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Assess The Degree To Which African Americans Were Denied Civil And Human Rights In The Southern States Of The Usa In The Decades Leading Up To The 1950s.

1000 words - 4 pages

In the decades leading up to the 1950's, African American people were denied basic human rights as they were seen to be "lower" and "inferior" human beings. This racial discrimination can be traced back to the days of slavery in the 1600's right up to today in the 21st Century. It has been only in the last 50-60 years that African Americans have been treated as equals. The prime root of this conduct can be seen from the beginning of slavery.Modern (1500's onwards) slavery started when the Spaniards began importing slaves in 1517. The first African slaves in the now United States arrived at the English colony of Virginia on a Dutch ship in 1619. The slave population grew from then on to approximately 4 million in the mid 19th century. The Civil War was a major part in the lead up to civil rights as it was not only fought for trade tariffs and the doctrine on state rights but also regarding the obliteration of slavery in the new world leading into the twentieth Century.The southern states of the US were the worst perpetrators of basic civil rights that most white men and women took for granted. Laws that separated white from blacks such as segregation, voting, miscegenation and education were enforced by most governments in the south and penalties ranged from fines to life imprisonment - these punishments were usually only given to black offenders as white juries were always bias. Secondly it was not only the legal system that was giving African American's the hard-line guilty till proven innocent stance but white American groups were to.The African American population was seen as an "inferior" and lower form of life. Every thing in public life was segregated in a "separate but equal" stance. In real life, the facilities made available were not comparable to the white amenities. The Jim Crow system ruled the South's Society by creating separate schools, hotels, banks, restaurants, theaters and playgrounds. Public transport was also segregated by race. The segregation decrees set down by the state governments also restricted African Americans from using white water fountains and rest rooms. African Americans were also not allowed to look at a white woman, directly or indirectly. An example of this occurred when W.E.B Du Bois encountered racism for the first time in Nashville :"I quite accidentally jostled a white woman as I passed...Immediately in accord with my New England training, I raised my hat and begged her pardon. I acted quite instinctively and with genuine regret for a little mistake. The woman was furious; why I never knew; somehow I cannot say how, I had transgressed the interracial mores of the South...Did I fail to debase myself utterly and eat spiritual dirt? Did I act as equals among equals? I do not know."Miscegenation was made illegal in Texas in 1925 and in Mississippi in 1920. This penal code disallowed black-white marriages in the two states. This was also factor in which African Americans were denied civil rights. It was seen...

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