Why did the desegregation of schools become a major problem in the USA in the 1950s
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Segregation of schools is when coloured and white children were taught in separate schools. Desegregation of schools is when coloured and white children go to the same school together.
In the 1950’s the southern states of America had segregation in schools and the black schools had poorer teaching qualities Black people had to use different buses, drink from different water fountains and even eat at different restaurants. Things were bad for blacks, but the American president, Eisenhower, passed the civil rights act. This meant that the coloured and white children would now go to the same schools. This happened even though at first, only a few black people went to desegregated schools. This is because of white racists not wanting coloured’s and whites attending the same school. The main incident of this was at Little Rock Arkansas.
Even though President Eisenhower had passed the Civil Rights Act, the governor of Arkansas, Orville Fabus, did not agree. He did not agree with white children and coloured children being taught in the same school. So one day before the new term started Fabus sent in 270 National Guardsmen to stop any coloured children getting into the school. So the next day when the black students tried to enter the school the National Guard stopped them. As they left the school, both white students and adults taunted the black students verbally. The whole scene was caught on camera and shown throughout the world.
For the next eighteen days the National Guard stayed at the school and when the black students did eventually return to school other black People were attacked on the streets with the police turning a blind eye to it all. This resulted with the mayor of Little Rock phoning President Eisenhower in fear of a total breakdown of control. When the following day a white mob turned up at the school in Little Rock, Eisenhower was forced to send in 1,100 paratroopers to keep law and order in the city. The paratroopers stayed till the end of November. As soon as the paratroopers had gone governor Fabus made all the schools private schools rather than accept desegregation.
So desegregation became a major problem, as there was a break down of law and order in American cities, which ended up in Army paratroopers being sent in to protect coloured people. Also as a result of the Little Rock incident being broadcasted around the world, it gave the Americans a bad name. This is because the Americans were protesting to the Russians about their bad human rights record. Also America was meant to be the land of the free where you could live freely and happily. But the Little Rock Fiasco showed the world how black people were treated in the southern states of America and how they did not have a free life or lived happily.
Other people that disagreed with desegregation were the Ku Klux Klan. They disagreed with desegregation firstly because they hated blacks and secondly as they did not want black and white children mixing. This is because they believed that if white and black children start to grow up together they would find that there is nothing different about them apart from their skin colour.
Also if the start to become friends less white people will hate blacks and the Ku Klux Klan did not want this, although the support for the Ku Klux Klan grew. Another group of people that did not agree with desegregation of schools is white politicians. This is because they knew that a black persons vote is crucial now, so even if the politician hate black people they will not get voted in as the black’s votes are important. The best example of this was President Kennedy who got voted in by a majority of black people.
So the incident at Little Rock Arkansas reflects badly on America as the scenes were shown live on television and was shown all across America. This means that all Americans seen what happened. Also it reflects badly in the eyes of Russia. America is supposed to be the land of the free, but the scenes at Little Rock do not show that coloured people are living freely.