Racial equality

Last updated

Racial equality occurs when institutions give equal opportunity to people of all races. In other words, institutions ignore persons' racial physical traits or skin color, and give everyone legally, morally, and politically equal opportunity. [1] In Western society today, there is more diversity and more integration among races. Initially, attaining equality has been difficult for African, Asian, and Latino people, especially in schools. [2] However, in the United States, racial equality, has become a law that regardless of what race an individual is, they will receive equal treatment, opportunity, education, employment, and politics. [1]

Institution structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behaviour of a set of individuals within a given community

Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Further, institutions can refer to mechanisms of social order, which govern the behaviour of a set of individuals within a given community. Moreover, institutions are identified with a social purpose, transcending individuals and intentions by mediating the rules that govern living behavior.. According to Geoffery M. Hodgson, it is misleading to say that an institution is a form of behavior. Instead, Hodgson states that institution are “integrated systems of rules that structure social interactions”.

Equal opportunity similar treatment of all people

Equal opportunity is a state of fairness in which job applicants are treated similarly, unhampered by artificial barriers or prejudices or preferences, except when particular distinctions can be explicitly justified. According to this often complex and contested concept, the intent is that the important jobs in an organization should go to the people who are most qualified – persons most likely to perform ably in a given task – and not go to persons for reasons deemed arbitrary or irrelevant, such as circumstances of birth, upbringing, having well-connected relatives or friends, religion, sex, ethnicity, race, caste, or involuntary personal attributes such as disability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. First used to refer to speakers of a common language and then to denote national affiliations, by the 17th century the term race began to refer to physical (phenotypical) traits. Modern scholarship regards race as a social construct, an identity which is assigned based on rules made by society. While partially based on physical similarities within groups, race is not an inherent physical or biological quality.



Civil War

Slavery was the key to the start of the bloodiest and most traumatic war in American history. The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. By 1860 one in three persons in the Southern States belonged to another. In a population of twelve million, four million were slaves. In September 1862 Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, which avowed the aim of freeing the slaves in the Confederacy, and made abolition one of the North's central war aims. [3] The North took the victory. Did the end of the war represent a gain or a loss for the country? The war represents a defeat for freedom simply to be let alone, for the beneficiaries of inherited wealth or those who prefer to live on the margins of society, but a victory for those, like the immigrants from Europe and the newly emancipated blacks, who needed government to provide the necessary conditions for the pursuit of happiness. [3]

Struggle of African American society

Post War equality

Four million slaves were freed as a result of the American Civil War. A few years later the South's white elite was in control again. Economic power was the main reason. Deprived of control over the means of earning a living, the blacks were forced into dependence on white landowners. [3] The blacks worked as farm laborers, or as tenants under the sharecropping system. The biggest problem was the blacks were at the mercy of their white bosses, who would tell them how to vote. Segregation of schools, healthcare and housing became entrenched in the South and the black was relegated to the status of second-class citizen. [3]


The health of many residents differed depending on where they lived. The poor inner-city areas lacked or under-supplied the necessary health care that was available in other areas. Location was a primary cause of this problem. Inner cities' isolation from other parts of society was a large contributor to the poor health of the residents. Also, the overcrowded living conditions added to the poor health of the residents by the spread of infectious diseases.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is known as a civil rights leader in the United States concerning racial equality. Martin Luther King Jr. became one of the greatest leaders due to his stance concerning various mistreated African-American men and women in the South. [4] Moreover, he played many roles in society and won an award for the movement he conducted. Martin Luther King Jr. not only took part in the Montgomery bus boycott, became a key speaker at the March on Washington, and was one of the youngest individuals to win the Nobel Peace Prize, but he also handled his opinion in a peaceful manner. [4] King kept his anger toward the idea of segregation of race to himself; however, he did show his passion of equality in his speeches and peaceful protest.

Martin Luther King Jr. U.S. civil rights movement leader

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Born in Atlanta, King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, tactics his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi helped inspire.

Montgomery bus boycott Protest campaign against racial segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama

The Montgomery bus boycott was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. It was a seminal event in the civil rights movement. The campaign lasted from December 5, 1955 — the Monday after Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person — to December 20, 1956, when the federal ruling Browder v. Gayle took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws that segregated buses were unconstitutional. Many important figures in the civil rights movement took part in the boycott, including Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy.

