The mid-20th century was full of political and social change around the world. Through the Great Depression of the 1930s, WWII, and into the Cold War Era, the extremes of economic strife and opportunity were felt globally, while calls for national and civil rights became increasingly loud. In the United States, the Civil Rights Era began during the 1950s, but the factors that contributed to it had been in place for decades.
Disparities between Americans of different can be traced through the 19th century, noteably to post-Civil War "black codes," violence, and the overall failure of Reconstruction (1865-1877). With the establishment of Jim Crow laws, Black Americans were subjected to legal segregation and disenfrancisement in nearly all walks of life.
Efforts to undo the landmark 1896 ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson - the court case that allowed for "separate but equal" facilities - didn't come to fruition until 1954. When the US Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), separation of children on the basis of race was ruled unconstitutional. That decision resulted in calls for continued change, ultimately leading to the growth and multifaceted Civil Rights Movement.
Many of the pictures from the Civil Rights Era are in black and white. They offer a look at the protests, the activists, and the realities of segregation, and actions taken against inequality during the 1950s, 1950s, and 1970s. The Library of Congress houses thousands of Civil Rights Era images, some of which have been colorized and made available to the public.
1. Getting A Drink Of Water At A Streetcar Terminal In Oklahoma City, C. 1950Photo: u/Captain-Cliche / RedditEye-opening image?
2. Martin Luther King, Jr., Speaking At The March On Washington, DC, 1963Eye-opening image?
3. Casting A Vote In Washington, DC, 1964Eye-opening image?
4. US Marshals Escort Ruby Bridges To School During Desegregation In New Orleans, 1960Photo: u/marinamaral / RedditEye-opening image?