The Second World War was an absolutely huge factor in improving the position of African Americans between 1945-55 as it led to Federal Support. However it wasn’t as important as the use of Direct Action which for the first time, was able to convert De Jure change into De Facto change, which other methods such as federal support, Supreme Court rulings, and the work of other civil rights organisations were unable to do.
The impact of the Second World War was influential in improving the lives of African Americans because it led to federal support. Following the Second World War which African Americans had played such a large part in, and ended up still coming home to beatings and brutal racism, President Truman felt obliged to commit to Civil Rights for African Americans. Strongly demonstrated through his report titled ‘to secure these rights.’ in 1947, which outlined many of the hardships faced by African Americans and provided recommendations on how to solve them. Following the report several initiatives were pushed through by Truman, such as the signing of Executive Order 9980 and Executive Order 10308. These were crucial in improving the lives of African Americans as they guaranteed fair employment practices in the Civil Services and that defence contracts would not go to companies that discriminated against African Americans, hence empowering them in the workplace. On the other hand it could be argued that the Second World War’s influence was in fact limited. Despite the initiatives set up by President Truman it could be argued that they in fact did more ‘harm’ than ‘good’. There was a lack of commitment to these initiatives and it led to a growing white opposition within government, evident following the lack of support and underfunding of these initiatives.
The Supreme Court victories of Civil Rights Movement between 1945 and 1955 played a large role in improving the lives of African Americans, notably the NAACP who challenged segregation though the courts. For example the BROWN V BOARD OF EDUCATION (1954) led to the case of PLESSY V FERGUSEN (1896), where it was ruled that it was acceptable to segregate with the clause of ‘Separate but equal’ being introduced, being overturned, and forced integration in Southern states beig introduced. This would be very influential in improving the lives of African Americans as it meant that the clause could no longer be manipulated in different areas of life such as unequal public facilities through De Jure change.
However the success of Civil Rights Organisations such as the NAACP was largely limited as it was unsuccessful in turning De Jure victories into De Facto. In under a year following the Brown case, the NAACP had to fight another case in the courts which claimed that desegregation in education would occur ‘with all deliberate speed.’ (BROWN ll) This was limited in improving the lives of African Americans as it was too vague to enforce change, shown by the fact that in 1955 fewer than 750/6300 schools in the