Stockhold Final Paper - From Segregation to Integration:...

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From Segregation to Integration: The Civil Rights Movement Through the Eyes of the Law Olesia Stockhold History 202 Dr. Cecilia Gowdy-Wygant April 30, 2011 The struggle to end segregation in the United States was a movement that took
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Stockhold 2 African Americans from the depths of slavery to true freedom and equality. It cannot be overstressed that the United States is a country based on immigration, opportunity, and freedom that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is hard to believe that a country dedicated to helping maintain peace, equality and democracy throughout the world, was so racially biased on home soil. It is a democratic truth that the ideologies of the United States take shape through the eyes of the law. It is part of what makes the United States unique, and part of what a democratic society is all about. To the benefit of U.S. citizens, the United States Constitution is a political bible that gives us our rights; however, it is also true that the Constitution puts a limit on certain rights, and cannot be changed until a group bands together and mounts a fight. These battles have gone on for decades before progress is made, and are eventually won in courts, congress and on the political stage. Court cases and pieces of legislation such as Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, are profoundly significant in the history of the United States, not only because they mark the beginning and the end of segregation, but also that they are the culmination of a long and hard fought battle for African American equality. In the years following the abolition of slavery in 1865, African American men and women, often referred to as the “freedmen,” were not given the rights promised to them during Civil War Reconstruction. Many White Americans held racist ideals that placed black people on the bottom of the pecking order. The United States government abandoned the freedmen after Reconstruction ended, and blacks were left to fend for themselves against white discrimination. The freedmen were helpless against fated segregation due to their lack of financial resources, and fell victim to a mess of violence
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Stockhold 3 that crept up against them if they disputed their social status. In an attempt to make sure blacks were not treated equally to whites, many Southern state and local governments enacted Jim Crow laws. For example, whites were to take the right of way at all intersections and crossings, blacks were not allowed to kiss one another in public, and white nurses did not have to treat black men. 1 These, and many other racist laws were meant to disenfranchise blacks, and segregate them from public and social facilities such as restaurants, modes of transportation, roadways, and schools. To make matters worse for blacks, whites controlled every aspect of the criminal justice system, and blacks were not permitted to sit on juries in cases brought against them 1, which deepened the racial
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Stockhold Final Paper - From Segregation to Integration:...

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