How far did the position of black Americans improve during the years 1945-1955?

Authors Avatar

How far did the position of black Americans improve during the years 1945-1955?

One of the main issues regarding black Americans lives was one of segregation. Many blacks had travelled from the segregated south to the north during the period, searching for a better life, almost ¾ of a million had by the end of the war. President Truman established a committee to investigate race relations and to safeguard the rights of minorities. The report of this committee was published in 1947 was called ‘To Secure These Rights’. It called for many drastic changes to be made to the law including changes to black voting rights, reduce lynching by introducing new legislation and to end segregated facilities such as schools and public toilets. However, limited action was taken in southern areas, but this report did put Civil Rights on the political agenda.

During 1945-55 black Americans developed the tactics of direct action; a form of protest involving large groups of people and draws public attention to injustice. The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) organised a series of protests in the southern state of Louisiana. For example they picketed New Orleans’ four biggest department stores for refusing to allow black customers to try on hats. In Alexandra in 1951 they protested at the fact that the local black school would close during the cotton harvest so that the black children could work in the fields. And in 1953 they organised a boycott of a newly built school in Lafayette protesting that its facilities were inferior to a local white school.

Join now!

The Supreme Court started to interpret the Constitution more liberally in the field of civil rights. So during the Truman presidency, it rulings in a number of cases appeared to challenge Plessy vs. Ferguson, for example, in 1946, the Morgan vs. Virginia case, where Irene Morgan refused to give up her seat on an interstate bus and was fined $100 inevitably led to the Supreme Court prohibiting segregation on interstate transport with the help on NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall. The Morgan vs. Virginia case did not lead to a change in practice however. The situation with many rulings was ...

This is a preview of the whole essay