The Achievements of Peaceful Protest During the Civil Rights Movement
The Achievements of Peaceful Protests By 1968, full racial equality had not been achieved. Nonetheless, significant progress had been made in terms of: • Education • Transport • Desegregation of public places • Voting rights • Employment • Public Opinion Education • The 1954 Brown case – established that a segregated education could never be an equal one. • Although there were other legal victories which attempted to speed up integration, progress towards desegregation was slow. In 1957, 3 years after the Brown case which ruled that segregation was illegal in all schools, 97% of black students remained in segregated schools. • Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the government power to force integration of education, by 1968 58% of black students remained in segregated schools.
President Johnsons Higher Education Act of 1965 increased the number of black students attending college/uni during the late 1960s and 1970s Important points to remember: The Brown Case (1954) Civil Rights Act (1964) Higher Education Act (1968) Transport Interstate Transport An NAACP court case in 1946 successfully established that segregation was illegal on interstate transport • CORE’s 1961 Freedom Rides – were necessary for a de facto change • September 1961 – signs enforcing segregation were removed from interstate buses/bus terminals State Transport • SCLC’s Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956) led to desegregation of buses in Montgomery and the NAACP’s legal case les to the establishment that segregation on buses was illegal (de jure) • De facto change in the South was slow.
Civil Rights Act (1964) was necessary to give the government power to enforce de facto change. Public Places Sit-ins which began in Greensboro in 1960 = effective • But some authorities took measures to avoid desegregation e. g. closed public parks • Birmingham Campaign (1963) – protestors did not achieve full desegregation • Civil Rights Act (1964) – forced cities to desegregate • 1965 – 214 southern cities had desegregated Voting Rights • Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 were ineffective in guaranteeing black voting rights. • 1963 – only 800 000 out of 20 million blacks could vote • 1964 – Mississippi Freedom Summer • 1965 – Selma Campaign.
Voting Rights Act of 1965 = effective in the North 1965 – 6 million blacks were registered to vote • Voter registration led to an increase in the number of blacks elected to governmental positions in the North Employment and Income • During 1950s, black unemployment was approximately twice the national average • Improvement during 1960s but full equality was not achieved • Civil Rights Act (1964) – outlawed racial discrimination in employment • Moynihan Report (1965) – highlighted that equality had still not been achieved • 1968 – the average income of black workers had risen but it was still only 61% of the income of white workers
Housing • American Census (1960) – reported that 46% of blacks were living in ‘unsound’ accommodation • Black campaigners put pressure on politicians to solve the problem of ghettos • 1967 – 22 states had some form of fair housing law • Fair Housing Act (1968) – prohibited discrimination in America’s housing market – fairly ineffective as maximum fine was 1000 dollars Public Support for Civil Rights Civil Rights campaigns of the early 1960s were highly effective in winning public support • 1964 – 80% of the public supported the desegregation of education, employment and voting.
But people still did not want to LIVE near black people – only half the public supported equal rights in housing Conclusion The Civil Rights movement transformed America. By 1968, segregation, where it still remained was no longer backed by the law. The federal government had new laws to challenge racial injustice. But there was still a long way to go before all Americans would be considered ‘equal’.