Edexcel A level History Civil Rights

  • Created by: Leelahopp
  • Created on: 01-12-19 17:26


31st Jan 1865- 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the USA.

9th Jul 1968- 14th Amendment, which made all people born or naturalised in the USA, including previous slaves, US citizens.

3rd Feb 1870- 15th amendment, which declared that all US citizens had the same voting rights. 

However, equality hadn't been fully achieved. 

1 of 19

Impact of Jim Crow Laws

  • Massive segregation for amenities, schools, transport, etc.
  • Voters had to pass a literacy qualification to vote, Blacks were given harder passages
  • In some states voters had to be homeowners, Blacks weren't
  • There were all white votes for the candidates for elections.
  • Mobs outside of polling stations to beat up any black person who turned up to vote.
  • By 1917, the number of black Americans registered to vote had dropped considerably- in Louisiana, it fell from 130,334 in 1896 to 1,342 in 1904.
2 of 19

Lynching and the Klu Klux Klan

  • Lynching- a mob taking the law into its own hands to punish someone for what it sees as a crime. The victim was usually hanged, although some were burned alive.
  • 1915-1930- 579 Black men lynched.
  • They were advertised in the South- public events.
  • in 1955, 14-year-old Emmet Till was lynched for asking a white ******* a date.
  • KKK was revived in 1915, against all non-WASP groups.
  • 1925 membership was 3-8 Mil.
  • In the south, it included people with political and social power.
  • Wore white robes and hoods to keep identity secret, although most knew who they were- hoods allowed them to claim they couldn't ID individual Klansmen.
  • Children of the KKK were raised to hate blacks- indoctrination.
3 of 19

Did the Federal Gov intervene in the south?

⦁ Black people lost power as they lost the vote.
⦁ 1896- Supreme court ruled in Plessy vs Ferguson that segregation was fine as long as they were "separate but equal".
- "Separate" was seldom "equal".
⦁ President Wilson, a southerner, had no issue with segregation.
⦁ President Harding spoke out against lynching and segregation.
⦁  He liked civil rights- he spoke to 30,000 at the segregated.  Uni of Alabama about it
⦁ Harding and Coolidge were committed laissez-faire- they couldn't do anything about it bar express an opinion and try and influence behaviour (not legislation).
⦁ When the depression hit, civil rights became less important to the Gov.

4 of 19

Moving North

⦁ 1917-32- a wave of black migration from South to North, mainly to cities, "Great Migration".
⦁ 1920- almost 40% of Northern Blacks were in Chicago, Detroit, etc.
⦁ The Eastern cities that saw the biggest growth were NY, Philidelphia and Pittsburgh.
⦁ Blacks were drawn to cities for work, as well as to escape the South.
⦁ Occurred due to WW1 as there was a rising need for workers in munitions factories.
⦁ Factories advertised in Southern newspapers with jobs and housing.

5 of 19

Segregation on arrival

⦁ When they arrived there was a lot of segregation.
⦁ They lived in cramped, run-down housing.
⦁ They were badly paid and had high rents.
⦁ Some did okay for themselves- some black professionals lived in their own black communities, in better parts of the cities; some poor blacks moved to their own areas of rich white suburbs within reach of families that needed nannies and domestic servants. However, most were poor and even skilled migrants often had to take unskilled jobs.
⦁ Black people could vote, they were elected to gov positions.

6 of 19

Impact on Migration

⦁ Populations of cities rose sharply.
⦁ In Chicago, blacks gained political influence as it became clear in the 1919 Chicago mayoral race that the black vote could keep a mayor in power.
⦁ Subsequently, blacks were listened to more.
⦁ A black elite had a vested interest in segregation, as it meant they had more chance of getting elected.
⦁ In NY, where Blacks were more spread out, they didn't have much power.
⦁ They tended to live in smaller, segregated groups with their own businesses, schools and churches- churches became a significant base for organising civil rights movements + many civil right leaders= preachers.
⦁ Black workers dislodged white workers, especially those part of the union who were pushing for higher wages- enabled businesses to pressure white workers to leave unions or lose their jobs.

7 of 19

Impact of migration on the South

⦁ Labour force shrank.
⦁ Farming areas, already having economic problems, struggled-, especially poor black farmers.
⦁ Southerners saw migration as blacks "voting with their feet" over Jim Crow Laws- thought those who stayed were okay with Jim Crow laws.

