Civil Rights Movement: Didn't Change The Attitudes Of Many White Americans

669 words - 3 pages

By the end of the 1950s the Civil Rights movement was seen as a success because of the awareness it raised to the public. However it didn’t seem to change the attitudes of many white Americans.
During the 1950s there were major events and decisions to enforce the end of segregation in schools. One of these major decisions was Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education. In this case the NAACP challenged the right of the local school boards, to run segregated schools and on the 17th May 1954, the Supreme Court decided that segregation in schools was illegal under the constitution as “separate but equal”. In 1957 the events in Little Rock proved to be further progress for the Civil Rights movement. Nine black teenagers were set to attend Little Rock Central High School, when they were refused entry to the school by the National Guard. The media played a critical part in events that followed at Little Rock. They highlighted the white backlash ...view middle of the document...

This arrest resulted in a twenty four hour bus boycott, which was so successful, it continued until bus companies agreed to end segregation; it was commonly known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott was extremely damaging to bus companies as they lost a huge majority of their passengers. Demonstrations made by white Americans were not effective and in 1956 the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was illegal and on 20 December, over a year from the beginning of the boycott, the bus company gave in. The bus boycott was a psychological turning point and it showed how well - organised the Civil Rights movement was.
Even though the Civil Rights movement changed many laws, it did not change the attitudes of many white Americans. The Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education case in fact led to an increase in Ku Klux Klan membership and it also made it more likely for black children to be bullied at school. The events at Little Rock saw the parents of the nine black students lose their jobs. This was not good as unemployment was already twice as high for Black Americans and almost 50% of black Americans lived in poverty in the 1950s. The students carried on being bullied and attacked by white students. Governor Faubus was seen as a “hero” by many white people. The law for desegregation in schools did not continue in many southern states because laws did not state a timescale. The bus segregation laws increased tensions and led to many blacks being attacked in the street. Also laws on buses did not cover interstate buses, stations and waiting rooms. The Jim Crow laws limited the living standards for Black Americans as they prevented Black Americans from being able to find work. Also literacy tests made it almost impossible for black Americans to vote; as they were normally marked by white Americans.
Overall, the Civil Rights movement did achieve great success in reducing segregation by the end of the 1950s.  It increased awareness of the problem of racism and protested for change.  Thanks to the protesting of the Civil Rights Movement they managed to gain the right to vote for blacks and also helped to get desegregation in schools.  

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