A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 19
The Black Predicament
The issue of
, or the freedoms and liberties that should be given to people no matter
their race, ethnicity, lifestyles, or beliefs, has been around for hundreds of years.
The questionable ways of classifying people are called
involve race, gender, and ethnicity.
Even though they account for more than 12% of the nation’s population, blacks could not until
recently vote, attend integrated schools, ride in front seats of buses, or buy homes in white
neighborhoods in many parts of the country, basically because not enough people demanded
that such rights for them be enforced, and many people (whites) felt threatened or detested
, where black were the majority, the minority whites feared the
competition for jobs, land, public service, and living space, and they were simply racist,
and this led to many lynchings and violence against blacks.
Not only were blacks oppressed, they either had no means to rise up against such
oppression or organize to gain support.
Little was done, despite public shock at such events because lynchings were local
crimes (not federal) and most public attitudes were either apathetic or against black
At a political disadvantage, 1960s black civil rights protesters found that they would either have
to gain new allies or move the policy-making arena to a place where the opposition was not as
Partly by accident and by plan, they followed both routes, publicizing their cause to
many Americans and also carefully securing Congressional action in Congress and the
After initial successes (getting Blacks the right AND the means to vote), the civil rights
movements turned from fundamental human rights to more of manpower development,
economic progress, and the housing and neighborhood improvement.
The Campaign in the Courts
, if read broadly, seemed to guarantee equal rights for all when it said that
“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of
citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,