8 of 19

Impact of the New Deal

⦁ 1930s Blacks switched from voting Republicans (the party which had abolished slavery- Roosevelt) to voting Democrat (promised New Deal- FDR).
Their vote was a significant part of FDR's landslide.
⦁ FDR appointed some black advisers, but he needed support from those against civil rights, so didn't advance civil rights and often restricted the number of blacks who could work on a project if a donor wanted this.
⦁ Executive Order 8802- abolished discrimination in the defence industry for the war effort.
⦁ FDR's New Deal measures were supposedly colour blind- provided relief and work "By merit" alone.
⦁ The agencies formed discriminated against Blacks- blacks were sacked for white workers, they denied it.
⦁ Black farm workers were sacked in thousands during agricultural reforms.
⦁ Social security didn't apply to jobs mainly for blacks, like farmworkers and people who worked in others homes.
⦁ Black advisers complained, and sometimes got results- like managing to get equal minimum wage through NRA- but they were often ignored.
⦁ Coincidentally, some measures did help- 1/3 of low-income housing built had black tenants, mainly because the poorest people eligible were blacks.

9 of 19

Protesting against the New Deal- Communists

⦁ Blacks protested treatment.
⦁ Sometimes they had more support from communists than black civil rights organisations.
⦁ 1931- NAACP turned down the case of nine young guys framed for ****** two white girls on a train in Alabama. Commie lawyers took the case and they were found not guilty.
⦁ in the 1930s- Birmingham had 6 NAACP members and 3000 Commies.
⦁ Northern Commies championed the cause of all workers and demanded that relief funds were allocated equally- black press applauded this.
⦁ However, this association gave opponents of black civil rights another stick with which to beat the civil rights movement.

10 of 19

Protesting against the New Deal- Churches & Women

⦁ Black church organisations set up organisations to support Black citizens during the depression
⦁ Mostly in the North and cities as there were more churches and people to donate to relief work.
⦁ in Harlem, Father Divine of the Peace mission church set up restaurants and shorts that sold food/supplies to blacks cheaper than white shops.
⦁ Housewives League- "don't buy where you can't work" campaigns, boycotting stores in black districts until they hired black workers.
⦁ 1937- another Depression hit the USA, hitting black workers hard- equality of relief provision slid again and even when there was help, it wasn't enough.
⦁ May 1935- Rettlement Admin was set up by Executive Order 7027, which resettled low-income families in new housing and lent money where needed.
- Gave black farmers who had lost their homes a fair share of the money available in loans- still only helped 3,400 of 200,000 farmers who needed help.
⦁ 1939- 2 mil signed a petition asking for federal aid to move to Africa.

11 of 19

WW2's impact

⦁ Blacks didn't benefit much from the war boom in 1939 as white workers got preference
⦁ May 1941- A. Phillip Randolph (led a successful protest by railway workers)threatened a 100,000, all-black march on Washington unless FDR banned discrimination in the army and defence factories.
⦁ FDR's Executive Order 8802 for non-discrimination in defence committee, overseen by the Fair Employment Practices Committee, stopped the march.
⦁ The order didn't deal with military segregation, but, as the war went on, it got better as they needed more people, so blacks could push for equality.
⦁ 1942= 3% of defence workers were black, in 1944= 8%.
⦁ Wartime migration to the North was higher than migration in the 1920s- however, the influx of black workers was resented and 1943 saw outbreaks of racist violence and strikes of whites against working with blacks.
- Several towns set up race relations committees as the strikes and riots damaged the war effort.
⦁ Shortage of workers meant white skilled workers worked alongside black skilled workers- whites saw that they could work, think, be friends, etc.
⦁ However, a survey at the end of the war showed that whites were still racist, supporting segregating in housing and jobs.

12 of 19

Truman's impact

⦁ Truman supported civil rights.
⦁ He proposed anti-lynching, anti-segregation and fair employment laws in 1954, but couldn't get them through congress as they were blocked by opposition from Southern delegates and had lukewarm support from many Northern ones.
⦁ 1946- Truman set up the president's committee on civil rights which urged Congress to pass equality laws for housing and work, and it also urged strong federal support for civil rights.
- Congress dragged its feet.
⦁ Blacks wanted to keep their wartime gains and push for greater equality.
⦁ Truman was focused on the Cold War- communism>civil rights.
⦁ The fact that civil rights activists were associated with Commies meant gov couldn't really support them.
- For example, the National ***** Congress, who had some commies members and was put on a list of suspect organisations through fought for civil rights.
⦁ 1948- Truman issued executive orders desegregating military and all work done by businesses for the gov.
⦁ Shocked by racism towards black soldiers.

