How far is it accurate to describe black Americans as second class citizens up to the 1950?

Topics: African American, American Civil War, Southern United States Pages: 3 (1038 words) Published: October 6, 2014
How far is it accurate to describe black Americans as second class citizens up to the 1950? Second class citizenship refers to a situation in which some categories of citizens have fewer rights than others. This can either take the form of an official, legally defined denial of some rights, or a less formal practical denial of rights. This term was applied to the black Americans and other minorities between the years 1945 and 1953. After the abolition of slavery in the United States, three Constitutional amendments were passed to grant newly freed African Americans legal status: the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, the Fourteenth provided citizenship, and the Fifteenth guaranteed the right to vote. In spite of these amendments and civil rights acts to enforce the amendments, between 1873 and 1883 the Supreme Court handed down a series of decisions that virtually nullified the work of Congress during Reconstruction. Regarded by many as second-class citizens, blacks were separated from whites by law and by private action in transportation, public accommodations, recreational facilities, prisons, armed forces, and schools in both Northern and Southern states. Second-class citizenship became the pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States, especially in the South, in the decades following the Civil War. The emancipation of slaves in the South posed a serious problem for large landowners who had previously relied almost entirely on slave labor for their incomes. The rules of racially-based second-class citizenship in the South had a number of key components. The most obvious, of course, were the laws which effectively denied blacks the right to vote. Typically these took the form of literacy tests which were much more strictly enforced against blacks than against whites, but at various times and places in the South other devices were used to accomplish this black disempowerment. Harsh vagrancy laws in the South were also used to prevent blacks from...
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