History behind the US Civil Rights Movement

From a time of great racial prejudice to the present where a person of color can hold the highest office, America has come a long way in terms of racial equality and civil rights, – though more can still be done. Explore with us the history behind the American Civil rights movement.

Before the American Civil war took place, there were nearly 4 million black enslaved in the south, only whites were allowed to be citizens and only white males were allowed to vote.

The American Civil War (1861-1865): One of the primary factors leading to the war was the issue of banning slavery cross all U.S territories which 7 Southern slave states were opposed to. The outcome of the war was a turning point for the empowerment of the black community.

Following the end of civil war with the victory of the North, changes were made to the constitution to empower the black community: 13th Amendment that ended slavery, the 14th Amendment that granted black people citizenship and the 15th Amendment that gave black males the right to vote.

During the early 1870s, white supremacist groups like Ku Klux Klan formed and violently opposed racial equality. By the 1890s, after the federal troops have been withdrawn, the southern states regained political control and passed laws meant to disenfranchise the black community and underprivileged ...

During the same time, the white democrats also imposed state-sanctioned racial segregation, which became known as the Jim Crow System. Racial Segregation remained in effect way into the 1950s; characterized by exploitation, violence and discrimination against the minorities.

Racial minorities began resisting these oppressive laws in various ways, such as through lawsuits, political redress and labor organizing. Through founding organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), activists fought to end racial segregation.

Black veterans, who fought in the World Wars, began pressing for greater civil rights. By 1948, they have convinced then US President Harry Truman to grant black people integration in the military.

Comparatively the situation outside the south was somewhat better and between 1910 and 1970, millions of blacks migrated from the south for a better life in what became known as the great migration.

1954 was a major turning point when NAACP won a legal victory in the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education where racial segregation in schools was rejected and hence for the first time, in over 50 years, the doctrine of “separate but equal” was overturned.

Inspired by Brown’s victory and dissatisfied with the status quo, citizens began adopting non-violent forms of resistance and civil disobedience to bring about change, giving rise to the Civil Rights Movement of 1954–1968.

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A. R. Usmani

Historian | Researcher | Likes to live in the past because housing is much cheaper

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