Black Americans

Life for Black Americans

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  • Created by: Tom Allen
  • Created on: 07-06-10 16:33

Segregation/Jim Crow Laws

Mainly in Southern States

Seperate Facilities

Blacks technically could vote however it was made sure they didn't

  • Introducing a Poll Tax (They couldn't get jobs hense could not pay to vote)
  • Literacy Tests (They hadn't had an education as they had been slaves)

Had lowest standard of educatrion and paid jobs.

Many worked as sharecroppers (Where they were paid once they had harvested)


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The Harlem Renaissance

Some black people's lives did improve

Many found their musical talents very popular with the white people - Such as Jazz on record for instance

These people managed to escape poverty

They lived in places such as Harlem


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People moved North to get away from the KKK (5 Million Members in 1924)

KKK - WASPs - White Anglo Saxons Protestants - Hates blacks

They stired up hatred for blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants

Members swore an oath of loyalty to America.

Various intimidating methods such

  • Marches
  • Secret Meetings
  • Costumes to hide their identity
  • Burning crosses outside people's houses
  • Violence
  • Murder

Lynching becvane common - Hanging people - 135 of them between 1924/25 in Georgia

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National Association of Advancement of Colored People

Set up bu WEDDuBois which aimed to abolish segregation, achieving real equal voting rights and education opportunites for blacks.

Encouraged Black people to fight back - However many were afraid to do so as they were intimidated by the white people.

The NAACP used the courts to challenge incidents - and when Civil Rights were abused

Political parties started to recognise the importance of the votes of black people (esp. in North)

Roosevelt set up the 'Black Cabinet' to deal with Racial Issues

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The Impact of the Depression for Blacks

Depression affected everyone - Blacks suffered even more!

Anyone who did work was kicked out for a white person to take it (Normally)

In some cities 60% of the population were unemployed

Black Sharecroppers prices fell dramatically

1934 - The depression lead to 50% of blacks being completely dependant on on relief


1940 - 100 Black people were involved in federal government

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The Impact of WW2

Black and White soliders were kept seperate

Red Cross did not give white soliders black people's blood - There was fear of cross breading the nation

The Selective Service Act 1940 - Illegal to discriminate in the calling up and training of blacks. However it was still well known for there being segregation

1.5 million service men found in Europe - Many problems between Blacks and Whites

USA were shocked how relaxed Britain was about Blacks - They could go in the same pubs and English women found them attractive.

At home many black people filled in for whites whilst they were fighting

Double V - Victory at home and abroad - Stop Racism at home and fighting.

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Challenges to the Consitution - Education

Kansas 1954

Linda Brown (7 years)

The NAACP helped her get into a Whites only school

19th May 1954 - Segregation in Schools was made illegal under the US consitution.

Although she won her place by the end of 1956 not one black student went to an intergrated school in the six southern states.

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Challenges to the Consitution - Education

Little Rock - Arkansas

September 1957 - Little Rock Central High School

Nine Black Students tried to enter the school to take their places. The Governor of Arkansas surronded the school with Guardsment to stop the students entering

Black community too kthe Governor to court - He was found guilty and the children were allowed to enter. However Eisenhower had to send in 100 paratroops to protect the back students.

1960 - Only 2600 black children attended intergrated schools (of 2 million)

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Challenges to the Consitution - Education

James Meredith - Mississippi 1962

Black and had the grades to enter the Uni of Mississippi

In September 1962 he went to take his place but the Governor of Mississippi did not let him enter

Riots broke out wherther he should or should not be allowed to enter.

He was allowed in but as in the Little Rock incident he had to be privately escorted around

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Spike Lee's films and Toni Morrisons's books have continued to celebrate Black culture

Politics - 1967 Carl Strokes became first black person to be elected as a mayor

Reverend Jesse Jackson stook for election 1984

Colin Powell 1989 became Chairman of the Join Chief of Staff - The highest military post

This continues today with many famous actors/actresses and music stars

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Martin Luther King

Very important - Especially throug the Montgomery Bus Boycott

He was very religious - Baptist preacher

He believed in peaceful protesting - He was a great speaker - The problems being beamed into homes. He knew that a camera crew would be there if he made a speech. Such as his "I have a Dream". December 1964 he weas given the Novel Peace Prize.

Inspired by Mahatma Ghandi (Freedom in India)

These methods included

  • Sit-ins
  • Boycotts
  • Freedom Rides
  • Marches

They did not turn violent - Only the police did making the whites look worse.

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Brimingham, Alabama

1962 - Protesting against black facilites being closed

30,000 took part in protest marhces and sit ins.

500 arrested

Water cannons, dogs and baton charges

Shown on TV - Stirred up opinions against black discrimination

Kennedy demanded the end of segregation

Voting Rights Act 1964 - 1 million more blacks could vote

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Some people were against peaceful protesting

Elijah Muhammad rejected King's ideas

  • They believed a 'race war' should start where they fought for their place
  • Got rid of their slaves names - Put an X to show this
  • The aim was to get a seperate state for blacks

Malcolm X was in favour of this. He was fiery and called on blacks to be aggressive.

The Black Power Movement led to people being proud of their skin colour. However this opinion was not shared by all

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Black Panthers

Set up in 1966 - Supported guns and advocated violent revolutions to the problems

Set up clinics and free food in the black ghettos.

However their shootings actually made the problem worse.

Late 1960s - Panthers began to work with radical white groups

Mid 1970s - Popularity on decline but had achieved a lot.

1968 Olympics - Two winners at the award ceremony to make a protest.

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Important Acts

The Civil Rights Act 1964 - President Lyndon B Johnson - Many things passed - Implemented many ideas of Kennedy's. Discrimination against employement banned. Equal rights in schools and public places.

Voting Rights Act 1965

Blacks and Whites could marry 1967

Fair Housing Act 1968 - Property market discrimination became illegal

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Education - Although intergration was allowed it was obvious it wasnt successul

Despite the Housing Act of 1968 - Majority of black people in 1990 found it hard to buy or rent properties.

Culture - Some contined the black movement idea "Black is beautiful"

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Signs of Discrimination

1990 - Average black persons wage - 1/2 of a white

In Texas 1998 - Three white racisits tied a black man (James Byrd) to their car and dragged him along the road untill he died.

1961 - 4 policemen were caught on camera beating up a black man (Rodney King)

The jury found them not guilty (surprisingly it was a mainly all white jury)

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Bus Boycott and Freedom Rides

1st December 1955 - Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man

She was arrested and jailed

The NAACP along with members of the black community organised a Bus Boycott (No Blck person to use the Bus)

November 1956 - Supreme court ruled that segregation on buses was illegal

Freedom Rides

Technically from November 1956 anyone could ride transport with no problems - Black people organised groups who tested this theory. There were some afwul clashes. The group who organised these were known as CORE (Congress of Equal Oportunties)

Kennedy by 1963 extended the laws so that segregation in most public places was no more

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