The Role of Television in Ending Segregaation in the United States

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The Role of Television in Ending Segregaation in the United States In 1964 segregation was banned in public places as part of The Civil Rights Act. Leading on from this, things for black Americans improved until in the 1987 17 large US cities even had black mayors. But before these times there was segregation everywhere, from schools and restaurants to buses and water fountains. Black and white Americans simply did not mix. The decision for desegregation leads from a number of things, with various forms of media playing a central part, including television, and without this, could desegregation really have been obtained at all? By the time of desegregation in the USA, almost everybody had a television and watched it frequently. News programmes were on frequently and viewed by many. These highlighted the problems of racial tension, mainly by the reports ran on real events such as protests and marches and therefore showed the truth, with eye-witnesses being interviewed and photographs being broadcasting. An example of these photographs is in Source G, an image of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, showing civil rights protesters. It shows great racial tension and the abuse faced by Negroes, which moved white citizens, gaining sympathy and support for the black Americans and the cause that they were fighting for. Although there were these sorts of images in newspapers, the television had more affect, with the pictures being right in front of you and viewers could see that it as real. For the first time it was recognised properly that racial discrimination was a national problem that needed to be resolved, and as it says in Source H, an... ... middle of paper ... ... with the police. Despite this it got them a lot of publicity, bringing the problem frequently in the public eye and causing people to take notice of what was going on. It was publicity and keeping the issue on the surface that caused the changes to be made, but without the forms of media such as newspapers and television, the country would not have known about the extremity of the racism so the groups would have had no success in anything but provoking their local area. Although, as the author of Source I believes, television played a crucial part in ending segregation in the USA, without the other forms of media discussed backing it up, television would have not made any difference to the situation of racism. It takes the contribution of all media types for any one of them to have any kind of impact of segregation.

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