Topic 9 - Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s Flashcards Preview

Paper 1D: America 1920-1973 CORE CONTENT > Topic 9 - Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s > Flashcards

Flashcards in Topic 9 - Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s Deck (58):

Identify five ways black people experienced racism in America in the early-1950s.

1. The Jim Crow laws in the southern states legalised the segregation of black and white people (e.g. education; transport; restaurants)

2. Black people were stopped from registering to vote (e.g. only 5% of black people were registered in Mississippi).

3. There was inequality in education (e.g. the best universities in the country were closed to black people).

4. There was inequality in the workplace (e.g. white teachers earned 30% more than black teachers).

5. They were not equal in the eyes of the law (e.g. many police officers failed to stop attacks on black people, and those guilty were not punished by white juries).


What were the name of the laws which legalised segregation in southern America?

The Jim Crow laws


What proportion of black people were registered to vote in Mississippi in the early-1950s?



How much more (%) did white teachers earn than black teachers in the early-1950s?

30% more


What did the civil rights group the NAACP try to fight against in 1954?

The segregation of education, which had been justified by 1896 by the idea of education being "separate but equal".


Which civil rights campaign group challenged the segregation of education in 1954?

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People)


What case did the NAACP use to challenge the segregation of education in 1954?

They used the case of Linda Brown. She had to travel several kilometres to school everyday, including crossing a dangerous railway track, instead of attending the nearby white-only school.


What was the name of the case which was brought to the Supreme Court in 1954?

Brown v Board of Education


What did the Supreme Court rule in the Brown v Board case (1954)?

Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that segregated education was not equal, and against the American Constitution.


What was the name of the Chief Justice who oversaw the Brown v Board case in 1954?

Chief Justice Earl Warren


What did Chief Justice Earl Warren order to happen after the success of the Brown v Board case (1954)?

He ordered the southern states to set up integrated schools 'with all deliberate speed'.


Identify two achievements of the Brown v Board case (1954).

1. Segregated education was ruled unconstitutional.

2. Southern states were ordered to integrate schools.


Identify two failures of the Brown v Board case (1954).

1. Southern states opposed the integration of education (as shown by the events of Little Rock high school in 1957).

2. By 1968, 58% of black children were still being educated in segregated schools.


What happened at Little Rock high school in Arkansas in 1957? (Three stages)

1. In 1957, the Supreme Court ordered the Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, to integrate schools and allow 9 black students attend Little Rock high school.

2. Faubus ordered state troops to prevent the black students from attending the school.

3. President Kennedy sent in federal troops for six weeks to protect the students and ensure they could attend school. The students were confronted and abused by 1000-strong crowds.


When was the Montgomery Bus Boycott?



Who initially decided to challenge the segregation of Montgomery's buses in 1955?

Rosa Parks


How did Rosa parks challenge the segregation of Montgomery's buses in 1955?

She refused to give up her seat to a white man, and was arrested, convicted and taken to court.


What organisation was formed to help challenge the segregation of buses in Montgomery?

The Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA)


What was the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA)?

An organisation set up after Rosa Parks' protest, to help black people in Montgomery campaign against the segregated bus services.


How did the MIA protest against segregated buses in Montgomery?

They boycotted the buses (refused to travel on them).


Identify three pieces of evidence which suggest the popularity of the MIA's boycott of buses.

1. On the first day of the boycott, the buses were empty.

2. Between 10,000 and 15,000 people turned out to hear the MIA's President, Martin Luther King, speak.

3. The bus company lost 65% of its income during the boycott.


How did people oppose the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

1. Martin Luther King was arrested twice.

2. Integrated buses were shot at.

3. Black churches and homes were set on fire.


What was the outcome of Rosa Parks' protest and the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

In December 1956, the Supreme Court declared that segregation on buses was unconstitutional.


Identify an achievement of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956).

The Supreme Court declared that segregation on buses and all transport services was unconstitutional → some bus services in southern states began to be desegregated.


