The civil war had various causes including; Jim Crow laws, civil rights act of 1875, Rosa Sparks, African-Americans not being allowed to vote, segregation between communities, fight for equality in education and the denial to visit public places and enjoy public transportation.
Jim Crow laws
In the year 1868, the 14th amendment to the constitution granted African-Americans equal protection under the law, also in 1870, the 15th amendment gave the African Americans voting rights. This made many whites especially those in the south very unhappy, and as a result, Jim Crow laws were formulated in the late 19th century, to marginalize the blacks and discriminate against them. (Tischauser, 2012) This law stated that, they couldn’t live in the same towns as the whites; blacks couldn’t share the same public facilities as the whites or attend to the same schools. The law made interracial marriages illegal, and most African-American couldn’t vote because of their inability to pass the complicated voter literacy tests.
Civil rights act of 1875
The civil rights act of 1875was a federal law in the United States enacted during the reconstruction era to respond to civil rights violations of the blacks ( Gerber & Friedlander, 2008). It stated ‘’to protect all citizens in their civil and legal rights’’, hence granting them equal treatment in public transportation and accommodation, and to forbid their discrimination from the jury service. Unfortunately, this law was abolished in 1883 by the United States Supreme Court, stating that the law was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruling paved way for the future segregation and discrimination of the African Americans. This made it very difficult for the blacks to live equally with their white counterparts. Many southern states made it hard for blacks to vote since they were required to take a voter literacy test that were misleading, confusing and impossible to pass.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Sparks a 42-year old woman from Alabama boarded a bus and found a seat designated for the black. Segregation laws by that time stated that the African-Americans were to sit in assigned seats at the back of the bus. A white man got into the van and he did not find a seat in the whites section, the bus driver ordered Rosa and three other black people to give up their seats, however, Sparks declined the order and this resulted into her arrest. News of sparks arrest caused outrage and support, black community leaders established led by the Montgomery Association [MIA] Martin Luther King Jr. The courage that Sparks displayed incited the [MIA] to stage a boycott of the Montgomery bus system which lasted for 381 days till the segregation of seats was declared unconstitutional by the supreme court of the United States.
The civil rights movements brought many changes in the United States. Between 1964 and 1968, at least four major civil rights acts were passed: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the 1968 Housing Act. Each piece of legislation sought to address racial problems during the time. Taken together, these acts advanced the significant goals of civil rights leaders of the time: improvement of black economic opportunity, voting rights for African Americans, and desegregation.
The plight of African Americans in the middle of the 20th century was one of poverty and desperation. African Americans severely lacked employment and when they were employed, they obtained unfair wages that resulted in poor income and high rates of poverty. Civil rights leaders argued for wide-ranging reforms as necessary to improve African American economic conditions. This led into; a fair process that helped the African Americans obtain jobs ,rise out of poverty, earn equal wages to their white counterparts , and produce a steady household income that would provide support for African American families.
The right to vote was the most critical and vital goal of the civil rights movement. African Americans in the South faced many obstacles, both legal and extra-legal, to exercising their constitutional right to vote. The civil rights movement was crucial in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act(Gold, 2011). These acts drastically changed African Americans ability to vote by giving them rights to vote unfettered by legal obstacles; such as the literacy tests that they had to pass to vote and societal discrimination and intimidation. These changes gave the African Americans ability to productively create change by electing leaders who supported their cause.
Throughout the Deep South, under Jim Crow Laws, African Americans and whites were completely separated. When it came to bathrooms, schools, restaurants, and more, African Americans and whites were to use different facilities, with the facilities of the blacks being lesser in quality. Segregation in schools was overruled by Brown V. Board of Education 1954, though even afterwards segregation was still paramount( Dudley, 1994). Eventually with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, that provided government enforcement of desegregation and a halt of funds to segregated schools, school segregation began to subside. This resulted to the whites and blacks attending the same schools and having the same education. This gave the African Americans the chance to have college education without legal obstacles and accomplish their educational goals.With time the segregation between the whites and the black was eliminated, enabling the African Americans to enjoy the same public facilities and public amenities with their white counterparts.