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Civil Rights!. What are Civil Rights?. Civil Rights refers to the positive acts governments take to protect against discriminatory treatment by government or individuals. The Beginnings: Litigating for Equality.

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what are civil rights
What are Civil Rights?

Civil Rights refers to the positive acts governments take to protect against discriminatory treatment by government or individuals.

the beginnings litigating for equality
The Beginnings: Litigating for Equality
  • Organizations Form to Push for Equality- the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • The NAACP set up a legal defense fund (LDF) to pursue equality in the nation’s courts, for instance…
brown vs board of education
Brown vs. Board of Education

64 years after the Plessy decision the Court struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) decision.

Remember from notes last week?


So… the court case said to stop segregation- now it actually had to happen in society! It’s going to be a struggle!

non violent protests
Non-Violent Protests
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated a nonviolent approach to forcing social change. King modeled his philosophy on that of Gandhi, who successfully employed the nonviolent approach in a revolt against the British in India shortly after World War II.
southern christian leadership council sclc
Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC)
  • Dr. King founded the SCLC in 1957

This group used non-violent means such as:

    • Freedom-rides
    • sit-ins and
    • boycotts

** used to open segregated lunch counters, waiting rooms, public swimming pools, and other public places

  • Often local police attacked the peaceful protestors or chose not to defend them from attacking segregationists
congress of racial equality
Created in 1942

Many African Americans fought in WWII and still faced discrimination at home

Peaceful group to address civil rights issues

Congress of Racial Equality
student non violent coordinating committee
Founded in 1960 by black college students

Gave African Americans a stronger voice in civil rights movement

Will become a group associated with black power and separatism in 1966

Student Non-ViolentCoordinating Committee
ella baker talking about sncc
Ella Baker, talking about SNCC

“The younger generation is challenging you and me (adults!). They are asking us to forget our laziness and doubt and fear, and follow our dedication to the truth to the bitter end.”

Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in

May 28, 1963

What are these protestors trying to accomplish?

Freedom Ride- D.C. to New Orleans to test southern compliance with desegregation laws
  • This bus was firebombed by white men and fleeing activists were beaten. Local hospitals refused to treat the wounded riders.

What are the goals of these Freedom riders?

the march on washington
The March on Washington
  • In August 1963, more than 250,000 people marched peacefully on Washington to show support for President Kennedy’s request that Congress ban discrimination in public accommodation
mlk s i have a dream
MLK’s I Have a Dream

We will talk about this more tomorrow…….. 

selma march


Selma March
  • March 1965
  • Protestors marching from Selma to Montgomery to raise awareness about voting rights
  • BLOODY SUNDAY: On first attempt, local and state troopers attacked the protestors with bull whips, cattle prods and tear gas; 17 marchers are hospitalized
  • Eventually marchers reach Montgomery (50 miles!) and LBJ says:



“Their cause must be our cause, too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.”

That’s right! You tell ‘em Lyndon!

the civil rights act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Outlawed arbitrary discrimination in voter registration
  • Barred discrimination in public accommodation
  • Authorized the US Justice Department to initiate lawsuits to desegregate schools and public facilities
  • Allowed the federal government to withhold funds from discriminatory state and local programs
  • Prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex
  • Created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to monitor and enforce bans on employment discrimination
the impact of the civil rights act of 1964
Southerners argued that the Act violated the Constitution and was an unwarranted use of federal power.

BUT a full decade after Brown, less than 1% of African American children in the South attended integrated schools

So- the Court ruled that state law imposed (de jure) segregation must be eliminated at once!

The Impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
voting rights act 1965
Voting Rights Act 1965
  • Federal government could oversee voter registrations and elections
  • Banned discriminatory literacy tests
  • Expanded voting rights for non-English speaking Americans

This is following the Selma March! Way to go protestors!

24 th amendment
24th Amendment
  • Outlawed the poll tax
  • Segregation is illegal
  • African Americans can exercise their right to vote
  • More and more African Americans elected to offices- mayors, congress and state legislatures