By Don Moore
The physical chains of slavery were broken by the Emancipation Proclamation passed by President Lincoln in the 1860s. Ten years later the African American people faced a second form of slavery.
In the South, right after the Civil War, in the 1870s, anti-African American laws were passed which were called the Jim Crow laws. According to David Pilgrim, Professor of Sociology, the Jim Crow laws mandated that African Americans were not to go to white movie theaters, white restaurants, white bars, and white public restrooms. African Americans were also not allowed to ride in trains, cars, or buses with whites. Blacks were not allowed to marry whites. Even mulattos were treated with the same indignity as blacks. The tyrant of segregation is rooted in the Jim Crow laws. In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was constitutional as long as there were separate but equal places to live for both whites and blacks. A gentleman named Homer Plessey was caught riding on a train for whites only. Homer Plessey took his case to the Supreme Court and lost. In 1896, the Supreme Court made its decision to legitimize both the Jim Crow laws and the Jim Crow lifestyle (Pilgrim). For many years the African American had to be reminded of segregation by reading the “Colored Only” signs on public restrooms. Also the public drinking fountains had the signs “Colored Only” above them. The African American students had to attend schools for blacks only. Black students could never attend white schools. The black students had to be bused in separate buses for blacks while the white students rode on buses for whites (Pilgrim).
The second form of slavery was segregation or alienating African Americans from white society. Segregation forced many African American families into states of poverty and oppression. The period from the 1870s until the mid 1960s was a period of despair for the African American people. The heavy burden of segregation forced the heart of the African American to cry out a freedom dream. The cries of frustration were communicated very well in both the music and the literature of pre Civil Rights Movement times. Many African American families had to go through a “battle royal” of emotional turmoil, spiritual growth, physical pain, poverty, and poor living conditions. The heavy burden of slavery dictated by the segregationists had to be lifted. Then a need for a revolution to abolish the slavery of segregation became top priority.
The need for civil disobedience against segregation became a reality. According to an article in “A Dictionary of Contemporary History”, the 1954 case of Brown versus the Topeka Board of Education was the start of dissolving segregation in public schools. The Supreme Court overturned the 1896 Plessey case ruling and then mandated that segregation in public school violated the U.S. Constitution. The African American voice became the protagonist in mid 20th century black history. The voice of the Civil Rights Movement cried loud like a new fog horn of the new lighthouse of hope. Their antagonist white voice roared loud like a lion desiring to consume the prey of integration. Blacks wanted integration while the whites wanted segregation.
Blacks wanted integration while the whites wanted segregation. The Civil Rights Movement Revolution was sparked by one woman named Rosa Parks who refused to sit at the back of a bus. The message behind the Civil Rights Movement is that blacks desire to be treated equally with whites. Blacks shall not be treated as second class citizens. Blacks deserve the same inalienable rights as whites. The Civil Rights Movement began its infancy in 1955. The Civil Rights Movement infant grew stronger rapidly. In the late 1950s, the Civil Rights Movement grew up to be a strong proud man like a weight lifter. America was faced with one of the most important issues of all time, the Civil Rights Movement decade.