To What Extent Can the 1950’s Be Viewed as a Great Success for the Civil Rights Movement? Assignment

To What Extent Can the 1950’s Be Viewed as a Great Success for the Civil Rights Movement? Assignment Words: 854

The 1950s was a great success for the civil rights movement; there were a number of developments which greatly improved the lives of black people in America and really started the civil rights movement, as black people became more confident and willing to fight for their cause. The first big development of the ’50s came almost immediately at the turn of the decade, when the Supreme Court essentially overturned the verdict reached in the Plessy vs. Ferguson trial of 1896.

Thanks to the NAACP lawyers the Supreme Court made three decisions regarding civil rights which not only showed that at times the government was on the blacks side, but also almost completely overturned the ‘separate but equal’ idea that had been followed for 54 years. The next big step in the civil rights movement came in 1954, with the BROWN vs. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF TOPEKA case, where Thurgood Marshall, representing Brown, argued that segregation was against the 4th Amendment of the American constitution.

Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!

order now

The Supreme Court ruled, against President Eisenhower’s wishes, in favour of Brown, which set a precedent in education, that schools should no longer be segregated. This was the case which completely overturned the Jim Crow Laws by overturning Plessy vs. Ferguson. Up until 1955, many of the Northern, white Americans were unaware of the extent of the racism in the ‘Southern States’, one instance in 1955 changed that greatly. The death of Emmet Till became a vital incident in the civil rights movement dude to the horrific pictures of the young boy that circulated throughout America.

It is thought that up to 50,000 people viewed the body of Emmet Till, as it appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines, this greatly increased awareness of racism in the South and gave the civil rights movement many more white supporters from the North. Another great success of the 1950s was the emergence of Martin Luther King; he became a prominent figure in black rights in the ’50s and had some of his first struggles and 1956-1965 are said to be the ‘Martin Luther King years’. Kings oratory was becoming famed and he slowly began to gain the respect and trust of the black population throughout the 1950s.

The event where King was really tested for the first time was the Montgomery Bus Boycott, where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man and was imprisoned; this started a yearlong boycott of the busses in Montgomery, Alabama. King showed great charisma through these times, raising morale and making sure that the boycott persisted. The boycott resulted in desegregation on public transport in Montgomery and showed that King was an admirable leader; he had been tested and had passed. The Montgomery Bus Boycott is often seen as ‘the start of the civil rights movement’.

In 1957 there was another great step against segregation, however this time it wasn’t on public transport but in schools. The Little Rock Nine were mine students who were ‘allowed’ to attend a ‘white school’ in Little Rock, Arkansas, due to the verdict of Brown vs. Topeka. However the students were blocked from entering the school by the Arkansas National Guard, under orders by Governor Faubus. However President Eisenhower intervened in a civil rights event for the first time in his presidency, contradicting his usual uncommitted approach, and sent the US Army to escort and protect the nine students.

This instance showed that even though some Supreme Court rulings opposed public opinion, they were still law and were there to be enforced, however it was the instance in which the black community realised that they couldn’t rely solely on court decisions and would need to fight for their rights. However, although there was so much success and triumph in the civil rights movement in the 1950s, there were still setbacks and problems that arose.

Although Brown vs Topeka was a big success for civil rights, the decision was de jure and not de facto, meaning that although the ruling had been made the was very little public response to it, especially in the south. Also the Supreme Court had failed to put a date on the decision meaning that there was no real haste to desegregate schools, in Brown II the Supreme Court declared that desegregation should occur ‘with all deliberate speed’, but the events at Little Rock in 1957 proved that the whites were still persisting in segregation.

Also, although Little Rock was seen as a success, as the President was behind the blacks, after the incident was over, Governor Faubus closed all schools in Little Rock until 1959 as he would prefer there to be no schools than desegregated schools. This shows that there was always a way for the whites to get around desegregation without much attention being paid to it. However, these setbacks and discrepancies don’t balance out the great number of successes and advancements made in the civil rights movement throughout the 1950s, and that is why this decade can be viewed as a great success for the civil rights movem

How to cite this assignment

Choose cite format:
To What Extent Can the 1950's Be Viewed as a Great Success for the Civil Rights Movement? Assignment. (2022, Jan 05). Retrieved April 14, 2024, from