The Civil Rights Movement is often depicted as a struggle against racial discrimination that was mainly confined to the South, but civil rights struggle in Northern cities like New York City and Boston’s schools challenge this view. In the North, African Americans faced similar forms of discrimination, such as segregation in schools, housing, and employment, and unequal treatment by law enforcement.
In New York City, for example, the struggle for civil rights was a long and difficult one. African Americans faced discrimination in housing, education, and employment. In 1964, a group of civil rights activists organized a school boycott to protest the segregation of New York City’s public schools. The boycott was successful, and it led to the passage of the New York State Civil Rights Law, which prohibited discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
Similarly, in Boston, civil rights activists fought against the segregation of the city’s public schools. In 1974, a federal court ordered the city to desegregate its schools, but this decision was met with resistance from some white parents who opposed the busing of their children to schools in predominantly black neighborhoods. The resulting protests and violence underscored the depth of racial tensions in the North.
White liberals in the North often used coded language to avoid accusations of racism. For example, they would talk about “urban renewal” rather than gentrification, which often resulted in the displacement of poor and working-class black residents. Similarly, they would talk about “law and order” rather than acknowledging the systemic biases in the criminal justice system that disproportionately affected African Americans.
I think in a way I am both shocked and not by this history. Unfortunately, racism has been around for a very long time, and we have a long road ahead of us until we can see real change. It is disappointing that there are people still fighting for freedoms in a “free” country.
One thought on “Civil Rights Movement”
I really liked your post Lauren, in particular I hadn’t actually considered the use of the coded language of “urban renewal “ or “law and order” in my own discussion and hadn’t noticed these phrases or how they were used to allow for the continued discrimination of African-Americans. Have you considered the idea that these euphemisms can be seen as a tactic designed to give the appearance that the northern cities were strongly supportive of the Civil Rights Movement while at the same time allowing them to keep their schools de facto segregated? Good job on writing a detailed yet concise post!