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Racism in the 1960s

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: History
Wordcount: 697 words Published: 23rd Feb 2017

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Racism in the 1960’s

The 1960s were a time where the world was changing. Music was changing, politics were changing, and people were changing. But one problem seemed to remain in society Racism. Although the 1960s were the era of the Baby Boom, the racist segregation did not subside. Although segregation thrived through Jim Crow Laws, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X both fought hard against it. This segregation lead to possibly the world’s greatest achievement, the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

In the 1960s, the way of life was different for people with different colors of skin. There were separate bathrooms, separate restaurants, drinking fountains, and churches for black people. Restaurants had a Jim Crow law, that stated,

“It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectively separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment. “

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Black people were also forced to use different barbers, nurses and jail cells. The segregation between black people and white people was evident and enforced by law. These laws were called Jim Crow Laws, and were local laws that outlined the segregation between black people and white people. Any act against a Jim Crow law was punishable by law and received an unusually hefty punishment. These ‘separate but equal’ approaches lead to much discrimination that African-American communities endured for much of the decade. These laws covered aspects such as barbers, prisons, nurses, and libraries. Some examples of Jim Crow laws were:

1. No colored barber shall serve as a barber (to) white girls or women (Georgia).

2. No person or corporation shall require any White female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which Negro men are placed (Alabama).

3. The warden shall see that the white convicts shall have separate apartments for both eating and sleeping from the Negro convicts (Mississippi).

Although these laws were all forced by law, they were all forced by the public as well. Many mobs of white men used lynching in the 1960s to try and manipulate the African-American population. Lynching is considered the punishment of any person without legal process or authority. Any person who tried to promote against, abolish, or defy the Jim Crow laws were often beaten and/or killed. With the help of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, these laws were only in effect up until 1965. In 1968 the Supreme Court declared all types of segregation ‘unconstitutional’.

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Martin Luther King Jr. was an integral part of the abolishment of Jim Crow Laws and the public support of the Civil Rights Movement. Growing up as a child, Martin Luther King Jr. was a very smart human being. He attended segregated high schools in Georgia but only stayed for a short amount of time. Because of Martins superb intelligence, he was able to finish grades 9-12 in just two years, making him a high school graduate at the age of fifteen. After receiving a doctorate at Boston University, Martin had already started his effect on society. He participated in a 382 day boycott to remove the segregation between black and white people on buses. The supreme court agreed and on December 21, 1956, the law was ruled unconstitutional. Martin Luther King paid the price for this great achievement, finding himself arrested and his home was bombed. The African-American Civil Rights Movement took place in the 1960s and really gained support on August 28th, 1963. Martin Luther King Jr. made his plea to the world for racial equality during his “I Have a Dream speech. This speech was a powerful moment in history and held the support of people all over the planet. “I have a dream is still regarded as one of the greatest political statements ever to be made.


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