Civil Rights Movement/Segregation

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Task
  1. Read text 1 about segregation and write in your notesheet a short definition of "segregation". Give two examples.
  2. Read text 2. Explain what lynching is. Who did it and why? Write the answer down in your own words.
  3. Do the interactive exercises.



Texts

Segregation

Sign for "colored" waiting room at a Greyhound bus terminal in Rome, Georgia, 1943.

The Civil War ended more than 200 years of slavery. But after the war things began to get even worse for blacks. Instead of being free and getting equal rights, they found that the whites didn't want to give them equal rights.

The southern states passed laws known as the black codes, which severely limited the rights of blacks and segregated them from whites.

There were many ways to stop blacks from voting. Some states instated poll taxes, fees that were charged at voting booths and were too expensive for most blacks. Other laws claimed that you could only vote if your grandfather had been allowed to vote. In a literacy test citiziens had to prove that the could read. Since teaching slaves had been illegal, most adult blacks were illiterate. To make this even worse reading tests were a scrawl no one could decipher. Whites, of course, didn't have to do these tests.

Before the abolishment of slavery blacks and whites lived together - however - in differnet social roles. Now laws tried to keep it that way by passing rules that didn't allow blacks to enter "white" schools and public facilities.

Unter the dogma of "separate but equal" black people had to visit their own schools, churches and hospitals. Of course they weren't as well-equipped as their white counterparts. This even went as far as segregated restaurants, bus stations, bathrooms and public parks.

  • 1914: Louisiana required separate entrances for blacks and whites.
  • 1915: Oklahoma segregated telephone booths.
  • 1920: Mississippi made it a crime to advocate or publish “arguments or suggestions in favor of social equalities or of interracial marriages between whites and Negros”.
  • Arkansas had segregation at racetracks.
  • Texas prohibited integrated boxing matches.
  • Kentucky required separate schools, and also that no textbook would be issued to a black would ever be reissued or redistributed.
  • Georgia barred black ministers from performing a marriage between white couples.
  • New Orleans created segregated red light districts for white and blacks prostitutes.[1]



Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan members and a burning cross, Denver, Colorado, 1921.jpg

Segregation was supported by the legal system and police. But beyond the law there was always a threat by terrorist violence. The Ku Klux Klan, founded in 1865, used violence to prevent blacks from voting, holding political office and attending school.

If black people didn't know "their place" men with white hoods rode up in the middle of the night and erected burning crosses in front of houses. In an age of wooden construction everyone understood the danger.

If people didn't understand the warning, they were beaten up, shot or burned alive. One of the main forms of violence was lynching. White mobs who thought the racist laws were to friendly to blacks raided prisons and took the blacks before an all-white jury. The sentence was always death. Vitictims either just disappeared or were hanged in public spaces so that other blacks were able to see what happened to the brethren.



Negro, Black or Colored?

In older texts blacks are called the "N"-word. Today the word negroW-Logo.gif(English) isn't used anymore, because it is thought offensive. Today most people use the term "Afro-American" or African American".

This poem criticizes the terms blacks and colored. Do you agree?


 


When I born, I black.
When I grow up, I black.
When I go in sun, I black.
When I scared, I black.
When I sick, I black.
And when I die, I still black.


 

And you white people.
When you born, you pink.
When you grow up, you white.
When you go in sun, you red.
When you cold, you blue.
When you scared, you yellow.
When you sick, you greengreen
And when you die, you grey

And you calling me colored??



Interactive Exercises

important words

Find the corresponding pairs.

illiterate not able to read
integrated living together
segregated separated from each other
threaten give a warning/
be dangerous
offensive insulting/
causing anger and hatred
colored opposite of white
equal the same
to better to improve
gift present

Comparing now and then

Complete the text with the correct form of the adjectives in brackets.

African Americans had to be careful (careful) when they travelled. It was well (good)-known that policed targeted black drivers.

Being in a place you don't know was more dangerous (dangerous) than at home.

If you didn't know the way you had less(little) possibilities than at home. Sometimes you had to go farther (far) than you wanted because there was no motel for blacks.

When they wanted to stay in a motel they had to look for places which would take them. Sometimes it was more expensive (expensive) than for whites and sometimes they were stopped by the police for driving too fast (fast).

African Americans had to be careful (careful) when they travelled. It was well (good)-known that policed targeted black drivers.

Being in a place you don't know was more dangerous (dangerous) than at home.

If you didn't know the way you had less(little) possibilities than at home. Sometimes you had to go farther (far) than you wanted because there was no motel for blacks.

When they wanted to stay in a motel they had to look for places which would take them. Sometimes it was more expensive (expensive) than for whites and sometimes they were stopped by the police for driving too fast (fast).




References

  1. Segregation( Rossville Jr. High )