Nobel Peace Prize One of five Nobel Prizes established by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

King displayed his very first civil rights movement by voluntarily taking a stance in the Montgomery bus boycott. The bus boycott had started by Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat for a white male after a long and tiring day at work. Thus, after Park's arrest, King gathered the black community. [4] in hopes for boycotting against the bus, by cutting the use of transportation. This boycott continued on for 382 days. Although, King had to overcome many attacks towards him such as arrest, and violent harassment, the result was their (African-Americans) first victory: black men and women were allowed to ride the buses in Montgomery equally as the whites. [4]

Civil rights movement Social movement in the United States during the 20th century

The civil rights movement in the United States was a decades-long struggle with the goal of enforcing constitutional and legal rights for African Americans that other Americans already enjoyed. With roots that dated back to the Reconstruction era during the late 19th century, the movement achieved its largest legislative gains in the mid-1960s, after years of direct actions and grassroots protests that were organized from the mid-1950s until 1968. Encompassing strategies, various groups, and organized social movements to accomplish the goals of ending legalized racial segregation, disenfranchisement, and discrimination in the United States, the movement, using major nonviolent campaigns, eventually secured new recognition in federal law and federal protection for all Americans.

Rosa Parks African-American civil rights activist

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Montgomery, Alabama. She attended the all-black Alabama State College, and soon worked at National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a secretary. [4] Rosa Parks had become an activists by an event that triggered other events to occur. On December 1, 1955 [4] Parks had taken the bus home from work, when all of a sudden she was being forced to give up her seat for a white male. Rosa Parks had been frustrated of the way black individuals were treated; thus, she refused and was arrested and fined $14. [4]

Parks' refusal and arrest had caused a dilemma for white individuals, especially for the ones that owned the bus business. The Montgomery bus boycott had started to desegregate public transportation. [4] Moreover, Martin Luther King Jr. had gotten involved to not only motivate the mistreated African-American population, but to share his passion of equality. This boycott lasted 382 days and ended on December 21, 1956. [4] At the end of the bus boycott, both Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. had become national heroes. [4] Furthermore, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to segregate on Montgomery buses.

Groups and organizations

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Martin Luther King Jr. was the founder of SCLC, by having summoned various numbers of black leaders in 1957. [4] He became the President of this activist group and decided to improve communities by managing peaceful protests and boycotts regarding the social ethics of discrimination and segregation between races. [4]

National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

First created on February 12, 1909 in Springfield, Illinois. [5] This group was against violence that was directed towards African Americans. Their objective was to eliminate racial inequality, and guarantee the political, educational, social and economic equality for citizens. Their office was located in New York. [5] Moorfield Storey was named president, while, Du Bois, was the only African American Director of Publications. [5]

Congress of Racial Equality

There was a civil rights group called Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) that came together to fight corruption and segregation in a nonviolent manner. CORE grew profoundly after the 1950s, beginning with James Farmer who later became the leader of the group and a civil rights activist in 1941. He went back to his "Native South" and visited to a local movie theater, where he came upon the "crow's nest", an area that was reserved for blacks. He opposed the Jim Crow laws. He realized that his friends and himself supported those laws by what they did in their daily actions. He soon wrote a memo and summoned for the formation of a group of individuals that were powerful from mind and body to be able to take personal nonviolent actions to end discrimination. [6]

CORE was established in 1942 in Chicago. It was a branch of a "Peace-Lover" organization, which was called the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). CORE used nonviolent actions procedures that involved sit-ins, which were done in lunch counters in Chicago. By 1947, CORE contributed with an interracial bus ride across the upper part of the South. They were testing state buses that the U.S Supreme Court ordered to be desegregated, which was the Morgan v. Virginia decision in 1946. This led to some success for the facilities that were testing out the orders they were given, but it didn't grab much attention especially in the national level, which was their main goal. By 1960, there was a new wave of nonviolent direct action protests that initiated through the student sit-in movement. CORE's national director James Farmer repeated the Journey of Reconciliation. Another Supreme Court ruling, Boynton v. Virginia (1960), ordered a stop to segregation in the interstate bus terminals. That came to be the Freedom Rides. The Freedom Riders traveled deep into the south and were attacked by segregationists along Alabama. [7]

