Civil Rights Essay On African American Rights A Level Essay

827 words - 4 pages

The Supreme Court had more influence on the African American struggle for civil rights than any other branch of government. To what extent do you agree with this view of the period from 1865-1992?
Over the course of the years 1865-1992 the Supreme Court can be considered to have been both restrictive and progressive when it came to passing legislation based on civil rights concerning African-Americans. At first during the 1800’s there was heavy opposition and resistance to any civil rights movement from the Supreme Court, which actively withdrew and undid progress made by Congress and introduced segregation, ensuring when it came to African-Americans civil rights progress was actually reverted. The Jim Crow laws concerning the segregation of railway transport came into effect in Louisiana 1890, and formed the basis of the Supreme Court case ‘Plessy v Ferguson’, where the African-American Plessy had sat on a white only carriage. Although the case was taken to the Supreme Court the outcome ruled in favour of Ferguson and considered Louisiana’s decision to segregate the railways as not going against the constitution, and this case was particularly important in setting the benchmark for future segregation laws to come into effect. The Supreme Court case of 1883 titled the United States v Harris also provides evidence to how significant the Supreme Court’s influence truly was, ruling the Civil Rights Act of 1875 as unconstitutional and upheld that private discrimination did not fall under federal jurisdiction. Later on, down the years however the Supreme Court started to become more accepting and positive thinking towards civil rights, for example by ruling against attempts to segregate residential areas. The Supreme Court undid it’s ruling on the NAACP sponsored case of Brown v Board of Education which stated facilities were illegal as they were not equal to whites. States heavily resisted this, and the Supreme Court had to rely on Eisenhower to enforce the decision at Little Rock and Nixon to support their ruling on Bussing in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.
The presidents in power after President Hayes were hostile towards civil rights movements and at most times civil rights weren’t their biggest concern or priority. Both President Woodrow Wilson and Andrew Johnson were supportive and appreciative of the KKK, often giving them his personal backing and praising their actions, showing his opposition towards civil rights during the period of reconstruction and allowing the south to pass highly discriminating laws and put them into practice, with Wilson also segregating the White House, ...


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