How far can the Civil Rights Movements be seen as a success by the end of 1962?
America is commonly known as “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, the first great democracy and a country where “All men are created equal” and they have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. They used this ideology as vindication for invading over countries to ‘make them like America’. However as this was happening, a large proportion of Americans were, like the countries America was trying to change, oppressed and treated like second-class citizens. Having been shipped over as slaves, African Americans were eventually freed at the end of the Civil War in 1865 as slavery was abolished, theoretically making them equal, but despite this, there was still an unfair mentality about them, a large reason why the Civil Rights Movement faced such a great task, as they had the change preconceived ideas about the Blacks before any legislation would be followed.
Black people generally had the worst-paid unskilled jobs, and in the southern states, which had partly fought in the defence of slavery during the Civil War and put in place the ‘Jim Crow’ laws, making them supposedly “separate but equal”, but in fact it segregated them, giving black people social, economic and educational disadvantages. They also found it very difficult to vote, “You would be confronted with every conceivable obstacle taking the walk to the ballot box” (Martin Luther King 1963). There were no ‘Jim Crow’ laws in the northern states, but black people still had to take most of the lowest paid jobs. They therefore had to live in the poorest areas of the cities, meaning that inner city slums often became separate black communities as had happened formally in the south.