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I think that there is still a great deal of prejudice in the south today - much more so than in parts of the north, but as the previous respondent noted there is no clear statistical data to assist you in your analysis. What there is, however, is a history of legislation that did not exist then but that does exist today. Legislation, however, does not change human behavior, attitudes, or perceptions. It simply mitigates the degree to which people act on their feelings. It is illegal to discriminate in the United States on the basis of race when it comes to education or employment. However, there are still businesses that do discriminate quietly. There are anti-lynching laws that protect against assault, there are hate crimes laws, too. However, these laws only act as a deterrent or as a means of punishment after the fact. For the victim who has suffered or been murdered, the law is virtually meaningless. Essentially, the primary difference lies in the fact that prejudicially-motivated discrimination is no longer legalized but in many places it is still socially accepted.
The rights of African-Americans are guaranteed throughout the United States today, in contrast to many laws that restricted their rights in the Deep South in the decades following the Civil War. The Jim Crow laws (deliberately devised to restrict African-American social and political equality) are gone. Some examples that used to apply include:
- Negroes were forced to sit (or stand) in the back of public buses.
- Negroes were forced to use separate bathrooms and water fountains.
- Negroes often had to enter public areas by back doors.
- Negroes often had to eat in a separate area of restaurants (if they were allowed to patronize them at all).
- Negroes were denied admittance to many hotels.
- Voting laws meant to restrict the less-educated citizen.
There is no real way to state the difference in prejudice in any objective way. There weren't really opinion polls back in the '30s so we can't say that prejudice has gone up or down by some amount.
As far as human rights go, the American South is, in my mind, not significantly different than any other part of the modern United States. Black people do not really need to have any serious fear of being lynched anymore. This is, to me, the most obvious improvement, along with the general increase in rights that African Americans in that region have gained.
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