The Basic of the Civil Right Movement

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The Basics on the Civil Right Movement
Because large segments of the populace--particularly African-Americans, women, and men without property--have not always been accorded full citizenship rights in the American Republic, civil rights movements, or "freedom struggles," have been frequent features of the nation's history. In particular, movements to obtain civil rights for black Americans have had special historical significance. Such movements have not only secured citizenship rights for blacks but have also redefined prevailing conceptions of the nature of civil rights and the role of government in protecting these rights. The most important achievements of African-American civil rights movements have been the post-Civil War constitutional amendments that abolished slavery and established the citizenship status of blacks and the judicial decisions and legislation based on these amendments, notably the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Moreover, these legal changes greatly affected the opportunities available to women, nonblack minorities, disabled individuals, and other victims of discrimination.
The modern period of civil rights reform can be divided into several phases, each beginning with isolated, small-scale protests and ultimately resulting in the emergence of new, more militant movements, leaders, and organizations. The Brown decision demonstrated that the litigation strategy of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) could undermine the legal foundations of southern segregationist practices, but the strategy worked only when blacks, acting individually or in small groups, assumed the risks associated with crossing racial barriers. Thus, even after the Supreme Court declared that public school segregation was…...

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