How Important Was The Role Of African Americans Themselves In Achieving Political And Civil Equality For African Americans In The Usa Between 1945 And 1965?

3568 words - 15 pages

Although America claims to be the 'land of the free' and offer equal opportunities to all, there has always been racial prejudice and discrimination to people who are not of WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon, protestant) origin. Whether it has been discrimination by de jure of de facto nobody can question that it existed and still exists to a lesser extent today.As a result of the many social changes brought about by the war, such as economic prosperity, campaigning by black activists for equal rights took a new direction. Civil Rights for African Americans improved between 1945 and 1965 for a number of reasons. Among these were the black civil rights movement, the support of white liberals, the ...view middle of the document...

All public amenities were segregated in the south and black facilities were inferior to the white facilities.Attitudes began to change amongst white liberals who were conscious of the US role in the Cold War, how could America champion individual freedom in the world, while denying it to and important minority in its own country? The Cold War also had an adverse effect on campaigning groups, they could be accused of communism, and therefore the NAACP was banned in Alabama in 1956.Due to the rise of television and car ownership, white Americans became more aware of how black people were treated in the south, where violence against them was greater and where discrimination was more systematic. Campaigners came to rely on publicity of TV (This evidence is soft, qualitative evidence), as horrified white liberals saw racist southern police at work.Black soldiers who had travelled to the UK and other European countries during the war had enjoyed a taste of racial integration; many returned home looking for similar integration at home. The biggest black campaigning group at the time was the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People), their membership increased from 50,000 to 200,000(this is quantative, hard evidence) during the war, they were represented in nearly every state. The NAACP concentrated their efforts on securing equality for blacks through the supreme courts, they saw the constitution as the protector of their rights and utilised what it said, they challenged the 'separate but equal' ruling in schools on 17th May 1954, in a landmark case 'Brown vs. Board of education. The black leaders in the NAACP played a major leading role in securing this victory and others like at Little Rock High School.However such victories would have been impossible without the influence of important white people, white liberal lawyers worked with the NAACP and provided legal aid. Also in 1953 Judge Earl Warren was appointed as chief justice, he led the Supreme Court into its most liberal and radical phase between 1953 and 1969. In the case of Little Rock High School, intervention from Eisenhower was needed to ensure that black students could enter the school, he sent 1000 members of the 101st Airborne division to protect students.In the years after the Brown decision, other civil rights organizations departed from the reform strategy and placed more emphasis on protest and mass mobilization. Stands of defiance, such as Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus, played a major part in gaining support for protests and demonstrations. When she was arrested, it gave Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) (The participation of such an organisation shows the Christian aims of the movement) a platform to launch a political protest. The Montgomery Bus Boycott started in March 1955, it caused massive losses to bus companies as they relied on blacks using public transport. The success of the boycott can be...

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