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

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?

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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)

    This decision was a huge disappointment to the civil rights movement, who had hoped to prove that segregation was unconstitutional. They did receive some support, from Justice John Harlan, which indicates the gradually changing mood of the Supreme Court, but again, the attitude of the court as a whole was

  2. Peer reviewed

    To what extent were Malcolm X and the subsequent Black Power Movement the 'Evil ...

    4 star(s)

    Malcolm X rather than aiming for change that for many African Americans was not a necessity, wanted to tackle problems that blacks were facing every day. The ability to vote for a poverty stricken African American in Harlem would not ease their suffering.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Essay on civil rights

    3 star(s)

    his greatest contribution was his encouragement for Black people to have pride in themselves. However, it was an attitude like that, that demoralized the Black community for he was basically stating that they should give up and just leave.

  2. The question that will be investigated is, to what extent was the case of ...

    the federal government to enforce it, and others state that the ineffectiveness was a result of simply the hate of the separatists and the Southern governments. E:Conclusion: While the landmark case of Brown v Board of Education was thought of as the turning point of the civil rights movement, the

  1. Compare and contrast different fortunes of native, hispanic and asian americans

    whites in the House of Representatives, whereas some darker skinned Hispanics were poorer and became agricultural labourers with lower wages. Their illiteracy and race meant that they weren't ingrained in many job opportunities and were left with low pay. Therefore it is clear that Hispanic Americans didn't all face poverty, unlike Native Americans and much of the Asian Americans.

  2. How far did the Supreme Court hinder rather than help the development of African ...

    In the 1930's Scottsborough case, the Supreme Court rules that past decisions had been unlawful and intervened.

  1. To What extent had the New Deal been successful in overcoming the Depression in ...

    Following that was the Economy Act (March 20), which cut federal costs through reorganization of and cuts in veterans' pensions ($400m) and government employee salaries ($100m). The Act was carried out in order to enhance the confidence of the people as well as showing the government's concern on the economy but cutting back government pay.

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

    President Lyndon Johnson introduced the idea of a Voting Rights Act to Congress. Due to high pressure in helping blacks from the public, Congress passed the act. This act outlawed voting requirements. This demonstrates that the two branches have learnt from their mistakes made in the 1870s with the 15th Amendment.

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