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Shvoong Home>Law & Politics>Civil Rights Summary

Civil Rights

Article Summary   by:huddlein     Original Author: Heidi Hunt
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Charles Hamilton Houston was a great African American Lawyer, the Dean of Howard University Law School, and the litigation director for the NAACP. He played a large role in all the civil right cases before the Supreme Court, however he was a major player in the case of; Brown v. Board of Education, and the dismantling of the Jim Crow Laws. He helped train, Thurgood Marshall. Mr. Houston went to Howard Law School. Houston a member of the Harvard Law Review, and known as the man who killed Jim Crow. Houston was a part of all the cases that led up to the Brown v. The Board of Education case, such as; Plessy v. Ferguson, Sweat v. Painter, Topeka v. Delaware, and the Dred Scott decision. These cases were for equal education for African Americans, some were won and an order to admit them to the schools was issued by the courts. Houston''s brilliant plan to defeat Jim Crow by using the fact that ‘separate but Equal'' was not equality at all, this term came from the case Plessy v. Ferguson, which was one of the most shameful decisions ever issued by the US Supreme Court. Plessy lost the bid to be treated equal to whites in America, the ironic part of all of this is that Plessy was 7/8 white, and only 1/8 black, but this didn''t matter to the courts. The activists for civil rights looked for a person who could help get rid of discrimination, and Homer Plessy was more white then black he seemed like a logical choice. His case stemmed from the fact that he sat in a whites only train car, which he was arrested for, and convicted. Plessy and the advocates appealed his case to the US Supreme Courts, and once again he lost under the separate but equal clause. It would be interesting to know how those people felt today about this clause, due to the facts that how would the blacks know if their train cars, bathrooms, etc., were equal as they were not allowed in them. After the Civil War legal slavery ended in the US, but the separate but equal laws became the standard. African Americans were entitled to receive the same services, schools, hospitals, etc., as whites, but the separate but equal doctrine mandated that they have completely different facilities, this law was upheld by the US Supreme Courts in the Plessy v. Ferguson case. The services and facilities for the African Americans were not at all equal to the whites, this was the key to the civil rights movement. In the case of Brown v. The Board of Education the NAACP called the clause separate but equal that was used in the Plessy v. Ferguson case a racial segregation, sixty years later this would be overturned. Many cases played in pushing the movement, such as; Bolling v. Sharpe, Loving v. Virginia, and the Racial Integrity Act. Each individual case had a push in things moving along to the next step.
Thomas Jefferson was all for equal in education for all citizens, but back them black slaves were not even considered a citizen of the US. We would have to suffer through the Civil War, and over 100 years of racial strife to come to equal for all. The case Browne v. The Board of Education finally overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson case, through this the 14th amendment was a factor in all the decisions as it was not very clear and specific, and this hurt the cases. With such wonderful leaders as Charles Hamilton Houston, Oliver Hill, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc., we finally arrive at a movement that would make history change forever for the African American people. Thanks to all the people involved in all these cases, movements, and arguments, congress was pushed to pass the Civil Rights Bill. All the small pushes, and nudges finally brought segregation to a close, and Charles Hamilton Houston put a stop to the Jim Crow Laws which led to the name he received "the man who killed Jim Crow". The civil rights movement goes on, and all these efforts brought us to where we are at today, further ahead on these issue''s then we have ever been, but still not where we should be. Weee discrimination in day to day life everyday, and many black communities are still poverty stricken. What is wrong with this picture? The whites brought the African Americans here to be slaves, whites worked them half to death, sometimes to death, whites sold them as if they were a piece of meat, whites raped and beat them, had children by them, whites lynched and killed them, and white expect that the African Americans that they brought here to be Americans should just set aside all that their feelings on these issue''s, forget what we have done to their families. Completely forget that we threatened their small children, burned crosses on their grass, burned them out of their homes, and did unspeakable acts to them. I really think that we as a country of freedom owe them something for all the evil we have done. We pass a law all men are equal. Houston said "I would give my life fighting day and night, and die on my feet, rather then live on my knee''s!
Published: December 18, 2007   
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