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The Disadvantages that Black Americans faced in the early 1950's.

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Civil Rights Coursework 1a The Disadvantages that Black Americans faced in the early 1950's Today, looking back only fifty years to 1950's USA it is difficult to believe the racial discrimination that existed. This was extreme in many areas. Before focusing on the situation in the early 1950's, it is essential that the historical context is outlined in order to understand the background to these issues. The disadvantages were not new but were deeply entrenched in American society. The American Colonization Society was established in 1816 by Robert Finley as an attempt to satisfy two groups in America. Ironically, these groups were on opposite ends of the spectrum involving slavery in the early 1800's. One group consisted of philanthropists, clergy, and abolitionist who wanted to free African slaves and their descendants and provide them with the opportunity to return to Africa. The other group was the slave owners who feared free people of colour and wanted to expel them from America. Both of these groups felt that free blacks would be unable to assimilate into the white society of this country. John Randolph, one famous slave owner called free blacks 'promoters of mischief.' At this time, about 2 million blacks lived in America of which 200,000 were free persons of colour. Henry Clay, a southern congressman and sympathizer of the plight of free blacks, believed that because of 'unconquerable prejudice resulting from their colour, they never could amalgamate with the free whites of this country.' Slavery was an idea that European settlers brought with them to the New World, so it existed in America from the very beginning. By the mid-1700s, slavery had become necessary to run the huge plantations in the Southern colonies, and the sale of human beings as property was booming. Prisoners of war were sold to European and American shippers on the coasts of Africa and transported like cargo across the Atlantic on a three-month voyage called "The Middle Passage." ...read more.


This was to do with the Ku Klux Klan, they would go round and in a bid to increase the amount of people voting for them would go and attack blacks, they held very strong racialist views on blacks and tried to scare the population into feeling the same. Racial discrimination had existed for several generations; racial harmony would still take some time to achieve. The events of the early 1950's saw key civil rights campaigners such as Martin Luther King Junior rise to high profile positions. They were able to use the events to influence the changes that would be necessary to enable black and white Americans to live and work together without discrimination. 1b. Why did the Civil rights movements develop in the 1950's? During the 1950's the black Civil Rights movement developed dramatically. In this essay I will explore the reasons behind why there was such a sudden improvement and focus on black civil rights in the United States during this decade. Before concentrating on the 1950's it is essential to understand the impact that the Second World War had on raising the profile of black Americans. When the war broke out in 1941, African-American leaders and newspapers pressured the government to allow African-American troops to have an equal role in the fighting instead of being left with only manual labour jobs. Partly in response to this pressure, the government opened up the 66th Air Force Flying School at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Because it was still segregated, this creation was only a partial solution, but it did function as the only Air Force flight training centre open to black pilots. Up until World War II, most white leaders in the military claimed that African-American soldiers did not have the brains or the discipline to advance in the armed forces. The Tuskegee airmen helped challenge and ultimately change that belief. ...read more.


The biggest uprisings were in black communities such as Harlem, Boston, and Brooklyn. This was because when people start a riot they don't go thirty miles down the road to do so they do it where they are and completely wreck the area. Whites did not take as much notice of this type of protest because it did not affect them in the way that Kings protest did and although gained all of the medias attention did not prove as vital as what King was leading in the South. The Congress of racial equality was a powerful group towards the end of the sixties. They strongly backed the ideas laid down by King and still thought Christianity was the way forward. Whereas X believed Islam to be the saviour, he believed that Christianity was the religion of whites, and blacks should not follow in the white's foot steps and should be proud to be different. Using the saying, 'We are not white, we should be proud to be who we are.' The government was unsure as what to do with a certain Cassius Clay who was gaining worldwide stardom after become world boxing champion. This attracted world wide interest about the roles of blacks in America's society; they were allowed to go to the cinema but didn't earn enough money so this privilege was useless. Many countries started to question the U.S' laws about segregation and what blacks could and couldn't do. Linked to this the Vietnam War saw further developments in the US Army, similar to those that had started during the Second World War and Korean War. The US had to act, the momentum was building - the work had been achieved by key individuals and although Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had contrasting ideals they were both striving for the same thing - equal rights. 3. How successful was the Civil Rights Movement by the 1970's? The riots and protests of the sixties had long since died down ...read more.

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