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African-American Civil Rights in the Years 1950 to 1962 Essay

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 in winning their cases. It allowed them to have legal rights with in the country and legally be equal to the white people. However, the self-esteem of the African Americans was low due to the intolerance of the white people therefore figures such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and support of political figures such as Kennedy allowed them to be brave and a sense of pride in gaining equality. Therefore, the Supreme Court could be considered less important than other figures and factors that occurred between 1950 and 1962.

Source A and B discuss the Brown vs. Topeka’s Board of Education verdict in 1954. The Supreme Court passed the law of desegregated schools by the chief of Justice Earl Warren. He was criticised for his decision such as President Eisenhower, who had shared his annoyance with Warren by stating that is was the ‘biggest damn fool mistake he ever made’. The silence of Eisenhower’s support on desegregation caused massive resistance along with the indirect deadline for when desegregation is to commence. Hence, Brown 2 in 1955 was the attempt to get a clearer deadline than before. However, disappointingly the verdict was ‘with all deliberate speed’ it was still vague and prolonged the wait for desegregation. The Supremes’ role in this particular situation helped civil rights as it declared more equality within America however turned to a hindrance as it become a battle of when it will happen.

The decision also caused further problems for the African- Americans as Little Rock complied with the high court’s laws and decided to desegregate there all white school. The NAACP submitted nine students originally to join the school and gradually bring more in and settled them slowly. However, it wasn’t that simply as the 9 students went to enter their school they was verbally abused and tormented by the white southerners, Eisenhower had to submit federal assistance to help them into school , this is stated in source B as it had taken 3 years to show any support from Eisenhower and the south to finally accept desegregation .

Eisenhower’s federal involvement was then became the first president since Reconstruction to use federal troops to protect the rights of African Americans. However, since Brown vs. education Source C states that McLaurin vs. Oklahoma rules that universities too have to follow the desegregation law and that you ‘could not provide different treatment to a student solely because of his/her race’. This proves that the Supreme Court was furthering African American rights through all levels of education making them equal and educated. This is another influence the Supreme Court had over monumental changes for the African Americans and the society around them.

However, it is arguable that the Supreme Court only assisted the figures and events that immensely changed civil rights for the African Americans. Events such as the Montgomery Bus boycott in 1956 were a political and social protest. after the arrest of Rosa parks African Americans were ready to take action and regain some equality and raise the issue of how wrong it is to make a ‘tired, old lady’ to move, even if it wasn’t entirely true. The boycott was led by the group the MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association) Saturday 3rd December the black community supported each other as a lot of people avoided the busses and had to take rides with other people in the community, even though it was difficult the supporters of the cause enthusiastically agreed to continue the boycott until there was justice.

The success of the black people boycotting led to economic stress were the issue of segregation would be over. The fact that one event, encourage African Americans to stand for their rights influenced and uncovered the most influential figures in civil right history and gained justice from their efforts. This is repeated again the 1960 in the Greensboro sit-in’s when African Americans refuse to move to from their seats in the Woolworths store. Their numbers increased in support and was watched by the world; even Eisenhower voiced his opinions on the matter. These nonviolent protests allowed black people to become a part of changing their future and not relying on court cases and individuals to get them there.

Arguably even though they gained great success the black people didn’t have any legal hold on desegregating the bus system, thus the Browder vs. Gayle case. The Supreme Court upheld the district court’s decision in making bus’s desegregated. Without the confirmation from the Supreme Court all the black people’s efforts would have resulted to nothing without the confirmation of the Supreme Court. Rosa parks is seen in our modern day history as an inspirational civil rights leader. Her story influenced thousands of African Americans to boycott buses and gain equality.

However, her image of being a ‘hard working, old, fragile women’ who wanted to rest her feet after a long day isn’t true at all. She had been an active protester and NAACP member for years and probably planned this protest to gain publicity and change. Due to her protest Martin Luther King was noticed as a civil rights figure, he had been watched from all over the world and from then on seen as the leading civil rights leader. His efforts in the SCLC created in 1957 after the Montgomery bus boycott, helped the southern African Americans who suffered from great intolerance .

However, once again their efforts amounted to achieving the legalisation of equality, without the Supreme Court all their efforts went to nothing. To conclude: even though Martin Luther King is seen as the saviour of the African Americans in gaining equality and is still admired in our modern day society, it is the supreme court that allowed them legally to be treated as equals and live the lives they should live. However, without the efforts and protests the Supreme Court would never have considered to pass or all the African Americans to have the equality they gained through their efforts. Therefore, the other factors that influenced African Americans development on civil rights were more important than the Supreme Court.

(2A) Explain why school were not immediately desegregated after the verdict in the Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education case of 1954 *  Earl Warren passed desegregation in 1954 in the Brown vs. Topeka Board of education. This was to end segregation. The NAACP appointed Thurgood to take the case and won with Earl Warren’s confirmation However, Warren didn’t set the deadline when schools should be desegregated. This prolonged desegregation and led to the court case Brown 2 in 1955 to gain directness on when desegregation will commence .However the verdict remained vague commenting that desegregation should happen with ‘all deliberate speed’ allowing desegregation, once again to be prevented from racial diversity in schools. This suggests that the Supreme Court was reluctant to desegregate schools fully due to Eisenhower’s silence and the South’s reluctance to do so.

