Chapter 4 Civil rights

Chapter 4
Civil rights
The Civil Rights Struggle:
• After the Civil War, African Americans
routinely faced discrimination, or unfair
treatment based on prejudice against a
certain group.
• “Jim Crow” laws passed in the south required
the social separation of the races which was
known as segregation.
• It would take more than 100 years for African
Americans to secure their civil rights – the
rights of full citizenship and equality under the
“Separate but Equal”
• “Jim Crow” laws had mandated the “separate but
equal” status for blacks in America.
• Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
• Beginning to Change - Executive Order 9981 (1948)
from President Harry Truman ordered an end to
segregation in the nation’s armed forces.
• The biggest victory for equality of rights came with
the decision in 1954.
• Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS (1954)
• NAACP lawyers successfully argued that
segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.
• It violated the 14th Amendments principle of “equal
protection under the law”
Montgomery Bus Boycott
• In 1955, one year after the Brown decision, an
African American woman named Rosa Parks was
arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white
• Arrested for violating Alabama’s segregation laws.
• Her arrest spurred the local African American
community to organize a boycott of the
Montgomery, AL bus system.
• A year later, Supreme Court ruled that public bus
segregation was unconstitutional.
• Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gained
national prominence from their actions
• Her arrest spurred the local African American
community to organize a boycott of the
Montgomery, AL bus system.
Peaceful Protests
• Dr. King was a Baptist minister and one of the main leaders of the
civil rights movement.
• His ability to speak and his belief in non-violent resistance helped
move the cause.
• King helped organize marches, boycotts, and demonstrations that
opened people eye’s to the treatment of blacks and that change
was needed.
• Students were known for staging “sit-ins” at lunch counters that
served only whites
• African Americans and whites sympathetic to the cause were
“Freedom Riders” who traveled together on buses to protest
• King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” was and still is inspirational to
those who hope for racial equality.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
• In response to the growing demand for government
action, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
• This law prohibited discrimination in:
- public facilities
- employment
- education
- voter registration
• It banned discrimination by race, color, gender,
religion, and national origin.
• Strengthened the 14th Amendment
Other Steps to Equality
• Ratification in 1964 of the 24th Amendment
to protect African Americans when it came
to registering and voting; banned poll taxes
in America.
• The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ensured all
citizens the right to vote, regardless of race.
Affirmative Action
• In the 1970’s, the federal government created
programs that were intended to make up for past
• These programs encouraged the hiring and
promoting of minorities and women, and the
admission of more minority students to colleges.
• From the beginning, affirmative action has been
• Critics complain that affirmative action programs
give preferential treatment to women and
minorities, amounting to discrimination against men
and whites. “reverse discrimination”
Racial Profiling
• The struggle for equal rights continues today.
• Each year, the federal government receives more
than 75,000 complaints of workplace discrimination.
• Many people are subject to racial profiling
• Racial profiling is being singled out as suspects
because of the way they look.
• Some Americans are also victims of hate crimes –
acts of violence based on a person’s race, color,
national origin, gender, or disability.
Write 3 paragraphs using the following
terms to summarize the civil rights
movement: discrimination, segregation,
civil rights, affirmative action, racial
Also address the following – Why was
the civil rights movement started?
What other groups besides African
Americans are struggling for equality
under the law today?