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Word Count: 708
The quest for equality by black Americans played a central role in the struggle for civil rights in the postwar era Stemming from an effort dating back to the Civil War and Reconstruction the black movement had gained more momentum by the mid-twentieth century African Americans continued to press forward for more equality through peaceful demonstrations and protests But change came slowly indeed Rigid segregation of public accommodations remained the ruled in the South despite a victory in the Montgomery Alabama bus boycott in 1955 School integration occurred after the Brown v Board of Education decision of 1954 but not without struggles In the North urban ghettos grew as the growth of blacks grew Crowded public housing poor schools and limited economic opportunities fostered serious discontent In the North and South alike consciousness of the need to combat racial discrimination grew Support bubbled up from different social groups Young people in particular most of them students enlisted in the effort to change restricted patterns deeply rooted in American life In 1962 the civil rights movement accelerated James Meredith a black air force veteran and student at Jackson State College applied to the all-white University of Mississippi and rejected on racial grounds Suing to gain admission he carried his case to the Supreme Court where Justice Hugo Black affirmed his claim But then Governor Ross Barnett and adamant racist announced that Meredith would not be admitted whatever the Court decision and on one occasion personally blocked the way A major riot followed tear gas covered the University grounds and by the riots end two men lay dead and hundreds hurt An even more violent confrontation began in April 1963 in Birmingham Alabama where local black leaders encouraged Martin Luther KingJr to launch another attack on the southern segregation Forty percent black the city was rigidly segregated along racial and class lines We believed that while a campaign in Birmingham would surly be the toughest fight
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