After World War II, African Americans demanded changes in American society. African Americans fought in World War II for their country, but they returned home to discrimination and inequality. In the late 1940s and 50s American society started to overturn some official discrimination against African Americans. In 1947, Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball (891) and in 1948, Harry Truman desegregated the armed forces. In 1954, the Plessey decision of 1896, which created two societies, one for whites and one for blacks, was overturned in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, creating integrated schools (894). Although the Supreme Court ruled that official school segregation was unconstitutional, blacks still faced many
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Most important of all non-violent protests was the “March on Washington” where over 200,000 supporters gathered to oppose racial discrimination and to hear one of the most famous speeches in history, King’s “I Have a Dream” (918). Another example of non-violent protest were the Freedom Riders, who tried to integrate interstate bus services (916). In reaction to non-violent protests, white Southerners used violence of their own to try and stop the movement (Doc C).
The mass movement of civil rights activists captured the attention of the federal government and eventually gained its full support for integration. President John F. Kennedy publicized the injustice of American society and stated in a national message that he stood against injustice and segregation (Doc D). In addition, the majority of whites in the country supported King’s efforts of integration because it was morally right. Televised and newspaper reports of racist violence convinced the people that it was time for the government to end segregation (917). The growing support from the federal government and from the majority of white people led to important civil rights laws to be passed. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 issued by President Lyndon Johnson prohibited racial discrimination in public places (920). The Voting Rights Act of 1965 gave the federal government permission to intervene when there is racial discrimination in a federal election (924),