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Segregation in America

By BenBrownsea May 18, 2013 525 Words
By the mid-20th century, racial tensions had escalated and demonstrations swelled for voting rights and school integration. Beginning with the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 lead by Reverend Martin Luther King, conflicts between the Civil Rights movement and those who would fight to maintain "the white way of life" would lead to violence and, in some cases, murder. Between 1948 and 1965, over two hundred Black churches and homes in the Deep South were the target of bombings, and there was no more volatile city than Birmingham, Alabama (nicknamed‘Bombingham’). In 1962, before his election as Governor, George Wallace aligned himself with other Southern Governors who were facing the same issues of federal intervention in order to impose desegregation in their states' schools. Wallace appeared at a rally for Georgia's Marvin Griffin, who was running against a candidate with more moderate views on desegregation. Wallace also supported Mississippi's Governor Ross Barnett in the dramatic confrontation between state and federal authority over the admission of the University of Mississippi's first black student, James Meredith. The stage was set for his own dramatic stand at the University of Alabama. The goal of desegregation established by Chief Justice Warren in 1954 was not just to affect equality in education, but to provide equal opportunity for life-long achievement. Research on the effects of desegregation on academic achievement (conducted in the 1970s) documented small gains in the reading achievements of black and either positive or neutral effects in math. Researchers also noted that desegregation did not hinder achievement in white students. More recent national studies show that desegregation in schools leads to desegregation in later life.

The concept of segregation was formulated because there were no more slaves after the Civil War.By the time the United States entered World War, the South was a fully segregated society. Every school, restaurant, hotel, train car, waiting room, elevator, public bathroom, college, hospital, cemetery, swimming pool, drinking fountain, prison, and church was either for whites or blacks but never for both. Segregation had gone to extremes where in courtrooms, blacks swore on one Bible and whites on another. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, Southerners were born in segregated hospitals, educated in segregated schools, and buried in segregated graveyards. Throughout the South, segregation had the support of the legal system and it was enforced by the police. Beyond the law, however, there the constant threat of terrorist violence against blacks who attempted to challenge or even question the established order.The Ku Klux Klan, Knights of White Camellia, and other terrorists murdered thousands of blacks and some whites to prevent them from voting and participating in public life. The KKK was founded in 1865 to 1866.  They directed their violence towards black landowners, politicians, and community leaders.  They also did this to people who supported Republicans or racial equalities.  One of the main forms of violence was lynching.  Between 1884 and the 1900 white mobs lynched more than 2,000 blacks in the South. They were also lynched for any violation of the southern code.  They also burned them alive, shot them, or beat them to death.

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