Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement

There are several similarities between the Movement to Educate Children who have Disabilities and Unique Learning Needs and the Civil Rights Movement. Both are social movements that are informally structured and have large groups of supporters with a common purpose. Both movements are interests driven with Movement to Educate Children with Disabilities focusing on equal education and ensuring children with disabilities received a free public education and other individual needs (Georgetown University Law Library, 2021). Similarly, the Civil Rights movement focused on achieving equal rights for African Americans. The social movements have also been created by disadvantaged groups to ensure that the government hears their grievances. Both movements aim to improve society and for the betterment and well-being of society.

Even though the movements are similar, they are also different in many ways. Some methods used are very different. Unlike Civil Rights Movement, the Movement to Educate Children who have Disabilities and Unique Learning Needs was created during major technological changes, and the internet makes everything easier (Georgetown University Law Library, 2021). Communication is much more accessible making it easier to conduct awareness and reach a wider audience. Recruitment of members is done online. The Civil Rights Movement was conducted through protests on the streets and even door-to-door awareness.

The two movements are also different in terms of purpose and history. The Civil Rights Movement was created by African Americans and their associates to fight against racial segregation, institutionalized racial discrimination, and disenfranchisement (Riches, 2017). This incorporates their ability to use public facilities, to vote, get jobs like other races and participate in sports. The movement was created during the reconstruction era and made gains during the mid-1960s after years of grassroots protests and direct actions. It is thought to have largely started in the 1950s, but Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the baseball major leagues in the 1940s.

On the other hand, the Movement to Educate Children who have Disabilities and Unique Learning Needs focuses on educational services and equal rights for children with disabilities. For those with physical disabilities, through The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the movement strives to ensure accessibility of resources such as wheelchair ramps, elevators, and modified restrooms and shower stalls (Georgetown University Law Library, 2021). For those with learning disabilities, the movement ensures they receive an education in the least restrictive environment possible. For those with health impairments, the movement strives to ensure the schools provide the necessary resources or staff training to meet the needs of the student.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court decided on the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 with the Court ruling that the establishment of racial segregation in schools by the state laws was unconstitutional (Turner, 2020). Before that famous decision, for the most part, schools for African-American children were anything but equal to the schools attended by white children. In many cases, the black schools had non-working heating systems. This case fits into this discussion since it involves incorporates the Civil Rights movement. Integration of schools was the only way to begin to give equal opportunity to black children, in terms of education (Georgetown University Law Library, 2021). Of course, the primary thrust of “the Civil Rights Movement” was to get equality for people of color. Therefore, school integration was of the utmost importance. This ruling significantly helped the movement to Educate Children who have Disabilities through IDEA. IDEA originated from the Civil Rights Movement which led to the rise of Brown v. Bd. of Education.



Georgetown University Law Library. (2021). A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States: The Equal Education Movement. Guides. Retrieved from

Riches, W. (2017). The civil rights movement: Struggle and resistance (First Ed). New York: Macmillan International Higher Education.

Turner, R. (2020). Was Brown v. Board of Education Correctly Decided?. Md. L. Rev. Online, 79(1), 41.



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