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Did you know that there used to be separate restrooms, neighborhoods, hotels, and restaurants for black people and white people? Even when Blacks and Whites could both use buses and theaters, Blacks were forced to sit in the back. On trains Blacks would have a different car from Whites, except the Whites' car was nicer and cleaner. Blacks were treated unfairly. Whites thought that Blacks were different and should be treated that way. Learn about the brave men and women who fought to end discrimination.
One man named Homer Plessy tried to end segregation on trains. He had gotten on a "white car" when he wasn't supposed to. After going through several courts, his case, Plessy v. Ferguson, finally reached the Supreme Court and he was found guilty of breaking the law. This court decision was very important because it made it legal to separate Blacks and Whites in almost every way possible.
Rosa Parks worked to end segregation on buses. She played a role by refusing to move from her seat when the bus driver asked her to move to the back of the bus. The police were called and she was arrested. This helped start the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped end segregation in the South.
Another person who fought for desegregation was Martin Luther King, Jr. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott that Rosa Parks helped start. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave many speeches and led many marches to help end segregation. He thought you should fight for equal rights peacefully, and gave his life helping people do that.
Jesse Jackson also played a role in the fight against segregation. He became the leader of Operation Breadbasket, a peaceful group that worked for more job opportunities for Blacks. Later he went on to become the most successful black man to run for President of the United States.
Malcolm X is another leader who fought for desegregation. Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X thought you should fight for equal rights "by any means necessary," even with violence.
Marcus Garvey was another person who fought for equal rights. He wanted Blacks to go back to Africa, even if they were born in America. He thought this was the best way for Blacks to keep from being treated badly by white people.
President Kennedy helped fight segregation from the White House. He helped pass laws saying that it was illegal for Blacks to be segregated in theaters, restaurants, restrooms, trains, buses, and schools. He also helped the Little Rock Nine become the first black students in an all-white high school.
At the end of the Civil War, some people believed that Blacks would get the right to vote. The Constitution said they could vote, but racist Southerners kept many Blacks from voting for one hundred years after the Civil War. They put together governments that excluded Blacks. Southern state legislatures made Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws which stopped Blacks from getting almost all of their rights, including the right to vote.
Many people believed that Blacks would be treated equally after the Civil War, but they weren't. One hundred years after the Civil War, Blacks had to sit separately from Whites. On trains and buses, Blacks had to be in separate cars or in the back. Blacks were treated unequally at school, at work, and almost everywhere they tried to go.
Many famous leaders helped fight for equal education for all people. Linda Brown, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Ruby Bridges all helped black students get a good education. The Little Rock Nine was a group of black students who couldn't get into a high school because the Governor of Arkansas wouldn't let them. Although they were attacked for standing up for what they believed in, they fought the governor and won!
The fight for desegregation is very interesting! Click on the pictures above to learn more about segregation and the fight to end it. Then click on the puzzle to test your knowledge with our Desegregation Double Puzzle.
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