African American Contributions in the Effort to Gain Equality
This was the time of segregation, blatant discrimination, and, essentially, forced isolation.(Wilson, 2011) African Americans living in those times worked very hard to change the perception of the African American people, to insist upon their right to equality, and earn the respect they deserve as contributing citizens of this country. However, there is hardly enough time in a single essay to mention the names of every African American who participated in the fight for equal rights, but there are a few that will forever stand out. If it had not been for these people then the world we live in today may be very different. In the early part of the 20th century the treatment of African Americans was one of second class citizens. Slavery had been ended for some time, but racism and discrimination did not come to the same end. Just because the laws had been changed did not mean that the mindset of white Americans, particularly those in the Deep South were any different. Bigotry and violence continued to be visited on African Americans; not to mention that finding work, housing, and education was not always easy. But despite the levels of potential violence and lack of support among a lot of Americans, those encouraging equality never gave up on the idea that it was possible achieve equality and find an end to segregation and discrimination. The NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was founded in 1909.
It was then, and remains, an organization dedicated,” to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.” ("Naacp," 2013) W.E.B. Dubois was born in 1868 and would become the first prominent African American leader of the NAACP. He was born to a “free black family” in the state of Massachusetts and received a Harvard degree. However, his most marked and significant act in the fight for equality was the creation of “The Crisis,” a literary journal, of which Dubois was editor-in-chief, which focused on issues of greatest concern to African Americans in their communities; however, it also worked as a tool to inform America about the true horrors of racism. (Johnston, 2011) There were two men in the post WWII America who set amazing precedent when they refused to just accept the quality of the higher education that was being offered. Heman Sweatts applied to the University of Texas Law School. He was denied acceptance solely based on the color of his skin. He responded by suing the state. In the meantime, the university opened a separate law school specifically for African Americans; however, it was rather poor in quality in comparison to its parent program. However, regardless the court found in favor of the state. That same year, George McLaurin had already received his Masters Degree, then applied and was accepted to the Doctoral program at the University of Oklahoma. However the treatment he received was not very endearing. He was forced to sit alone and isolated while eating, he could only attend the library at certain hours, and the students were not very welcoming. He decided to sue the school. He claimed that the treatment was interfering with his ability to gain his education. But, just as with Sweatt, the court found in the favor of the school. The NAACP did not think that either of these