I agree with all of the myths Reed points out to. The myths are the following; that the movement was single handedly started by and led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that the movement suddenly and spontaneously emerged out of nowhere, the exaggeration of the role played by whites, and finally that the only real opposition came from ignorant, pot-bellied southern sheriffs who had ties to the Ku Klux Klan. Perhaps the most common myths in my opinion were that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. single handedly started the civil rights movement and that the only opposition came from people who were part of or had ties with the Ku Klux Klan. However, these are vital points that would have completely changed history and peoples mind set.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more of a spokesman than an actual activist. He spread the word and he was the best at knowing how too. From an early age one learns about this man, his great “I Have a Dream” speech, and many other facts but what we don’t learn about or at least hear much of is the role African American women, students, and over all common working people played. It is of importance to challenge this myth because it is these types of myths that help us lose sense of our self. If we learn of only an important leader, such as Dr. King Jr., to have single handedly led such an important and radical movement it leaves us with the doubt that no one ordinary common folk would be able to. This is the first challenge we, individually must all face but there are more to come.
The second challenge would be that we are taught to think that only the common white population, African Americans would be neighbors, are to blame. How can a civilize white American working for the government not be able to see that segregation is wrong, that the unfair treatment given to blacks even after the civil war is still not civil. The fact is that we are not suppose to question authority, the people who actually allowed the Jim Crow Laws to be enforced and who did not show sympathy towards African Americans. The people who, until they realized how hypocrite they appear to the world fighting against a dictatorship in communist Soviet Union, did not start to give blacks the rights they have now.
The civil rights movement was in actuality, “a fundamentally radical, grassroots, decentralized, mass-based, often women-led movement of thousands of black people (and some white allies) bent on forcing a deeply racist society to grant them freedom, dignity, and economic justice.” (Reed, 5) I believe it is of the most importance to not only challenge these myths but most of what is generally taught to us from a young age, which is written history for us. We are supposed to trust our said teachers because they are suppose to know how to separate truth from myth and educate us with real information. It is not a teacher’s fault that what is written and demanded to be taught in textbooks is not the whole truth but a variation of it. You see, the government knows and was part of the bigger picture and has no intention to educate its people with factual information so that we don’t question them, authority figures. They do it so sleek and cunningly, they make it seem as if they had good intentions and supported blacks the whole time. This is all part of democracy, when “fair” justice is in the hands of not so fair people, mainly politicians, it shifts the power. So instead of democracy actually being democratic, it turns out to be a myth just like what we have learned about the civil rights movement. Democracy really is more a set group of intellectual people controlling the herd, that being us, the general population, in order for us to give consent to certain individuals who we think we voted on based on our current needs, wants, desires.