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Racial equality occurs when institutions give equal opportunity to people of all races. In other words, institutions ignore persons' racial physical traits or skin color, and give everyone legally, morally, and politically equal opportunity. In Western society today, there is more diversity and more integration among races. Initially, attaining equality has been difficult for African, Asian, and Latino people, especially in schools. However, in the United States, racial equality, has become a law that regardless of what race an individual is, they will receive equal treatment, opportunity, education, employment, and politics.
- 1 Background
- 2 Struggle of African American society
- 3 Martin Luther King Jr.
- 4 Rosa Parks
- 5 Groups and organizations
- 6 Protests
- 7 In the twenty-first century
- 8 Laws
- 9 See also
- 10 References
Slavery was the key to the start of the bloodiest and most traumatic war in American history. The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. By 1860 one in three persons in the Southern States belonged to another. In a population of twelve million, four million were slaves. In September 1862 Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, which avowed the aim of freeing the slaves in the Confederacy, and made abolition one of the North's central war aims. The North took the victory. Did the end of the war represent a gain or a loss for the country? The war represents a defeat for freedom simply to be let alone, for the beneficiaries of inherited wealth or those who prefer to live on the margins of society, but a victory for those, like the immigrants from Europe and the newly emancipated blacks, who needed government to provide the necessary conditions for the pursuit of happiness.
Struggle of African American society
Post War equality
Four million slaves were freed as a result of the American Civil War. A few years later the South's white elite was in control again. Economic power was the main reason. Deprived of control over the means of earning a living, the blacks were forced into dependence on white landowners. The blacks worked as farm laborers, or as tenants under the sharecropping system. The biggest problem was the blacks were at the mercy of their white bosses, who would tell them how to vote. Segregation of schools, healthcare and housing became entrenched in the South and the black was relegated to the status of second-class citizen.
The health of many residents differed depending on where they lived. The poor inner-city areas lacked or under-supplied the necessary health care that was available in other areas. Location was a primary cause of this problem. Inner cities' isolation from other parts of society was a large contributor to the poor health of the residents. Also, the overcrowded living conditions added to the poor health of the residents by the spread of infectious diseases.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. is known as a civil rights leader in the United States concerning racial equality. Martin Luther King Jr. became one of the greatest leaders due to his stance concerning various mistreated African-American men and women in the South. Moreover, he played many roles in society and won an award for the movement he conducted. Martin Luther King Jr. not only took part in the Montgomery bus boycott, became a key speaker at the March on Washington, and was one of the youngest individuals to win the Nobel Peace Prize, but he also handled his opinion in a peaceful manner. King kept his anger toward the idea of segregation of race to himself; however, he did show his passion of equality in his speeches and peaceful protest.
King displayed his very first civil rights movement by voluntarily taking a stance in the Montgomery bus boycott. The bus boycott had started by Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat for a white male after a long and tiring day at work. Thus, after Park's arrest, King gathered the black community. in hopes for boycotting against the bus, by cutting the use of transportation. This boycott continued on for 382 days. Although, King had to overcome many attacks towards him such as arrest, and violent harassment, the result was their (African-Americans) first victory: black men and women were allowed to ride the buses in Montgomery equally as the whites.
Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Montgomery, Alabama. She attended the all-black Alabama State College, and soon worked at National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a secretary. Rosa Parks had become an activists by an event that triggered other events to occur. On December 1, 1955 Parks had taken the bus home from work, when all of a sudden she was being forced to give up her seat for a white male. Rosa Parks had been frustrated of the way black individuals were treated; thus, she refused and was arrested and fined $14.
Parks' refusal and arrest had caused a dilemma for white individuals, especially for the ones that owned the bus business. The Montgomery bus boycott had started to desegregate public transportation. Moreover, Martin Luther King Jr. had gotten involved to not only motivate the mistreated African-American population, but to share his passion of equality. This boycott lasted 382 days and ended on December 21, 1956. At the end of the bus boycott, both Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. had become national heroes. Furthermore, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to segregate on Montgomery buses.
Groups and organizations
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
Martin Luther King Jr. was the founder of SCLC, by having summoned various numbers of black leaders in 1957. He became the President of this activist group and decided to improve communities by managing peaceful protests and boycotts regarding the social ethics of discrimination and segregation between races.
National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
First created on February 12, 1909 in Springfield, Illinois. This group was against violence that was directed towards African Americans. Their objective was to eliminate racial inequality, and guarantee the political, educational, social and economic equality for citizens. Their office was located in New York. Moorfield Storey was named president, while, Du Bois, was the only African American Director of Publications.
Congress of Racial Equality
There was a civil rights group called Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) that came together to fight corruption and segregation in a nonviolent manner. CORE grew profoundly after the 1950s, beginning with James Farmer who later became the leader of the group and a civil rights activist in 1941. He went back to his "Native South" and visited to a local movie theater, where he came upon the "crow's nest", an area that was reserved for blacks. He opposed the Jim Crow laws. He realized that his friends and himself supported those laws by what they did in their daily actions. He soon wrote a memo and summoned for the formation of a group of individuals that were powerful from mind and body to be able to take personal nonviolent actions to end discrimination.
