Federal Amendments/Policies/Decisions for African Americans

How did the government react to the black campaign for civil rights?

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Emancipation Proclamation and Civil Rights Act

- Issued by Abraham Lincoln

- 1st January 1863

- It declared all slaves free from their masters and gave basic human rights.

- The first of civil rights acts was delivered in 1866 asserting African Americans as citizens of United States.

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Civil Rights Act

- Introduced in 1875

- Equal rights were applied to public areas 

- Imposed to suppress the rise of formal segregation in southern states

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1887-1891 and after

- The Jim Crow laws develop during this period

- These laws enforced segregation of races on trains and in waiting facilities

- They then extended to public places of all kinds like schools, shops and parks etc...

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Plessy v. Ferguson

- 1896

Landmark decision made by the Supreme Court 

- It stated that racial segregation constitutional

- This case led to widespread of the Jim Crow laws in the South

- It continued to be an obstacle to desegregation

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Brown v. Board of Education

- 1954

- Thurgood Marshall backed Linda Brown.

- The court ruled racial segregation in schools, unconstitutional.

- This was a turning point in the civil rights movement and the first rejection of the P v. F case which allowed segregation to continue until now.

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Browder v. Gayle

- 1956

- Responded to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

- It was favourable to black Americans as it ruled segregation on buses, unconstitutional with similar reasoning to the Linda Brown case.

- Finally a hole had been made in the strict policy which was a triumph for African Americans.

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Civil Rights/ Voting Rights Act

- The first was issued by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

- It was possibly a response to MLK's speech in Washington ('63).

- It prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or national origin and banned exclusion from restaurants, stores and other public places.

- Voting was made easier for Southern blacks as they no longer had to take unfair literacy tests to register ('65).

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1968, and 1969: Affirmative Action

- Johnson signs an act which prohibited discrimination in sale, rental and financing of housing.

- This was an important step since blacks suffered economically and socially.

- In 1969 Nixon continues affirmative action which made allowances for the lack opportunity for African Americans. It extended the attempts of the Fair Employment Practices Commission which prevented discrimination in jobs.

- Only downside it perhaps overlooked the lack of educational qualifications.

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- This policy forced desegregation in schools of the south by transporting children to areas outside their locality to achieve better race mix.

- Radical method to force integration.

- Effective!

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