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The Civil Rights Movement:

Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education:


The year 1954 was a momentous one in the history of Black Americans. It was in the year that the Supreme Court finally declared that the e istence of separate schools for white and !lack children a"ainst the constitution and therefore ille"al. This was the first #ictory in a campai"n for !lack people$s ri"hts known as ci#il %i"hts &o#ements. In 1'9() the supreme court decided that it was le"al to ha#e se"re"ated schools as lon" as they were *separate !ut e+ual,. The dau"hter of -li#er Brown was e pected to walk .1 !locks to an all/!lack school) when a !etter all/white school was 0 !locks away. The 1AAC2 decided to take matters to the 3istrict Court. The 3istrict Court ruled in fa#our of the 1'9( law. 10th &ay 1954) Supreme Court ruled that the school se"re"ation should end. -nce the decision was made) nothin" happened) this was !ecause of permissi#e le"islation. 2resident 4isenhower was worried !ecause he !elie#ed that dese"re"ation) if forced) would not work. In 1955) mem!ership of the 5u 5lu 5lan rose dramatically. .. southern senators issued the *Southern &anifesto,. In 6anuary 195() all elementary schools in Topeka were or"anised !y area rather than !y colour of their skin. This was seen as a #ictory.

Segregation Law and attitudes in the southern states:


The 6im Crow laws or se"re"ation laws were in motion from 1'0( until 19(5. They se"re"ated pu!lic schools) pu!lic transport and e#en pu!lic places. The *Black Codes, alon"side the 6im Crow laws limited ci#il ri"hts and ci#il li!erties of Black Americans. This included not !ein" allowed to #ote) a poll ta that they could not afford to pay) and a literacy test marked !y a 7hite American who would nearly always fail them. Black American soldiers returnin" from 77II increasin"ly challen"ed these se"re"ation laws. 8owe#er) it was more difficult to challen"e attitudes than the actual law itself. &any !usinesses and e#en some white indi#iduals created their own 6im Crow style laws. This meant that many Black Americans found that they could not !uy houses in certain areas) could not find work with certain companies and could not "et taken on in certain skilled trades.

lu! lan:
The 5u 5lu 5lan was founded in 1'(( !y soldiers from the Confederate Army I1 SI9 S-:T84%1 STAT4S. It$s purpose was to maintain sla#ery) "ain re#en"e for the loss of the Ci#il 7ar to the northern states and make sure that the Black Americans would not !ecome e+ual citi;ens in the southern states at least. The 5lan had !een at its hei"ht !efore 77I. In 191< alone) (0 Black Americans had !een lynched) !ut it was not until 195. that the lynchin"s actually came to an end. -nce the Ci#il %i"hts mo#ement !e"an it$s actions in the 195<$s) 5lan "roups were re/ esta!lished to challen"e the mo#ement.

8ouses were !om!ed) people intimidated and e#en assassinated. In Atlanta alone) o#er 4< homes were !om!ed in 1951/5.. &any murders were ne#er reported. As Black Americans could not #ote and =uries were often white only) !lacks did not e pect to "et a #erdict that was in their fa#our. 5lansmen had close links with the local police and "o#ernment) and used this to continue their intimidation. >eaders of the Ci#il %i"hts mo#ement were murdered) !ut at least some of the murderers were put on trial and found "uilty.

The Challenge at Little Rock" #$%&:


This was the first real test of 4isenhower and the ?ederal "o#ernment$s determination to end all se"re"ation in schools. In 1954) the :S Supreme Court announced that se"re"ation in schools was ille"al. Arkansas) like many states in the south) did little to dese"re"ate its schools. In 1950) a local newspaper) the Arkansas State 2ress) !e"an a campai"n to force dese"re"ation. The school !oard and the city$s mayor a"reed that token efforts should !e made to accept the law dese"re"atin" schools. 8owe#er) the @o#enor of Arkansas) -r#al ?au!us did not a"ree. 1ine !lack students had !een re"istered to attend >ittle %ock Central 8i"h School) !ut when school started) ?au!us called out the national @uard) in order to stop the students enterin". 3ay 1A/ The nine !lack students did not turn up. 3ay .A/ They failed to "et in. Septem!er .BrdA/ "ot in !ut mo!s formed outside. The e#ents at >ittle %ock had a num!er of effects and not all were in fa#our of the Black Americans. ?our parents of the students lost their =o!s) mem!ership of the 5u 5lu 5lan "rew and the @o#enor !ecame a hero in many people$s eyes. 4#en thou"h >ittle %ock reopened as a dese"re"ated school in 19(<) four years later only BC of it$s students were Black Americans. 8owe#er) e#ents at >ittle %ock did show the rest of the :SA the scale of the pro!lem.