CORE was established in 1942 in Chicago. It was a branch of a "Peace-Lover" organization, which was called the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). CORE used nonviolent actions procedures that involved sit-ins, which were done in lunch counters in Chicago. By 1947, CORE contributed with an interracial bus ride across the upper part of the South. They were testing state buses that the U.S Supreme Court ordered to be desegregated, which was the Morgan v. Virginia decision in 1946. This led to some success for the facilities that were testing out the orders they were given, but it didn't grab much attention especially in the national level, which was their main goal. By 1960, there was a new wave of nonviolent direct action protests that initiated through the student sit-in movement. CORE's national director James Farmer repeated the Journey of Reconciliation. Another Supreme Court ruling, Boynton v. Virginia (1960), ordered a stop to segregation in the interstate bus terminals. That came to be the Freedom Rides. The Freedom Riders traveled deep into the south and were attacked by segregationists along Alabama.
CORE began in the North and was mainly concentrated in public areas. About two decades ago, the North had segregated spots where blacks were not allowed. Those places, for example, were restaurants, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and barber shops. More successful efforts were the work settings where there were some experiments with interracial workers and in housing co-operatives. CORE's main focus was to increase public recognition in the north. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, CORE moved to the border states of Missouri, Maryland, and Oklahoma.
Accomplishments of CORE and NAACP
In the first few weeks of April the two groups CORE and NAACP combined forces to make a change in racial equality. Both the groups protesters constructed a plan to shut down construction of the city's Municipal Services Building, by marching in front of Mayor James Tate's North Philadelphia row house. Furthermore, many protesters had engaged in various fights involving police and white unionists. Moreover, the two groups had caused many debates to open up regarding racial politics, discrimination, and employment.
CORE's technique was always nonviolence as the method of fighting racial injustice. CORE was the first organization to use nonviolent actions in order to stop many issues that affected the black community. The student sit-ins started in February 1960. Within the year, 130 eating locations opened up in the southern communities. They were interested in how CORE approached the issue of segregation.
CORE grew in the early 1940s, but continued to be composed of small groups. They persisted in being small because of the students who were part of the organization. The students would graduate and move away. Also, others were fighting for a specific cause and once the issue has been dealt with, they disappeared. CORE was only a voluntary organization; there was no paid staff.
In the South:
In the North:
- Better jobs
- Better housing
- School integration
Many outsiders started to notice the efforts of the group. They supported them and started the Freedom Rides. CORE was more involved in the Black Power movement around the mid-1960s. Then things shifted to integration and nonviolent actions toward the organization of communities, the separation of the people, and Black Power. Also, as whites and blacks started to work together to fight over the dilemmas of segregation, white liberals weren't fond of the idea that they were working together. CORE's issues changed over time, so they worked on different actions that would come up.
Sit-ins, the oldest technique, have been used by CORE the most. CORE divided people into three different groups: one with all black individuals, one with all whites, and one that was interracial. These three different groups would go to a segregated eating area before the busiest hour and wait to be attended quietly. This was used to open up restaurants, and was later used for other locations.
Standing in line
This was used at cafeterias, ticket booths, and other places where one stands in a line in order to be served. If someone is refused, the CORE members who might be in line before him/her will also refuse to step out of line and interrupt service. CORE did this at movie theaters in Kentucky, and at a swimming pool at Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey. This technique was also important for stopping segregation.
In the twenty-first century
Since 1942, two particular issues have evolved in racial equality. One is the handling of blacks to ensure equality, which was favored by the white community, and the other is the differences between southerners and non-southerners. These two issues were observed by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). They made questions that plotted five main topics that targeted blacks at the time. The five points that affected racial equality and tracked during the years 1965–1980 were year, region, cohort, and education. Many educational systems in the south and non-southern areas were in favor of segregated educational institutions among blacks. They also didn't want blacks near their neighborhood or interracial marriages to happen.
The abolishment of slavery in all states.
Allowed citizenship to individuals that were born in the United States such as Native Americans and African Americans. It also stops any other state to pass their own law which will violate this amendment. It prohibits states from opposing any person's "life, liberty or property, without law coming forward on the individual" or to "deny to any person within its authority the equal protection of the laws."
Allowed African Americans to vote.
Civil Rights Act 1866
Granted citizenship to individuals without discriminating or viewing race, color, or the previous act of being a slave.
Jim Crow laws
In Southern States, a law that enforced a separation of blacks and whites from public facilities such as employment, housing, education, politics, military service, sports, and business. In other words, a separate but equal rank was given to the African Americans, yet there were almost no provisions made that allowed for the oversight of the "equality" of the facilities; also, the legislation did not come into conflict with any other laws concerning citizenship or equality under the law.
- Racial inequality in the United States
- Racial segregation in the United States
- Racism in the United States
- Social equality
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