History - Race Relations

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Attitudes in the Southern States 1950's

·         Jim Crow Laws Segregation in churches, hospitals, theatres and schools between white people and black people, in the Southern States

·         Poll Tax - A tax had to be paid in order to be able to vote, and most black people were too poor to pay the tax.

·         Literacy Tests - In order to be able to vote, people had to prove that they could read difficult extracts. If black people passed these tests, they would then be threatened and attacked so that they would not vote.

·         The KKK - founded in 1866 by confederate soldiers. Most of its members were White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) and wanted to show that they were better and more powerful than black people, immigrants, Jews, Roman Catholics, communists and socialists.

·         Even though the KKK was banned in 1872, it carried on illegally and was popular, including judges and politicians within its members.

·         Schools for Black Americans were set up, but many were forced to close.

·         Black Americans were likely to be threatened if they gave evidence against a white person.

·         Under the Jim Crow Segregation Laws: in Arizona - the marriage between a white and a black shall be null and void, and in Florida - the schools for white and black children shall be conducted separately.

·         Many Black Americans were forced to leave Southern America due to poor living conditions.


Rosa Parks / Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1956

·         On December 1st 1955 in Montgomery Alabama, Rosa Parks was arrested and fined after she refused to give up her seat for a white man.

·         The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) led by 26-yr old Martin Luther King, organised a Bus Boycott in protest.

·         African Americans supported the Boycott by walking to work or car pooling for a year, until the Supreme Court finally ruled that Alabama's Bus Segregation Laws were Unconstitutional.

·         The success of this peaceful protest was inspirational to those who opposed segregation in the south, as it proved Black Americans could organise themselves effectively.

·         The Boycott involved 170,00 Black Americans, and 200 vehicles used for car-pooling.

·         However, the family of Rosa Parks was targeted by racists, so she was forced to move from Montgomery to Detroit in 1957.


Brown v.s Topeka Board of Education 1954

·         Linda Brown was a seven year old black girl. She had to walk 20 blocks to school even though there was a school for white people two blocks from her home.

·         The NAACP helped her father to bring a legal case against the education board.

·         On 19 May 1954 the court declared that segregation was against the law and the constitution of the USA.

·         The Board of Education of Topeka and every other education board were forced to bring segregation to an end.

·         But many schools continued to refuse to implement this, and by 1956, in six southern states, not a single black child was attending any school where there were white children.

·         In



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