Rosa 'arks and the Montgomer( Bus Bo(cott:


-n 1st 3ecem!er 1955) %osa 2arks was arrested for !reakin") not for the first time) the !us se"re"ation law. She tra#elled on the same !us e#ery ni"ht. -n this occasion as the !us !ecame full she was asked to mo#e to another seat as her seat was in the whites only section of the !us. She refused and the dri#er stopped the !us and her arrested. She was dischar"ed from her =o! at a department store) con#icted and fined. 3ecem!er) 1955A/ %osa went to the 1AAC2) and a"reed to !ecome a test case) e#en thou"h she knew it would lead to more trou!le. There was a one/day !oycott of the !uses) !ut this soon turned into a lon"er !oycott) now known as the &ont"omery Bus Boycott. Black Americans walked and started carpoolin" to work. Dery soon the companies were losin" money. 7hite "roups retaliated. &artin >uther 5in") who used his car to "et people to work) was arrested and =ailed for

speedin" in 6anuary 195(. 4#en thou"h his house was !om!ed) the !oycott continued. ?or the ne t 1. months) o#er 10) <<< Black Americans in &ont"omery refused to use the !us ser#ices. 7ithin a week carpools were esta!lished. At one time o#er .<< #ehicles were on the roads) many run !y local churches. The !oycott continued for nearly 1. months. The :S Supreme Court made !us se"re"ation ille"al. This !e"an on .<th 3ecem!er 195(. 6une) 195( E . federal =ud"es ruled that the se"re"ation law was unconstitutional E the :S Supreme Court a"reed. She continued her work for the 1AAC2.

Living standards for Black )mericans:


6im Crow laws played an important part in dama"in" the +uality of life of most Black Americans. The laws limited the opportunities for work and many Black Americans mo#ed north when they had the chance. This was called the @reat &i"ration and it !e"an !efore the ?irst 7orld 7ar and continued up to) durin" and after the Second 7orld 7ar. Black American sportsmen$s chances to compete had !een limited throu"hout the first half of the .<th Century. It was not until the late 195<s and 19(<s that !lack sportsmen and women really !e"an to participate in !ase!all and American foot!all) as well as tennis and at the -lympic @ames. The data in Source 6 Fpa"e 14BG is not typical for Black American li#es. :nemployment was twice as hi"h as for 7hite Americans and 5< per cent of Black Americans li#ed in po#erty. Het the Second 7orld 7ar had shown many of them that life could !e !etter. Standards of li#in" had risen for all Americans durin" the war. 7hit Americans took part in a consumer !oom) !uyin" washin" machines) frid"es) and cars for their new homes !ein" !uilt in the su!ur!s. 8owe#er) althou"h many Black Americans had fou"ht a"ainst the racism of 8itler in the Second 7orld 7ar) chan"e for the Black Americans was #ery slow. They were not allowed to li#e in the su!ur!s) !ut "athered in towns settin" up their own communities. These communities "rew fast as Black Americans mo#ed north to work in the new factories in places like Chica"o. Those stayin" in the south continued workin" on farms) !ut also saw the "rowth in the industries that were helped !y the chan"es to race laws that were no lon"er "oin" to sit !ack and let thin"s continue as they had done E as e#ents at &ont"omery and and >ittle %ock had pro#ed.

Black Americans in the 1950s:


The race riot was one of .5 which took place ri"ht across the country in 1919. These riots !etween !lack people and white people were the worst that had taken place up to that time. Se"re"ation and inferior facilities for !lack people were a fact of life in the South.

Source .A/ *Hou would !e confronted with e#ery concei#a!le o!stacle to takin" that most important walk a 1e"ro American can take today E the walk to the !allot !o . . . ., Source BA/ *and no!ody cared whether they did or did not. . . ., Source 4 descri!es the life of a !lack family of si teen) li#in" in a three !edroom shack in &ississippi in the early 194<s. They sur#i#ed on a !asic income of =ust I.B< a year / at a time when the a#era"e car worker$s annual wa"e was I1)(9<. FCause of C%&G As in the 19.<s) racial #iolence also continued after the war. This) and the difficulty of haltin" discrimination and #iolence) is reflected in Source (. FA cartoon from the &ilwaukee 6ournal) 194'G In &ississippi in 1955) a 14 year/old !lack !oy) 4mmett Till from Chica"o) was !eaten to death for whistlin" at a white woman. A !lack "irl who was 14 herself at the time remem!ers her reaction to the murder. *The fear of !ein" killed =ust !ecause I was !lack. This was the worst of my fears. . . ., The ne t e tract is !y a socialist) &ichael 8arrin"ton. 8e in#esti"ated po#erty in the :SA in 19(.. 8e set out deli!erately