Civil Rights in 1950

Civil Rights in the USA in 1950

Segregated water coolers

Separate water coolers for different races

Different water coolers for Whites and Coloured

Civil Rights in the 1950’s were for many Americans little different to what they had been before the Second World War. Many people from the African – American community, hispanic community and Native Americans had fought in the war. They had fought for liberty and the freedom of others and upon returning to America there was an expectation from some, that they would soon have these rights for themselves.

No such change was forthcoming though. In the southern states the ‘Jim Crow’ laws were still embedded and segregation was a part and parcel of everyday life for all. There were seperate parks, washrooms, seating areas on buses etc for people of different races. Many shops still operated on a ‘one race’ basis.


Source: Alabama Law

It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment.

Source: Oklahoma Law

The Corporation Commission is hereby vested with power and authority to require telephone companies…to maintain separate booths for white and colored patrons when there is a demand for such separate booths. That the Corporation Commission shall determine the necessity for said separate booths only upon complaint of the people in the town and vicinity to be served after due hearing as now provided by law in other complaints filed with the Corporation Commission.

Source: Richard Wright, Black Boy

“The white South said that it knew “niggers,” and I was what the white South called a “nigger.” Well, the white South had never known me–never known what I thought, what I felt. The white South said that I had a “place” in life. Well, I had never felt my “place”; or, rather, my deepest instincts had always made me reject the “place” to which the white South had assigned me. It had never occurred to me that I was in any way an inferior being. And no word that I had ever heard fall from the lips of southern white men had ever made me really doubt the worth of my own humanity.”

PBS – Jim Crow Laws. An interactive website about the Jim Crow laws and their impact on life in the Southern states of America.

Dayton – a list of examples of how Jim Crow Laws were put into practice.

Wikipedia – timeline of Civil Rights related issue. This can be used to trace the development of the Civil Rights Movement up to and beyond 1950.

Wikipedia – the ‘Background’ section of this entry explains what the situation was like in the US prior to the emergence of the Civil Rights campaigns.

The United States c1945-1971

The Red ScareImpact of the Second World War on Civil RightsCivil Rights in 1950
Brown v Topeka Board of EducationLittle Rock High SchoolRosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Protest
Martin Luther King JnrNation of Islam and Malcolm XThe Black Panthers
Ku Klux Klan in the 1960'sMarch on WashingtonCivil Rights Acts
Immigration Act of 1965Chicano movement and Civil Rights for Hispanic AmericansCollege Sit In's and Student Protests
Women's RightsNative Americans and Civil Rights
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