African American Civil Rights - Other Factors

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1865 - 1920s: Sharecropping/Crop-lien System

Many AA former slaves found themselves working for white landowners

Given supplies + loads which would be paid back with portion of crops

Sharecroppers often went into debt

They were "tied" to the lands because of debt

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1865 - 1880s: Black Codes

Set up by variety of Southern State legislatures

Meant to keep AAs in inferior position

Included laws which stated that if AAs did not have employment papers, they could be forced to work by person selected by the state

Illegalised inter-racial marriage 

Said AA could not give evidence in court against white person

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1865 - 1870s: Ku Klux Klan

First used to prevent AA men from using right to vote in Tennessee

Violence directed at AAs and anyone who supported AA's cause

Loss mass support in 1870s, but replaced by informal lynch mob

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1870s - 1915: Black Middle Class

Progress remained slow, however AA middle class emerged

Some were trained to become ministers, lawyers, and teachers

Blacks also opened their own "parallel businesses" (i.e. shops + restaurants) which also helped increase middle class

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1880s - 1891: Jim Crow Laws

Passed within Southern states in order to codify existing practice of segregation 

Turned it from "de facto" to "de jure"

Trains, schools, restuarants etc., were all segregated

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1880s - 1920s: Social Darwinist Theories

Tried to apply Darwin's theory of evolution to human society

Argued blacks inferior to whites 

Allowed for arguments against educating blacks passed certain level 

Allowed for arguments segregating the races

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1870s - 1900s: Voting Rights Limited

Literacy tests

Poll taxes

White primaries

Grandfather clauses to ensure these restrictions didn't apply to whites

By 1910: blacks' abilities to vote were severely limited + also eliminated

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1880s - 1890s: Progressive Movement

Attempted to solve many of the problems of poverty in America

Failed to take notice of race problems

Most AAs lived in South, most Progressive activity centred in the North

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1880s - 1920s: Lynching

AAs accused of crimes were killed by mobs rather than being brought to face justice

Usually happened with full complicity of judicial systems in the towns

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1917 - 1918: World War I

Prior to US joining war, war industry had brought many AAs to move north in the start of the "Great Migration"

40,000 AAs served in France (they were segregated)

AA soldiers returned with pride + knowledge that racism in France was far less than in US

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1919: "Red Summer" of Race Riots

Backlash against returning veterants + renewed interest in civil rights + concern with growing AA presence in Northern cities 

Number of violent incidents in 1919 

In Chicago - boy went to wrong side of bench + was murdered 

Irish + Polish workers (resented job competition) attacked black neighbourhoods leaving 1,000 families homeless and 23 blacks dead

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1915 - 1920s: Return of the KKK

Response to AA work for civil rights

Continued to practise violence + acts of terror to frighten those who worked for racial equality

Left burning crosses on lawns of targets

1921: membership shot up to 100,000

1930: membership drops to 30,000 - clear that racial equality was not still major threat

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1918 - 1945: Great Migration

Fuelled by economic opportunities during war + promise of industrial work in the North

Blacks moved to North in greater numbers

In some instances: creation of thriving black communities (e.g. Harlem)

Other instances: blacks forced into "ghettoes" due to restrictive housing laws + paying high rent for inadequate accommodation

Led to creation of more confident black community

However, also saw outpouring of hatred from working-class whites who feared blacks would take jobs

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1941 - 1945: World War II

AAs fought in large numbers

Continued to fight in segregated units until end of war

Double V campaign said they were fighting not only to end facism abroad, but also for equality at home

Many returned eager to push for greater acceptance + equal rights in US

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1945 - 1946: Post-World War II Violence

Some instances of violence against AA veterans

Example: the Columbia Riots

Not as widespread or vitriolic as they were in 1919

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1954 - 1960: White Citizen's Councils

Organised post Brown v. Topeka

Sought to keep desegregation from happening

Members generally drawn from middle + upper classes of white Southern community

Used economic power to hurt those who fought for desegregation + civil rights

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