Although the 1960’s are usually considered the decade of greatest achievement for black civil rights, the 1940’s and 1950’s were periods of equally important gains. Asses the Validity of this statement.
Equality was always a touchy subject following the civil war. Following the war, the north did not put emphasis on equality for all men. It took almost a century longer for complete equality to be achieved. Clearly these changes did not come around quickly, and it took a large group effort to bring about change. The ending results of the fight for Civil Rights that came in the 1960’s are of equal or even lesser importance to the events that enacted the change during the 1940’s and 1950’s.
The 1960’s were a time of great results of the effort to establish civil rights for African Americans. In the earl sixties, movements such as the Freedom Riders were still in full effect, but the government was beginning to sway to the black side. President Kennedy brings the Civil Rights Bill to congress in 1963. It is put down by the southern democrats. As a result, Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement organize a massive political march in Washington. One of the high points of this march is Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech on the steps of the Lincoln memorial. The efforts come to fruition with the passing of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, and Voting Rights Bill of 1965. But the Efforts made in the sixties are mere fractions of the total amount of drive from the previous decades.
Civil Rights was an important issue that came up after, and during, WWII. Many Blacks wanted to serve their country in the army, but couldn’t due to military segregation. President Truman brought the Civil Rights issue to light when he established his Committee on Civil Rights. Shortly after the committee was established, the President passed a series of executive orders removing segregation in the military and in the government workforce. This was the first effort taken by the government concerning equal rights for the African Americans. These Efforts promptly continued at the turn of the decade.
The Civil Rights movement really began to sink in leading up to it’s peak in the late fifties. In 1950, a major court ruling changed the face of racial segregation involving schools. The Supreme Court case Brown v Board of Education was a shock to the US population that had Blacks all over seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Segregation in schools was ruled a violation of the fourteenth amendment by the court. This ruling was put to the test in 1952 when nine black students attempted to enroll in a public high school. Crowds gathered in order to stop the students. Then, President Eisenhower sent in a group of troop to escort the students to school; showing that the federal government would support the court ruling. More and more Blacks decided to take a stand. In Montgomery, Alabama, Civil Rights activists staged a bus boycott. These events turned more and more people towards the cause. As time went on, activists grew more organized. The events of the 1950’s set up the success that came in the 1960’s
The 1940’s and 1940’s were just as important as the 1960’s for the Civil Rights movement because, major events during this era created a sense of unity that allowed for organization in the sixties. It is important not to overlook the necessary preludes to the march on Washington. Although results are finally felt in the sixties, it could never have happened without the bravery of the previous twenty-so years.