Timeline Of The Civil Rights Movement

2715 words - 11 pages

The Civil Rights Movement of the mid-Twentieth century was the paramount force in the battle for racial and civil equality for African Americans in our nation today. Throughout the history of our nation, the fight for racial equality and civil rights has been a continuing struggle for African Americans. Despite the importance of equality to the precepts of our nation, slavery and inequality were not only tolerated but also accepted as a necessary component of the agrarian economy of the South until 1865. During the Twentieth century, after more than a century of inequality and unjust laws aimed at the disenfranchisement and segregation of African Americans, a concerted effort for equality was set in motion. A movement occurred during the mid 1950’s and throughout the 1960’s, fittingly known as the Civil Rights Movement, meant to provide everyone with the rights they so deserved. The segregation and disenfranchisement, along with the violence that African Americans suffered at the hands of white supremacists, had succeeded to silence an entire race of Americans. It was during the Civil Rights Movement that individuals began to stand up for their rights and a national spotlight was placed on the violence and overall treatment that African Americans faced in the United States. Separate but equal would no longer be accepted.
The Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, set the stage for the Civil Rights Movement. The case was part of a long-range legal strategy of Charles Houston, chief legal counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which was started in 1909 by W. E. B. Du Bois. Houston’s strategy involved first establishing precedents in professional and graduate schools. Once victories in these institutions could be achieved segregation could be challenged in lower level institutions. One of the cases heard by the Supreme Court was Missouri v. Canada. It was the case of Lloyd Lionel Gaines, a black student who wished to attend the University of Missouri’s School of law. The Supreme Court would rule in Gaines’ favor stating that equal education must be provided for all. In 1950, the right of black Americans to attend state graduate schools was upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court in Sweatt v. Painter and Mclaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents. While the ruling in these cases did not overturn Plessy v. Ferguson, it did hold separate but equal must be in actuality legitimate. Failure to meet this standard resulted in the segregation being unconstitutional. For Thurgood Marshall, a former student of Houston and new chief counsel for the NAACP, this ruling would change the strategy of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, which he had started in 1946. Future cases involving segregation would be argued on the grounds segregation in schools was unconstitutional. (Wexler 38)
When Thurgood Marshall presented Brown v. Board of Education to the Supreme Court, it had been consolidated with several other similar cases...

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