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Why did many black citizens of the USA still face poverty and discrimination in 1968?

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Introduction

Why did many black citizens of the USA still face poverty and discrimination in 1968? Many black citizens still faced poverty and discrimination in America for several reasons. Although several important legislations had been passed in the 1960s it did not end the discrimination that black people still faced. Most blacks continued to live in poor housing and suffered above average unemployment. There are several reasons why progress was hindered. Firstly many blacks were dissatisfied with the progress of the civil rights movement. As a result from 1964 to 1968 riots began in many major cities. These riots demonstrated some black people's desire for more and faster progress. After World War II, more than half of the country's black population lived in northern and western cities rather than the southern rural areas. Black people came to these areas for better job opportunities and a lack of legal segregation, blacks often did not receive the lifestyle they had come for. Many black people lived in ghettos that were rampant with unemployment and crime. The first major riot was in New York City in the black neighbourhood or Harlem in the summer of 1964. The neighbourhood was tired of the inequalities in place, and as a result looted and burned anything that was not black owned in the area. ...read more.

Middle

The consequence of the riots was that 70% of white people did not black people living in their neighbourhood. Even the white people that wanted to help were alienated when CORE and SNCC excluded all white members and so it was very hard for them to help even if they wanted to. In 1965 a poll showed that 88% of whites advocated black self-improvement. However in 1966 a poll showed 90% opposition to a new civil rights legislation and this shows just how much white people have felt alienated by the riots. Fourthly the Vietnam War meant that the civil rights movement had to be put to one side. Johnson's Kerner Commission Report explained the 1967 ghetto riots as a result of white racism, and recommended greater federal expenditure. However, this was politically unrealistic as a war costs a lot of money and so there was not enough money to plough into improving the lives of black people. Taxes had already been raised to finance the war and white people would not want to pay even more of their money especially if it was going on black people who were starting riots. The war also diverted the attention of the media and public. This meant that there was not the same pressure on the government to act as there had previously been. ...read more.

Conclusion

During the riots white property got damaged and so whites did not want to help black people anymore. Another important reason was that although acts were being passed it was often hard to enforce them. When housing discrimination was finally prohibited in a 1968 act, the law proved difficult to enforce due to white resistance. It was also hard to change many white peoples racist attitudes towards black people as it had been ingrained into them from an early age. Also black people received a poor education and so were unable to get well-paid jobs. This resulted in them having menial or blue-collar jobs for a fraction of the pay that white people received. This meant that black people only made enough money to live in the most dilapidated housing. The war in Vietnam meant that there was not as much funding or time available to be given to helping black people. Also the government did not want to lose white voters, many of whom thought that progress was being made too quickly, and there was only so many legislations that one administration could realistically bring in. Congress also greatly hindered progress as it was made up of many southerners that did not want to help black people and the riots gave them the excuse they needed not to help black people. So although considerable progress had been made in the 1960s many black people still lived in poverty and experienced discrimination. ...read more.

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