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Role of Young People in Civil Rights Movement

And, as it had in Little rock, the desegregation issue would become a political football for the many southern politicians who were more interested in grandstanding than in fair play (p. 119).

In the postwar years, the NAACP's legal strategy for civil rights continued to succeed. Led by Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund challenged and overturned many forms of discrimination, but their main thrust was equal educational opportunities, thus continually pushing young people into the forefront of the civil rights battle. For example, in Sweat v. Painter (1950), the Supreme Court decided that the University of Texas had to integrate its law school (p. 16).

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on five cases that challenged elementary- and secondary-school segregation, and in May 1954 issued its landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that stated that racially segregated education was unconstitutional.

White Southerners received the Brown decision first with shock and, in some instances, with expressions of goodwill. By 1955, however, white opposition in the South had grown into massive resistance, a strategy to persuade all whites to resist compliance with the desegregation orders on the grounds that if enough peop


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