How Important Was the Role of African Americans Themselves in Achieving Political and Civil Equality for African Americans in the USA Between 1945 and 1965?

Essay by horsey11B, June 2004

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Although America claims to be the 'land of the free' and offer equal opportunities to all, there has always been racial prejudice and discrimination to people who are not of WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon, protestant) origin. Whether it has been discrimination by de jure of de facto nobody can question that it existed and still exists to a lesser extent today.

As a result of the many social changes brought about by the war, such as economic prosperity, campaigning by black activists for equal rights took a new direction. Civil Rights for African Americans improved between 1945 and 1965 for a number of reasons. Among these were the black civil rights movement, the support of white liberals, the decisions of the Supreme Court, congress and different Presidents, also the impact of changes in American society played a role.

After the Civil War when freed African Americans were treated very badly by the white majority in the south, treatment and civil rights changed little before World War II for blacks.

Segregation was present in the army and black facilities were inferior to that of the white soldiers. US military involvement in the war was to have a number of effects on civil rights and race relations. The context of the war meant that Japanese-Americans suffered badly, but in the black community, the social and economic changes brought about by the conflict would highlight their issues and show the future direction of their activity.

During the war more jobs were created in the north as munitions were needed so many blacks migrated to cities like Detroit, Chicago, and Washington. Black people found they were discriminated against when applying for jobs and even if successful still failed to receive equal pay and opportunities. However, they didn't receive as much prejudice outside the workplace as...