Civil Rights and Education; With A Focus on African Americans

One of my mothers and I were discussing the differences between the North and South, I came to the shocking conclusion that present day American society is very similar to past centuries.  There is undeniable truth in the phrase “history repeats itself”.

Civil Rights and Education, With A Focus on African Americans

Segregation can be seen in states across America. Integration laws have been placed and enforced by our government; unfortunately the regulations have not sufficiently solved the problem. African Americans have achieved much success since the early 1900s, yet  the value of education in impoverished schools is less than that of schools in wealthier communities so the high percentage of African Americans who go to school in these communities are not learning adequate material to help them achieve success in college. Most African Americans and other minorities living in poverty are at a disadvantage as far as job opportunities, exposure to negative actions within their environment, and (more relative to this blog) education.

Let’s start from the beginning of African American education.

The North and South had different views on slavery, while slaves in the South were learning how to read from Bibles free slaves and the children of slaves were able to attend school in the North the first free African school was built in New York City in (1787).  Ten years before The Emancipation Proclamation was enacted (1865) the Massachusetts Legislature enacted a policy in (1855) stating, “No person shall be excluded from a Public School on account of race, colour or prejudice.”  The fourteenth amendment granting African Americans full citizenship was ratified in the year 1868, slaves began building their own schools. The first black public school was Paul Lawrence Dunbar high school built in Washington D.C (1870).   African Americans were finally able to receive an education.  Although the North gave blacks full citizenship the idea of African Americans sharing a class with their children was repulsive, so in the case of Plessy V Fergusson (1896) segregation was legalized. Cases challenging this law ensued such as Murray V. Maryland (1936) where Thurgood Marshall challenged the University of Maryland on the grounds that black law schools in Maryland were not equal to white law schools. He won his case as did Lloyd Gaines in Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada (1938). Segregation in public schools however did not end until 1955. African Americans went through many trials to obtain the right to attend school and other facilities along with whites, but due to unequal representation of minorities in facilities Affirmative Action was enacted March, 6, 1961.

Universities have challenged this law, banning it from their schools under the claim that it was reverse racism. On many accounts I can understand their argument the acceptance of an applicant based on race is,  if anything discriminatory. The same is to be said about giving some Americans free money from the government and not others, or impoverished schools receiving more government aid than wealthier schools. These laws are put in place, granted, and not going anywhere for the basic reason that they are necessary. By all means proof has been provided that Affirmative Action is necessary. Also I might add that it is not extremely unfair either, the law targeted facilities with a low percentage of a particular demographic of people, these individuals also had to fit the criteria in order to be admitted. This law prevented any organization from excluding one race. As we can see on these graphs Universities that have banned Affirmative Action have a lower percentage of African Americans than they did with the law enacted. blogger Mark stated, “In 2001, as you can see, 10% of incoming freshmen at UM were black. By 2011, however, that number had dropped to 5%.”

Katy Murphy writes an article about the effects of the Affirmative Action ban after fifteen years on UC Berkeley and UCLA. She states, “At Cal, the freshman admission rates for those three groups plunged by more than 50 percent between 1997 and 1998, the year the ban took effect”.

As they say “The proof is in the pudding” while the ban of Affirmative Action could cause major segregation in the educational system. Poverty lines already have.

Not only were facilities in the 1920s separated by race, they were separated by wealth.  One could observe the differences in finance between black and white schools in that period as well. Recently in the year 2008 the poverty census revealed 33.9 percent of African Americans under the age of 18 lived in poverty.  Poor Americans are not able to attend wealthier schools because the school system requires students attending that school to live near it. The 33.9 percent of African Americans in poverty  are forced to send their children to schools that have disciplinary problems, and consistently perform at a lower level than wealthier schools. Graduating students attending low income schools go to college (those who actually go to college) and drop out or are failed out because they do not possess the intellect colleges, and jr colleges require.

by Daryl Posted September 25, 2010

African Americans have made significant educational strides from 1787 to today. Still racial inequality persist  because of this, policies such as Affirmative Action are necessary so that past discrimination is not repeated.

Two hundred and twenty seven years later, schools remain separate, but not equal…..

Fredrick Douglas said it best  in a letter to Harriet Beecher Stowe “I assert then that poverty, ignorance, and degradation are the combined evils; or in other words, these constitute the social disease of the free colored people of the United States. To deliver them from this triple malady, is to improve and elevate them, by which I mean simply to put them on an equal footing with their white fellow countrymen in the sacred right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s