The Black Civil Rights Movement Essay

1671 words - 7 pages

The Black Civil Rights Movement The Black civil rights movement emerged as a mass movement in the
1950s but its long term origins go back much to the abolition of
slavery and the failure of States to implement the 14th and 15th
amendments which guaranteed ex-slave rights as defined in the
constitution. Just after the end of slavery the reconstruction era
began, it allowed blacks many opportunities that had never been open
to them before, during this time there was a change in many areas of
culture in America. Black music was popular as was some black art, but
most importantly of all it seemed to offer equality before the law and
by the 1880s black Americans took these constitutional rights as
theirs. The reason that the civil rights campaign began is because
individual southern states introduced 'Jim Crow' laws which encouraged
segregation. These states claimed that it did not break the 14th and
15th amendments because they were 'separate but equal' and in 1897 the
Supreme Court found in favour of segregation in Plessey v Ferguson.
Black pressure groups were formed such as the Niagara movement and the
NAACP. To combat this, the NAACP had more middleclass members. They
investigated lynchings, publicised injustices, tried to prevent
violations of the constitution and tried to ensure that segregation
was equal. Their membership went from 329 members in 1912 to 500,000
in 1946 and they were a major participant in the civil rights movement
in the 1950s.

By 1950 the civil rights movement became a mass movement; this was
because for the first time there was cross-class collaboration and
wide geographic support. This became possible because of factions such
as the NAACP who realised they had to take segregation head on because
change would not come about if they did not and there was an
alteration in mentality of black Americans. One reason for the change
in mentality happened because black Americans involved in the world
wars saw that there was no segregation and less racism in countries
like Britain and France, also during the cold war the American people
came to realise the hideous abuse black Americans lived with and this
gained the civil rights movement support from liberal whites and
generated a mood for change. And by the end of World War II the
Trueman administration was in power, segregation was stopped in the
armed forces and the publishing of the article "to secure these
rights" showed federal support for civil liberty amendments in favour
of black Americans. The legal action taken by the NAACP which resulted
in landmark decisions that effectively outlawed separate but equal
showed they had Supreme Court support and that encouraged the civil
rights groups to continue pressing for there constitutional liberties....

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