Race USA 1930-20000


Segregation and the jim crow laws in 1930s

  • Jim Crow Laws- laws which introduced segregation and discrimination towards blacks. Schools, parks, swimming pools and public transport were segregated( Mississippi, Georgia)
  • Living Conditions. low paid, ghettos,poorer education
  • Literacy Tests - literacy tests had to be passed so that they could vote

Improvemnets- nothern states, like New York, jazz brought fame to black singers and musicians like Louis Armstrong. Black theatres attracted large audiences.

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National Asosociation for the Advancement of Coloured People

  • formed in 1901 by Bois
  • during 1920s, it had campaigned against lynching
  • fought racial injustice throughout the 30's and 40s, mostly using the legal system
  • The NAACP employed the black lawyer, Thurgood Marshall, to fight against segregation in education
  • They pressured the Supreme Court in ruling that blacks and whites had the same quality of education as whites
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The Klu Klux Klan

  • founded in 1860s
  • was a racist organisation who believed in white Supremacy
  • All members had to be White Anglo-Saxon Protostants (WASP)
  • they were anti-Communist, anti-Jewish, Anti-Catholic and against all foreigners
  • white robs, white hoods=purity
  • used terror and violence to intimidate anyone supporting equal rights
  • burnt crosses, lynched, beats, feathering
  • in southern states, by mid 1920- 6 million 1930- 30,000 
  • members included police officers, lawyers and judges
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WSC and New deal for blacks

WSC after the wall street crash of 29, America enetered into the Great Depression in the 30s. Black people suffered badly being 'the last to hire, first to fire'. Roosevelt's 'New Deal' programme brought improvement in their economic condition.

  • by '32, 1/3 of all black males were jobless
  • 2 million black farmers and sharecroppers had been forced off the land
  • unemployment of blacks in northern cities reached 60%
  • 3 times as many blacks claimed relief as whites in southern states 

'New Deal'  The 'New Deal' programme didnt bring radical changes for black Americans but it did bring some improvement in their economic conditions

  • provided 1 million jobs for blacks and training for 500,000
  • the Public Works Administration (PWA) allocated funds for the building of black hospitals, unis and houses
  • The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) granted aid to 30% of all black american families
  • number of blacks employed by the gov rose from 50,000 in 33 to 200,000 in 45
  • Roosevelt did little to eliminate unfair hiring practices and job discrimination. he also failed to support the anti-lynching bills
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How did blacks lives improve/change


  • more fame for black musicians=louis armstrong
  • The number of black Americans employed by the gov rose from 50,000 in '33 to 200,000 in '45
  • The Federal Emergency Relief Administration(FERA) granted aid to 30% of all black families
  • provided 1 million jobs for black americans and training for 500,000 


  • The Public Works Administration (PWA) allocated funds for the building of black hopitals, unis and housing project
  • The Tenesse Vally Authority (TWA) refused to hire black americans (just in south)


  • About 50 black politicians served in various branches of the Roosevelt Administration
  • Roosevelt refused to support anti-lynching Bill
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Jim Crow Army

  • In the army, there were black-only units which formed the Jim Crow Army
  • Before '44, soldiers were not allowed into combat in the marines- they were only used to trasport supplies or as cooks
  • The navy would only accept blacks as mess men(canteeners)
  • The US airforce would not accept black pilots until the formation of the Tuskegee airmen (a black 332nd Fighter Group). by the end of the war, there were 1000 black pilots

in 48, because of the blacks effort in the war, Truman banned 'separate but equal' recruiting, training and service in the army, airforce, navy and marine'

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Contribution to the war effort at home

  • Fair Employment Practices Committe- In 41, fearing race riots, Pres Roosevelt set up a Fair Employment Practices Committe which banned discrimination against black americans in factories (used by gov in prod of war goods)
    • by 44, nearly 2 million blacks working in factories
  • Double V- Black americans began a 'Double V' campaign- victory over fascism abroad and victory over discrimination at home
  • NAACP- Membership of the NAACP rose from 50,000 to 450,000 during the war 
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The impact of war on civil rights

  • in 46 because of his 'fair deal' programme, truman set up a civil rights committee 
    • this proposed an anti-lynching 
    • abolition of the requirement that blacks had to prove proof of tax in order to vote
  • due of opposition, truman was unable to implement these recommendations
    • trumans support for civil rights gave encouragement to the NAACP which began to challenge seg laws
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Education BvTLRJM

  • Brown vs Topeka Board of Education 54
  • Linda Brown had to walk 20 blocks to her school even tho white school few blocks away
  • 52- Oliver Brown, w help from NAACP took Topeka BoE to SC
  • May 54, SC ruled that racial seg in public schools went against the US constitution
  • The SC had no power to impose its decision and many southern states ignored this ruling
  • Little Rock Central High School 57
  • 57- 9 black students led by Elizabeth Eckford, attempted to enter white only High Schol in Little Rock
  • The Govenor of Arkansas, Faubus, surrounded the school with National guardsmen to prevent the 9 students from entering
  • Eisenhower sent 1000 federal troops to protect the students for the rest of the school year
  • 8/9 students graduated
  • it showed that the pres could and would enforce court orders and brought publicity of unfair treatment of blacks
  • James Meredith and Mississippi Uni 62
  • 62-SC upheld federal court decision to force Mississippi Uni to accept the black student
  • When Meredith arrived for admission, he was prevented from doing so by Govenor of Mississippi
  • Riots broke out and Pres Kennedy sent 200 troops in to restore order
  • 300 soldiers had to remain on the campus to protect James til he grad(3 years later)
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Sit-in protests 59-60

in 59-60, civil rights groups stepped up their non-violent campaigns

they organised marches, demonstrations and boycotts to end segregation in public places

in feb 60 in North Carolina, sit-in protests began at the lunch counter in the F.W Woolworth store

by August 61, sit-ins in ie resterauntd had attracted over 70,000 people and resulted in over 3000 arrests

