President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing the slaves in much of the South. But the road to freedom—true freedom—would take generations longer for most black Americans.
In this new six-part series, we investigate their struggle, beginning in the heady post-war years of the Forties. Segregation was endemic; it was the law of the South, and the custom of the North and West. No black American escaped its demeaning and often violent grip. But in discovering the power of collective protest, civil rights activists began to make demands for basic equality in restaurants, the workplace and in schools. And as they racked up victories, excitement and determination built that this was a movement with momentum. Could they really do this? Could they make a change and finally—finally—fight off Jim Crow?
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