The Civil Rights movement began after the American Civil War, but became official in the year 1950 and did not end until 1968. Although the Civil Rights movement officially ended in 1968, there is still a lot of black discrimination and black profiling going on today. After the Civil War ended, many whites heavily disliked, discriminated and prejudiced towards African- Americans. Segregation became a very common practice in the South. Pretty much everything in society – water fountains, schools, etc. – was segregated to “whites only” and “blacks only”. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a major leader in the Civil Rights movement. He did not like violent resistance. African-Americans did sit-ins, non-violent protests, and riding in “whites only” buses, vehicles, etc. Poll taxes were outlawed, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in public facilities, and the Voting
Rights Act of 1965 protected minorities at voting polls.
The Black Codes were laws that the federal government passed in order to restrict African-Americans’ civil rights and liberties throughout the United States, but especially the African-Americans in former Confederate states. These laws were made by fearful whites who thought that African-Americans would start thinking that they are equal to whites; do not get the Black Codes confused with the Jim Crow laws. Labor contracts had to be signed by blacks; they had to have licenses telling where they lived and worked. Negro catchers were appointed to catch fugitive African-Americans.
Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas are very similar cases. They both had to do with Civil Rights for African-Americans and segregation. Homer Plessy was an African-American man who got on a “whites only” railroad car and when asked by whites to move, he flatly refused. This refusal to move ended with Plessy being arrested. Brown v. Board of Education was about Oliver L. Brown and 12 other African-American parents who were suing Topeka, Kansas’s Board of Education because they wanted it to reverse its racial segregation policy, which segregated all of the elementary schools to “whites only” and “blacks only”. Oliver’s daughter walked six blocks to her “blacks only” bus then rode it to school, while the “whites only” elementary school was only seven blocks away from her house. Both cases argued the fact that segregation goes against the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws“. At first the Supreme Court had ruled the Plessy v. Ferguson case against Plessy. The Supreme Court said in the Plessy v. Ferguson case that the Fourteenth Amendment does not state that everyone has equal access to the same facilities, but only has to have equal public facilities to use. This became known as the “separate but equal” precedent. Then the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling and precedent. In this case, the Supreme Court realized that the “separate but equal” precedent and public school segregation were unconstitutional. They also realized that “separate but equal” violates the equal protection clause. With segregation being unconstitutional, the Supreme Court called for desegregation to be put into action everywhere in the United States, immediately. Awareness of African-Americans’ civil rights became a huge part of society after this.
Both of these cases are very important to the United States history. They spurred on the Civil Rights movement greatly and brought on a social revolution. The Brown case made an official end to segregation, even though not all facilities and cities were segregation-free. These two cases helped end segregation and discrimination against blacks. Without these two cases, the United States, and possibly other places in the world, would not be what it is today.