Identify two failures of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956).

1. Many Americans remained against segregation → opposed the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the integration of bus services.

2. Many US states did not obey the ruling that segregation on transport services was unconstitutional.


What type of protest did civil rights campaigners use in the early 1960s?

Non-violent direct action


What was non-violent direct action?

Challenging discrimination by refusing to co-operate with it.


Which three organisations used non-violent direct action?

1. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (led by Martin Luther King)

2. Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee (led by Ella Baker)

3. Congress of Racial Equality (led by James Farmer)


What was the main method of protest used by SNCC?



Describe the sit-ins organised by SNCC.

Between February and July 1960, students sat in whites-only seats in restaurants and lunch counters, starting in Woolworth's restaurant (Greensboro, North Carolina). They refused to leave the restaurants when they were refused service. This form of protest spread to restaurants and lunch counters across the southern states.


What were the achievements of SNCC's sit-ins?

1. By the end of 1960, lunch counters had been desegregated in 126 cities.

2. 70,000 students joined these sit-ins across the southern states.


How did people respond to the sit-ins?

1. Colleges expelled some students, but backed down when teachers threatened to resign.

2. Students were attacked and abused.


What was the main method of protest used by CORE?

Freedom Rides on interstate bus services (buses travelling between states)


Describe the Freedom Rides organised by CORE.

CORE aimed to test the Supreme Court ruling that the segregation of transport was unconstitutional.

From May 1961, “freedom riders” rode on buses from northern states to the south, where segregation remained in place in buses and bus station facilities.


What were the achievements of CORE's Freedom Rides?

1. President Kennedy supported the freedom riders, by sending in federal troops to protect them.

2. In November 1961, a law desegregating interstate travel was finally enforced.


How did people respond to the Freedom Rides?

When a bus with 13 black and white CORE and SNCC campaigners arrived in Alabama, a white mob attacked and bombed the bus.

When another bus arrived in Birmingham, Alabama, the “freedom riders” were attacked. 200 “freedom riders” were arrested and jailed for 40 days.

John Patterson, the Governor of Alabama, and Police Chief Bull Connor did little to protect the activists.


What was the main method of protest used by SCLC?

Marches to bring publicity to the Civil Rights movement and put pressure on the US government to pass a Civil Rights Law.


Describe the marches organised by SCLC.

1. In 1963, a peaceful march was organised through the city of Birmingham, Alabama (described as “by far” America’s “worst big city” for racism). This march was intended to provoke trouble.

2. In August 1963 a march was organised in Washington. Over 200,000 black people and 50,000 white people marched together. Here, Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.


What were the achievements of SCLC's marches?

The marches helped persuade the government to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1964.


How did people respond to the SCLC's marches?

1. As expected, the local police in Birmingham responded with violence, using water cannon and setting dogs on protestors. 500 young marchers were held in custody, and Martin Luther King's hotel room was bombed.

2. Violence against the black community continued (e.g. the KKK bombed a black church in September 1963, killing four young girls).

3. The March in Washington impressed TV audiences across the world and encouraged support for desegregation amongst the American people.


Why did the Black Power movement emerge in the late 1960s?

1. Non-violent protest was criticised for being too slow in bringing about changes.

2. The Civil Rights movement was criticised for not doing enough to solve the problems in the ghettos in northern cities.

2. Martin Luther King was criticised for aiming for integration between black Americans and white Americans.

3. Martin Luther King was criticised for only trying to win the support of powerful white Americans, instead of empowering black Americans to make changes themselves.


Identify three groups in the Black Power movement, and their leaders.

SNCC - Stokely Carmichael

Nation of Islam - Malcolm X (leading figure)

Black Panthers - Huey Newton


What did SNCC achieve in the campaign for Black Power?

1. Set up “Freedom Cities” (1966-1968) where black people were involved in electing police chiefs and school boards, giving black people greater control and influence over their communities.

