In the South, only 15% of southern blacks were allowed to vote and this marked as a contrast to their black’s political situation. Secondly, there were economic differences. Black people in the south worked in the agricultural sector as well as in domestic service jobs which were very poorly paid. Blacks earned less than the whites; 53% of whites’ wages. It was rare for African Americans to be promoted, as the white workers would walk out or even cause a riot.
How far do you agree with the statement that the position of black Americans changes little during the period 1945-1955? It may be argued that during the period 1945-55 the position of the black Americans changed unnoticeable, yet there had been certain factors that in longer term resulted in improving the position of white Americans in a big scale. The improvements consisted of army. Truman desegregated the armed forces in 1948 and appointed the first black federal judge. This meant that the American workers left their jobs to join the army, which created many job opportunities for black Americans, which were needed especially in the defence industries, which now grew in importance as they had to make supplies for the Army such as guns and tanks.
WW1 was a turning point in increasing racial equality between black and white Americans to a lesser extent. During WW1 black people made contributions to the war effort by moving north to work in factories making war goods. However violence occurred where they moved as competition with the whites for jobs was rife. In the short term with competition and violence intensifying, the Ku Klux Klan restarted in the south and lynchings became common. It would seem that racial equality had not improved, but worsened.
Also, the vast majority of black Americans were disenfranchised by grandfather clauses and literacy tests which made it very hard for black Americans to vote. Finally the Ku Klux Klan terrorised black Americans using techniques such as lynching. By contrast in the Northern States, segregation was rare. What is more, Black Americans has greater access to higher-paid industrial jobs and many were organised in unions. However, on average black workers earned 50% less than their white counterparts.
This allowed many Black Americans to get jobs and played a major role in the country’s war effort. As a result of the boom, the number of unemployed black Americans fell from 937,000 to 152,000. 48% of the black population was urban at the end of the war and jobs in the cities paid more than those in the country allowing Black Americans to be paid more than ever before. This shows an improvement of the position of Black Americans in society. Voting rights were also improved during this time period.
How far do you agree that the years 1945-55 saw only limited progress in improving the status of African Americans? The years 1945-55 can be described as ‘seeds of change’ in improving the African American people’s position in society as their lives saw slight improvements however nothing drastic happened that changed their economic, political and social status immediately in America. Before 1945, during the second world war, conditions of life for black American’s was slightly improving in the northern states with there being less institutional racism and more equal job opportunities with acceptable pay for everyone. However in the south, conditions were very different; Jim Crow Laws meant that deep racial divides were being enforced throughout most states. Segregation was seen as lawful due to the Plessy vs. Ferguson case saying that ‘separate but equal’ was how they should live their lives.
They had jobs such as railroad track layers, brick layers, grave diggers; fruit, vegetable and cotton pickers, doormen, elevator operators.Almost 1 million black farm workers lost their jobs, many moved to the cities where they shared similar experiences with the immigrants; low paid jobs and poor housing conditions.In the northern states, decent jobs went to the white population and discrimination was just as common in the north as it was in the South and many black families lived in ghettoes in the cities in very poor conditions. On the other hand one reason that black Americans did benefit as before the war less than 2% of the population in the southern states could vote but by 1945 around 15% of black Americans in the southern states had been registered to vote. Another reason that the black Americans did not share in the economic boom was that the living situations for them was appalling. 40% of housing available to black Americans in Washington DC was found to be sub standard where as only 12% of white housing fell into this category however as a result of boom the amount of unemployed black Americans fell. It fell from 937,000 to 151,000.
In the early 20th Century even though black people were no longer slaves they still remained second-class citizens. There were many factors that contributed to black people remaining second-class citizens under the white supremacy. For example the Jim Crow Laws. Between 1890 and 1910, southern states introduced legal segregation. This was achieved by passing local laws, which denied black Americans access to facilities used by white Americans.
They would co-operate with any willing whites, migrate to the North or West, protest politically and would follow accommodationism. Even today, the African American population within Caucasian neighborhoods had still only risen by about 5%. The Latinos now have a higher social rank than the African Americans. Slavery The 13th amendment on January 1st, 1865 abolished slavery within the USA, this was supposed to help equalise the two races. But after they were “released” they had nothing to do, they had grown up having structure, being told what to do; now they are lost.
Though the fifteenth amendment gave black males the right to vote a poll tax was introduced to eliminate the black vote. It was effective because the large majority of blacks were poor and needed the money for priorities other than voting. Policies like these drove blacks deeper into poverty and only made the color line more definite. Racism also played a large role in immigration. Immigrants from all over the world were flooding the shores of the U.S. looking for the promise of the American Dream.