Success of Black Americans In The Civil Right Period Of 1950 - 1970

Success of Black Americans In The Civil Right Period Of 1950 - 1970
During the period of 20 years between 1950 and 1970, black Americans were able to improve their level of civil rights. Therefore, it is logical to say that they were at least partly successful in achieving their civil rights. This was accomplished through a variety of ways, two commonly used techniques being legal strategies and non-violent direct action. However, because they were unable to attain complete equality, there must have been factors that worked against the civil rights movement. One of these factors was the use of violence as a means of protest.
Legal strategies contributed greatly to the amount of success that the Civil Rights movement achieved. This was for several reasons, one of the main ones being that they provided integration in specific areas of life, for example, education and transportation. This meant that, for the first time in modern American history, black Americans were protected from racism and segregation by the law. This was seen in the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ruling and the subsequent Little Rock incident in Alabama, 1957. This was significant because the students attempting to exercise their newly awarded rights were, when confronted with the resistance led by the Governor Orval Faubus, supported by the President and the Supreme Court Topeka decision he represented. Consequently, the resistance caved in and the students were able to go to Little Rock High School. This proved that black students were now able to attend the same schools as whites, something that would not have been possible prior to 1950?s. Therefore, it is evident that the legal strategies were able to provide integration in regards to education. This was also seen in other areas, such as transportation. As a result of the Browder v. Gayle (1956) case, the segregation of seating on buses was outlawed. This allowed black Americans to keep their seats, something, which again, would not have happened prior 1950 and without legal strategies. This obviously then means that legal cases and strategies led to successes in many areas, such as education and transportation that ultimately contributed to the overall success of the Black American Civil Rights Movement.

Non-violent direct action also provided an avenue for success in black American?s struggle to achieve equality in terms of civil rights. This was because non-violent direct action had a two fold effect: it pressured organisations to reduce or completely abolish their level of segregation and it gained support from people, especially those who were undecided on the issue of civil rights. The pressure that non-violent protests put upon companies and organisations can be very easily seen during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. During this protest,
many of the black customers of the public buses refrained from using them, resulting in the bus businesses losing 75% of their market. This,obviously, meant a 75% loss in profits, something that the companies could not tolerate without going bankrupt or at least being very financially shaken. This lead to the companies, after the afore mentioned Browder v. Gayle (1956) case, to give in to the black protesters and allow integration. Their reaction to the Supreme Court decision however may not have been the same had they not been faced with financial ruin. This would suggest then that non-violent direct protesting helped secure success in the civil rights movement.
Non-violent protests also had the advantage of gaining support by demonstrating that black Americans had the higher moral ground and they deserved to be rewarded with equality. This was demonstrated by the effect of the 1963 March on Washington. In a poll conducted by Gallup in 1961, 57% of people surveyed thought that black Americans should have more integrated lifestyles whilst 16% had no opinion. However, a later poll conducted by Harris in the aftermath of the Washington march showed that those in favour had risen by 5% whilst those not sure had fallen to 11%. This would signal that non-violent direct protests had the ability to swing public opinion in favour of the movement. This in turn allowed de facto desegregation to occur more smoothly, allowing for increased integration and more successes for the Civil Rights Movement. Therefore, it can be said that non-violent direct action contributed to the success of the movement by pressuring companies to comply with the laws and at the same time gaining support from the public.

There were however many factors which were unhelpful to the Civil Rights cause, one of them being the usage of violent protesting. This provided critics of desegregation reason to say that black Americans were undeserving of full citizenship for, in the words of Joe Palmer, an citizen of Los Angeles interviewed after the Watts Riots, ?they shouldn?t get rights when they behave like that? Violent protesting also led to some white Americans becoming intimidated by black Americans that resulted in a loss of support for the movement. This is highlighted by a sentiment voiced by Palmer ?how do I know my wife and kids? will be alright?? in reference to the riots. Therefore, violent protesting provided critics with a reason to say they were undeserving of equality and resulted in scaring away support from white communities.

In conclusion, because Black Americans resorted to violence, which intimidated some white citizens and gave reason for critics to claim they were not worthy of full civil rights, they were unable to achieve equal civil rights. Therefore because they did not fully achieve their goals of complete equality, it cannot be said they had complete success. However, through legal action and non-violent direct action, they were able to introduce laws that banned segregation; pressure companies to comply with these new laws and gain crucial public support. It is because of these successes that overall, the movement was, at the very least, partly successful.

Success of Black Americans In The Civil Right Period Of 1950 - 1970 9 of 10 on the basis of 4080 Review.