How did African American communities challenge legal segregation in the South?

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martinjmurphy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The African American community battled legal segregation in several different ways.  First, leaders of the Civil Rights Movement such as Martin Luther King, Jr. used non violent civil disobedience to end racial segregation.   The Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and 1956, and the Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit-In of 1960 in Greensboro, N.C. are good examples of this type of protest.

Another strategy used by the African American community was the use of well publicized peaceful marches.  The most famous of these was the March on Washington in 1963 where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.   The Selma to Montgomery March of 1965 in Alabama, where African American protesters were brutally attacked by police forces, led to more widespread support of the Civil Rights Movement.

Finally, the African American community fought legal segregation in the courts.  The landmark decision in the case of  Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka of 1954 gave the African American community one of its greatest court victories. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, making racially segregated schools unconstitutional and illegal.