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The Next Civil Rights Movement? A Comparison of Roma and African American Freedom Struggles

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Abstract:

One of the most serious human rights issues facing the European Union is the pervasive discrimination against the Roma population in Eastern Europe. The Roma are systematically denied access to housing, education, employment, and health care. As the EU expands to incorporate these regions, the Roma are seeking strategies to fight this oppression.The situation of the Roma is strikingly similar to that of African Americans in the South before the mid-1960s. Both share a history of slavery and oppression, as well as a recognition that their own communities must lead the fight for reform. In fact, some Roma leaders have explicitly identified themselves with the American civil rights movement, saying that they are ?waiting for their Martin Luther King, Jr.?This paper examines similarities in the experiences of these two groups. The African American experience in the South may indeed offer lessons for the Roma, but first the historical context for these two struggles must be examined. Just as the American civil rights movement was a defining moment in the history of freedom struggles within the United States, the struggle of the Roma to secure fair treatment will be a defining issue for Europe in the twenty-first century. In 2002/2003, I was a Fulbright lecturer in Slovakia, during which time I began the research upon which this paper is based. I hope my research will contribute to the development of policy recommendations, for the EU, the governments of Eastern Europe and the Roma community.
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Name: International Studies Association
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MLA Citation:

Emmons, Caroline. "The Next Civil Rights Movement? A Comparison of Roma and African American Freedom Struggles" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA, Mar 22, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p98183_index.html>

APA Citation:

Emmons, C. S. , 2006-03-22 "The Next Civil Rights Movement? A Comparison of Roma and African American Freedom Struggles" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p98183_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: One of the most serious human rights issues facing the European Union is the pervasive discrimination against the Roma population in Eastern Europe. The Roma are systematically denied access to housing, education, employment, and health care. As the EU expands to incorporate these regions, the Roma are seeking strategies to fight this oppression.The situation of the Roma is strikingly similar to that of African Americans in the South before the mid-1960s. Both share a history of slavery and oppression, as well as a recognition that their own communities must lead the fight for reform. In fact, some Roma leaders have explicitly identified themselves with the American civil rights movement, saying that they are ?waiting for their Martin Luther King, Jr.?This paper examines similarities in the experiences of these two groups. The African American experience in the South may indeed offer lessons for the Roma, but first the historical context for these two struggles must be examined. Just as the American civil rights movement was a defining moment in the history of freedom struggles within the United States, the struggle of the Roma to secure fair treatment will be a defining issue for Europe in the twenty-first century. In 2002/2003, I was a Fulbright lecturer in Slovakia, during which time I began the research upon which this paper is based. I hope my research will contribute to the development of policy recommendations, for the EU, the governments of Eastern Europe and the Roma community.

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