‘African Americans were still far from achieving equality by 1968.’ Explain why you agree or disagree with this statement with reference to the period 1961-8.
Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s the civil rights movement had become a prominent feature of the United States of America, and the politics within. More and more attention, funding and care was being put into the civil rights of the African Americans from the federal government and Supreme Court. Several people came forward as prominent civil rights leaders, such as arguably the most famous, Martin Luther King. By 1961, there had been various protests and cases that had already furthered the civil liberties of the blacks within America, for example, Brown v Board of Education, the Montgomery bus boycott and the events in Little Rock, Arkansas. Following this, during the period of 1961-1968 although there were a lot of changes by the legislature during this period and other key improvements, it is clear to say African Americans were still far from achieving equality by 1968.
At the time of President Kennedy’s accession in 1961, the nation of America still had great inequalities. Most southern blacks lacked the vote and suffered segregated housing, education, transport and most other public facilities. One of Kennedy’s main manifesto points and campaign assurances was to improve the civil liberties and rights of the African Americans; arguably this is what won him the election as he gained the majority of the black vote. Although he had promised change Kennedy was very slow to enact of behalf of the blacks. Although he did do several things to enhance the rights of African Americans, such as making black appointments into the federal government, focusing more of the justice department on civil rights and formed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he failed to really achieve much major legislative success during his run as President. It has been said that even the federal intervention he...
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