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Civil Rights Movement in The 1950’s and The 1960’s

The difference between the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and in the 1960’s.

The Civil Rights Movement was one of the most controversial and important periods in the nation’s history.  It is a conflict that split an already divided country even more.  Many people are uninformed about when the Civil Rights Movement really began.  Most citizens of the country believe that the movement started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man and was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama.   Another significant event that helped spark the Civil Rights Movement in the south many years before that is the Supreme Court Case of Brown versus the Board of Education.  This case attacked the 14Th amendment which made segregation in schools legal as long as they were “separate but equal”.  This was one of the NAACP’s most crucial wins to put them into power in defending the rights of African American citizens.  With more power granted to the black community also came more violence.

The 1950’s and the 1960’s, only ten years apart were two totally different times.  In the fifties, Eisenhower was president for most of the decade and he ignored many racial issues.  The country was battling McCarthyism in the fear of communism.  Also the United States was engaged in the Korean War for a few years.  In the sixties President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as well as Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Junior.  Our country fought in arguably its most controversial war in Vietnam for many years.  Also Neil Armstrong is decorated for being the first man to walk on the moon.  Not only was our country very different during these two decades but so was the way the Civil Rights struggle was battled.

In the early to mid 1950’s the Civil Rights movement was not as much televised or talked about at the dinner table.  It was more being fought in the United States court system in various cases.  Many cases were won but did not have the outcome that the NAACP expected.  Some notable cases before Brown vs. Board of Education were Plessy vs. Ferguson, Sweatt vs. Painter and McLaurin vs. Oklahoma State Regents.  Plessy vs. Ferguson was a loss to the black citizens of America.  The Supreme Court supported the Jim Crow rules and decided that Whites and Blacks could be separated in private businesses.  In the other two cases the Supreme Court sided with the African American plaintiffs.  These individuals were not granted the equal opportunities that white people had though.  For example George McLaurin was accepted into the University of Oklahoma to peruse his doctorates degree but he was assigned his own lunch table, seat in the library, and had to sit in the hallway and listen to what was going on inside the classroom.  Also Herman Sweatt was denied into University of Texas School of Law at first. The Supreme Court made the state provide a Law School for blacks in favor of the decision made by the Supreme Court.  This institution was separate but not equal.

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