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The African American Civil Rights Movement 1955 1958

4312 words - 17 pages

The civil rights movement in the United States was the start of a political and social conflict for African-Americans in the United States to gain their full rights in the country, and to have the same equality as white Americans. The civil rights movement was a challenge to segregation, the laws and ordinances that separated blacks and whites. This movement had the goal to end racial segregation against the black Americans of the United States.
Many different acts and campaigns of civil resistance represented this movement. African-Americans and whites performed many forms of protest and civil disobedience including 'sit-ins', boycotts, marches and other nonviolent activities. Out of this movement, came many successful achievements such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the segment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ‘restored and protected voting rights for African-Americans. But along with achievements, many outbreaks and controversies swept the South and caused casualties and the side track of acts of violence.

Background
After the American Civil War, three constitutional amendments passed that favored African-Americans. The Thirteenth Amendment of 1865, abolished slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment of 1868, secured the former slaves their rights as citizens. And the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870, gave African American males the right to vote in elections, where at the time only white males were able to vote in the United States.
From the period 1877-1965, the United States went through a Reconstruction Era that tried to establish free labor and civil rights of freedmen in the South. Many whites living in the South did not like these changes and began to form their own movements to retaliate. Members of a group named the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) attacked black and white Republicans in order to maintain white supremacy. The KKK started off harmless, then quickly became involved in the violent struggle of the Reconstruction Era. They believed that blacks were inferior members of society, and were undeserving of citizenship or legal protection. Violence within the KKK was very destructive, and Congress soon responded by passing a series of federal acts to enforce the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments. The Civil Rights Act of 1871, more formally known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, gave federal officials the power to arrest anyone who sought to deprive citizens of their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
From 1890 to 1908, many southern states passed new constitutions and laws that put up barriers on voter registration—such as poll taxes, and educational or gender requirements-- making it hard for African-Americans to register to vote. Also during this time, the Democratic Party was white-dominated and they held a huge voting block within Congress. Meanwhile, the Republican Party, known as the 'Party of Lincoln', contained many African-Americans. In 1924, African-Americans were allowed to attend Democratic...

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