• 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...


´╗┐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.


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.


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)

    During the 1920s and 30s, in contrast to their earlier stance, the Supreme Court began to develop a far more positive view on equality for African Americans. A number of cases in the late '10s and early '20s indicated that change was coming, and they began to recognise the illegality

  2. To what extent was the separate but equal decision of the Supreme Court the ...

    Tindall and Shi stress the popularity of the UNIA by stating that the "organisation grew rapidly" however it's limitations are suggested by Willoughby who states that his greatest contribution was to encourage pride within themselves, a minor dent in the problem through nine years of work.

  1. Revision notes - the USA 1945 to 1980

    In 1949 China went communist, the USSR exploded its first atomic bomb, and the USA began to fear that they were under threat. 1. The FBI under its anti- communist director J Edgar Hoover, had fought suspected communists in the 1930's.

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

    Unlike Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the next president, succeeded in passing two major civil rights bills. The first of these bills, stating that people cannot stop eligible citizens from voting due to race or religion, was the first of its kind passed in eighty-two years.

  1. 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'.

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

    became once again involved and Eisenhower was forced to send in his own troops in order to protect the black students. This was the first time the government had directly gotten involved with integration and therefore can be seen as a major political advance, despite that Eisenhower still refused to

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

    The Bus Boycott could also be seen as big significance as without it the emergence on Martin Luther King perhaps would not have happened, as he was the voice of this boycott, and he had influenced and inspired many people, for example Rufus Lewis who had founded the Montgomery Bus Association (MIA)

  2. To What Extent Were The Activities Of the White Racist Groups, the Most Important ...

    By 1877 the Confederate state governments had largely re-established their right to run their states in the way they wanted. Civil rights for blacks were basically theoretical. By doing this, and being allowed to override Federal Government policies meant that African Americans were denied their rights from the 14th Amendment.

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