CORE began in the North and was mainly concentrated in public areas. About two decades ago, the North had segregated spots where blacks were not allowed. Those places, for example, were restaurants, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and barber shops. More successful efforts were the work settings where there were some experiments with interracial workers and in housing co-operatives. CORE's main focus was to increase public recognition in the north. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, CORE moved to the border states of Missouri, Maryland, and Oklahoma. [8]

Accomplishments of CORE and NAACP

In the first few weeks of April the two groups CORE and NAACP combined forces to make a change in racial equality. Both the groups protesters constructed a plan to shut down construction of the city's Municipal Services Building, by marching in front of Mayor James Tate's North Philadelphia row house. [9] Furthermore, many protesters had engaged in various fights involving police and white unionists. [9] Moreover, the two groups had caused many debates to open up regarding racial politics, discrimination, and employment. [9]


CORE's technique was always nonviolence as the method of fighting racial injustice. CORE was the first organization to use nonviolent actions in order to stop many issues that affected the black community. The student sit-ins started in February 1960. Within the year, 130 eating locations opened up in the southern communities. They were interested in how CORE approached the issue of segregation. [10]


CORE grew in the early 1940s, but continued to be composed of small groups. They persisted in being small because of the students who were part of the organization. The students would graduate and move away. Also, others were fighting for a specific cause and once the issue has been dealt with, they disappeared. CORE was only a voluntary organization; there was no paid staff. [8]

Main goals

In the South:

In the North:

Many outsiders started to notice the efforts of the group. They supported them and started the Freedom Rides. CORE was more involved in the Black Power movement around the mid-1960s. Then things shifted to integration and nonviolent actions toward the organization of communities, the separation of the people, and Black Power. Also, as whites and blacks started to work together to fight over the dilemmas of segregation, white liberals weren't fond of the idea that they were working together. CORE's issues changed over time, so they worked on different actions that would come up.



Sit-ins, the oldest technique, have been used by CORE the most. CORE divided people into three different groups: one with all black individuals, one with all whites, and one that was interracial. These three different groups would go to a segregated eating area before the busiest hour and wait to be attended quietly. This was used to open up restaurants, and was later used for other locations. [10]

Standing in line

This was used at cafeterias, ticket booths, and other places where one stands in a line in order to be served. If someone is refused, the CORE members who might be in line before him/her will also refuse to step out of line and interrupt service. CORE did this at movie theaters in Kentucky, and at a swimming pool at Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey. This technique was also important for stopping segregation. [10]

In the twenty-first century


Since 1942, two particular issues have evolved in racial equality. One is the handling of blacks to ensure equality, which was favored by the white community, and the other is the differences between southerners and non-southerners. These two issues were observed by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). They made questions that plotted five main topics that targeted blacks at the time. The five points that affected racial equality and tracked during the years 1965–1980 were year, region, cohort, and education. [11] Many educational systems in the south and non-southern areas were in favor of segregated educational institutions among blacks. They also didn't want blacks near their neighborhood or interracial marriages to happen. [11]


Thirteenth Amendment

The abolishment of slavery in all states. [12]

Fourteenth Amendment

Allowed citizenship to individuals that were born in the United States such as Native Americans and African Americans. It also stops any other state to pass their own law which will violate this amendment. [12] It prohibits states from opposing any person's "life, liberty or property, without law coming forward on the individual" or to "deny to any person within its authority the equal protection of the laws." [12]

Fifteenth Amendment

Allowed African Americans to vote. [12]

Civil Rights Act 1866

Granted citizenship to individuals without discriminating or viewing race, color, or the previous act of being a slave. [12]

Jim Crow laws

In Southern States, a law that enforced a separation of blacks and whites from public facilities such as employment, housing, education, politics, military service, sports, and business. [13] In other words, a separate but equal rank was given to the African Americans, yet there were almost no provisions made that allowed for the oversight of the "equality" of the facilities; also, the legislation did not come into conflict with any other laws concerning citizenship or equality under the law. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

Claudette Colvin African-American civil rights movement leader

Claudette Colvin is an American nurse and was a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. On March 2, 1955, she was arrested at the age of 15 in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a crowded, segregated bus. Colvin acted a few months before the more widely known incident in which Rosa Parks, secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP, played the lead role, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott that began that year.

