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Racial discrimination against blacks circulated the nowadays American society. This type of marginalization took many forms throughout American history. While civil rights movement has addressed the decades-long struggle of African Americans and their will to end this marginalization, and racial discrimination.
The black civil rights movement in the United States refers to the decades surrounding the 1960s. The movement has its origins in the reconstruction era during the late nineteenth century, to the US states and local governments’ enactment of racially discriminatory legislation (e.g., the black codes or Jim Crow laws), and even their fight to end struggle and oppression by laws and other organizations, great migration, to the protest beginning.
The ratification of the thirteenth amendment to the United States constitution in 1865 meant the end of slavery. Reconstruction was designed to bring the south back into the union after the civil war. The reconstruction was a success during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. President Lincoln proposed “the ten percent plan”, which specified that the southern states could be brought back into the union once ten percent of its voters in the presidential election of 1860 swore an oath of allegiance to the union. The plan also meant those southern states had to abolish slavery. But after his assassination, reconstruction turned for the worse with Andrew Johnson as the new President of the United States.
During Andrews’ presidency, things changed. Although freedmen or ex-slaves garanted more rights than they did before, their freedom was limited. Many southerners resisted the social changes. Therefore, their rejection represented a new form of state-based regislation known as the black codes which had some similarities with the slave codes, since they bound those freedmen to their employers. The black codes were designed to limit the freedom of AAs.
During the reconstruction era, with the fourteenth amendment in 1868, and the fifteenth amendment in 1870 ratification, AAs were granted citizenship, equal protection under the law, and the right to vote. The two amendments were a constitutional victory for the blacks who had faced oppression caused by those codes.
However, during and after the period of reconstruction, violence, and fear also began. Whites of all classes turned to violence and paramilitary organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The KKK consisted of many groups of white supremacists in the south. Throughout the reconstruction, the KKK targeted different minorities, but more essentially the black community was the most in order to maintain whites’ dominance and to keep power out of the hands of Republicans who sought to change the south. The Klan’s members conducted all the violent means by beating, torturing, and killing the black people, republican organizers were threatened with violence, it became the armed wing of the Democratic Party. Often for no other reason than the color of their skin, mobs of KKK members would abuse, attack, and other forms of physical violation. This is lynching.
Despite the assurances of the 13th amendment, AAs were virtually stripped of the right to vote, for challenging segregation, for organizing workers, or even for attending schools. In the 1870s, Congress took action against the Klan and other white supremacy organizations bypassing the force acts. The Klan disbanded and weakened.
The U.S. Congress passed the civil rights act of 1875. This act intended to fill the gaps that existed between the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and the civil rights act of 1866. The act prohibited racial discrimination in (inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of amusement). However, the law was rarely enforced. In 1877 the former slave and abolitionist, John Mercer Langston became U.S minister to Haiti, and Frederick Douglass served as federal marshal of the District of Columbia.
After 1877, the Democratic Party took power in all of the southern states. Once again the BAs witnessed multiple waves of abuse from the whites who made sure to keep the black minority in an inferior position. To do so, the general public and government in the south engaged in another form of racial discrimination that enforced the separation of blacks and whites. The sharecropping system that kept black economically dependent on whites. This time it was the end of the reconstruction era and the start of racial segregation.
After the reconstruction era, democrats took over the southern states. Things for black Africans and other American minorities kept getting worse. The south instituted a rigid caste system called “Jim crow”. A new form of racial discrimination known as “segregation” started to triumph in American society.
Jim Crow was a form of legal separation that enforced racial segregation between the end of the reconstruction period in 1877 and the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1950s. The laws required separate public schools, railroads cars, and public libraries, separate water fountains, restaurants, and hotels. The U.S. military was also segregated. Blacks were treated as second-class citizens. They were disenfranchised in the early 1900s, meaning just to keep the latter from the voting booth the whites created a series of devices such as literacy tests and poll taxes.
In 1896, the US Supreme Court decision in a case called Plessey V. Ferguson ruled that separate but equal accommodations (i.e., providing separate but equal facilities in public transportation, housing, education, etc.) were legalized.
In1909, The National Association for The Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed by a black professional W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, and another diverse group of activists including white American Henry Moscowitz. NAACP was established to support the rights of BAs and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. It also helped to launch the modern civil rights struggle of the twentieth century.
During the Jim Crow era of segregation, the NAACP branches spread all across the states. There were more than 400 chapters separate chapters. It stood in front of the struggle to get the legal status of defending black’s rights and reaching racial justice in the USA. One of its first legal victories with the U.S. Supreme Court decision case of Brown V. Board of Topeka of education to limit segregation in schools in May 1954, which led to the birth of what is known as the (CRM) in the same year.
During the First World War, black industrial labor was needed because the cession of European immigration and the white laborers who were drufted into the army. From 1915 to 1930, millions of BAs in the south responded to the violence by heading to the North, Midwest, and west. This stimulated movement, known as the Great migration. The 1900 census showed that 89.7 percent of the BAs still resided in the south.
BAs destinations were Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis, Cleveland, and other cities. Between 1940 and 1950, the percentage of the black communities living still in the south had dropped from 89.7 percent in 1900 to 59, more than a half of them lived outside the south.
However, racial segregation still remained an obstacle for blacks in the north. The sudden influx of blacks brought discomfort and disagreement between whites and blacks. The competition for jobs and housing with European American working class and northern white Americans led to serious racial violence in cities such as East St Louis, in 1917. The tension increased during the summer of 1919 that became known as “red summer” in reference to the bloodshed from the many riots against black communities.
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