Obstacles To The Civil Rights Movement

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Federal legislation and court decisions aided and encouraged the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. Racial turmoil was building in the early 20th century, illustrated clearly by racial riots nationwide. The Civil Rights Movement was sparked by the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. Deeming the decision of Plessy vs. Ferguson unconstitutional, “separate but equal” was no longer allowed, and a foreseeable end to the harsh years of segregation became plausible. This decision caused a societal upheaval reminiscent of the years following the Civil War. The growth of the Civil Rights Movement correlated with the demand for federal legislation to protect and enforce the rights of African Americans. The first obstacle …show more content…
The next obstacle was enfranchisement. Election officials had, for nearly a century, denied African Americans the right to vote through devious methods such as forced literacy tests, to which failure was inevitable as a result of oppression and poverty, and difficult “prerequisites”, including the recitation of the entire Constitution, which was enforced entirely based on race, lest few whites would have been permitted to cast their votes ("Civil Rights Act"). Congress took the first step eradicate these discriminatory practices with the adoption of the 24th Amendment. This addition to the Constitution abolished poll taxes, another method bent on restricting the voice of the African American population. However, it was quickly evident that this alone would not be enough to end voting discrimination. As a result, a year later, the Voting Rights Act was passed. Literacy tests were banned and federal oversight was required for certain “problem areas,” mainly those in which a majority of the nonwhite population did not register to vote ("Voting Rights …show more content…
For centuries white societal status was determined in comparison to African Americans. As a result, in the 1960’s, blacks were belittled as much as possible in order to ensure white racial supremacy in the face of a turbulent time period of race relations. Blacks were stereotyped as unclean and unintelligent, leading to heightened racial tensions that provoked another wave of riots (Sokol). In the Watts Riot of 1965, police brutality led to a widespread protest, which ended with the arrest of 4,000 people ("Watts Riot begins"). Clearly, the Civil Rights Movement was not a universal solution to the racial plague that swept the nation, as the rioting became even more large scale and far reaching than any riot following the Reconstruction legislation. Although deep-rooted hostility led to extreme racial repression, the legislation passed during the Civil Rights Movement led to small but important gains for blacks. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to an immense improvement in African American voter turnout. In Mississippi, an increase in black voter participation from 6 percent in 1964 to 59 percent in 1969 showed the direct impact of the Voting Rights Act on the American social landscape (“Voting Rights Act”). This rapid

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