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To what extent was the separate but equal decision of the Supreme Court the main obstacle facing black Americans in achieving civil rights before 1941?

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Introduction

To what extent was the 'separate but equal' decision of the Supreme Court the main obstacle facing black Americans in achieving civil rights before 1941? The 'separate but equal' decision of the Supreme Court was a significant obstacle facing black Americans in achieving civil rights before 1941, however other obstacles were significant. After the introduction of the 'separate but equal' law, Southern states began implementing a number of laws of segregation knows as Jim Crow laws which limited the civil rights a black American had, however in some cases, segregation has been known to have been beneficial suggesting it was not an obstacle for all Blacks. The influence of the Ku Klux Klan was also a major obstacle facing these black Americans as they put fear into the lives of thousands of Blacks, however the Klan began to decline in membership before 1941 showing the limiting support for the Klan. Another obstacle in the way of Blacks achieving civil rights was their lack of political influence at the time. Due to the Jim Crow laws the number of Blacks able to vote in the Southern states dropped dramatically suggesting the barriers faced by the black people when trying to voice their political views, however with the great migration came increased political influence, lowering this obstacle. ...read more.

Middle

Another significant obstacle in achieving civil rights for black Americans was their lack of political influence within the country. Through the use of different voting laws, the Southern states had managed to stop Blacks from voting so that they would not be able to elect anyone who opposed the Jim Crow laws. In America in order to vote a person must be registered. The Southern states created a set of voting qualifications, making it difficult for Blacks to vote for example one state ruled that a man could only vote if his grandfather had voted before 1867. This ruling caused a further obstacle for Blacks as due to the slave trade in previous years, no black person's grandfather would have had the vote and therefore it was impossible for a black person to have a political voice in this state. Also, as a form of discrimination it is known that one state asked ridiculous, often unanswerable, questions to many Blacks which had to be answered in order for them to be able to vote. This meant that many Blacks were denied the right to vote due to them giving an answer which was not 'to the satisfaction' of the questioner. The result of this discrimination meant that most white men in the Southern states had the right to vote while the vast majority of black men did not. ...read more.

Conclusion

the evidence of terrorism and support it can be argued to have been a bigger obstacle than the 'separate but equal' decision. The lack of political influence for Blacks in America was also a clear obstacle faced when achieving civil rights as large numbers of Blacks in America did not have the vote and many who used to be enfranchised had the right taken away, however with the great migration came an increase in political influence therefore it can be suggested that the barrier was not as great as the 'separate but equal' decision. There is also an argument that the lack of unity within the black community was also an obstacle which had to be faced before civil rights was achieved as the different views of the Blacks and Black Associations meant that there was a clear divide in opinion within the community, however with the use of newspapers and civil rights groups, it can be argued that they were strongly united and therefore this would not have been as big an obstacle than the Supreme Court's decision. Overall it is clear that the 'separate but equal' decision is a very significant obstacle faced by black Americans when achieving civil rights, however due to other, some more significant, obstacles it can be argued that it was not the main barrier. Stacey Mitchell 6L3 ...read more.

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