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

Why was the progress towards the achievement of civil rights so slow in the period 1954-1957?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why was the progress towards the achievement of civil rights so slow in the period 1954-1957? From 1954-1957 significant legal progress in the field of civil rights was made, thus instilling confidence in the black community, however due to a number of factors putting these achievements into practice was halted and so civil rights progressed at a slow rate throughout this period of time. In 1954 Brown Vs Topeka was brought before the Supreme Court, with Brown winning the appeal with a unanimous vote. This was a landmark verdict, due to the fact that the judge, Earl Warren had been newly appointed by President Eisenhower and was a Southern Republican, therefore he disobeyed Eisenhower with the decision. Eisenhower was later stated as saying, 'The biggest damn fool mistake I ever made.' Therefore demonstrating the Presidents lack of support for the ruling. It was a triumph for the NAACP who had provided the lawyer Thurgood Marshall and had pushed the case through. It overthrew Plessy Vs Ferguson and so was expected to bring about a dramatic change for black civil rights. Although in principal Brown should have brought about a significant change, the progress from the court decision, to putting desegregation in schools into practice was very slow. This was partly due to the court hearing, as no date was set for when the desegregation of schools must be completed, this resulted in the whites ignoring the court hearing, so maintaining the same ignorant attitude as before. ...read more.

Middle

The case of Emmett Till was significant as at first it showed some progress towards a fair trial, with the men accused of lynching arrested, usually they would not have been prosecuted, and a black man standing up and accusing a white man in court. However the jury was composed of 12 white males, and in the defence's closing speech he said, 'I hope every last Anglo-Saxon one of you makes the right decision.' Therefore again showing how when accused the whites stuck together. Again throughout this case Eisenhower gave no leadership and did not intervene, as he did not think that federal intervention was appropriate, and did not want to or aim to do anything to alleviate black problems, even when Emmett Tills mother requested his help. Showing again how little progress had been made. Throughout this time, there were strong black leaders, Martin Luther King, and people that The NAACP used for test cases, Rosa Parks and the 9 children in Little Rock. These set examples to the black community, that through courage and determination, slowly change was possible. However many were not willing to make this commitment, like the 16 children who changed their minds about attending Little Rock High School after passing the exam. This was due to the increasing white resistance and discrimination that they faced. Martin Luther King was arrested for doing 30mph in a 25 mph zone, and his house was bombed. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again Eisenhower showed little leadership, claiming that he did not really know what was in the bill and so did not fight to keep it intact. Along with the filibustering by Storm Thurmond, it resulted in a much weakened bill, not allowing blacks to exercise the right to vote as those who were prosecuted with obstruction would be tried in an all white jury and let off. This shows that from 1954-57 little progress was made, as although ideas are initially passed when put into practice it takes along time for them to be accepted, and so slow progress is made. To conclude from the evidence above it is clear that the building blocks of a strong civil rights campaign were begun between 1954-57, with the shocking legal decision of Brown Vs Topeka. However it is shown that although a decision was made in court, it does not mean that putting it into practice will be quick or easy. It shows that the more united the black community was and the harder that they pushed for change, the more stubborn the whites became, so making the changes impossible to implement without a fight. This case was not helped by the lack of leadership from Eisenhower, as his silence was interpreted as a lack of support for the cause, so discouraging other whites to back it. The lack of progress is shown by the fact that by 1964, a whole 10 years after the Brown decision, only 2/3 of the USA's black high school students attended de-segregated high schools. Therefore it is clear that between 1954-57 the achievement of civil rights progress was slow. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Why was Progress for Racial Equality so slow in the years 1945-1955?

    4 star(s)

    In Mississippi a staggering 95% of all black workers were employed by whites, making them extremely fearful of losing their jobs as a result in participate for racial equality. The presence of the KKK during this period also increased fear.

  2. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    Canada, which ruled that where segregation was in force, the facilities provided must be equal. Whilst this did not appear to represent a great divergence from the ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson, it did at least show that the Supreme Court was willing to take a marginally more active stance

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

    During his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower took many risks when promoting Civil Rights. He declared that the government's desegregation policies were not working, proposed controversial bills, and made alliances with people whose races were often considered inferior. Through his relentless efforts, Eisenhower not only made a huge impact on society,

  2. Linguistic Study - Linguistic Analysis of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream', and ...

    "Let justice rolls down like waters, righteousness like a mighty stream" The language used is very descriptive and metaphoric, which accentuates the coming of justice. This also shows awareness of audience, as many of his followers were religious and could relate to quotations from the bible.

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

    However this evidence could be deemed biased as Rufus Lewis was one of the people as well as Ralph Abernathy who had nominated King to be the President of the MIA, and that he had said these things about King to prove why King should be president; nonetheless King had

  2. Civil Rights Revision Cards 1945-68

    support for CR movement (nb ? especially white students ? worked together with blacks for change) 3. Shifted focus of CR movement from litigation to mass direct action. Provided a model for protest ? showed students they could change the political process.

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

    who continued to support racial segregation. Their powerful position in Congress allowed Truman to recognise that they would use this power to block any plans he may suggest. We can judge the significance of this as without the Southern opposition; Truman would?ve had a much greater chance to pursue the changes which he had recommended.

  2. Research on the major Civil rights events between 1963 to 1968

    D. King, Martin Luther King's brother. When police went to inspect the motel, they were met with rocks and bottles from neighbourhood blacks. By May 13, three thousand federal troops were deployed to Birmingham to restore order, even though Alabama Governor George Wallace told President Kennedy that state and local forces were sufficient.

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