How Important Was the Supreme Court in the Development of African-American Civil Rights in the Years 1950 to 1962?

Topics: Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court of the United States, Earl Warren Pages: 9 (2959 words) Published: January 28, 2013
(A) Use Source A and B and your own knowledge

Explain how far the views in Source B differ from those in Source A in relation to President Eisenhower and the desegregation of education.

Both sources illustrate Eisenhower’s negative opinion on desegregation in schools. Both criticise and portray Eisenhower’s intolerance of black people as Source states Eisenhower’s comment that white people ‘ are concerned about is that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes’ . Eisenhower’s ‘sympathises’; the south as he originates there himself, the intolerance could be considered to be part of the South’s culture and behaviour to be intolerant of the black people, it is arguable that this effected Eisenhower’s political judgement . The fact that Eisenhower came from military background after spending 44 years of his life in service, would have influenced his decisions and opinions on desegregation as military camps were segregated and Eisenhower would have been use to this system. He once again agues from the South’s point of view in Source B, ‘I don’t believe you can change the hearts of men with laws and decisions’ this once again supports the point I made before. Evidence of his intolerance was regretting appointing Earl Warren as chief of justice ‘the biggest damn fool mistake I ever made’ he obviously was very against the decision and never wanted desegregation.

The similarities continue as both sources shows the reluctance of helping the black people through desegregation. Source A comments that he didn’t show a clear support for the Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools, ‘his silence encouraged massive resistance’. His political and personal opinions were colliding with each other making his actions limited. Source B shows proof of his reluctance also as it stated three years later he finally protects the little rock 9 with a federal army in 1957. This was the first time Eisenhower showed support of segregation however; it was a ‘weak act’ from Eisenhower. It could be possible that he felt that it was his study as the president not himself supporting civil rights for the black people.

However, the sources do differ in the fact that source B states a more positive view on Eisenhower even thought it was considered ‘weak’. As already stated Eisenhower While in presidency did not actively support desegregation and had reservations about the Brown decision, he understood his constitutional responsibility to uphold the federal authority and the law. Eisenhower ordered federal troops to guard and Little Rock and protect black students as they walked to school. He therefore became the first president since Reconstruction to use federal troops to protect the rights of African Americans. As Source A’s tone is very negative as it quotes intolerant views on the African Americans, it insinuates that Eisenhower is very against African Americans being part of a ‘white society’ this contrast with the little rock 9 as he aids the black people into the school, after his comments it would been unlikely to help the black people but he does.

To conclude: source A and B are very similar as they both voice the intolerance and his lack of support Eisenhower gave to the African-Americans. I agree with the source as from my own knowledge he was very against civil rights because of his Sothern influence. His views on desegregation was transparent from his actions and that’s what source and B illustrate (12 Marks)

(B) Use Source A, B and C and your own knowledge.

How important was the Supreme Court in the development of African-American civil rights in the years 1950 to 1962?

The Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the US, consisting of nine justices and taking judicial precedence over all other courts in the nation. The Supreme Court would have benefited every African- American with their decisions of passing and lifting laws if they succeeded...
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