Race Issue USA

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The Great Depression


  • Black Americans were included in government
  • 1 million jobs were provided for Black Americans


  • 2 million black farmers and sharecroppers were forced off the land
  • Unemployment was as high as 60%
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World War Two

The Double 'V' Campaign

In the armed forces  


  • The army integrated in 1955
  • NAACP membership rose from 50,000 to 450,000                                                             Continuity
  • Race riots occurred in 9 army training camps
  • Black volunteers were given menial and dangerous tasks

At home                                                                                                                                      Improvements

  • 2 million jobs were provided in war production factories


  • 1943 Race riots in Detroit
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The Brown Case

  • Linda Brown, an eight year old African-American school girl, was denied permissio to attend a white elementary school 5 blocks away from her home
  • Instead she was assigned to a non-white school 21 blocks from her home
  • Her parents filed a law suit against the Board of Education
  • Judge Warren dealt with the case and ruled it unconstitutional to segregate schools and made it law to integrate schools


  • It was the first landmark case for black Americans and set a precedent
  • It was a law making it more effective and harder to ignore
  • by 1957, 300,000 black American children had integrated into white schools


  • Some schools avoided the law by becoming private
  • By 1960, 6 southern states still had no integrated schools
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Little Rock Nine 1957

  • Despite the new law, some schools remained racially segregated
  • The NAACP selected nine black American students to attend a local white school
  • The nine students were brutally abused while walking to, around and home from school
  • They were each issued with a bodyguard to rpotect them


  • Ernest Green was the first black American to graduate from an all-white school
  • Media coverage caused a wave of sympathy
  • President Eisenhower directly intervened which raised the profile of the CRM


  • 2.5 million black children still received poor education
  • The racism intensified and caused a white backlash
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The Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • Rosa Parks an African-American woman and valued member of the NAACP refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Alabama
  • She was seated in the seats for black Amercians but the white seats were full
  • She was arrested adn fined $10
  • The black communities staged a 24 hour bus boycott
  • The boycott was so successful, they continued using it for 381 days until the bus companies agreed to stop segregating busses


  • It showed the importance of Black economic power
  • It highlighted the power of direct but non-violent action
  • It was a turning point in the career of Martin Luther King
  • It helped establish the SCLC
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The Emmet Till Murder 1955 Significance

  • Stimulated a new direction in the CRM - legalism turned to direct movement
  • Rosa Parks' defiance rooted in memory of his death
  • The open casket cause a huge ammount of sympathy and highlighted the injustice in the south
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Students in the 1960s

The Lunch Counter Sittings 1960

  • Four African-American students sat in a 'white-only' luch counter in 'Woolworths' in Greensboro
  • They politely asked the staff for service but their request was refused and they were asked to leave
  • The students remained in their seats
  • Hundreds of civil rights activists joined in the protests which lasted for 6 months
  • Their commitment led to the desegregation of the F.W Woolworth lunch counters

The Freedom Rides 1961

  • 13 civil rights activists launched a series of bus trips through the American south
  • They protested about segregation in interstate bus terminals
  • They departed from Washington and attempted to integrate facilities along the way to the Deep South - white Americans used 'black-only' facilities and black Americans used 'white-only' facilities
  • They encountered violence but drew attention to their cause which led to segregation on busses and trains being prohibited
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The Children's Crusade 1963

  • In April 1963, Martin Luther King arrived in Birmingham and was immediately arrested
  • The SCLC leader, James Bevel, started to enact pans for a 'Children's crusade' to protest against the arrest
  • Thousands of school children were trained in the tactics of non-violence and walked out of class and 2 miles into town on May 2nd
  • They peacefully protested and aimed to speak to the mayor of Birmingham about the segregation in their city
  • Hundreds of children were put into jail
  • Eugene Connor ordered the police to spray the children with powerful hoses and let police dogs attack them
  • The children were released on May 5th following protests for their release
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The March on Washington 1963

  • More than 250,000 Americans gathered in Washington
  • Speeches and performances were delivered from John Lewis, Bob Dylan and Martin Luther King
  • Martin Luther King delivered his 'I have a dream' speech
  • White and black Americans alike shared a joyous day of songs, speeches and prayer


  • Martin Luther King's speech bcame a highlight of his caeer
  • Led to the legalistation in the 1960s
  • There was huge media coverage
  • One of the largest peaceful events of the CRM
  • Furthered Martin Luther King's position as leader of the CRM as he won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964
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Legalisation in the 1960s

Civil Rights Act 1964

  • Made segregation in public housing and facilities illegal
  • All Americans are entitled to equal employment opportunities
  • All federal projects must include racial integration

Voting Rights Act 1965

  • Ended literacy tests
  • Ensured that federal agents monitored registration and elections
  • By 1963, more than a million black Americans had registered to vote which radically increased the number of elected black representatives
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Race Riots 1965-1967

The LA riots 1965

  • Caused by frustrated young black Americans who had seen scarce improvements
  • 300,000 people were involved
  • 34 were killed, 1072 injured and 4000 arrested
  • Approximately $40 million of damage was caused

The Newark riots 1967

  • 26 people died
  • over 1,000 people were injured

The Detroit Race Riots 1967

  • 40 people died and hundreds were injured
  • 7,000 were arrested
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Malcolm X Significance

1) Religious Influences

  • Rejected Christianity as a 'white man's' religion
  • Became involved in Nation of Islam in 1952 and convinced Muhammad Ali to convert
  • Left Nation of Islam in 1964 and formed Muslim Mosque Inc. - led to split in CRM

2) Influence on Black Power Movement

  • He was an inspiration to Stokely Carmichael and his views were the foundations of the Black Panther Party
  • Influenced Tommie Smith and John Carlos' actions at the 1968 Olympics

3) Oratory skills

  • "Black is Beautiful" - raised self-esteem of black Americans
  • Violence is justified - appealed to black Americans who had seen scarce improvements

4) Influence on young black Americans in the North

  • 75% of Nation of Islam membership was made up of 17-35 year old black Americans
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Rodney King Beating 1991

  • Rodney King was pulled over by the LAPD for drink-driving but attempted to get away
  • When he was caught, the police pulled him out of his vehicle and beat him
  • The police were unaware that they were being filmed by an amateur cameraman
  • Despite the evidence, the white jury ruled the police unresponsible
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The LA Riots 1992

  • Sparked by the beating of Rodney King
  • 53 people died
  • As many as 2,000 people were injured
  • Estimates of damage vary between $800 million and $1 billion
  • There were approximately 3,600 fires which destroyed 1,100 buildings
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