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Segregation and its Consequences

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Segregation was extremely difficult to endure to those who were colored in the late 1900’s. Segregation was defined as a legal or social practice of separating people by race, class, or ethnic group by custom or by law. It was usually the result of a long period of conflict between groups, with one group having more power and affect over the other group. After the abolishment of slavery, African Americans were still treated poorly. Basically, the white people thought that they should be separate from the black people because their skin was a different color than theirs.

A common type of segregation that continues to influence the world in every day means is racial segregation. There are two major types of segregation; de jure segregation and de facto segregation. De jure segregation is when policies of segregation are enforced by law. On the other hand, de facto segregation is when policies of segregation are not enforced by law but is customary to the society and refers to widespread individual preferences.

The separation of races led to many changes in the United States, like the Civil Rights movement, however, before that, harsh actions of violence occurred. After the civil war in America, de jure segregation became widely used. It mostly associated with the South, where the blacks faced a system of laws and customs that enforced racial segregation and discrimination. These laws were called Jim Crow Laws. It prohibited any kind of unity between whites and African Americans. Moreover, appliances like water fountains were segregated under the term “separate but equal”.

As long as any public facility provided equal services to each race, the races could be physically segregated. Every public space including hotels, waiting rooms, restrooms, stores, elevators, schools, churches, and hospitals were either for whites or blacks, but never for both. “All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the third generation inclusive, are forever prohibited.” (Florida). Therefore if anyone violated the law, they would be sent to prison since it was a crime. Eventually, after the African Americans continually faced challenges to segregation, the Supreme Court became convinced that separate facilities could not possibly be equal. Therefore the significance of de jure segregation declined which discriminated the basis of race. Meanwhile, the significance of de facto segregation rose.

Even though de jure segregation ended in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act, the whites still continued to separate themselves from the African Americans with de facto segregation. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was a group of individuals, founded in 1865 to 1866, who was committed to tormenting African Americans to protect the rights of and increase the interests of white Americans by violence and intimidation. They murdered many black landowners, politicians, and community leaders. They even murdered some whites to prevent them from voting and supporting racial equalities. Another example of de facto segregation could be seen as the “White Flight”. It was the migration of white Americans after the integration of the schools. The whites enrolled their children in private schools. Despite the fact that this was not a legal issue, white Americans in the South were willing to remain separate.

The blacks faced threats of violence since they attempted to question the established laws, which created a huge challenge for blacks to fight for their rights. They fought at the ballot boxes, in courtrooms, and through organizations. In 1905, one of the Black activists called William Edward Burghardt Dubois became the first African American to receive a doctoral degree from Harvard University. He met with other Black activists in Niagara Falls, Canada to plan strategies in finding racial equality. They were called the Niagara Movement by 1909, which later on led to finding the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This began to challenge segregation in court. Eventually, these challenges became more and more successful during and after World War II.

In Conclusion, segregation led to many unpleasant actions of violence and racial inequality, which was either de jure segregation or de facto segregation. The blacks faced the Jim Crow Laws which stopped unity between the whites and blacks. Furthermore many blacks were murdered by an organized group called KKK, to protect the rights of the whites. Many whites were determined to remain separate. W.E.B Dubois planned strategies to find racial equality, further leading to the NAACP. The Civil Rights movement challenged both types of segregation, resulting in fundamental changes in the social realities for both whites and blacks; however lasting traces of discrimination remain.

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