2. Demonstrated the importance of black culture (e.g. the Afro hair-style became a symbol of black identity and beauty).


What did the Nation of Islam achieve in the campaign for Black Power?

1. Set up drug rehabilitation programmes in ghettos.

2. Created many businesses, such as restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores, which gave black people rare employment opportunities in the ghettos.


What did the Black Panthers achieve in the campaign for Black Power?

1. Tried to stop police brutality towards black Americans by setting up street patrols.

2. Set up free clinics in the ghettos to advise on health, welfare and legal rights (e.g. by 1974 the health clinics were treating 200,000 people a year).

3. Set up a Free Breakfast programme which fed 10,000 black children every day.

4. Set up Liberation Schools to provide literacy and numeracy classes to schoolchildren and to adults who had little education. Black history classes helped to inspire self-respect and black pride.


What were the aims of the Black Power movement?

1. Improve education, living and working conditions in the northern ghettos.

2. To provide services so the black community could look after their own community, rather than rely on outside help.

3. To empower black people to fight for a better life and give them greater control of the communities they live in.

4. Self-defence against police brutality.


What caused a series of riots to break out in black ghettos in the mid-1960s?

1. Poverty and bad housing

2. Lack of education and employment opportunities

3. Lack of welfare


Describe what happened in Los Angeles in 1965.

A race riot broke out, which led to 34 deaths, 1000 injuries and 3500 arrests.


Under which American President were most Civil Rights laws passed?

President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69)


What did the Civil Rights Act (1964) state?

It outlawed segregation and gave the American government the power to enforce integration. Discrimination in public places and the workplace was made illegal.


What impact did the Civil Rights Act (1964) have on black Americans?

1. By 1965, 53 cities had been desegregated across the south.

2. By 1968, black unemployment was 7%, which was not much higher than white unemployment at 5%.


What did the Voting Rights Act (1965) state?

It gave the government the power to inspect voting procedures to make sure that black people were able to register to vote.

It also ended literacy tests that voters had previously had to complete in order to vote, which had discriminated against black people in America who had not received an adequate education.


What impact did the Voting Rights Act (1965) have on black Americans?

1. After 1965, black mayors had been elected to five major US cities.

2. Between 1965 and 1966, 230,000 black people registered to vote across the south.

3. By 1966, only four southern states had less than 50% of their black citizens registered to vote.


What did the Education Act (1965) state?

Government funding was used to provide all children with fair and equal opportunities in education. In particular, more money was given to schools with a high percentage of students from poorer families (such as those in the ghettos). The Acts also aimed to encourage teachers to work in poorer areas.


What impact did the Education Act (1965) have on black Americans?

1. By the end of the 1960s, the percentage of black students with a high-school diploma had increased from 40% to 60%.

2. Four times as many black students attended college and university during the late-1960s.

3. Improved education gave young black Americans more employment opportunities.


What did the Civil Rights Act (1968) state?

It was illegal to discriminate when selling and renting housing (e.g. in terms of race, religion, and/or national origin).


What were the two limitations of the Civil Rights Act (1968)?

1. The government had no power to enforce the law.

2. In 1977, discrimination still occurred in 21% of housing transactions, and many poor African Americans still lived in substandard housing.


What were the five limitations of all the Civil Rights laws passed in the 1960s?

1. Police brutality continued against civil rights campaigners. E.g. a voting march was organised in Selma, Alabama in 1965, as only 2.4% of black adults were registered to vote. The marchers were brutally attacked by police who used clubs and tear gas.

2. By 1968, 58% of black schoolchildren remained in segregated schools.

3. By 1966, four southern states still had less than 50% of their black citizens registered to vote.

4. In 1977, discrimination still occurred in 21% of housing transactions, and many poor African Americans still lived in substandard housing.

5. ATTITUDES were slow to change. In 1967, 52% of American people said that integration was happening too fast.