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How much progress had been made for Black Americans by 1968?

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How much progress had been made for Black Americans by 1968? The situation of Black Americans in 1945 was extremely poor. In 1896 in the Plessy V Ferguson case the Supreme Court ruled in favour of 'separate but equal'. This meant that it was perfectly fine for facilities to be separated as long as they were equal. The Plessy V Ferguson case was significant as it helped to develop the Jim Crow laws. This is because the 'separate but equal' doctrine was extended to cover all areas of public life such as restaurants, theatres, public toilets and schools. However, the problems with the doctrine were that areas designated to Blacks were often inferior in quality. It is assumed that by 1968 Blacks Americans had nearly won the fight for equality and that Blacks were given the same opportunities to white people. By 1968 de jure segregation had almost be broken down in southern states. However, in the North de facto segregation still existed. In the south it was slightly easier to gain segregation as blacks were unequal before the law and racism was direct and not hidden unlike the north. ...read more.


For example, in Selma blacks made up 50% of the population but were less than 1% of the electorate. The introduction of the 1965 Voting Rights Act abolished literacy tests and ways of preventing blacks from voting. The act had a dramatic effect in the south and by late 1966 only 4% of the old confederate states had fewer than 50% of their eligible blacks registered. The number of black adults registered to vote had dramatically increased in Mississippi. In 1964 only 6.7% of blacks were legible to vote compared to 67.5% in 1968. The act also increased the number of black people elected to public office from 300 in 1965 to 1,400 in 1970. The Civil Right Group, NAACP especially wanted to achieve and push for educational segregation. In 1954 the NAACP won a landmark legal case led by Thurgood Marshall. The Brown verses Boards of Education ruled in favour of integration and that the 'separate but equal' clause was unconstitutional. However, the victory was not total, as the Supreme Court did nothing to set standards in schools and gave no date by which desegregation had to be achieved. ...read more.


This aimed to help poor minorities. It was found that black infant mortality had halved in a decade. However, problems in society still remained for blacks. The unemployment rates for white people remained higher than the figures for white unemployment. In the 1960's the unemployment rates for blacks stayed above 7%. However, a black middle class was emerging. This was because in the 1960's black income went up 100%. However, they still only earned 61% of the average white family. In conclusion, Blacks had made large steps towards gaining full equality by 1968. Blacks were also emerging in politics. For example, in 1967 two black mayors were elected to Indiana and Cleveland. Also in 1967 Thurgood Marshall was appointed to Supreme Court judge. However, there were some limitations to black progress. Black voter registration was still lower than whites, some parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina maintained segregation in public places such as bus terminals. Major economic and social problems remained for black people in both the north and south. Finally the prospects of further progress also were limited. This is because in 1968 the Civil Rights movement was weakened and divided and the two main leaders had been assassinated. Sharon Chahal ...read more.

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