A History of Africans and African-Americans in the U.S.
Historians date the civil rights movement back to May 17, 1954
of the Supreme Court ruling that outlawed segregated public schools
in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. But the mistreatment
and white supremacy over African Americans had started long before
then. The first African Americans were brought to America as slaves
in the early 1600s. Slavery would go on to prosper for 250 years.
Many slaves revolted, but were beaten on hanged. There were many
brave people who spoke out against slavery, or risked their life
for the cause of freedom. People like Harriet Tubman risked themselves
as conductors helping other runaway slaves escape to the north
in the Underground Railroad. Abolitionists like Frederick Douglass
used their great orator skills and gave speeches against slavery,
or William Lloyd Garrison who started his own newspaper, The Liberator.
After the Civil War slavery ended. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished
slavery, but still African Americans were not treated with equal
rights and respect they deserved. White supremacy was still held
in the minds of many. Many ex-confederate soldiers joined Ku Klan
Klux, an organization formed with the main goal to keep blacks
powerless. They aimed at those who prospered, or who could read
and write, and those who tried to vote. Their work was for the
democratic party. They used violence and terrorism to maintain
their white supremacy. From 1882 to 1901, more than 2,000 blacks
Though according to the amendments of the Constitution blacks
have equal rights as whites, they were not treated as such. The
Fourteenth Amendment declared that "native-born or naturalized
persons were citizens and had the same rights as citizens." The
Fifteenth Amendment declares that the right to vote should not
be denied "on account of race , color, or previous condition of
Blacks were also caught in an endless cycle of segregation. In
1896 in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruled
that segregation was lawful as long as the facilities for both
the blacks and whites were equal. On June 7, 1892, a black man
named Homer Plessy had boarded a train in Louisiana, and took
a seat in a car labeled "whites only". He was arrested for breaking
state law. Plessy took his case to the Supreme Court arguing that
the 14th Amendment banned segregation. Blacks would use separate
restrooms, water fountains, restaurants, waiting rooms, swimming
pools, libraries, and bus seats. Though the public facilities
were by law supposed to be equal, but they were far from it. Black
schools were poorly funded. Many blacks would revolt and protest
without violence. The National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP) was established in 1910 by W.E.B. DuBois
and others. They launched legal campaign against racial injustice.
The election of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought black
leaders among the President's advisers.
The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was later formed. They
would start a series of "freedom riders." They would perform sit-ins.
They used tactics of nonviolence to achieve what they wanted.
They used the philosophy of Mohandas Gandhi as an example. In
sit-ins they would quietly sit down, and refused to leave, until
they were served. They did not retaliate. These tactics worked
in some northern cities.
In 1946 segregation was outlawed on interstate busses by Supreme
Court rule. "Many battles against segregation were being fought
in courtrooms and legislatures." All of the peaceful protesting
and nonviolent tactics would lead up to the civil rights movement.