Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement

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Why were civil rights protesters met with violence if they were, in fact, not breaking any rules?

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The violence of the Civil Rights era was indicative of the rage of Whites when Blacks attempted to exercise the rights guaranteed them under the constitution. The above answer is correct in noting that Civil Rights activists were in fact breaking the law. However the penalty of the law was a fine or imprisonment, not beatings, police dogs and fire hoses, all of which were used by law enforcement against these people. Thus one is still left to wonder why this happened.

Southern Whites, rightfully or wrongly, had lived for many years in a society in which racial separation was sacrosanct. Those who engaged in civil disobedience to unfair Black Codes threatened the very social structure to which so many whites had grown accustomed. Although to the modern eye Black Codes were manifestly unjust, the White People of the South had grown up believing that racial separation was...

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