[2014] Madison Skye: The Promise of Freedom

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Social Studies
African-American History

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[2014] Madison Skye: The Promise of Freedom

Jim Crow in America In the confederate states, local governments created a legal system with a goal of re-establishing a society based on white supremacy. African American men were largely prevented from voting. Jim Crow laws separated people of color in schools, neighborhoods, and jobs.

Separate but Equal African Americans turned to the courts to help protect their constitutional rights. But the courts challenged earlier civil rights legislation and handed down a series of decisions that permitted states to segregate people of color. Five Communities Change a NationIn five different communities, (Clarendon County, Topeka, Farmville, New Castle County, and Washington, D.C.) African Americans from various walks of life bravely turned to the courts to demand better educational opportunities for their children. Together, these communities attempted to destroy segregation in the United States and the transformation of American society.

The Battleground: Separate and Unequal EducationDenied public educational resources, African Americans strengthened their communities and fought for the resources that had been denied to their children. Parents’ demands for better schools became a crucial part of the larger struggle for civil rights.Taking away the vote Denying black men the right to vote through legal maneuvering and violence was a first step in taking away their civil rights. Beginning in the 1890s, southern states enacted literacy tests, poll taxes, elaborate registration systems, and eventually whites-only Democratic Party primaries to exclude black voters.The laws proved very effective. In Mississippi, fewer than 9,000 of the 147,000 voting-age African Americans were registered after 1890. In Louisiana, where more than 130,000 black voters had been registered in 1896, the number had plummeted to 1,342 by 1904.

The Promise of Freedom

By 1900, new laws in the North and the South had created a segregated society.

“ The paramount requisite in the American system of public education is social equality. ”— Judge Paul J. McCormick, Méndez v. Westminster, 1945

Sources:Segregated America - Separate Is Not Equal. (n.d.). Retrieved January 13, 2015, from http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/1-segregated/segregated-america.html


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