Racial equality

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Racial equality is a situation in which people of all races and ethnicities are treated in an egalitarian/equal manner.[1] Racial equality occurs when institutions give individuals legal, moral, and political rights.[2] In present-day Western society, equality among races continues to become normative. Prior to the early 1960s, attaining equality was difficult for African, Asian, and Indigenous people.[3] However, in more recent years, racial equality has become part of laws generally ensuring that all individuals receive equal opportunities in treatment, education, employment, and other areas of life.[2]


American Civil War[edit]

The bloodiest and most traumatic war in American history, the Civil War, was fought from 1861 to 1865. By 1860, one in three people in the Southern States belonged to someone else. 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 to be left 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, which needed government to provide the necessary conditions for the pursuit of happiness.

Struggle of African American society[edit]

Post–Civil War equality[edit]

Three 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.[4] 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.[4]


The health of many residents differed depending on where they lived. The poor inner-city areas lacked 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 through the spread of infectious diseases.

Influences of equality[edit]


Martin Luther King Jr.[edit]

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.[5] 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 peacefully handled his opinion.[5] King kept his anger toward the idea of segregation of race to himself; however, he did show his passion for 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 of boycotting the bus, by cutting the use of transportation. This boycott continued for 382 days. Although King had to overcome many attacks against 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.[5]

Rosa Parks[edit]

Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Montgomery, Alabama. She attended the all-black Alabama State College, and soon worked at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a secretary.[5] Rosa Parks had become an activist for an event that triggered other events to occur. On December 1, 1955[5] Parks had taken the bus home from work when all of a sudden she was forced to give up her seat for a white male. Rosa Parks had been frustrated with the way black individuals were treated; thus, she refused and was arrested and fined $14.[5]

Parks' refusal and arrest had caused a dilemma for white individuals, especially for the ones that owned the bus business. A boycott of the Montgomery bus system was started, with the goal of desegregating public transportation.[5] Moreover, Martin Luther King Jr. had gotten involved to not only motivate the mistreated African-American population but to share his passion for equality. This boycott lasted 382 days and ended on December 21, 1956.[5] At the end of the bus boycott, both Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. had become national heroes.[5] Furthermore, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to segregate seats in Montgomery buses.

Religious institutions[edit]

The Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) held that "interracial worship was a sign of the true Church", with both whites and blacks ministering regularly in Church of God congregations, which invited people of all races to worship there.[6] Those who were entirely sanctified testified that they were "saved, sanctified, and prejudice removed."[6] Though outsiders would sometimes attack Church of God services and camp meetings for their stand for racial equality, Church of God members were "undeterred even by violence" and "maintained their strong interracial position as the core of their message of the unity of all believers".[6]

Groups and organizations[edit]

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)[edit]

Martin Luther King Jr. was the founder of SCLC, having summoned various numbers of black leaders in 1957.[5] 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.[5]

National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)[edit]

First created on February 12, 1909, in Springfield, Illinois.[7] This group was against the violence that was directed toward African Americans. Their objective was to eliminate racial inequality, and guarantee political, educational, social, and economic equality for citizens. Their office was located in New York.[7] Moorfield Storey was named president, while, Du Bois, was the only African American Director of Publications.[7]

Congress of Racial Equality[edit]

There was a civil rights group called the 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 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 he and his friends supported those laws by what they did in their daily actions. He soon wrote a memo and summoned the formation of a group of individuals that were powerful in mind and body to be able to take personal nonviolent actions to end discrimination.[8]

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 that involved sit-ins, which were done on 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 at the national level, which was their main goal. By 1960, there was a new wave of nonviolent direct action protests 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 with Alabama.[9]

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.[10]

Accomplishments of CORE and NAACP[edit]

In the first few weeks of April, the two groups CORE and NAACP combined forces to make a change in racial equality. Both groups of 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.[11] Furthermore, many protesters had engaged in various fights involving police and white unionists.[11] Moreover, the two groups had caused many debates to open up regarding racial politics, discrimination, and employment.[11]


CORE's technique was always nonviolence as the method of fighting racial injustice. CORE was the first organization to use nonviolent actions 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.[12]


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.[10]

Main goals[edit]

In the South:

In the North:

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.[12]

Standing in line[edit]

This was used at cafeterias, ticket booths, and other places where one stands in a line 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 a swimming pool at Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey. This technique was also important for stopping segregation.[12]

In the twenty-first century[edit]


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.[13] 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.[13]

U.S. Laws[edit]

Thirteenth Amendment[edit]

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in all states, except for punishment for a crime. [14]

Fourteenth Amendment[edit]

Allowed citizenship to those who were born in the United States, including non-white individuals. It also stops any other state to pass their law which will violate this amendment.[14] 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."

Fifteenth Amendment[edit]

Allowed people to vote regardless of their race.[14]

Civil Rights Act of 1866[edit]

Granted citizenship to individuals without discriminating or viewing race, color, or the previous act of being a slave.[14]

Jim Crow laws[edit]

In the Southern States, a law enforced the separation of blacks and whites from public facilities such as employment, housing, education, politics, military service, sports, and business.[15] 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.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "racial equality". Cambridge Dictionary. Archived from the original on December 14, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Racial Equality – Dictionary definition of Racial Equality". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  3. ^ Landauro, Victor (26 April 2004). "Racial Equality". Junior Scholastic. p. 10–1.
  4. ^ a b Davies, Phil (2001). American Civil War. Pocket Essentials.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Carney, Jessie (2011). African American Almanac : 400 Years of Triumph, Courage and Excellence. Visible Ink Press. pp. 45–50. ISBN 978-1578593231.
  6. ^ a b c Alexander, Estrelda Y. (2011). Black Fire: One Hundred Years of African American Pentecostalism. InterVarsity Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0830825868.
  7. ^ a b c "NAACP | Oldest and Boldest". NAACP. Archived from the original on 2016-11-28. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  8. ^ Rich, Marvin (1965). "The Congress of Racial Equality and Its Strategy". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 357: 113–118. doi:10.1177/000271626535700114. JSTOR 1035898. S2CID 145749520.
  9. ^ KIRK, JOHN A. "Please Help Us": The Fort Smith Congress Of Racial Equality Chapter, 1962–1965." Arkansas Historical Quarterly 73.3 (2014): 293–317. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.
  10. ^ a b Rich, Marvin. "The Congress of Racial Equality and Its Strategy". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 357 (1965): 113–118. Web.
  11. ^ a b c Sugrue, Thomas (2004). "Affirmative Action from Below: Civil Rights, the Building Trades, and the Politics of Racial Equality in the Urban North, 1945–1969". The Journal of American History. 91 (1): 145–173. doi:10.2307/3659618. JSTOR 3659618. ProQuest 224893942.
  12. ^ a b c "This is CORE". ucf.digital.flvc.org. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
  13. ^ a b Case, Charles E.; Greeley, Andrew M. (1990). "Attitudes Toward Racial Equality". Humboldt Journal of Social Relations. 16 (1): 67–94. JSTOR 24003023.
  14. ^ a b c d White, Edward (2014). "The Origins of Civil Rights in America". Case Western Reserve Law Review. 64: 755–816 – via EBSCO host.
  15. ^ a b Higginbotham, Michael (2014). "SAVING THE DREAM FOR ALL". ProQuest 1691151968.