The 1896 case, Plessy vs. Ferguson, established the validity of "separate but equal" treatment of blacks in the south. The 1954 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas changed all of that. The case ruled that separate but equal was unconstitutional. It started with Linda Brown, a little black girl who, while living only 2 blocks from a white school, was forced to ride twenty-one blocks to a black school. The NAACP took up the case and won. Southern whites were shocked and angry. That, however, was just the beginning.
On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, a black woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. She was arrested for her actions. This seemingly small event catalyzed the Civil rights movement. The NAACP decided that this presented an excellent opportunity to end segregation of public transportation. They decided to...
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1. Western Michigan University, "1954: Brown v. Board of Education," Timeline of the
American Civil Rights Movement, 24 October 1999, http://www.wmich.edu/poilitics/mlk/
(17 January 1996).
2 Abigail and Stephen Thernstrom. America in Black and White. (New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1997), 113.
3 Thernstrom, 116.
4 Kevin S. Hollaway, "Black Suffrage," Civil Rights: A Status Report, 24 October 1999,
http://www.ghgcorp.com/hollaway/civil.htm (24 December 1998).
5 Hollaway, "Spontaneous Reactions."
6 Thernstrom, 127.
7 Hollaway, "Birmingham, 1963."
8 Western Michigan University, "March on Washington."
9 Thernstrom, 150.
10 Thernstrom, 158.
11 Thernstrom, 159.
12 Halloway, "The Legacy of Malcolm X."
13 Halloway, "The Assassination of Martin Luther King."
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