There are legacies of the past that continue to animate politics today in Texas and around the country. As a Confederate state that left the Union during the Civil War, Texas has faced a long history of civil rights challenges. As you learn in Module 2, civil rights are protections against arbitrary or discriminatory actions of other individuals or the government. Though the dismantlement of Jim Crow laws was accomplished by federal court rulings, laws, and constitutional amendments, the real work of challenging the prevailing attitudes and institutions of racism was found on the streets in places like Houston and Austin.
For this reflective essay, I’d like you to watch three short documentaries (the total time required is about 30 minutes) and take note of the following:
- The types of discrimination described in the videos
- The ways in which individual Texans took action against racism and discrimination
- The branch(es) and levels of government to which activists looked for redress of their grievances
The Houston Civil Rights Movement Part 1
Austin Revealed: Chicano Civil Rights “Rise of Mexican-Americans in Politics”
1979-81 SPECIAL REPORT: “VIETNAMESE VS. KU KLUX KLAN”
Once you have watched the videos and compiled your notes, you will write an essay in which you weigh the evidence and answer these questions:
- Paragraph 1: What role did state government play or not play in the three examples of civil rights in Texas?
- Paragraph 2: What other levels of government were involved in the disputes (local? federal?)?
- Paragraph 3: What branch of government seemed to play the most important role in dispute resolution in the three disputes (legislative, executive, or judicial)? Be specific.
- Paragraph 4: What role, if any, did civil rights groups play in each of the three examples?
- Paragraph 5: What have you learned from doing this assignment that you didn’t know beforehand?
I want to assess your understanding of the assigned readings in Module 2, so you must write in your own words (no quotes, no paraphrases, no copy/paste from websites, etc.). To earn full points you must demonstrate your understanding by responding to the prompts in a well-written essay of at least 400 words (that’s about 1.5 pages double-spaced in 12-point font). Please use spell/grammar check (I like http://www.Grammarly.com (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) or take advantage of free writing help through HCC’s Upswing (hccs.upswing.io (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Writing well takes time and practice; I encourage you to give yourself the time needed to practice (i.e., write in drafts) and do well.