Racism has existed in the United States for hundreds of years. While
the issues of racism came to a head in the civil rights era of this
country, the issue is still alive and well within many aspects of society.
Research shows that Americans are still very influenced by ethnic origin,
and that there are still enormous differences in the treatment of people in
this country based on race. The President's Initiative on Race, a research
organization, has also found that discrimination against groups based on
their race still exists today, and still limits the opportunities available
to them. This is seen in almost all areas, from the housing market, to
employment and banking institutions (Diversity Digest, par. 1). While
great improvements have occurred, there is still much racism to overcome.
As early as the 1860's, the civil rights movement was beginning to
slowly take form. With the end of the Civil War, and with the passage of
the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, the Fourteenth
Amendment, which guaranteed protection of citizens, and the Fifteenth
Amendment, which barred voting restrictions, the issue of civil rights came
to the forefront. Yet the so called "freedoms" gained through the passage
of the Amendments were quickly doused by "scientific" ideas that whites
were supreme, and by state governments enacting numerous laws to severely
restrict suffrage in the South. Through the combination of local, state
and federal government, racial segregation began to emerge as a result. In
addition, group such as the Klu Klux Klan formed to show white supremacy
and began to emerge in both the north and the south, further limiting the
freedoms of the African Americans (Sullivan, par. 1-6).
By the 1900's, African Americans were virtually eliminated in all
forms of government. Most areas in the south had banned African Americans
from streetcars, created separate schools, and enacted...