt and cornmeal that was illegal. As the family was a low-income family, they couldn’t pay the fine that came with the mother, Christina Makeba’s sentence, so she had to serve the sentence of six months. And since  Miriam was still a baby, she was taken to jail alongside her mother. So, she spent the first six months of her life in jail. Miriam’s father, Caswell Makeba died when she was just six years old forcing her to take up jobs in order to support her mother at an early age.

She was a protestant and sang in church and also in her school in Pretoria. She grew up with her grandmother and her cousins because her mother had to leave her and her seven siblings to go find a job and she often worked far away. in 1949, Miriam married a man at 17, James Kubay who was training to be a policeman then. He physically abused and beat her within their two years of marriage and left her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a child for him which she named Bongi Makeba. After her failed marriage, she began her music career when she joined a music group, the Cuban brothers a south African all-male band.

When she turned 21, she then joined another male band, The Manhattan brothers and then the Skylarks in 1956. She sang with these two groups and met Nelson Mandela who was not so popular then while she went to sing with the Manhattan brothers. as she kept singing, her song became the first South African song to make it to the US top charts. All her performances were for mixed races so this gave her a high profile with the whites. She performed in different dramas and movies lend her voice to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa that made policies that affected the non_white south Africans. Makeba participated in many of these plays, dramas, and movies while she was in the US and the South African government did not support this as she was involved in public opposition to their policies.

She married a man known as Sonny Pillay, who was also a South African musician but the marriage lasted for just a few months. on the 21st of March, 1960, a massacre took place in Sharpeville and Makeba learned that her mother died in the massacre and she was denied access back into the country to attend her mother’s funeral and pay her last respects to her. prior to that, Miriam never sang any songs concerning all that was happening in her country, but this triggered her and made her start to do so. Her voice became louder and while she was there, she made friends with Africans and other black Americans who could relate to the struggles she sang about. She married Hugh Mkela again in 1963 and they were together for five years.

She testified against the South Africa National Party government at the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid and she asked for sanctions on them. because of this, her music was completely banned from South Africa and she was completely banned from coming into South Africa after which she moved to the US. This caused her to double up on her efforts to bring down the South African apartheid government. She married a man, Carmichael Stokely in 1968, but shortly after her marriage, she lost favor with the Americans because her husband was a member of the black panther party. She divorced him in 1978 after about 15 years of marriage.

The Police thought she wanted to antagonize the US government and she was under surveillance for a while until she was banned from the US too when she went on a vacation to the Bahamas with her husband. This caused her to move to Guinea where she started recording songs directly criticizing the US government and its racist policies. referring to the death of Malcolm X and Patrice Lumumba. Her hits were “Pata Pata”, “Lumumba”, “Nkosi Sikelei’ iAfrika”. The song “Nkosi Sikelei’ iAfrika” was what gave her the nickname “Mama Africa”.

She released a song, “Soweto Blues”.to talk about the Soweto Uprising that took place and caused the death of hundreds of students in Soweto written by Hugh Masakela in 1976.  she married Bageot Bah in 1981. Makeba supported the cause of Nelson Mandela and was one of the top leaders who led protests for his release. She made quite an impact even though she wasn’t in South Africa. After Mandela was released, he was convived her to return to South Africa with her French passport.

She agreed and went back in June of 1990  and started recording songs and released her “Eyes on Tomorrow” album in 1991 and starred in the movie “Sarafina” in 1992 that depicted the Soweto Uprising of 1976.  She kept on performing, releasing more songs, featuring in documentaries until she had a heart attack while performing her hit song “Pata Pata” in Italy. She received a lot of awards and recognition in her life for good and outstanding music and for her activism. Her legacy is still being celebrated in South Africa by everyone.

MARIE FOSTER

Born on October 24, 1917, was a dental assistant in Selma Alabama and she also worked with the civil rights movements in the 1960s in US.  She was dedicated to helping African-Americans get registered to vote and organizing marches that were aimed at fighting for the rights of the African Americans to vote in elections. She was part of a group called the Dallas County Voters League. She said she joined the fight for civil rights, in Selma because the racism there was really bad.

She tried registering to vote eight different times but she was not granted because there was a very high standard set for the registration of black voters. When she finally got registered for the 9th time, she decided she would teach other black people how to pass their registration tests that were made difficult for them to pass. Gradually, word spread around that she was teaching African Americans how to write and pass those voting tests and she received an influx of a lot of African Americans.

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