The social and economic position of black citizens in the USA 1945-55

Angelica Tsapparelli
Flashcards by Angelica Tsapparelli, updated more than 1 year ago
Angelica Tsapparelli
Created by Angelica Tsapparelli over 3 years ago


flashcard for the early period of american civil rights 1945-1968

Resource summary

Question Answer
Amendments 13th 1865 - emancipation of the slaves 14th 1868 - gave equal citizenship rights to everyone born in America 15th 1870 - gave voting rights to all citizens regardless of race
Plessy v Ferguson (1896) Homer Plessy, a black man, challenged segregation laws saying they were incompatible with 14th amendment, Supreme Court ruled segregation was legal as long as it was "separate but equal"
South pre WWII Legal segregation Jim crow laws like grandfather clause (grandfather had to have voted) and literacy tests stopped black people from voting KKK terrorised - between 1882 and 1945 over 300 lynchings in 5 southern states
North pre WWII Less segregation Black Americans had more access to higher paid industrial jobs and unions Paid 50% what white Americans paid Many could vote Lived in ghettos
FEPC (1941) Roosevelt set up the Fair Employment Practices Committee to ban discriminatory employment practices for war effort work, economic Underfunded Truman continued it after WWII
WWII impacts for soldiers (1939-45) Fighting Nazi racism in Europe but still had racism in USA - adopted double V sign (victory in Europe and at home) Black soldiers spent time in Europe and experienced no segregation About 500,000 AAs migrated North for industrial war effort jobs and experienced little segregation AA soldiers expected better treatment on return from fighting for their country Some white people's attitudes changed eg Woodrow Crockett won respect for courage - 1948 Truman desegregated armed forces
WWII impacts in South (1939-45) Segregation remained NAACP and other civil rights groups ran voter registration campaigns - proportion black voters 2% 1940 to 15% 1945 giving economic & political power to AAs & significant in Truman's re-election 1948 Unemployment for AAs 900,00 1940 to 150,000 1945
WWII impacts in North (1939-45) By 1945 44% of AAs lived in urban places About 500,000 AAs migrated to North for industrial war effort jobs - 16 states the black population was more than 5% therefore significant voting power 1943-45 two black Congressmen elected to serve in Northern states
Truman background (1945-53) Truman inspired to fight racism by heroism of black veterans, his home state of Missouri and the Cold War Traditionally AAs voted Republican because of Lincoln but he was able to win support as a Democrat by endorsing Civil Rights on his presidency
Impact of the Cold War (from 1947) Injustice of segregation undermined America's claim to be fighting for "freedom & justice" Truman knew he had to address racism as part of campaign to win Encouraged Truman to produce group breaking report TSTR
To Secure These Rights background (1947) Produced by the President's Committee on Civil Rights, established by Truman to investigate racism Highlighted inequalities & made suggestions
To Secure These Rights inequalities (1947) Lynching widespread in South Police brutality Legal obstacles preventing many AAs from voting White workers on average were paid 20 cents per hour more than AAs 1940 1 doctor per 3,300 AAs, 1 per 750 whites
To Secure These Rights suggestions (1947) Anti-lynching laws New powers for Federal Government to enforce Civil Rights Government contracts should not be given to racist employers New laws to curb police brutality All obstacles to voting should be outlawed A Civil Rights Act to outlaw segregation in education & healthcare
Employment under Truman (1945-53) Executive order 9980 (1948) outlawed racial discrimination in civil service Committee on Government Contract Compliance established 1951 to stop government contracts going to racist employers Truman appointed AAs to high-profile government jobs eg Ralph Bunche Ambassador to UN & William Hastie as Federal Judge
Desegregation under Truman (1945-53) Executive order 9981 (1948) ended segregation in the army Truman's 1949 inauguration ceremony desegregated 1950 canteen at Washington Airport desegregated as it gave a bad impression to foreign dignitaries
Other under Truman (1945-53) Fair Deal programme committed government to building lots of homes, particularly in inner-city ghettos Threefold rise in black college population (not necessarily down to Truman) Court (1953)
Impact of Truman's measures (1945-53) Failed to implement much of TSTR - Didn't pass anti-lynching laws or address segregation on education & healthcare Fair Deal programme underfunded - more houses demolished than built, ghettos still problem TSTR was a turning point in race relations as it showed Federal Government acknowledging it's responsibility to address racism in US
NAACP early campaigns (1944-50) The National association for the Advancement of Colored People used legal system to challenge racism, headed by Thurgood Marshall, who became the first black American Supreme Court Justice 1944 BEFORE PERIOD Smith v Allwright gave black citizens right to vote in primary elections 1946 Morgan v Virginia segregation on interstate buses now illegal 1950 Sweatt v Painter graduate education must be desegregated
Journey of reconciliation (1947) CORE set out to see if the NAACP's de jure change gained in Morgan v Virginia resulted in de facto change 2 week campaign launched where 16 member of CORE travelled on interstate buses from North to South, 12 arrested for sitting in the wrong area of the bus In this way demonstrated SC had been ignored - de jure no de facto change
Direct action Many engaged in boycotts and pickets 1947 NAACP organised a picket of the 4 biggest department stores in New Orleans who weren't allowing black customers to try on hats 1951 NAACP organised school boycotts against educational desegregation UDL organised 7 say bus boycott in Louisiana but this was too short to change anything
Voting campaigns (1940-47) CNO organised a voter registration campaign in Arkansas The proportion of black Americans registered to vote rose from 1.5% to 17.3%
Brown v Board of Education I (1954) NAACP targeted education desegregation as it could be shown they were not equal by comparing class sizes, resources & funding eg white classes 1/3 size of black NAACP went to court is support of Linda Brown who lives 5 blocks from a white school and 20 from her black school & they argued this put her at a disadvantage to white students attending the local school Supreme Court ruled education should be desegregated but did not draw up a timetable so there was little immediate change
Brown v Board of Education II (1955) NAACP went back to court This time Supreme court ruled desegregation should occur with all deliberate speed but again failed to specify a exactly when it should occur
White reactions to the Brown case (1954-) Middle class Southern whites set up White Citizens' Council to oppose desegregation of schools, 250,000 members by 1956 Increase in KKK violence eg Emmett Till, 14 Senator Harry F Byrd & 100 other congressman issued the Southern Manifesto calling for "massive resistance" to desegregation Eisenhower (1953-61) refused to publicly endorse it and privately felt civil rights groups were asking for too much, too fast
Significance of the Brown case (1954-) Ended the doctrine of "separate but equal", overturning Plessy v Ferguson & undermined the legal basis for segregation Browns I & II showed the Supreme Court was sympathetic to Civil Rights but reluctant to set a timeframe Led to de jure not de facto change, by 1957 97% of black student in South still in segregated schools Reactions showed the extent of white opposition to desegregation
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