Civil Rights in more than just the South

Civil Rights Movement, the continuous fight to abolish discrimination, segregation, and inequality in America’s south. Through both peaceful and violent protests, the south was flooded with sit-ins, boycotts, and marches. In history books, this is how we learned about the Civil Rights Movement throughout the 50s and 60s, but what about the North? Or even the West? Big cities like New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and others all showed major racial problems that the south showed as well, but they never got the publicity that was given to the south. 

The 1954 Supreme Court decision in the Brown vs Board of Education case found that being separate but equal is not constitutional. During this time schools were segregated, but the school boards for the cities said that they still got the same opportunities, which was false. Schools that were meant for black children had fewer resources and did not receive the same amount of funding that white schools had received. The physical buildings were rundown and the teachers were not licensed or qualified teachers, most times they were just substitute teachers. The Black schools did not have the same resources as the White Schools did, like science classes. Black children were being set up for failure with this system, but according to principals this wasn’t because they had an inadequate education, it was because their parents simply did not care. 

When the court case decision came out, the northern states were too prideful and decided that this court decision was only meant for the southern states. Schools in New York, Boston, and Detroit continued to have segregated schools, but to stay away from the accusations of being racist, they used the term “separate schools” yet they were still white schools and black schools. The schools were named neighborhood schools, but they were not decided by location to the school instead the neighborhood schools were decided by the rating of certain neighborhoods. In New York City all neighborhoods were given an A to D rating. Schools were assigned depending on the rating. The neighborhoods that had an abundant about of blacks in the population were given a C or D rating and went to schools together and A and B rating neighborhoods went to school together. This caused separated schools in the North. 

Just like the south, there were demonstrations in the North as well. School Boycotts spread throughout the north. Mothers and fathers pulled their children out of school to demonstrate their frustration with not complying with the Board vs School of Education decision. Mothers taught the children in Freedom Schools, this boycott was more extensive in numbers than the famous March on Washington in the 60s. 

Learning this information both came as a surprise to me and also didn’t surprise me. I too am guilty of limiting the Civil Rights Movement to specifically the south. Although this region is where I limit racial injustice through examples, I knew and assumed that there was also racial injustice throughout the north, but I was also not educated about the fact that there were also prominent boycotts that were bigger in numbers in the North as well. 

One thought on “Civil Rights in more than just the South

  1. I agree and think that we were educated more on the south when talking about civil rights, and honestly, I think that is kind of sad. I also think it is so crazy that they would “rate” the neighborhoods and decide what school should go where based on the ratings, it is just crazy to me what people did back then. I agree that learning all this information surprised me, but it also made me feel guilty for not knowing more about what happened north during the civil rights movement, because it is just as important. Great Post!


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