Working towards Equality

February 25, 2013 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Primary source, Social history

Throughout the civil rights movement many  white Americans have helped the cause by participating in sit ins, street demonstrations, protests, and helped integrate and desegregate schools, housing, and parts of town. In the book The Maid Narratives,

Picture of the

“The Maid Narratives”

there is an entire section that is devoted to the white family members’ perspectives. In this section, white members of the community recount tales of how they defied the social norms to work towards gaining social justice for African Americans in their towns. Just as the people in this book work towards social equality, Suzy Post worked to desegregate schools in Louisville, KY by defying the social norms that were in place at the time. Suzy Post and other Whites worked effortlessly to move the civil rights movement forward.

Suzy Post is a civil rights activist who works tirelessly throughout her life to end the inequality faced by African Americans. She worked to allow more open and fair housing, to desegregate schools, to gain more rights for women, and to campaign against the war efforts. However, one of her biggest accomplishments is her work to desegregate schools through getting the busing law passed in Jefferson county, Kentucky. This law was one wanted by many African Americans because the white schools traditionally had better resources, better facilities, and more opportunities for the children who went there.

Portrait of Suzy Post

Suzy Post

Naturally then most of the people who sat on the case were Black but Suzy Post defied the norm and was the only white person to sit on the trial. She allowed the community to see that white Americans could and did stand up for civil rights and worked towards ending the injustice experienced.

       The Maid Narratives tells of many white Americans that have stood up to the injustices experienced by African Americans. Elise Talmage, Flora Templeton Stuart, and Hal Chase stood up to segregation by picketing segregated institutions, blocked the streets with protests they were involved in, and taught on the subject of African American history and the civil rights movement to gain more awareness on the issue. Along with these people who actively participated in the more well-known actions of the civil rights movement, there were many Whites who fought against the pressures of the social norms in their everyday lives. One story told by a sixty-six-year-old man explains of how his family allowed their house maid Anna to sit in the front of the church by his parents instead of in the back pew. While the bride’s side of the church was appalled by this action, all of the groom’s friends and family saw this as a natural occurrence. Actions such as these showed that Whites worked to end the injustice faced by Blacks.

From the 1920’s to the 1970’s the civil rights movement has been one that has dominated our society and been a long time struggle for everyone in our communities. While most people mainly think of this movement dominated by African Americans, many white Americans worked to help move this movement forward and gain equality for Blacks. These white Americans participated in large scale community movements such as sit ins and protests as well as smaller scale movements such as treating their black maids as equals in community events. These movements helped to gain equality and civil rights for African Americans across the country.

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“Maid Narratives.” Iowa Public Radio News. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.

“Hall of Fame 2007.” Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights –. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.

Thuesen, Sarah . “Documenting the American South: Oral Histories of the American South.”

Van, Wormer Katherine S., David W. Jackson, and Charletta Sudduth. The Maid Narratives: Black Domestic and White Families in the Jim Crow South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2012. Print.

 

1 response to Working towards Equality

  1. I think it’s very important to realize that African-Americans didn’t fight alone to achieve equality. Many whites, like Suzy Post worked alongside them in their struggle for justice. The fact that Post was also a member of the NAACP shows her dedication to civil rights.

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