Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement

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What circumstances in the South led to the struggle of African Americans for equal rights?

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The road to the 1950s and 60s civil rights struggle was a long one. After African Americans began to lose rights in the latter nineteenth century, they turned to accommodation, a policy particularly associated with black leader Booker T. Washington. He advocated for African American to accept second-class political status in return for (limited) economic opportunities, on the assumption that once they had an economic base, they would earn political power. This did not work, and Supreme Court decisions (most notoriously Plessy v. Ferguson) legalized segregation. After World War II, black activists like Rosa Parks began to train at places like the Highlander School in Tennessee, and by the 1950s, black leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr, were rising up to protest the injustices against Southern African Americans that never seemed to change.

King and other leaders realized that asking for change or going along with white people in the hope they might be "nice" was a failed strategy....

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