1920’s Civil Rights – Roaring 1920’s

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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History teaches us that protests, marches, and civil disobedience can be used to fight and overcome oppression. The Civil Rights struggle has been an empowering movement that has helped shape how the U.S. is today. The roaring 20s was a period when African Americans were appreciated for their culture. Minorities were still fighting their battles for equality on the home front during World War II. Finally, during the Civil Rights movement some issues were resolved but other issues remained. Minorities still encountered challenges including literacy tests and poll taxes.

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A literacy test assesses a person’s literacy skills. Literacy tests were tests that were only given to prospective voters, and this was the effect of downgrading African Americans. A poll tax is a tax that is used as prerequisite for voting at the time. Many southern states passed poll taxes in an effort to keep African Americans from voting.

During the Roaring 20s nativism was frequent as many Americans favored those considered native over foreigners. The Roaring 20s also brought other things to the community, like African American culture including literature and visual arts. The Immigration Act of 1924 is what limited the number of immigrants that were allowed for entry into the United States and through the quotas that was put forth by the government at the time. The quotas provided visas to a small percentage of people from each country. The Harlem Renaissance was an explosion that happened in the Roaring 20s where the African American literary and art movement that was originated in Harlem, but drawing from this experience and extending it to African American who very much influenced their communities across the country and I would go as far to say worldwide. As we have learned about so far, it also had no accurate beginning and it didn’t have an accurate ending as well. The ending that we can make of the Harlem Renaissance, from the information gathered is very difficult to define as it was when it started. The musical theater, which had all the popularity of black musical reviews in a little over the roaring 20s time period it died out. Although the efforts here and there were mostly unsuccessful to help make the renaissance come back. Black culture music continued into the World War II era, but the popularity of blues singers who were very well-known years earlier for the works, decreased, and jazz changed while the big band style became even more popular than it was before.

World War II was a destructive and costly global conflict, even for those on the home front. Back home minorities were fighting even harder than before. The struggle included African-American, Mexican Americans, Japanese Americans, and Native Americans. President Franklin Roosevelt signed an order called Executive Order 9066; this initiated a very controversial World War II policy that came with lasting and sever punishment or consequences for Japanese Americans. The document ordered that the Japanese Americans remover their selves of resident. The “enemy aliens” from parts of the Western side of United States that vaguely identified as military areas. This was due to the wartime hysteria that unfairly targeted Japanese-American citizens, that many Americans feared were traitors to the country. An example of resistance to racial oppression was when Japanese man named Fred Korematsu changed the constitutionality of internment camps. Korematsu argued on his behalf saying that the Executive Order 9066 wasn’t constitutional, and it violated his Fifth Amendment (right to vote, declaring the rights of citizens vote won’t be denied or lessened by anyone for anyone) to the U.S. Constitution.

Many minorities didn’t agree with the outcome of the Korematsu v United States court case, because what they did to him wasn’t right and he was a citizen like everyone else. The Korematsu decision was very important when it was ruled that the U.S. government had the right to take or basically remove Japanese American people forcibly from there main areas based on their race. The decision was over six to three which is more than half and so the need to protect the U.S. from espionage and other acts during wartime or maybe wartime laws that could be broken over Korematsu’s rights. There’re also many other cases of minorities that are fighting for their civil rights. There were off-duty service men that were put against Mexican-American civilians that put on the zoot suit. Men put on very baggy trousers with cuffed sleeved jackets with heavy padded shoulders and broad-brimmed sombreros. On May 31, a combination between uniformed service military men and Mexican American youths ended up as a beating of a U.S. sailor, as an act of civil disobedience. Local Newspapers framed racial attacks as both non-violent, but also violating the law, this was in response to an immigrant crime wave, and police generally restricted arrests to the only the Latinos who fought back. Los Angeles in frustration decided to issue a ban on Zoot suiters, but citizens committee looked further into it saying the problem was juvenile delinquency youth. But the people who wore the zoot suits weren’t people of Mexican descent. These incidents were in strong comparison to the Roaring 20s, feeling almost like progress was weakened.

The Civil Rights movement came after WWII. People started fighting for civil rights that they felt they deserved. Plessy v. Ferguson was a Supreme Court case in which the court basically verifies the constitutionality of racial segregation stemming from the doctrine “separate but equal”. This case primarily came from an incident about a African-American man named Homer Plessy refused to sit in a car made only for African Americans. Rejecting his argument that constitutional rights were violated, the Supreme Court ruled a law between whites and African American was constitutional. Brown v. Board of Education did help end segregation unlike Plessy v Ferguson. South African Americans saw promise of equality because of the law that is under the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendment of the Constitution. We had leaders who helped inspire others to help join in the fight as well, one of the most important being Martin Luther King Jr. He was a man who believed strongly that people should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

He led marches against segregation and preached civil disobedience. He organized the march on Washington, where he gave his famous speech “I Have a Dream”. Around 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. This was known as the March on Washington, the events main purpose was to draw attention to the challenges and inequalities that the African Americans had to face a century after there emancipation. Another impactful leader includes Rosa Parks, she was a lady that didn’t want to give up her seat to a white passenger and was warned constantly to sit at the back of the bus or face arrest. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by MLK, was very successful and followed Park’s civil disobedience of trying to desegregate buses. The boycott ending up stretching on for more than a year, and the people in it walked miles to work, school, or just anywhere when no other means were available to them.