Other than the Cooper vs. Aaron case, the southern manifesto is proof of their reluctance as this was a legal document signed by 99 politicians to counter the decision on Brown vs. Education, because of the legality and not just the opinions of the south. This then makes the manifesto more than reluctance but a serious legal matter. Their claim matched the opinions of the south commenting that ‘segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The southern manifesto stated that ‘It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races’, ‘It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding’ to make their argument fair and agreeable they used the idea that desegregation will bring violence and issues to the communities when there is no need.

Even though some areas (especially in the north where it was more tolerant) accepted desegregation quickly. However, a lot of the south continued segregation as they didn’t agree with the Brown vs. Board of Education, thus the southern manifesto. The build-up of tension of intolerance was at little rock. Little rock school in Arkansas decided to comply with the high court’s ruling. The NAACP submitted 9 students to the previously all white school. They was verbally abused and tormented as they entered the school, President Eisenhower had to send federal troops to protect the 9 children. This suggests that ‘fear’ that was presented in the southern manifesto was proven to be true allowing anxiety for other schools and black people to comply with desegregation.

President Eisenhower originated from the south and voiced intolerance himself about the decisions of Brown vs. board of education. It was commented that his silence encouraged massive resistance to applying the new law forcefully through the country as he did not agree with the verdict. It was also claimed that he voiced annoyance about appointing Earl Warren stating that it was ‘The biggest damn fool mistake I ever made’ this is evidence of his intolerance because he disapproved of Warren’s decision. Being a military man himself he was use to the segregation system and probably agreed with the idea of ‘separate but equal’. This suggests why the Supreme Court had given vague answers of when the deadline should be on desegregation because the president wasn’t happy with the decision.

To conclude: there were many factors to why desegregation wasn’t immediate however; the most important factor that contributed to preventing desegregation was the south. The fear, the legal documentation created by the south, the behaviour and the powerful leaders from the south made the desegregation difficult and tense. The South’s intolerance caused the most issues, as the north complied with high court’s decision quickly as there was less intolerance.  * (2B) ‘The work of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) was the most important reason for the desegregation of schools in the years 1950 to 1960’ * Explain why you agree or disagree with this view

* The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. Their mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. They are the earliest organisation to aid African- Americans into equality. They have had many successes in desegregating schools and their efforts have gone far however, it is arguable that other organisations, figures and events that were more influential to desegregation in schools than the NAACP. * The NAACP had succeeded in other cases for the rights of black people however; it was the Brown vs. Board of Education that is considered NAACP’s victorious achievement. But, without the work of Thurgood marshal that was appointed by the NAACP the outcome might have been different.

Other than being the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court he had won 29 out of the 32 he had faced. He was a very intelligent and stood for his rights after winning previous cases for the NAACP himself and a team of NAACP attorneys won Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Other than the NAACP winning the case Thurgood who was part of the NAACP team, was an inspiration to the African Americans. However, the decision didn’t lead to an immediate change as there was no clear deadline. The NAACP and Marshall forgot to argue its urgency for change therefore, Brown 2 the case that was to get the urgency it needed however, the decision was vague as it stated ‘with deliberate speed’. The NAACP did succeed in the decision of desegregation but it had no action. NAACP helped all African American’s in need such as the Little Rock 9 in 1957. The NAACP submitted 9 students to attend the previously all white school Little Rock, this was an achievement as a lot of the south wasn’t and would not comply with the high court’s orders.

However, this turned into a disadvantage as The 9 students was verbally abused, tormented and prevented to enter their new school. The NAACP however, did help them try and enter or submit them in different and safer schools. It wasn’t just Little Rock students that they helped enter schools but many.

* It is arguable that other factors effected the desegregation of schools such as the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had to pass the laws to gain legal equality, therefore the Brown vs. Education case without the Chief of Justice Earl Warren reaching the decision that segregation is unconstitutional. Desegregation would never have gone through. They pass the McLaurin vs. Oklahoma state regents, this was to desegregate universities. However, other cases were inspired by the efforts of the NAACP, and the outcome they reached in the Brown vs. board of Education Verdict.

* However, it was the ordinary people that changed their future by joining protests and helping each other. Such as Linda Brown, if it wasn’t for Linda’s cause the case to bring desegregation to schools. Linda Brown was the Daughter to Oliver Brown, because of his annoyance that his daughter had to walk 6 blocks because of the Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling ‘separate but equal’ under the Jim Crow laws. Her long walks to school led to one of the most monumental events that happened for African Americans.

However, Linda Brown was part one of the thirteen families that was recruited to Topeka (the area they lived in), the NAACP took the case for Brown and pursued his plan to desegregate schools. * To conclude: The NAACP efforts in desegregating schools were more important than the other factors that influenced desegregations. Without The NAACP providing lawyers such as Marshall and helping brown win his case, Oliver brown wouldn’t of won the case. I believe that the NAACP’s involvement in the desegregation of schools was the main reason and that’s why I agree with the statement.


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