• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent did the situation of African Americans improve between 1945-55?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Throughout the decade of 1945 to 1955, most African Americans experienced both de facto and de jure discrimination and segregation in the USA, to a further and more extreme extent in the South. Whilst undoubtedly most African Americans did struggle in day to day life, there were some areas that did improve, for example landmark cases in education where brought about and the nation?s attitude to integrated transport. However, I believe that from 1945 to 1955 there was little progression as there was mostly not much change in the fields of voting, public facilities and employment, which include some of the most vital parts where change was drastically needed. The first area in which change was needed for African Americans was political. Strict voting laws prevented the vast majority of African Americans in the South from voting, as white officials made it difficult and often impossible to register to vote. African Americans were faced with ?literacy? tests with impossible questions, the ?Grandfather clause?, here people only had the right to vote if their grandfather had shared the same right, and an expensive poll tax which many African American families could not afford. Unfair representation was also present as the South, with a high African American population, was represented only by white people, so their views were not properly voiced or taken into account fairly. ...read more.

Middle

The Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 was an important event in changing the way the transport system was used by African Americans. Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was told to stand up on the bus home so a white man could sit down and refused, which caused her to be arrested and charged with violation of the Montgomery City bus segregation ordinance. This sparked the bus boycott, where African Americans initially boycotted all Montgomery buses on the day of Rosa Parks? trial. They did this by demanding the bus company use a first come, first served basis and employ African American drivers. The city commissioners rejected their proposals, so the one day boycott became a yearlong boycott. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was significant as it showed the effectiveness of the NAACP strategy of working through the law courts, and demonstrated the power of a whole black community using direct but non-violent action. It ultimately helped promote integration of black and white people, which was finally achieved in 1956. In the South of the USA, African Americans suffered greater inequality than African Americans in the North, as in the South segregation was legally enshrined. For example, the Jim Crow laws defended segregation so that people were less inclined to publicly challenge them. ...read more.

Conclusion

in part to the migration earlier in the century, Middle-class African Americans were much more assertive and had a better understanding of America?s legal system, so were more likely to challenge racial inequality in the courts. Consequently, the Supreme Court felt under greater pressure to rule in their favour. Overall, I think that the position of African Americans legally did improve a lot, as initially, campaigners had success with court cases such as Morgan v. Virginia, Sweatt vs. Painter and Brown vs. Board of Education which showed that segregation was unconstitutional. However, these de jure victories were slow to produced facto desegregation. As a result, groups such as CORE and the NAACP organised popular campaigns to test the implementation of Supreme Court rulings and challenge segregation at a grassroots level. In conclusion, I think that the position of African Americans did improve in the years 1945 to 1955, although not to the extent that they would have liked. The Brown rulings were vital in securing the beginning of the end of segregation, and the NAACP played a vital role in challenging segregation in the courts. Following the major court cases, there was an increase in local activism by groups such as the NAACP and CORE, who organised new voter registration campaigns, local protests and boycotts against different aspects of segregation. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Assess the view that the Supreme Court was the most important branch of federal ...

    4 star(s)

    Board of Education seems to go completely against the constitution supposedly upheld by the Supreme Court, given the huge differences in funding between schools for black and white children. The Supreme Court could hardly be considered to merely be interpreting the law to their own desires here, but rather completely

  2. Comparison of Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson

    Johnson was responsible for major improvements in equality in the U.S. Johnson and Truman both came into the presidency by way of the 25th amendment. They were each vice presidents to a president who died, and thus both had time to serve as president before running for presidents themselves.

  1. The Eisenhower years saw significant improvement for the African Americans

    endorse Brown he did feel the need to get involved which in itself means that African Americans were being recognised by the government. A further example of where segregation was ended during Eisenhower's presidency was after the Montgomery bus boycotts.

  2. How far did the position of black Americans improve during the years 1945-1955?

    They argued that the Brown case was unconstitutional because the constitution did not mention education. They called on the doctrine of 'separate but equal' In 1955, the Supreme Court followed up its earlier ruling with 'Brown II'. This said that the change to desegregated schools was to take place 'with all deliberate speed'.

  1. What was the short term impact of the Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1957?

    described King as a ?very intelligent young man? and that ?he would make you feel what he was saying and not just hear it? he had effected the whites too? (6) it shows the impact King had which shaped the Civil Rights movement and without the Bus Boycott, King?s influence may have not emerged.

  2. Civil Rights Revision Cards 1945-68

    At first preached orthodox Black Muslim doctrine. Later thought that NoI methods = too conservative and left in 1964. Did not preach devine deliverance from racial oppression ? instead ? argued the need for blacks to deliver change themselves. 2. Thought that whilst Afro-Americans should remain in America physically, they should ?return? to Africa culturally and spiritually.

  1. How far do you agree that the years 1945-55 saw only limited progress in ...

    Painer and Brown V. Board of Education of Topeka. Many middle-class whites began joining White Citizens? Councils to help raise money for white state schools. This helped the state schools to become private so that they could avoid desegregation. Furthermore they focused on electing local politicians whom opposed desegregation.

  2. Why was progress towards racial equality so slow in the period 1945 - 1955?

    On the other hand, the southern racists saw this as a further attack against segregation. Evidence for this is also shown as it stimulated ?White Backlash? which started with the establishment of the White Citizen?s council to demand the segregation continued in local schools.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work