Slavery engraved itself on southerners even after the Civil War in which slavery was abolished in 1865. White people still had it cemented in their minds that blacks were slaves and blacks will always be slaves. The slaves were emancipated but not in the minds of the white slave owners. In the early 1950’s the Jim Crow laws were a huge disadvantage for the blacks after the civil war. The Jim Crow laws were meant to keep everything separate but equal. It was certainly separate but definitely not equal!
The Jim Crow laws were made for people that couldn’t afford poll tax and if you couldn’t afford it then you couldn’t vote and as the black people had the worst paid jobs and even in the same jobs the black people would have lower wages than the white employees, it meant they could afford poll tax and so they were politically excluded from the vote. It was a vicious circle. Even after the Jim Crow laws first came about the black people were still a lot worse off than the white people. Black people in Southern states were in disadvantage, in the eyes of whites they were inferior.
They still had worst paid jobs, lived in poorest areas, they had separate toilets, and buses, fountains, beaches and they even had separate education. White people got better facilities than the black. Black people had bad educations as the education figured their money would be better spent on the schools for white children only! This meant that the black people would fail the literacy test you had to take to be able to vote which meant they could not vote and so they had no political say.
They were economically and politically disallowed. There was segregation even in the North however it was somewhat better than the South although the black people had to live in areas such as Harlem a very poor community they were known as the ‘Ghetto’ cities where there was crime drugs and even gun usage. The Ku Klux Klan stirred up hatred and prejudice against blacks, Jews and Catholics. Klan members swore an oath of loyalty to America and to fight any cause government people sector ruler than is foreign to the USA. Quoted from Modern America PG 27).
To me this is completely unacceptable but it is what the KKK believed in. The KKK used racial riots to stir up hatred and it slowly began to grow. A man called Hiram Wesley Evans became the KKK leader in 1923, he was also known as the imperial wizard. Support of the Klan was increasing and spreading quickly across America. The Klan was more so alive in the countryside areas rather than in the main towns.
WW2 began the civil rights movement. It and Martin Luther King brought to people’s attention that all races should be treated equally. Even after desegregation in schools examples such as James Meredith and Elizabeth Eckford showed that discrimination was still occurring. The black fought with the white for the United States of America. Black and White lived and dies for the U. S. A. However this all seemed equal but when the black soldiers returned home from fighting they came home to Jim Crow laws and complete inequality.
Surely this was wrong, I mean black and white fought together but when it came back to everyday life there was still segregation. What was it all about?! They fought and even lost their lives for the United States and still were treated like strangers, intruders even to their homes. College opportunities were provided for white soldiers when they returned home from the war, why was this service not provided for the blacks?! All they had to come back to was Segregation and Jim Crow laws. This is what set people off to realise that the black people were treated very badly and unfairly and something needed to be done about it.
Now even the black people themselves began to think and wonder what they were fighting for as they were treated so much worse than the white soldiers who had fought the same way and most importantly for the same reasons. It made people a lot more aware of the situation and how differently the two races were treated. In 1954 there was a particular issue about a young girl called ‘Linda Brown’ and whether or not she was allowed to attend a local ‘all white’ school. Although the local public school was just one block away but Linda found herself walking twenty blocks to a school that allowed black children to attend.
Surely this was unfair and should be resolved? They had enough trouble finding schools they were able to attend but when they finally did the conditions were poor, they had barely enough teachers to teach the children and the few they did have had no qualifications! They didn’t even have enough text books to supply the children with, this meant that the children were not getting the proper education that they deserved and would be getting if they were at the ‘all white schools’! It wouldn’t have been like this if it hadn’t had been for the board of education spending all its money on the white schools!
Linda’s father ‘Oliver Brown’ got so furious about this he decided to take the ‘ board of education’ to court… unsurprisingly he lost! But with the help of the NAACP Oliver Brown appealed. Eventually on the 19th May 1954 a man called ‘Earl Warren’ announced, “constitution was colour blind! ” They Succeeded. The Supreme Court addend the ‘Topeka board of education’ to end segregation in its schools! Motown music still makes blacks feel discriminated. Bus Boycott was a huge development for the civil rights movement and it made a huge impact.
Rosa Parkes was a huge development in herself she was I think the bravest and most determined woman in the history of civil rights. She kept seated when requested to move by a white racist, but she refused and so she should have, she made a statement for all black people, she said what the white racists needed to hear and that was “no”! Rosa was full of bravery and courage. This focused the worlds attention on the problem of racism, the T. V and media showed people what was happening and brought to everyone’s attention what problems relating to racism there actually were.
Everyone got to see segregation. All of the marches and speeches were available for people to watch on television. This made it able for everyone to recognise what was happening in the world. All of the assassinations were shown on tele too this led to support form other countries which also helped with the financial side, and this was what got king out of prison. All the black victims needed a leader they need someone to follow who would take charge and set a real example. Martin Luther King was their leader and he did a fantastic job of it.
He too had great determination and his methods got the black community a lot of success. Kings idea was ‘non-violence’, he led non violent protests which meant that they would gain more sympathy from the public and as the white people that were against the blacks such as ‘Bull Connor’ who was a local racist police man who would be very violent against King and Kings followers, he hit them with batons viciously shot them to the floor with proper fireman hoses (which are very powerful and painful! and also got there dogs on to them to do as much damage as possible. As the whites were so violent, by king not being violent it made the whites look bad and proved to the public what the white racists were really like which gained even more sympathy for the blacks. King was a great speaker his speeches were fantastic and attracted more people to him; he knew exactly how to get his points across in the best possible way!
His two most famous speeches are ‘ I have a dream. ‘ ‘Promised Land’ They both will always be remembered and used to show what a legend King really was. This also helped him attract sponsorship and money. King was good at using the media and all throughout he kept the white men in the wrong by using his peaceful protests. Malcolm X was also a huge development in the civil rights movement. Malcolm X appealed to those who didn’t follow MLK.
X was for the people who wanted to fight back and get revenge on the white racists, but in my opinion this was not the right way to go about it. MLK had the right idea. The liberal Supreme Court were also a development during the 1950’s they upheld complaints from black people. They declared desegregation on the buses and at school. This made a huge change for the blacks. After this it should be equal and to a certain extent it was but even the laws could not change the minds of some white racists.