How effective was the Civil Rights Movement in abolishing racial discrimination between 1950 and 1965?
Civil Rights Movement tried to gain full citizenship rights and abolish racial discrimination for black Americans. They challenged segregation and discrimination through protests, marches, boycotts and their refusal to follow the law. The effectiveness of these methods can be measured in its ability to coming closer to abolish racial discrimination.
Many believed the movement was very effective in abolishing racial discrimination for many reasons, one being the Brown VS Topeka case in 1954. This was a federal case meaning it applies to all states. Additionally is also a legal a legal precedent case because it was the first of its kind. This case saw segregation in public schools made unconstitutional due to the NAACP, who protested for a seven year old girl called Linda Brown and so in May 1954 Supreme Court rules that white Americans and African Americans were to attend the same school. This went against the ruling made in 1896 from the Plessey VS Ferguson’s case which set a “separate but equal” ruling where supreme court said white Americans and African Americans should be kept separate as long as they got “equal provision”, however separate was almost never equal and so the extent to which this case was effective in causing civil rights to be abolished some would say was great as it has come along way since the 1800’s.
However, others would say the effectiveness of this case in abolishing racial discrimination was limited because even though Brown VS Topeka outlawed segregation, many schools defined the law by threatening African American students because laws would not change white Americans opinions of them.
Another event which could have been seen as more effective method by the civil rights movement in abolishing racial discrimination was the Montgomery bus boycott which was a federal case making is applicable to all states. This began in 1955 where a woman named Rosa Parka refused to give her seat to a white American and so faced great consequences. This then led to the African American community coming together and refusing to go on the buses; this went on for a year causing bus companies to loose 65% and so Supreme Court ended bus segregation in 1956.
However even though this event, like Brown VS Topeka ended a form of segregation faced by African Americans, it was like Brown VS Topeka was limited in the sense it still did not change white Americans views and so they still faced discrimination and were segregated in other areas.
A more famous event, that attempted to abolish racial discrimination, was Little Rock in 1957. In 1957 nine black students were allowed to go to Little Rock Central High, which has previously been an all whit school, making this a significant development in the civil rights moment in abolishing racial discrimination. More so because of the huge sympathetic media cover that this attracted which portrayed a positive look upon the civil rights movement. More importantly it has the involvement and support of President Eisenhower, making this a federal case, like the previous event.
However once again the effectiveness of this case in abolishing discrimination was limited as other schools round the area closed down and just like the previous attempts to abolish racial discrimination, white Americans were still resistant.
1960 saw the civil rights start the method of sit ins. This took place in Greensbro where it began with four African American students and then increased to 27, then 80 and on the fifth day of the sit in, 300. This started due to segregated lunch counters and it was an effective method because sales dropped and so the segregation ended. In this same year in April many started to follow and a total of 78 communities across the south held them. By September 1961 70,000 black and white students used this tactic resulting in 810 towns being desegregated by 1961. This was very effective in its aim because not only did it desegregate making it more racially equal, but publicity was gained which showed non violent African Americans being faced with violent white Americans.
In 1961 the civil rights movement wanted to test their own effectiveness in abolishing racial discrimination and so freedom riders was created. They traveled though the southern states testing these new laws. They had been effective as they managed to ensure transport was integrated and were supported by Robert Kennedy, the president’s brother.
However their effectiveness was compressed as they faced abuse from the KKK and where attacked and arrested in Birmingham and Alabama and Jackson and Mississippi. The civil rights movement then looked to abolishing racial discrimination in the voting side with their voter registration campaign. SNCC, who were the group that took action, helper African Americans to vote and gave courses on how to. This had been effective as the number of African Americans voting has increased steadily.
However, once again there effect was limited because whilst voting they faced intimidation and were also either sacked or evicted from their land for doing so.
The civil rights protest in 1963 in attempting to abolish racial discrimination where Martin Luther King became significant was a protest by the civil rights movement. It was effective as it gained them much publicity for what it was they were trying to achieve, abolishing racial discrimination.It was a protest which had the involvment of President Kennedy.
Another protest by civil rights with the same aim was the March on Washington in 1963, led by Martin Luther King. It was evident the effectiveness of the civil rights movement in this event in abolishing racial discrimination had been great as it had the support of 80,00 Americans and 250,000 demonstrators.
However in 1965 the civil rights movement split in two where half wanted to follow Martin Luther King and the other Malcolm X , who wanted to segregate and use more violent methods; Malcolm X’ group increased membership to 100,000 and there success was limiting the effect of the civil rights movement in trying to abolish racial discrimination.