They had to compete with large numbers of recent European immigrants for job opportunities and almost always lost.
Blacks fought against discrimination whenever possible. In the late 1800s blacks sued in court to stop separate seating in railroad cars, states’ disfranchisement of voters, and denial of access to schools and restaurants.
Between 18 all Southern states passed laws imposing requirements for voting that were used to prevent blacks from voting, in spite of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which had been designed to protect black voting rights.
These requirements included: the ability to read and write, which disqualified the many blacks who had not had access to education; property ownership, something few blacks were able to acquire; and paying a poll tax, which was too great a burden on most Southern blacks, who were very poor.
Blacks were usually free to vote in the North, but there were so few blacks that their voices were barely heard.
Segregated facilities were not as common in the North, but blacks were usually denied entrance to the best hotels and restaurants.Civil Rights Movement in the United States, political, legal, and social struggle by black Americans to gain full citizenship rights and to achieve racial equality.The civil rights movement was first and foremost a challenge to segregation, the system of laws and customs separating blacks and whites that whites used to control blacks after slavery was abolished in the 1860s.Segregation was often called the Jim Crow system, after a minstrel show character from the 1830s who was an old, crippled, black slave who embodied negative stereotypes of blacks.Segregation became common in Southern states following the end of Reconstruction in 1877.Over the next 75 years, Jim Crow signs went up to separate the races in every possible place.The system of segregation also included the denial of voting rights, known as disfranchisement.They could do little to stop discrimination in public accommodations, education, economic opportunities, or housing.The ability to struggle for equality was even undermined by the prevalent Jim Crow signs, which constantly reminded blacks of their inferior status in Southern society. Conditions for blacks in Northern states were somewhat better, though up to 1910 only about 10 percent of blacks lived in the North, and prior to World War II (1939-1945), very few blacks lived in the West.One of the cases against segregated rail travel was Plessy v.Ferguson (1896), in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that “separate but equal” accommodations were constitutional.