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The Black Civil Rights Movement

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The Black Civil Rights Movement The Black civil rights movement emerged as a mass movement in the 1950s but its long term origins go back much to the abolition of slavery and the failure of States to implement the 14th and 15th amendments which guaranteed ex-slave rights as defined in the constitution. Just after the end of slavery the reconstruction era began, it allowed blacks many opportunities that had never been open to them before, during this time there was a change in many areas of culture in America. Black music was popular as was some black art, but most importantly of all it seemed to offer equality before the law and by the 1880s black Americans took these constitutional rights as theirs. The reason that the civil rights campaign began is because individual southern states introduced 'Jim Crow' laws which encouraged segregation. These states claimed that it did not break the 14th and 15th amendments because they were 'separate but equal' and in 1897 the Supreme Court found in favour of segregation in Plessey v Ferguson. Black pressure groups were formed such as the Niagara movement and the NAACP. To combat this, the NAACP had more middleclass members. They investigated lynchings, publicised injustices, tried to prevent violations of the constitution and tried to ensure that segregation was equal. Their membership went from 329 members in 1912 to 500,000 in 1946 and they were a major participant in the civil rights movement in the 1950s. By 1950 the civil rights movement became a mass movement; this was because for the first time there was cross-class co... ... middle of paper ... ...ears with groups like the N.A.A.C.P. leading the way and figures such as Marcus Garvey restoring black pride. And by the 1950s the law finally agreed that separate but equal was not giving blacks the rights guaranteed to them under the 14th and 15th amendments. The civil rights movement no longer needed to prove segregation was unconstitutional but now needed to fight to have it enforced. The Cold War also showed America that although they claimed theirs was the land of the free, in fact almost every black in America had been racially persecuted; this realisation meant that the civil rights movement gained more support from whites as well as blacks. Now leaders like King, and Malcolm X in the later years of his life, needed to apply pressure to ensure blacks gained their rights and both lost their lives for this fight.