Essay about Racial Segregation And The Civil Rights Movement

1139 Words Nov 30th, 2015 5 Pages
Even after the end of the Civil War marked the official end of slavery, equality within society was still out of reach for blacks in the United States due to the implementation of Jim Crow laws that treated non-whites as second-class citizens, which prevented blacks from rising through the social hierarchy to achieve equal rights. Jim Crow laws enforced racial discrimination based on an artificial racial hierarchy, which placed economic, educational, and social disadvantages in the way of blacks. Public facilities such as schools were separated based on race, with those for non-whites receiving less funding and maintenance. The legality of these “separate but equal” facilities, which the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson upheld, was overturned in the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Though discrimination was legally supposed to be over, the ruling by itself could not change the“structural economic foundations of racial inequality for African Americans”, which kept many blacks in the lower classes (Takaki 396). The Civil Rights Movement began in 1955 as a struggle to achieve social equality, but soon faced an ideological divide as young militant blacks fought not only for black equality, but also black power and self-determination. Black nationalism, which was promoted by leaders like Malcolm X, called for separation from white society rather than integration and self-defense in the face of violence, while other leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. believed…

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