How Far Could It Be Argued That the Biggest Obstacle to Civil Rights Progress Was White Racism and Intimidation?

Topics: Racism, Racial segregation, Ku Klux Klan Pages: 3 (1180 words) Published: September 5, 2012
How far could it be argued that the biggest obstacle to civil rights progress was white racism and intimidation? The civil rights movements faced many obstacles, the most significant being slow and insufficient action from the Federal Government, however, other factors such as white racism and intimidation, the poverty in the north and divisions in the movement also had adverse effects on the movement. However, these factors also had some positive effects such as gaining media attention and white sympathy. White racism and intimidation was a very significant factor that slowed the civil rights movement. This is evident in the South in which the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens Council were lynching blacks quite frequently. Additionally, after the ruling of Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) of ‘separate but equal’, segregation was made legal, therefore southerners took it so far that Supreme Court rulings in favour of blacks were completely defied, such as in the Little Rock Crisis where Governor Faubus stopped black students from entering the high school despite previous rulings from Brown II (1955). This intimidation from supremacist groups and resistance from state government and general citizens slowed progress significantly because blacks were now afraid to campaign for fear of being lynched meaning that any effort made by blacks for equality was often negated by this strong resistance in the South. However, the resistance also had a positive effect on civil rights progress, such as in the Birmingham Movement 1963 in which the violence encouraged by Chief of Police Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor actually caused nationwide media attention which increased white sympathy and therefore made progress easier for blacks. Therefore racism in the South was a major obstacle before the 1950’s because any de jure change never resulted in de facto, however, after this point, campaigners targeted overtly racist places for their campaigns which was very advantageous for progress, meaning...
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