After the Civil War ended and the
North won slaves were freed!
Emergence of Civil Rights
250 years African Americans were enslaved in the
Reconstruction is the time period after the Civil
War that gave rights to African Americans
3 Amendments were passed to ensure rights to
all citizens regardless of race during
– 13th outlawed slavery
– 14th gave citizenship rights to anyone born or
naturalized (accepted) in the U.S.
– 15th extended voting rights to ALL MALES
Segregation in the South
Jim Crow laws created in the South in the late 1800s
to ensure segregation after Reconstruction. (i.e.
“whites only” water fountains)
Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) – Supreme Court decision
that established “separate but equal.”
Southern Democrats in Congress banded together to
obstruct attempts to pass federal civil rights
legislation & keep the status quo (the existing
system of segregation)
– Known as the Congressional Bloc
– Many governors from the South, such as George
Wallace (Alabama), Lester Maddox (Georgia), and
Orval Faubus (Arkansas) believed in the status quo
Case would be the landmark case for civil rights until
Civil Rights in the 1940s
Jackie Robinson became
the 1st African American to
cross the “color line” and
join the major leagues in
Truman demanded his
inauguration be integrated
when he was re-elected
Federal order to
desegregate the armed
forces and discriminatory
hiring in the federal
government in 1948
– Result of the effectiveness of
groups such as Tuskegee
Airmen during WWII
Sweatt v. Painter
NAACP won a case involving the right of Herman
Sweatt, an African American, who wanted to
attend the Law School at UT-Austin
– Texas argued that its constitution prohibited integrated
– Created a separate law school for Blacks
– Thurgood Marshall argued the case for NAACP
Supreme Court ruled that the separate school
failed to qualify as “separate but equal” in
facilities with other future lawyers and Sweatt
was allowed to attend with White students
– Isolated from peers they would work with in future
Desegregation in Schools
Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) –
Supreme Court overturned Plessy and said
segregation was now illegal.
– Linda Brown was denied admission to a whites
only school that was only 6 blocks from her
home. She had to be bused for miles to the all
black school. Filed suit.
– Thurgood Marshall argued successfully for
– Marshall later became the 1st African American
to the Supreme Court
– Southern schools resisted ruling.
Little Rock Nine
White Citizens Councils formed to stop
Little Rock Central High School (1957) – 9 black
students wanted to enroll. They were met with
violence and chants such as “Lynch them.”
Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus sent Arkansas
National Guard to prevent them from entering
– One of many governors in the South to favor
10,000 National Guards sent to school by Pres.
Eisenhower to protect students.
Faubus tried to shut down the school at the end
of the year but forced to keep it open by the
Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa Parks challenged the city’s
segregation laws and refused to move to
the back of the bus reserved from African
Thousands of African Americans
participated in the bus boycott that lasted
almost a year.
By December 1956 the Supreme Court
ordered the end of segregated buses.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Selected as President of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
African American Christian churches were
vital in organizing civil rights protests.
King followed in the nonviolent steps of
– Civil disobedience: non-violent tactics to
promote your stance
King’s strong belief in Christianity inspired
him to denounce injustice while loving his
students led sit-in’s at
SNCC – Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee. Led student
protests especially lunch counters.
Eventually facilities were integrated.
Civil Rights Act of 1957
Passed in 1957, Eisenhower passed this law to
increase African-American voting in the South
– Many Southern states made African Americans
pass literacy tests or pay poll taxes (pay to
Created the Civil Rights Commission and a Civil
Rights Division on the U.S. Justice Department.
– Federal courts now have the power to register
African American voters
Act was ineffective because of complex voting
laws but set the pattern for more civil rights
1950s Culture and Laws
GI Bill: established veterans’ hospitals, provided
for vocational rehabilitation, low-interest
mortgages available and granted stipends
covering tuition and living expenses for veterans
attending college or trade
Baby Boom: record number of babies born (3.4
million) during the 1950s
Interstate Highway Act of 1956: authorized the
construction of a 41,000 mile network that would
go across the nation
– 3 reasons why built: eliminate traffic, make coast to
coast travel easier, and make it easier to escape a large
city in case of an atomic attack
Legacy of Civil Right Movement
Schools are integrated today.
African American studies have been
established in universities across the U.S.
More African Americans in leadership roles
in businesses, education, and politics.
Large numbers of African Americans are
graduating from high school and colleges.
Discrimination in the workplace has
First African American president elected in
1950s Culture and Laws
Suburbs: grew from the result of the baby boom
and GI Bill since it was cheaper to city in the
outskirts of a city
– Levittown, NY was the first
– Ex: Mesquite, Lancaster, Plano
Rock ‘n’ Roll: musical art form that came from
the Great Migration
Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry made the art form popular
Many adults thought it was the “devil’s” music
Led to other musical art forms today (rap, pop, techno)
Consumerism: growth of franchises
– Person owns a chain of stores or businesses