Civil Right Acts of 1957
On September 9, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The 1957 Civil Rights Bill aimed to ensure that all African Americans could exercise their right to vote. It aimed to increase the number of registered black voters and stated its support for such a move. Up to 1957, and for a variety of reasons, only 20% of African Americans had registered to vote. Plessy v. Ferguson
On June 7, 1892, a 30-year-old colored shoemaker named Homer Plessy was jailed for sitting in the "White" car of the East Louisiana Railroad. Plessy was only one-eighths black and seven-eighths white, but under Louisiana law, he was considered black and therefore required to sit in the "Colored" car. The Plessy decision set the precedent that "separate" facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were "equal." The "separate but equal" doctrine was quickly extended to cover many areas of public life, such as restaurants, theaters, restrooms, and public schools. Not until 1954, in the equally important Brown v. Board of Education decision, would the "separate but equal" doctrine be struck down. Brown Vs. Topeka Board of Education
In Topeka, Kansas, a black third-grader named Linda Brown had to walk one mile through a railroad switchyard to get to her black elementary school, even though a white elementary school was only seven blocks away. Linda's father, Oliver Brown, tried to enroll her in the white elementary school, but the principal of the school refused. (NAACP) chief counsel Thurgood Marshall represented the Browns in the case. Thurgood argued that segregated schools sent the message to black children that they were inferior to whites; therefore, the schools were inherently unequal. The Board of Education's defense was that, because segregation in Topeka and elsewhere pervaded many other aspects of life, segregated schools simply prepared black children for the segregation they would face...
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