Congress of Racial Equality United States civil rights organization

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States that played a pivotal role for African Americans in the Civil Rights Movement. Founded in 1942, its stated mission is "to bring about equality for all people regardless of race, creed, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or ethnic background."

James Leonard Farmer Jr. was an American civil rights activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement "who pushed for nonviolent protest to dismantle segregation, and served alongside Martin Luther King Jr." He was the initiator and organizer of the first Freedom Ride in 1961, which eventually led to the desegregation of interstate transportation in the United States.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference African-American civil rights organization

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC, which is closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King Jr., had a large role in the American civil rights movement.

Irene Morgan American activist

Irene Amos Morgan, later known as Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, was an African-American woman from Baltimore, Maryland, who was arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1944 under a state law imposing racial segregation in public facilities and transportation. She was traveling on an interstate bus that operated under federal law and regulations. She refused to give up her seat in what the driver said was the "white section". At the time she worked for a defense contractor on the production line for B-26 Marauders.

E. D. Nixon NAACP, Sleeping Car Porters Union, and Bus Boycott leader in AL

Edgar Daniel Nixon, known as E. D. Nixon, was an African-American civil rights leader and union organizer in Alabama who played a crucial role in organizing the landmark Montgomery Bus Boycott there in 1955. The boycott highlighted the issues of segregation in the South, was upheld for more than a year by black residents, and nearly brought the city-owned bus system to bankruptcy. It ended in December 1956, after the United States Supreme Court ruled in the related case, Browder v. Gayle (1956), that the local and state laws were unconstitutional, and ordered the state to end bus segregation.

The Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was formed on December 5, 1955 by black ministers and community leaders in Montgomery, Alabama. Under the leadership of Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Edgar Nixon, the MIA was instrumental in guiding the Montgomery bus boycott, a successful campaign that focused national attention on racial segregation in the South and catapulted King into the national spotlight.

<i>The Rosa Parks Story</i> 2002 television film directed by Julie Dash

The Rosa Parks Story is a 2002 American television movie written by Paris Qualles and directed by Julie Dash. Angela Bassett portrays Rosa Parks, and Cicely Tyson a supporting role as her mother. It was broadcast by CBS on February 24, 2002. It received awards from the NAACP and the Black Reel Awards.

Fred Gray (attorney) civil rights attorney and activist who practices law in Alabama

Fred David Gray is a civil rights attorney, preacher and activist who practices law in Alabama. He litigated several major civil rights cases in Alabama, including some that reached the United States Supreme Court for rulings. He served as the President of the National Bar Association in 1985 and in 2001 was elected as the first African-American President of the Alabama State Bar.

The Women's Political Council, founded in Montgomery, Alabama, was an organization that was part of the Civil Rights Movement that was formed to address the racial issues in the city. Members included Mary Fair Burks, Jo Ann Robinson, Irene West, Thelma Glass, and Uretta Adair. The WPC was the first group to officially call for a boycott of the bus system during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, beginning in December 1955. The group led efforts in the early 1950s to secure better treatment for Black bus passengers, and in December 1955 it initiated the thirteen month bus boycott. They helped organize communications to get it started, as well as to support it, including giving people rides who were boycotting the buses. The African Americans of Montgomery upheld the boycott for more than a year.

Glenn Smiley was a white civil rights consultant and leader. He closely studied the doctrine of Mahatma Gandhi and became convinced that racism and segregation were most likely to be overcome without the use of violence, and began studying and teaching peaceful tactics. As an employee of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), he visited Martin Luther King, Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama in 1956 during the Montgomery bus boycott where Smiley advised King and his associates on nonviolent tactics, and was able to convince King that nonviolence was a feasible solution to racial tension. Smiley, together with Bayard Rustin and others, helped convince King and his associates that complete nonviolence and nonviolent direct action were the most effective methods and tools to use during protest. After the Civil Rights Movement, Smiley continued to employ nonviolence and worked for several organizations promoting peace in South American countries. Just three years before his 1993 death, Smiley opened the King Center in Los Angeles.

