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How successful was the post war civil rights movement up to 1965?

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Introduction

How successful was the post war civil rights movement up to 1965? There were many themes that ran through the American civil rights movement up to and including 1965. There was feeling that the USA was being hypocritical after the war as they were fighting racism abroad but they were still a country of double standards. There was organised and united, peaceful, non-violent protest, practiced and preached by doctor Martin Luther King, small groups were causing changes, there was the use of new forms of media [i.e. television] to bring pictures of violence into peoples home, there was the use of direct action for example against restaurants during the sit-ins of 1960. The use of legal action was also a common theme, as were state versus federal confrontations. Many of these victories were seemingly trivial but they all caused greater change. America was seen to be hypocritical after the Second World War. Part of the reason the war was fought was to end the persecution of the Jews in Germany, however Negroes were being persecuted in America. The Double V campaign was a campaign for a victory over persecution abroad and a victory over persecution in the United States. This was the campaign that planted the seeds of the civil rights movement in the 50's and 60's. ...read more.

Middle

Direct action was often taken during this time. The Freedom Rides are one example of this. This was when thirteen members of the Congress for Racial Equality [CORE] used segregated interstate busses to travel around the country. One of these thirteen members was a man called Stokely Carmichael, who went on to become the leader of the Black Panthers, a violent civil rights group, and was the first person to use the phrase "Black Power". They stopped off at whites only facilities and used these facilities. They were often met with violence and at one point the bus they were riding was blown up by the Ku Klux Klan [KKK] and The 13 members were severely beaten. However despite this violence and a plea from Martin Luther King to stop due to the danger the CORE members continued on the journey, on a different bus, upon which they were again beaten. They did win in the end and interstate busses were desegregated. It was another example of a trivial victory as it only desegregated interstate busses but it again showed that a small number of people could make a difference and as it was interstate it was a federal victory. As written in a CORE publicity leaflet, "anyone who opposed segregation...could drive a nail into the coffin of Jim Crow" There were three confrontations between state and federal governments over the segregation of schools. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shocked the USA and led to a huge amount of sympathy for the cause. This march led directly to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This greatly increased the number of blacks on the voting register and in turn led to better conditions for blacks as the politicians now needed to cater for them to win votes. The post war civil rights movement was very successful as it culminated in black civil rights and black voting rights. The two most important events leading up to these were the marches on Washington as it was a main factor in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Selma Alabama as it was the main factor in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Also the Brown versus the Topeka Board of Education case was important as it expressed the federal view that segregation was unequal. Although these are in my opinion the most important events in the fight for civil rights every event is important as they all improved standards and introduced important figureheads, groups and ways of protest. However, even though the laws had been changed, people's attitudes had not. There were still many white supremacists and the KKK still existed, and still does today. Laws did not make everything perfect, as demonstrated by some of the laws passed during the period between 1945 and 1965 and there was still as much discrimination as there had been before, there was just no official segregation. ...read more.

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