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Chocolate CityA History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital$
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Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635866

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635866.001.0001

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Segregation Does Not Die Gradually of Itself

Segregation Does Not Die Gradually of Itself

Jim Crow’s Collapse, 1945–1956

(p.285) Ten Segregation Does Not Die Gradually of Itself
Chocolate City

Chris Myers Asch

George Derek Musgrove

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes the post-World War II civil rights movement in Washington. The years between the end of World War II in 1945 and the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Bolling v. Sharpe were the most decisive period in the city’s history since the 1860s. Suddenly, it seemed, segregation in the nation’s capital collapsed, half a decade or more before similar changes happened elsewhere in the South. But segregation in the city had not died gradually of itself – it was killed by the concerted efforts of an interracial group of activists, parents, lawyers, writers, federal workers, and others committed to an egalitarian capital. These civil rights advocates seized upon Washington’s changing political, economic, and demographic context to push federal authorities to support racial change. By the end of the 1950s, the institutions of public life in Washington – schools, hotels, restaurants, theaters, recreation facilities, government agencies, unions, professional associations – were no longer racially segregated.

Keywords:   World War II, Civil rights, Segregation, Supreme Court, Bolling v. Sharpe

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