RobertRichardson had a huge contribution to social change in the Americansociety during the civil rights era. He changed the role of media inreporting incidences of mass actions, protests, and violentdemonstrations. On 11thof August 1965, Watts, a neighborhood in Los Angeles experience acivil unrest which resulted in deadly protests that lasted for aperiod of a week. The protests were sparked by an incidence where anAfrican American driver was arrested for driving under the influenceof alcohol. He resisted the arrest, which resulted in a roadsidefight. The community reaction resulted in a deadly confrontation withthe police (Norrell, 2006). Robert Richardson played a critical rolein the unrest. At that time, he was a messenger for the Los AngelesTimes. On the third day of the unrest, he risked his life andvolunteered to the news department to cover the events and provide aneyewitness account through a phone. This has a huge impact on thecoverage of the riots in the media. Before the Watts riots, therewere not African American reporters in American media. Richardsoncontribution changed the social perception and attitudes towardsAfrican Americans. Consequently, there was an increase in the numberof black reporters in American media (Norrell, 2006).
CesarChavez was a human rights activist who contributed to social changein the United States. He is one of the most recognized LatinoAmerican civil rights activists and American labor movement leadersin the second half of the 20th century. Cesar Chavez played animportant role in the formation of the United Farm Workers Union. Hispublic relations philosophies attracted a lot of media attention,which increased the effectiveness of his activism. Over and aboveunionism to promote workers` rights, he used nonviolent andaggressive tactics to bring about social changes in the Americansociety. Chavez initiated workers strikes that pushed for betterworking conditions and higher wages. In the early 1970s, he organizedone of the largest workers strikes in the United States, The SaladBowl Strike. Chavez also shaped public opinions about illegalimmigrant workers in the United States due to their impacts onbargaining powers of workers unions. His most important contributionwas the enactment of the “Agricultural Labor Relations Act” andformation of “Agricultural Labor Relations Board” in California(Bardacke, 2011).
MartinLuther King Jr.
MartinLuther King Jr. is the most celebrated civil rights activists in theUnited States. He played an important role in advancing civil rights,especially the African Americans and minorities’ rights. Kingpushed for social changes through abolishment of formal racialdiscrimination and segregation in the United States. Together withother civil rights movement leaders, King organized nonviolent civildisobedient such as boycotts and protest marches. They were aimed atforcing the government through the legislature to abolish laws thatdiscriminated individuals based on their race. His speech, ‘I havea dream’ during the march on Washington earned him the reputationof a great orator. Additionally, his activism attracted a lot ofmedia attention, which enhanced his ability to initiate socialchange. The civil rights and inclusiveness visible in the Americansociety today can be attributed to the work of Martin Luther King Jr.(Nagelhout, 2016).
Bardacke,F. (2011). TramplingOut the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United FarmWorkers.New York and London: Verso.
Nagelhout,R. (2016). MartinLuther King Jr.New York: Gareth Stevens Publishing.
Norrell,R. (2006). TheHouse I Live In: Race in the American Century.New York: Oxford University Press.