Throughout the decades of 1945-1980 African Americans were able to push for new policies and integration through difficult nonviolent and violent efforts (in the later years). Progress was made, in limited capacities. To gain such progress Civil rights activists used strategies such as desegregation efforts, confrontation, and ultimately black power strategies which brought in new policies, laws, and acts that could only be monitored and pursued so far by legislative powers and therefore did not create the changes everyone was looking for.
Civil rights activists began their push through desegregation efforts of schools in the Jim crow South. It was obvious the African American children were forced to attend schools that were in no way equal to the schools that white children attended, and in the African American Parents petition to the Clarendon S.C school board, they noted the vast differences between the schools; the only three schools to which Negro pupils are permitted to attend, are inadequate, and unhealthy, the buildings and schools are old and overcrowded and in a dilapidated condition (Griffith and Baker, 176), meanwhile the schools that the white children attended were modern, safe, sanitary, well equipped, lighted and healthy and the building and schools are new, modern, uncrowded and maintained in first class condition (Griffith and Baker, 176). By consistently bringing cases to the courts, segregation became very expensive in the time it took up, and taxpayer money. Once Brown V. Board was law, and schools began to somehow integrate, they moved on to nonviolent confrontation to gain more equality. Sit-ins were effective in drawing attention and support to the inequality, as well as hate. Boycotts drained income for public transportation and brought attention, beginning with Rosa Parks who stood up for the inequality and injustices of Jim crow. Freedom rides began interracial protest but were dangerous in the violence that they received; John Lewis of SNCC was clubbed and beaten white vigilantes set upon a bus carrying nonviolent protestors a mob kicked and pummeled everyone involved, including a cameraman for NBC television (Isserman and Kazin, 35). Meanwhile peaceful protest marches managed to work brilliantly in exposing the injustices of the South through the media (broadcasted to the entire country), through the provoked white police forces violence. Eventually finding that nonviolence doesnt always work, Malcolm X brought in Black power, and defending themselves when needed, rather than allowing themselves to be kicked down any longer. They found that it was no longer a time for integration, it was a time to simply be equal. Their push for civil rights was a slow and tumultuous battle in which several strategies were needed.
The civil rights movement used different strategies in gaining policies and laws. It first began with their desegregation objectives in schools, Brown V. Board (1954) was passed overturning the Plessy V. Fergusonruling principle of separate but equal, establishing that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional. A win for the civil rights movement. Moving on to the Civil rights act of 1964, passed by Lyndon B. Johnson. Then once Lyndon B Johnson had been re-elected; they [Civil rights activists] felt the time for caution was over. (Isserman and Kazin, 143). Post the demonstration and March of Selma to Montgomery, Johnson brought to life the Civil rights bill, which transitioned into the Civil Rights Act; He announced his intention to bring a voting rights bill to congress in the next forty-eight hours, after admitting that the events at said march were deadly wrong [and] for any of your fellow Americans to be denied the right to vote (Isserman and Kazin, 146). Through these protests, and nonviolent actions, the civil rights movement got a lot of speed. The years of sit ins, boycotts, demonstrations, and their persistent pursuit of rights pushed policies and laws into place.
The legislation that was pushed into place was only so enforceable by the government and therefore didnt create as much societal change as intentioned. They passed the bills, ruled on court cases, but across America, there was still the KKK and people who had no intention of integration. In the A South African Novelist Examines the Plight of The Negro in the North, 1954 they note [Restrictive Covenants were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1948 yet continued to be used on a widespread basis.] (Griffith and Baker, 178). One example of the way in which things can be outlawed, but if the people on state and county levels dont enforce the legislation, it doesnt create change. During the Civil Rights movement there wwere segregationists in law enforcement who were not going to enforce any legislation; Bull Conner and his men did little to stop white vigilantes, some of whom belonged to the Ku Klux Klan, from carrying on a terror campaign against local blacks who dared transgress the color line, because of his own personal beliefs that the civil rights movement was a communist plot and that stern, even brutal measures were needed to turn back the threat it posed to the traditional racial order (Isserman and Kazin 91). The federal Government couldnt monitor everything happening, and for that the changes that occurred across the U.S werent as big as everyone had intended.
The Civil rights movement had a lot of push back, but they persisted. Through strategical moves, policies and laws were put into place. Though the amount of societal change that became of it wasnt as increased and fast paced as hoped, change was slowly but surely occurring across America.
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