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freedom rides 61

segregation still existed on interstae buses and in May 61 members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) began protests in southern states known as freedom rides

they deliberately rode on buses run by companies that were ignoring laws banning segregation. The first freedom rides began at Washington DC on 4 May 61 with the plan of travelling down to New Orleans (when reached southern states- riders met a hostile sit)

at alabama, a bus was attacked and burnt.

in montgomery, whites beat up several freedom riders

at birmingham attacked by angry mob

Mississippi, 27 riders were jailed for 67 days for sitting in whites only section of the bus station

by seppt 70,000 students had taken part and 3600 had been arrested

The Attorney, R.Kennedy, was able to get the Interstae Commerce Committee to end segregation in all bus and rail stations and airports

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Role of MLK

  • Beliefs and methods-
    • ideas based on non-violent disobedience
    • violence wrong
    • favoured sit-ins, boycotts, freedom rides and marches
  • Bus Boycott 55- leader of MIA and played key part in MBB
  • SCLC- formed and led by king which helped MBB
  • Birmingham march 63- the SCLC challenged Birminghams decison to close public places to avoid de-segregation(even tho it was lawed by SC). it organised sit-ins and marches
    • The protesters faced water-canons, dogs and baton charges
    • king was arrested
    • pres kennedy sent in troops and Brum was deseged
  • March of Washington 63- On the steps of Lincoln Memorial, king delieveres 'i have a dream' speach to a crowd of 200,000 blacks and 50,000 whites
    • it put pressure on Kennedy to draft legislation
    • The Civil Rights Act was passed in 64
  • Nobel Peace Prize 64- awarded to king for his work as a peacemaker, promoting non-violence and equal treatment
  • Selma to Birmingham marches, 65- Protest marcges demanding voting rights 
    • led to marchers being attacked by police and state troops
    • resulted in passing of the Voting Rights Act 65
  • Assination- King was assassinated in Memphis in April 68 by a white racist- James Ray
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Role of Malcolm X

  • son of Priest who was murdered by white supremacists
  • joined Nation of Islam and changed his last name to X
  • rejected Kings peaceful methods and believed violence could be justified to secure a black nation
  • attracted support from young blacks
  • In 64 he left the NOI and formed the Muslim Mosque Inc and the black nationalist Organisation
  • encouraged self-esteem of blacks
  • ideas became foundation of Black Panthers and Black Power
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Black Power and Panthers and Carmichael

  • emerged of anger and frustration expressed by young black americans
  • leading spokesman was Stokely Carmichael
  • 66- Carmicheal became chairman of the SNCC(Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee)
  • he wanted blacks to have pride in their heritage and adopted the slogan 'Black is Beautiful'
  • in 68 Carmicheal joined the Black Panthers(which was formed in 66 by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton) its members wore uniforms and were prepared to use force to achieve their aim of a socialist society
  • 68- in mexico olympics, Smith and Carlos(black athletes and members of Black panthers) used their medal ceremony to wear a single black glove and to give the clenched fist salute
    • it gave the movement international publicity
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Civil rights legislation

During the 60s, legislation appeared which attepted to remove discrimination and secure civil rights

  • Civil Rights Act 64-
    • Racial discrimination banned in employment
    • black students given equal oppotunities to enter all public places 
    • Equal Employment Opportunities Commission set up to investigate complaits of discrimination
  • Voting Rights Act 65-
    • stopped racial discrimination over the right to vote
    • ended literacy tests
  • Supreme Court ruling 67-
    • SC ruled that state laws banning interracial marriages were unconstitutional
  • Fair Housing Act 68-
    • Made racial discrimination illegal in the property market
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Race riots 60s

Despite the civil rights legislation, the anger of blacks over racial injustice resulted in a series of riots across US cities in the 60s

  • August 65- riots in Watts in Los Angeles resulted in 34 deaths and 1072 injured, 4000 arrests and $40 million damage
  • july 67- riots in Newark left 26 dead and over 1000 injured
  • july 67- riots in detroit left 40 dead and 7000 arrests
  • Summer of '69- riots in 125 cities across usa
  • Pres john ordered an equiry and the Kerner Report concluded that racism was deep in American society
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Developments of blacks

early 90s

68% of blacks left high school with a diploma compared with 81% of whites

number of blacks with degrees was 12% compared to 22% of whites

85% blacks lived in suburbs and ghettos

Unemployment for blacks was 14% but whites 6%

since the 60s, blacks have played a more active part in american society

many blacks remain among the poorest and least educated in us society

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