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US Marshals in Civil Rights Era Essay

Pages:5 (1551 words)



Topic:Civil Rights

Document Type:Essay


The History of US Marshals in Civil Rights Era

The American society was polarized with the African Americans having a lower edge of protection as opposed to the white majority. The state vowed to protect them against harm but in doing so, formulated a federal agency to carry it out swiftly. U.S. marshals are held in high regard in society since they serve the American people. During slavery, a federal agency was formed through a Judiciary act in the constitution to help handle fugitives. Policing America was necessary post-segregation era since the African Americans needed protection against harm, discrimination, and criminalization. The U.S. marshals provided security for them, fulfilling their duty of call to the American people.

The first Congress created the U.S. Marshals under President George Washington. The president signed into law the Judiciary act on September 24, 1789, which charged the marshals with the enforcement of laws and actions in federal courts. They assisted the courts to serve subpoenas, warrants, and capture federal fugitives even though they evolved to handle day to day law enforcement duties in counties that had no local government. In the 19th century during the American Frontier, U.S. marshals served as the day to day law enforcement agencies, maintaining law and order in counties with no local governments. They kept law and order in the "Old West era" until 1850 when the Fugitive slave act was signed, and they changed their duties to capturing escaped slaves, especially in the south. In some states, they are known for their legendary heroism and their role in maintaining law and order when none existed.

The American society was polarized, with the African Americans having a lower edge of protection as opposed to the white majority. The U.S. Marshals were charged with rescuing and capturing escaped slaves for the abolitionists in the North. Their role during the civil rights movement was crucial since the agency helped fight segregation, enforced the Fugitive Slave law of 1850 which required them to capture and return escaped slaves to their masters who resided in the south.

However, the U.S. marshals traveled to protect the black citizens in the south of America. Black citizens were exercising their civil rights under the 14th and 15th amendments of the constitution. The height of the civil rights movement saw a lot of black citizens get segregated, but the marshals stepped in an escorted one girl to grade school. She is the famous Ruby Bridges, who is the first black-American girl to desegregate an all-white William Frantz school in Louisiana during the peak of the civil rights movement where the blacks were demanding equality.

Ruby Bridges was the only black child to desegregate in a white school during the peak of the civil rights movement. Born into poverty, she was among the selected students who were to do a test to qualify them entry into the white-dominated schools. Racism was real, and there was much resistance for her as she had to be escorted by…

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…was posted in the corner of the 15th avenue to keep track of the buses ferrying people into the march. There were numerous fears of violence and infiltration from other groups to delegitimize the intentions of the parade. US Marshal Luke Moore and Deputy US Marshal Richard Kirkland Bowden both worked within the crowds to control any form of violence that might have threatened to occur at that time. The crowd was full and heavy on the morning of August 28, 1963. Despite the fears of violence, the U.S. marshals ensured that they stayed until 8 pm to guarantee the safety of the attendees and other citizens who might have been around the event.

The U.S. marshals today hold one of the highest regards in the police services. They are regarded for their high handedness, protection of the American people and maintenance of law and order. They ensure that fugitives, escaped convicts, and unwanted criminals in society are kept in the right place. They also ensure witnesses are protected and that the justice system is straightened for the good of society. Their mantra started when it was formed, and their main goal was to protect the American people, they have done that to this day. During the civil rights movement, which was a crucial time in the country, they helped provide security to segregated African Americans, and this showed their commitment to protecting the American people and not just a select race. In most American states, they are known for their legendary…

Sample Source(s) Used


Larry K. Gaines, V. E. (2014). Policing in America. New York: Routledge.

Skocpol, T. (1999). Advocates without Members: the recent transformation of American civic life. In T. Skocpol, Civic Engagement in American Democracy (pp. 461-480). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

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