13 of 19

From legal challenge to direct action

⦁ Protestors used non-violent means like picketing, boycotting, and sit-ins to draw attention to discrimination.
⦁ They went to the law to get rights enforced.
⦁ National groups like NAACP and National Urban League (NUL) were set up to organise these.
⦁ Smaller groups were based around churches- subsequently, many civil rights leaders were churchmen, like MLK Jr.
⦁ NAACP membership went from 9,000 in 1917 to 90,000 in 1919 to 600,000 in 1946.
⦁ The separatist movement believed that blacks and whites would never be equal, and that fighting for equality within segregation was more feasible.
- Also meant that black children would grow up proud of their race.
⦁ Marcus Garvey of UNIA wanted to go "back to Africa".

14 of 19

Legal Challenges

⦁ NAACP, set up in 1910, aimed to give blacks their legal rights.
⦁ They campaigned against lynching, using pamphlets, demonstrations and marches, and petitioning Congress. Laws were brought to congress but were blocked by Southern Politicians.
⦁ They took segregation to court- a tough fight due to Plessy vs Ferguson ruling of "separate but equal", but NAACP's tactic was to argue that the separate provision wasn't equal.
⦁ They provided lawyers to black people who had been framed.

15 of 19

Success of Legal Challenges

⦁ The NAACP won some cases in the 30s and 40s, and every case in the 50s.
⦁ However Supreme court didn't enforce rulings and its lack of time limits weakened the rulings- in Brown Board of Education 2, ambiguous phrases like "all deliberate speed" meant that some schools integrated very quickly, and others took significantly longer.
⦁ 10 years after the ruling, only one black child in 100 in the South was in an integrated school.
⦁ The rulings caused organisations like White Citizens Council to form which fought integration and civil rights- by 1956 they had 250,000 members.
⦁ The legal challenges were useless without enforcement.
⦁ Integrating schools was less than helpful if families were still living in segregated neighbourhoods.
⦁ Subsequently, the NAACP set up the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing in 1950.

16 of 19

Significant legal cases by the NAACP

⦁ 1936- Sweet Trial. Dr Sweet and family move to a white neighbourhood and his house is surrounded by an angry mob; fearing an attack, Sweet's friend fires a gun and hits a young man. All the men in the house are put on trial for murder, but NAACP lawyers win the case and set up a legal defence fund to fight segregation.
⦁ 1936- Murray Vs. Maryland. Uni of Maryland's law school is desegregated.
⦁ 1938- Gaines Vs. Canada. Supreme Court order the Uni of Missouri to take black students.
⦁ 1946- Morgan Vs. Virginia. Supreme court overturns Virginia State law segregating buses and trains that move from one state to another.
⦁ 1948- Shelley Vs. Kraemer. Bans regulations that bar blacks from buying houses in an area in any state.
⦁ 1950- Sweatt Vs. Painter and McLaurin Vs. Oklahoma. Desevgrates graduate and professional schools in Texas and Oklahoma.
⦁ 1954- Brown Vs. The Board of Education. Desegregates schools.

17 of 19

Direct action

⦁ In the 40s and 50s the NAACP and other organisations stepped up direct action- the legal ruling was not enough.
⦁ Marches were not new- there had been a march of over 10,000 black people in 1917 in NYC called the "silent protest parade" against lynching and anti-black riots that year.
⦁ There were more local protests that happened more often.
⦁ Influenced by peaceful, passive resistance of Gandhi.
⦁ Protestors targeted segregation and deliberately challenged 'illegal' state legislation by picketing and boycotts of shops that wouldn't serve blacks.
⦁ The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) had sit-ins to desegregate public amenities in Northern cities in 1942, 1949 and 1952.
⦁ 1947- CORE and the Fellowship for Reconciliation went on the Journey of Reconciliation- rode buses to desecrate them in the South.
⦁ Some blacks were the first to move into all-white areas- put them in real danger.

18 of 19

Rules of non-violent protest

⦁ Dress as well as you could to seem respectable.
⦁ Don't be loud or abusive.
⦁ Don't fight back if attacked.
⦁ Tried to show that they supported the gov and were looking to the gov to support them- collected petitions and took them to local/federal gov representatives.
⦁ Tried, by protests, to show up the evils of segregation and persuade whites, both ordinary and in gov, to change their views about blacks, share their outrage and fight for change.
⦁ Protestors were of all ages but were predominately black.
⦁ CORE had blacks and whites working together-unique.

19 of 19


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all In search of the American Dream: the USA, c 1917-96 resources »