The African American Struggle
During the decades following the Cold War, the United States was in turmoil. The U.S. was involved in many conflicts over freedom during the mid-1900s. The one most mentioned to me being the struggles of the African Americans during this time. Many events helped in the formation of this movement but the main cause of this conflict in the United States was the idea of white supremacy in the south and the African Americans’ determination to fight for their rights. Events leading up to the African American struggle in the mid-1900s include black resistance from the start of slavery, the Civil War, the desegregation of the armed forces in the Korean War, the exclusion of African Americans in the war industries, the increase of black presence in popular culture and the Double V Campaign, which was the idea that victory over Germany and Japan must also bring with it victory over segregation in the United States. As a result to the majority of these things, organizations were founded designed to assist in African American rights in the United States, for example the Congress On Racial Equality (1942), who at held sit-ins in northern cities to promote the integration of restaurants and theatres, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1909), which brought lawsuits against discrimination. The “war gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement…, but it also planted seeds for the south’s ‘massive resistance’ to desegregation.” In 1941, a black labor leader, named A. Phillip Randolph called for a March on Washington after he and others black laborers had been repeatedly excluded from certain jobs. In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 and established the Fair Employment Practices Commission. The Executive Order banned discrimination in defense jobs and the FEPC was established to see that it was seen through. This was the start of the Civil Rights Movement. After this, many more actions were taken to support the equality of the African American people as well as actions motivating these people to continue taking action to fight on towards equality. In the Supreme Court case Smith v Allwright of 1944, all-white primaries were outlawed because they deprived blacks of their political rights in the south. In 1954, in the Supreme Court case Brown v The Board of Education, the court ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The effects of this ruling were slow to emerge. In 1955, a fourteen year old black boy was killed in Money, Mississippi for a non-criminating act involving a white girl. Though arrested and charged, his killers were never convicted. At the end of that same year, Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger and take a seat at the back of a public transportation bus. Parks’ arrest started a city-wide protest in which the black people of Montgomery, Alabama refused to make use of the public transportation system until justice was served. MLK stated that they sought “the right…to seat [them]selves from the rear forward on a first come, first served basis” and until that request was obliged they would walk wherever they needed to go. On February 1, 1960, four students from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College took a seat at a whites-only lunch counter and sat there, refusing to leave, until the store closed. These students recruited more participants and soon attracted attention from local reporters. Soon, sit-ins started occurring all throughout the south to protest segregation. From this new act of non-violence came the SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee whose purpose was to fight for civil rights nonviolently because they believed that “Through nonviolence, courage displaces fear; love transforms hate. Acceptance dissipates prejudice; hopes ends despair. Peace dominates war; faith reconciles...
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