Essay about The Emergence of Civil Rights in the 1950's

Essay about The Emergence of Civil Rights in the 1950's

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The Emergence of Civil Rights in the 1950's


The civil rights movement is the title given to the concerted effort
to gain greater social, political and economic equality for black
Americans which, it has been argued, emerged in its most recognisable
form during the 1950s. To many, the civil rights movement was one of
the greatest reform impulses of the twentieth century and its many
victories have included such things as the Supreme Court decision in
1954 which declared segregation in public schools to be
unconstitutional, the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-1956, the passage
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting rights act of 1965
(White, 1991, p.9). Nevertheless, the reasons behind the emergence of
the modern civil rights movement in the 1950s have continued to be a
subject of debate throughout the latter half of the twentieth century
and beyond. Many have seen the Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education
decision of 1954 as a watershed in both legal and political terms
which provided the impetus for a civil rights movement to emerge
during the latter half of the 1950s. Indeed, many contemporaries such
as Mary Ellison saw the Brown decision as ‘the avenging angel of a
Gothic tragedy’ (Verney, 2000, p.45) instantly casting aside decades
of injustice. However, whilst this view does, perhaps, hold some truth
and therefore deserves to be examined, what this essay will hope to
show is that the Brown decision can not simply be viewed as a bolt of
lightening from a clear sky and was not solely responsible for the
onset of the civil rights movement in the 1950s. Indeed, an
examination of other Supreme Court rulings which would at first ...


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...ess)

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Heale, M.J. (2004) Twentieth Century America (London: Arnold)

Martin Riches, W.T. (1997) The Civil Rights Movement (New York:
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Sitkoff, H. (1981) The Struggle for Black Equality 1954-1980 (New
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Tindall, G.B. & Shi, D.E. (2004) America: A Narrative History (New
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Verney, K. (2000) Black Civil Rights in America (London: Routledge)

White, J. (1991) Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights
Movement in America (British Association for American Studies)

Morris, A.D. (1999) A Retrospective on the Civil Rights Movement in
Annual Review of Sociology (1999, p.517)

Rathbone, M. (2004) The US Supreme Court and Civil Rights in History
Review (March 2004, Issue 48, pp.41-46)

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