Journey to Equality
For many centuries African American’s have been treated as if they were lower class citizens and treated as so. It has taken them many years and help from some amazing people to rise above it all. After the many centuries of segregation and ill treatment, African Americans have been able to overcome and have become more respected in society today. This is a wonderful outcome of what is known as the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1865, America had many major changes that needed to be made; this period was considered the reconstruction or silver lining, time period. America was in a hard place and needed to make many changes to its many issues that were causing the country to be less than efficient (Risen, 2011). African Americans were treated as lower class and were often denied human rights. The basic human rights that every American is born with regardless to race, age or gender are shelter, food and safety (Shelton, 2012). This was something that really needed to be changed.
America was recovering from four years of the hardships of the Civil War and the confederacy pushed to bring more African Americans to their plantations to continue to use them as slaves. It is often thought of by historians that the major cause of the Civil War was to due to the want for slavery (Bowles, 2011). White farmers had many slaves for their workers and allowed them to live in the slave shacks provided on the farmers land. The South eventually began to move forward with positive changes in growth and development in the 1880’s. The white farmers had begun to develop their shacks that once housed their slaves, into homes for whites and African Americans to live while they continued to work. These homes were not the greatest but they were no longer called the slave shacks and provided basic shelter. This was considered redemption which was the time where whites sought to find forgiveness for the sins they had caused. This was a great step forward in the right direction. Even though positive changes were happening within the country at this time, new ways of segregation were developing which held not so positive responses from the whites.
In 1877 White farmers and politicians found that the African Americans started to hold too many rights and privileges and because of this they started to restrict their rights. This caused stress between the whites and African Americans. While the government put laws in place that prohibited discrimination due to race, whites proceeded to develop segregated white only areas within their homes and businesses. This allowed for African Americans and whites to be treated equal and yet be segregated.
The government created ways to restrict the rights of African Americans by creating laws that would make being eligible to vote harder for them. The government developed a poll tax which was a fee they charged in order for African American’s to vote. These taxes generally led to African American’s declining their “right” to vote as they chose using the little money they had to provide for their families instead of paying to vote. Another law they created were ones that stated that one must be able to read in order to vote (Bowles, 2011). African Americans received little to no education and most were unable to read. Having this law for voting made many African Americans ineligible to vote.
This brought in W.E.B Du Bois who was in support of a percent of African Americans to obtain an education (Sanders, 1997). Du Bois was a very educated white man who did not believe that Washington’s idea of segregation was a very good one. He did not believe that this would help bridge the gap between the whites and black and had no solid grounds for being. Du Bois provided much support for an organization called National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. This wonderful organization was developed to ensure the...
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