Civil Rights in the USA, 1941-80 Blue Book

Civil Rights

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How did the war affect civil rights?

Japanese Americans

  • The attack of Pearl Harbour - Early 1942 - 112,000 Japanese Americans were moved into internment camps
  • Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 - this removed Japanese Americans from the West Coast of the USA.
  • The use of the camp: act as spies for Japan
  • The contradiction of the policy: 8000 men were called up - they were still subject to the draft
  • 1945 - 18.5 million women joined the workforce
  • Biggest industries in the industries especially - female employment jumped five times
  • Women received 60% less as men, but the earnings between men and women rose in the war. 
  • The war meant a broadening for black american women. 
  • Segregation existed in the armed forces. - Where blacks performed unskilled tasks and found it difficult to get a promotion. 

The reaction to the black american soldiers was to push a 'Double V' Campaign - victory at home as well as military abroad.

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NAACP (Led by Thurgood Marshall) - National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People

Ku Klux Klan - 

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Brown v Board of Education, Topeka 1945

Linda Brown's parents wanted her to attend school in a nearby school rather than a school for black Americans that was miles away.

Lawyers from NAACP presented evidence to the Supreme Court. The process took 18 months and the decision was made on 17 May 1954. 

Schools were integrated but the judgment did not specify how integration should be carried out - but they said 'as the earliest as possible speed.' 

Some areas began to desegregate but especially in the South, they tried to keep schools separated.

  • The KKK began to re-emerge
  • Less militant parents joined White Citizens Council which aimed to continue with segregation.  
  • Next 2 years, southern states could make their own laws - passed 45o laws - this was aimed to prevent the Brown decision being enforced.

1956 - University of Alabama refused to accept a black student despite a government law order.  

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Little Rock High School, 1957

After the Brown decision, Little Rock High School, Arkansas decided to allow 9 black students to enrol there.

It was led by Elizabeth Eckford, they all tried to enrol but were prevented by Governer Faubus, who ordered state National Guardsmen to block their entry.

The following day, the National Guardsmen were removed by the order of Faubus and the 9 students went back through the crowd of white people. The students went home under police guard because their safety was not guaranteed. 

Media in the USA and across the world - it was embarrassing for the USA as they put themselves across as the champion of freedom and equality. 

Eisenhower had to act. He used the National Guardsmen and Federal troops to protect the blacks.

To prevent integration, Faubus closed down all Arkansas schools the next year.

Black and white students had no schooling for a year and the Arkansas schools re-opened in 1959.

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Why was Little Rock event significant?

  • It involved the President - it shows that civil rights was an issue that could NOT be ignored. 
  • It showed that states would be over-ruled by the federal government when necessary. 
  • The demonstrations had big media influence across the world. It didn't look good for the US to be seen as segregation for black and whites when it was criticising communist countries. 
  • US, for the first time saw huge racism in Southern States.
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