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Black and white liberal reformers struggled to ameliorate these oppressive practices, forming groups like the NAACP in 1909 and the National Urban League in 1911.South Carolina’s Septima Clark established Citizenship Schools for civil rights across the South, and North Carolina’s Ella Baker worked to improve conditions in the South. Philip Randolph threatened to stage an all-black March on Washington unless President Franklin D.Many black people, especially young people, became impatient with the slow process of legal cases.
Local people, they decided, must take direct action to change racial patterns in their communities.
Beginning in February 1960, with the Greensboro, North Carolina, sit-ins at the Woolworth lunch counter, the sit-in tactics spread like wildfire throughout the South.
Black soldiers, serving abroad in World War II, witnessed a less oppressive world of race relations than they had known in the South. After the war, civil rights advocates welcomed further signs of liberal change. Truman, waging a Cold War against Communism, recognized that racism at home contradicted American claims to lead the "free world" against oppression.
Hoping to woo black votes in the 1948 election, Truman ordered the desegregation of the armed forces and called for federal laws to advance civil rights.
In the early twentieth century, African Americans in the South and in many parts of nearby border states were banned from associating with whites in a host of institutions and public accommodations—schools, hospitals, old folks’ homes, rest rooms, waiting rooms, railroad cars, hotels, restaurants, lunch counters, parks and beaches, swimming pools, libraries, concert halls, and movie theaters.
Some recreational areas posted signs, "Negroes and Dogs Not Allowed." Racial discrimination deprived Southern blacks of decent jobs and schools and of elementary rights of citizenship, including voting.Two visible developments in 1957 also encouraged advocates of civil rights.One was passage of a Civil Rights Act, the first to be approved by Congress since Reconstruction.Congress rejected his appeals for legislation, but Truman’s moves were noteworthy: No American president since Reconstruction had made such an effort.Activists operated on the local, grassroots level as well, pressing for an end to school segregation.It created a Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice as well as a federal Civil Rights Commission that was authorized to investigate racial problems and recommend solutions. Eisenhower’s decision, arrived at reluctantly, to send federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, in order to establish order and enforce a token desegregation plan admitting nine black students to the city’s all-white Central High School. The Court’s ruling that "all deliberate speed" should be used to enforce the , only one percent of southern black children attended public schools with whites.Escalating white violence in the South disheartened proponents of racial justice during the 1950s.These tactics initiated the most powerful phase of America’s Civil Rights Movement, which peaked over the next five tumultuous years.The restless young people had been essentially correct: Direct-action protest, especially if it provoked violence by white extremists, was the most productive means of civil rights activity.The Fund’s efforts led to the landmark 1954 ruling in case as the pivotal moment in the history of American race relations and the beginning of a broad civil rights movement that escalated in the 1960s.In December 1955, grassroots activists in Montgomery, Alabama—NAACP members E. Nixon and Rosa Parks chief among them—sparked what soon became a large-scale boycott of buses and of white-owned businesses in Montgomery.