of Public Facilities
Even though laws had been passed to guarantee black the rights to vote, other areas of American society remained closed to blacks. Most notable among these areas is the public accommodations sector. Segregation dictated that blacks and whites occupy "separate but equal" facilities at all times. In reality, this meant that blacks often did not have access to white-operated hotels, swimming pools, restaurants, banks, department stores, and the like. Since these facilities were virtually nonexistent in the separate black community, blacks simply did without.
As a result, blacks began to put pressure on local business and political
leaders to open up these facilities to the entire community. When whites
refused to concur with black demands, boycotts, pickets, and lawsuits were
implemented to obtain compliance with their desires. Over time, white bankers,
store owners, and city officials collapsed under what amounted to an economic
assault. After all, it was much cheaper to integrate a swimming pool than
it was to build one. Store owners believed it more palatable to hire black
workers than to continue losing business due to adverse publicity. Once
these walls came tumbling down, blacks no longer had to suffer the indignities
of going to the back door or, in many cases, not going at all.