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Describe the extent of segregation and discrimination against Black people in the USA in the late 1940s and

1950s During this period of time, the Black people of the USA suffered a great deal of discrimination, in particular segregation. There were aspects of their daily lives where the discrimination and segregation were particularly bad. For example, education, voting, public places and legal rights. The north was significantly better than the south in most aspects and although there were improvements, these improvements werent enough to make black peoples lives same standards as the whites. In my opinion, the most significant form of segregation was within education. Education is an important aspect of everyones lives and to have a limited, or no, education would bring a massive impact on the rest of their lives. For example a limited education led to not being able to vote. This is political but education can also be economical, as more intelligent people can bring in more money. Public places links with transport and these are examples of how there were segregation in the social parts of the black peoples lives. Education was extremely segregated, and not even the change could change the extent of this. There were very few integrated schools in both the north and south and in the south, the majority of the top universities were all white. Not only was there segregation of the schools, there was also segregation of how the different coloured children were treated. In South Carolina, schools spent $179 per white child yet only $43 per black child and the pupil teacher ratio was 20% better in white schools. Although a report in 1952 said that between 1940 and 1950, the percentage of black children in schools had increased more than whites had increased. This is an improvement as it means black children were getting a better education than before. However despite this, by 1950 Negroes over the age of 25 had still only had 7 years of education, whereas whites had at least ten. This backs up what I said in the introduction that despite improvements, their lives didnt improve enough. Education wasnt the only part of their lives in which they were discriminated in. Segregation also took place in public places. For example restaurants, swimming pools, cinemas and various other places of entertainment were segregated. Most of this was in the south; however it still occurred in the north. In 1954, the Supreme Court brought in laws in an effort to end this segregation. Four examples of this is 1) Houston told to allow negroes to use the town golf courses, 2) San Francisco told it could not build segregated public housing, 3) Washington DC restaurants told they must serve all people and not discriminate by colour and 4) Washington DC airport to be desegregated. Although these things being brought in by the Supreme Court should have meant an improvement, some states didnt listen to them. Georgia refused to listen to the Supreme Court order to stop segregating in public places which was brought in, in 1955 and even managed to pass a law forbidding interracial dancing, social functions, entertainments, athletics, games, sports or contests. They werent the only state to do this either. Alabama followed this example and passed a law against interracial games. So despite efforts being made to prevent segregation, many states didnt listen. This meant that the extent of discrimination and segregation was still not improving by the late 1950s in this aspect of their lives. Similarly to segregation among public places, segregation was also happening on public transport. Buses, trains and waiting rooms in southern states were also heavily segregated.

An example of this is in Montgomery. There were specific rules that black people had to be aware of when on a bus: blacks not allowed in the first 10 rows, they arent allowed to sit next to or parallel with a white person and if the bus is filled up with whites, blacks had to get off. However since the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, segregation on public transport was no longer allowed. However as with rules against segregation in public places, states still disagreed and were against integration on buses. Discrimination occurred when it came to voting. It wasnt segregated, but it was significantly discriminated, particularly in the south. Although the 14th amendment stated that black Americans could vote and that everyone had equal rights and the 15th amendment stated that the ability to vote should not be based upon race, colour or previous conditions of servitude many southern states found ways in which the black people of America could still not vote. For example there were literacy tests, and a test called how many bubbles in a bar of soap? This basically means that the questions were practically impossible to answer, making it very difficult for anyone to pass. The literacy test is already a disadvantage to black people as they arent given the same quality or amount of education as white people, which makes it harder for them. This means that the segregation in education is causing black people trouble in different parts of their lives. If these things didnt stop the black people voting, then more extreme actions took place. Voting registration places were burnt down and lynching occurred. These activities were often in the south, rather than the north and were strenuous efforts to try and prevent as many black people from voting as they could. The intimidation alone would have been enough to make black people reconsider thinking, despite the fact the 14th and 15th amendments allow them to. Legal rights also disagreed with the 14th and 15th amendments. These should have guaranteed equal protection of the law to black people however in practice this was actually very uncommon. Trials were often very unfair, this would have been due to the fact court rooms were segregated and the judges and police were generally all white. An example of unjust situations is that lynchings were rarely, if not never, prosecuted and whites were rarely found guilty of crimes against blacks. Violent attacks and intimidation were fairly common in the south, especially due to groups such as the KKK and White Citizens Councils. Although lynching was declined in the late 1950s, intimidation still happened and was often done in more subtle ways, and not always violently. White Citizen Councils seemed to have the power to get black people sacked or prevent them being served in a shop if they disapproved of their actions. These actions resulted in black people having hundreds of threats against them, a drastic reduction in the number of black voters and 300 murders which is a high amount. In conclusion, black people in the USA suffered a great deal of discrimination and segregation in this period of time. Although things seemed to have been getting better, and laws suggested that they were going to, they didnt due to the fact that peoples minds were set in the old way of thinking blacks were inferior to whites. I think the segregation within education would have had the most effect on black peoples lives as not only did it affect their education, it could have also affected their ability to vote, their lifestyles and also the opportunities they could or could not take. Segregation among public places would have had a great affect on their lives because it shows the clear segregation and the quality of

black peoples lives would have been clearly lower than that of whites and they would be able to see this. The intimidation they went through would also have been very significant as it would have really knocked their confidence and they wouldnt have wanted to do even the things they were allowed to do because they had to live their lives in fear of the white people.