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Why did the desegregation of schools become a major problem in the USA in the 1950's?

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Introduction

Why did the desegregation of schools become a major problem in the USA in the 1950's? After a struggle by the civil rights campaigners the law which caused the desegregation of schools was passed in 1954. The main reason for this law being passed at this time was the case of the Brown family V. the Board of Education of Topeka. The Brown's had a child whom they wanted to attend a school close to their home. However the Browns, a black family, could not attend any of the close schools, as they were all 'white-only' schools. The nearest black school was far away from their home and the Brown family argued that this was not 'separate but equal' as the doctrine said it should be and asked for their daughter to attend the white school, close to their home. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) helped the brown family and challenged the rights of local school boards to run segregated schools. ...read more.

Middle

Some places were entirely white only. All this was to ensure that blacks had the poorest standards of education, lowest paid jobs and were generally treated inferior to white people. Such deep-rooted attitudes in white southerners meant they reacted with anger to the Supreme Court's decision. 67% of Southerners disagreed with the desegregation of schools compared with only 31% of the whole of the USA. The Southern states were determined not to comply with this law and argued that 'state rights meant each state should be allowed to decide for themselves on such issues. An organisation called the Ku Klux Klan had been set up after the civil war. Its main aim was to prevent blacks from gaining equal rights. They used violence and terror to intimidate any American, black or white, who agreed or fought for a policy of equal rights. Members included police officers, judges and politicians, so convictions against the KKK were rare. Support and members of the Ku Klux Klan increased to an all time high when desegregation became law. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that all these paratroopers were needed to protect just 9 students showed the deep-rooted racial hatred and discrimination that existed. However, it also showed that the government was serious about desegregation and were listening to what civil rights protestors were saying. The desegregation of schools became such a major problem in the USA because so many, especially in the South, disagreed with blacks being treated the same way as whites and using the same public facilities as whites. Hatred for black people was deep-rooted in white Southerners. They also believed that it was not up to the government to decide such laws, it should be left to individual states. The short-term problems were mainly caused by a white backlash. Desegregation was seen as a step towards equal rights for black people and this caused the racist whites of the South to do all they could to try and stop it from happening. It proved that simply changing the law was not enough to create equal rights, the views and attitudes of white Southerners needed to change aswell before discrimination was non-existent. Emma davis 11NG 3 ...read more.

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