November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court reviewed over the Alabama State and Montgomery City bus segregation laws basically saying that they violated the equal protection law in the 14th Amendment. December 20, Martin Luther King said this statement: “The year-old protest against city buses is officially called off, and the Negro citizens of Montgomery are urged to return to the buses tomorrow morning on a non-segregated basis.” After some legal issues, signing, and some documentation, the boycott ended the very next day. Then there was another person who contributed to the struggle of civil rights was the famous baseball player, Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson made history in 40s when he went above and beyond the color barrier in baseball. Robinson won the National League Rookie of the Year award his first season.

Then he helped the Dodgers to go to the National League championship. When manager Branch Rickey offered Robinson a chance to break the organized baseball’s powerful but unspoken color rule, Robinson then accepted and agreed to Rickey’s condition, that he not respond to the abuse he would face. He helped bring an end to segregation for sports teams. Brown v. Board of Education was what finally ended segregation. Brown v. Board of Education was a historical Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled that racial segregation of children in public schools wasn’t constitutional and it was wrong. A Plaintiff named Oliver Brown filed a lawsuit against the Board of Topeka (the education side), around 1951, after his daughter, was denied entrance to Topeka’s elementary schools. Brown claimed that schools for black children weren’t equal to white schools, and that segregation violated “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment. As a result, the Court said plaintiffs were being “deprived of equal protection laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is what was established and is what put forth the effects of the Brown v. Board of Education case, this is what stopped segregation officially.

Now in modern times, people are more accepting of the minorities but often look back on the Civil Rights movement, feeling more can be done. The Defense marriage act is when people were prevented from the same- sex couples from getting married. Women from back then didn’t have much rights, much less a black lady, that’s why Condoleezza Rice was a good example of a black woman who did great things. Rice got a degree in political science from the University of Denver where she studied and graduated at age 16. Years later, she began her career as an assistant professor at Stanford University, she was excellent in everything she did, she was one of the smartest ladies who worked there. Rice was chosen to be the chief of Stanford in 1993, making her the first woman and first African American to do this. Within her walls of expertise and the limits of her power, Rice led the university out of a very big and drastically financial decreasing.

While at Stanford, she co-founded the Center of a New Generation. After all her time teaching Rice decided to persue a better career in politics, and later on she found a job that would suit her. In 1989, she found her job in basically being the second in command for President George H.W. Bush’s administration on Soviet Union affairs. She was later made the National Security Advisor under Bush, becoming the first black woman to do this as well. In 2004, she was appointed to be the Secretary of State of the United States, which was one of her last greatest achievements before she passed away in 2009. She was the first African American woman to hold or do any of what she did, and one of the best role models to look up to. The website and the internet may give racism and discriminate against others but people still keep fighting just like the LGBTQ community and minorities who are just as important as any of Civil Rights that was fought for.

There are alot of instances were teens of color spend about 5 hours per day on average than cacausions do, using alot of forms of media, including mobile devices. Most frequent contexts for things that happen like this are social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and twitter. About 40% of the minority teens said they experienced alot online discrimination, mainly cyberbullying on a social network sites. Half of the teens say differently than what the first said and 50% of teens said that they had experienced online discrimination through text messages, on snapchat and Facebook more than any other app or site the statistics are sometimes changed, or they differentiate depending on the date. Whether we like it or not discrimination will always be a thing not everyone will be ok with how things are.

In conclusion somethings are always worth fighting for, the modern era is something we will have to fight through and deal with today. History teaches us that protests, marches, and any action to help a cause can be used fight with and in some cases win with. Roaring 20s and Civil Rights eras go hand in hand, showing how one era we can all be peaceful and appreciate what they have to offer then it goes to the civil rights, were they have to fight even harder to get more of the appreciation. In conclusion minorities will always be fighting but doesn’t mean they should stop but cause if history says anything they can get stuff done and show that what they say matters, and they can get more freedoms and better opportunities. We continue to protest to see a change in our communities because we do not want anyone to be judged for who they are. I predict that in the future rights will continue to be fought for, and sooner or later they’ll all come to pass, as long as there is someone fighting for what they believe is right then there will be change sooner or later. I believe that in the future we will have a bigger and better peace than we have right now.

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1920's Civil Rights - Roaring 1920's. (2021, Jul 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/1920s-civil-rights-roaring-1920s/