Early victories before the Supreme Court in the late 1910s and 1920s suggested that the NAACP had embarked on the right course.Meanwhile, African-American soldiers had served with distinction during America's involvement in World War I (1917-1918), and returned to the United States with greater expectations for equal treatment and economic opportunity.
In 1946, Franklin Roosevelt's successor Harry Truman created the Federal Committee on Civil Rights; two years later Truman ordered the desegregation of the U. When a black student at the University of Oklahoma was not allowed to sit in the same classroom with white students, the NAACP filed suit.
The Supreme Court invalidated the University of Oklahoma's segregation policy, ruling that forcing the student, G. Mc Laurin, to sit in an adjoining hallway could not be considered equal treatment as required by the 14th Amendment or the Supreme Court's 1896 Plessy v. At the same time, the Court indicated its willingness to reconsider Plessy's "separate but equal" doctrine altogether, and NAACP attorneys began to envision an end to legally enforced Jim Crow segregation.
The 15th Amendment forbade states from denying citizens the right to vote based on their race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
With these Civil War Amendments and Congress' Reconstruction program, there was, for the first time in our history, a chance to bring about a more racially just society.
In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited slavery in the United States.
The 14th Amendment defined American citizenship based on birth (not race), and guaranteed to all persons equal protection and due process of law.
However, the broader society was still ill-prepared for meaningful advances in civil rights.
Indeed, after the production of the notoriously racist film The Birth of a Nation in 1915, organizations like the Ku Klux Klan experienced a resurgence, and African-Americans were increasingly the victims of lynching and other forms of racial violence.
by Tony Ball, Instructor of History On August 25, 1864, over a year and half after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, a black woman named Annie Davis wrote President Abraham Lincoln from Maryland. As Lincoln had famously noted during the Gettysburg Address, the American War for Independence had commenced some "four score and seven" years earlier.
Her words remain poignant to this day: Mr president It is my Desire to be free. my mistress wont let me you will please let me know if we are free. But the American Revolution, the long and sometimes violent struggle to make the vaulted principles of the Declaration of Independence a reality for African-Americans and other dispossessed peoples, was only just beginning.