Rosa Parks Day

Rosa Parks Day is an American holiday in honor of the civil rights leader Rosa Parks. In the U.S. states of California and Missouri it is celebrated on her birthday, February 4. In Ohio and Oregon it is celebrated on the day she was arrested, December 1.

The 1954 to 1968 civil rights movement contributed strong cultural threads to American and international theater, song, film, television, and folk art. These depictions in the arts keep alive the ideals and deeds of the people who organized, supported, and participated in this nonviolent movement.

This is a timeline of the American civil rights movement, a nonviolent freedom movement to gain legal equality and the enforcement of constitutional rights for African Americans. The goals of the movement included securing equal protection under the law, ending legally established racial discrimination, and gaining equal access to public facilities, education reform, fair housing, and the ability to vote.

Oretha Castle Haley was an American civil rights activist in New Orleans. She came from a working-class background, yet was able to enroll in the Southern University of New Orleans, SUNO, then a center of student activism. She joined the protest marches and went on to become a prominent activist in the Civil Rights Movement and other causes.

The Tallahassee bus boycott was a citywide boycott in Tallahassee, Florida that sought to end racial segregation in the employment and seating arrangements of city buses. On May 26, 1956, Wilhemina Jakes and Carrie Patterson, two Florida A&M University students, were arrested by the Tallahassee Police Department for "placing themselves in a position to incite a riot". Robert Saunders, representing the NAACP, and Rev. C. K. Steele began talks with city authorities while the local African-American community started boycotting the city's buses. The Inter-Civic Council ended the boycott on December 22, 1956. On January 7, 1957, the City Commission repealed the bus-franchise segregation clause because of the United State Supreme Court ruling Browder v. Gayle (1956).

Theodora Lacey

Theodora Smiley Lacey is an American civil rights activist and educator. She helped organize the Montgomery bus boycott, fought for voting rights and fair housing, and helped lead the effort to integrate schools in New Jersey.

Black Southerners are African-Americans living in the Southern United States, the region with the largest population of African-Americans in the United States.


  1. 1 2 "Racial Equality - Dictionary definition of Racial Equality". Encyclopedia.com . Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  2. Landauro, Victor (26 April 2004). "Racial Equality". Junior Scholastic. ProQuest. p. 10-1.Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. 1 2 3 4 Davies, Phil (2001). American Civil War. Pocket Essentials.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Carney, Jessie (2011). African American Almanac : 400 Years of Triumph, Courage and Excellence. Visible Ink Press. pp. 45–50. ISBN   9781578593231.
  5. 1 2 3 "NAACP | Oldest and Boldest". NAACP. Archived from the original on 2016-11-28. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  6. "The Congress of Racial Equality and Its Strategy on JSTOR". JSTOR   1035898.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  7. KIRK, JOHN A. "Please Help Us": The Fort Smith Congress Of Racial Equality Chapter, 1962-1965." Arkansas Historical Quarterly 73.3 (2014): 293-317. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.
  8. 1 2 Rich, Marvin. "The Congress of Racial Equality and Its Strategy". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 357 (1965): 113–118. Web.
  9. 1 2 3 Sugrue, Thomas (2004). "Affirmative Action from Below: Civil Rights, the Building Trades, and the Politics of Racial Equality in the Urban North, 1945-1969". The Journal of American History: 145–173 via ProQuest Central.[ permanent dead link ]
  10. 1 2 3 "This is CORE. | ucf.digital.flvc.org". ucf.digital.flvc.org. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
  11. 1 2 Case, Charles E., and Andrew M. Greeley. "Attitudes Toward Racial Equality." Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 16.1 (1990): 67-94. ProQuest. Web. 1 Mar. 2016.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 White, Edward (2014). "THE ORIGINS OF CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA". Case Western Reserve Law Review. 64: 755–816 via EBSCO host.[ dead link ]
  13. 1 2 Higginbotham, Michael (2014). "SAVING THE DREAM FOR ALL" . Retrieved 9 December 2016 via ProQuest Central.[ permanent dead link ]