How did  An American Dilemma, and McLaurin v. Oklahoma help change civil rights?

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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An American Dilemma was a study published in 1944 by Gunnar Myrdal. The study logs what he viewed as the barriers African Americans faced when attempting to engage in the political, economic, and social aspects of American society. Its purpose was to raise awareness to the plight of the A.A. experience. The Supreme Court case of McLaurin v. Oklahoma 1950 involved the segregated practices of the Oklahoma State University. The Oklahoma statute in question allowed an A.A. to attend the university to pursue a doctorate degree however, segregated him from his fellow students in the cafeteria and library. The decision of the Supreme Court stated that the state statute was in violation of  Equal protection under the law as written in the 14th Amendment and as a result deemed unconstitutional.

One study that began to raise awareness, and one early Supreme Court case set the stage for the apex of the Civil Rights movement that touched the core of the American experience in the 1950's and 1960's.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The book An American Dilemma helped to open the eyes of many people to the kinds of racial problems that existed in the US.  It helped make moderate whites more likely to approve of blacks' attempts to get more rights.

The case of McLaurin v. Oklahoma was one of a series of cases that laid the groundwork for Brown v. Board of Education.  It said that it was unconstitutional to have segregation in graduate schools.  The NAACP used a strategy of starting with the segregation of older students and working back to younger ones.  This case was part of that process.