Obstacles to the Achievement of Civil Rights (Activities of the KKK…
Obstacles to the Achievement of Civil Rights
Challenged the Jim Crow laws by taking the state of Louisiana to the Supreme Court.
Argued that they were unconstitutional.
8/9 voted in favour of Louisiana.
Said that equality is no the same as social equality.
Court decided that states have the right to introduce their own laws.
Louisiana argued that just because blacks were seperated it didn't mean that they were treated worse.
Public agreed with the court since white society viewed it as equality.
This decision legitimised the Jim Crow laws and allowed states to introduce more.
Legal impediments removed black people's rights as US citizens to be treated equally.
Laws were very hard to challenge.
Very little hope for the future.
Designed to keep blacks under control and deemed them as lesser thus allowing for an increased belief in white supremacy.
Black civil rights groups were set up and had been attempting to overcome segregation still providing hope for the black community.
1 judge voted in favour of Homer showing that there was still a bit of hope.
Jim Crow laws were "the legal means by which white superiority was maintained" - Historians Green and Cheatham
The Great Migration, 1916-1930
Many blacks went North in search for a better life.
Moved to cities like Detroit, Chicago and New York.
Around 6 million made this journey.
Took advantages of the labour shortages and the inability of eastern europeans from entering the country due to WW1.
Mass influx of immigrants led to racial tension due to job and housing competition.
White property owners refused to sell to blacks segregating them and forcing them to live in ghettos.
Race riots began leaving many dead or injured and showed tension and intolerance in the US.
The Chicago Race Riots, 1919
"However, for many African Americans problems did not vanish - they simply became different problems." - Historian John Kerr
Huge racial tension in big cities.
Black people were vulnerable to attack
Victims of unseen discrimination which makes it more difficult to change.
Created a market for black newspapers, businesses, jazz-clubs, churches, and political organizations which made life easier and more vibrant as they had more freedom.
Created a launchpad for civil rights campaign.
Life was much better there.
Many more blacks could vote.
Activities of the KKK
First established in 1866 in Tennessee.
Leaders were former Confederate soldiers.
Wore masks to hide identity.
Declared as a terrorist group in 1870s so numbers dropped.
Many Klansmen were prosecuted by the government.
Prevent blacks from getting education, economic advancement, voting rights and the right to bear arms.
Reformed in 1915 by William J Simmons.
'Birth of a Nation' was very popular.
Over 3 million members by 1925.
Only WASPs could join.
Didn't like civil rights.
Thought blacks were inferior.
Said they were acting like a police force to enforce the Jim Crow laws.
Used fear to promote their beliefs.
Burned crosses on hillsides or near people's homes.
Marched through the streets threatening people.
Lynched people who didn't do what they told them to.
Intimidated those who tried to help black people.
Many saw the Klan as protectors.
Had friends in politics, government, judiciary, and police.
Very few crimes against blacks were brought to court.
Some elections had only Klan approved candidates.
President Coolidge approved of KKK march down Pennsylvania Avenue.
KKK made people not want to stand up for the black community which meant that nothing would be able to change.
They stopped black people from voting which meant that politicians didn't need to help the black community for fear of losing votes.
Their activities were widely supported in the South making it harder to change people's minds.
KKK influence on the justice system meant that no justice would be done for blacks and no progress could be made.
Their power and membership declined in the late 20s.
Leaders were involved in scandals
1929 - 30,000 members
This lowers their influence and significance as the main obstacle to Civil Rights.
Lack of Political Influence
Set out basic rights for all American citizens.
Stated that all citizens should have equal rights and the right to vote.
Amended in 1870
Reflected that slaves were free and voting shouldn't be denied on race.
In reality almost no black person in the South could easily vote by 1900.
What Stopped Blacks from Voting
Loophole allowed for voter registration laws to be brought in.
Literacy tests stopped people who couldn't read from voting.
'Grandfather' clauses said that people could vote only if the right had been in the family for two generations.
Some states required land ownership to register to vote.
By 1915 almost every Southern state had voter qualifications.
Many black people had no or very little education which made the literacy test impossible.
Most of their grandparents couldn't vote which also disallowed them from voting.
Basically no black people owned their own land which also stopped them from voting in some states.
Since black people couldn't vote, there was no incentive for white politicians to campaign for policies to help them.
It also made it easier for people with racist beliefs to be voted in.
The white population vastly outnumbered the black population so it's unlikely that many pro-civil rights politicians would be voted in.
Divisions in the Black Community
Booker T Washington
1890-1915 was the dominant leader of black community.
Advisor to US presidents.
Believed that blacks should seek a gradual change.
Speech made in 1895
Blacks should accept disenfranchisement and segregation.
Need to be allowed economic progress, educational opportunities and justice in the courts.
Thought it would gain the trust of whites who would give them more rights in the long term.
Many strongly disagreed with his approach.
W.E.B DuBois & the NAACP
Wasn't willing to compromise as it meant accepting that blacks were inferior.
Demanded equality for blacks as it was promised in the constitution.
National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People - found in 1910 by W.E.B DuBois
Fought to the right to vote and the reducement of racial segregation and white supremacy.
Brought many states to court.
Launched a campaign against lynching in 1919 in hopes of making it a federal offence which passed the House of Representatives in 1922 but was stopped in the Senate.
Appealed to richer more educated blacks but was criticised for not being radical enough by poorer blacks.
Marcus Garvey & the UNIA
Universal Negro Improvement Association - founded by Garvey in 1914
Created to attract major public attention in the 20s
Hated white people and didn't want to be brought together.
Believed that there was no point trying to change whites' racial bias as it was so engrained.
Wanted to unite all black people and for them to go back to Africa and set up a black nation.
Made people very proud of being black and was known as the 'Black Moses' in the ghettos.
A lack of unity meant that there was not enough impact to change things.
They were working against each other which meant that no-one could make progress.
Extremists like Garvey turned 'white society' against change and civil rights.
It increased black consciousness.
NAACP anti-lynching campaign decreased numbers.
Some court victories
Proved that there was demand for civil rights.
Were an inspiration for later civil rights protests