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Civil Rights Movement

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Four Periods

SLAVERY: 1619-1865

  • Goal was to maintain property rights
  • Infamous Dred Scot decision
    • Court determined that slavery was constitutional


  • 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments
  • South under military rule


  • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)--see USU 1300 Course Reader
    • Segregated railway cars in Louisiana
    • Stated that facilities can be separate, if they are equal
  • Jim Crow Laws (1890-1910)
    • Mandated segregated facilities

MODERN ERA: 1950-Present

  • Brown v. Board of Education
    • Issue: Do segregated facilities, even if equal, violate the Constitution?
    • Contention was that segregation is a badge of inferiority
    • Decision (1954) (9-0)--see USU 1300 Course Reader
      • By Chief Justice Earl Warren
      • Separate is inherently unequal
      • Violates the 14th Amendment

Second decision (1955)

  • Desegregation to proceed with “all deliberate speed”
  • Symbolic, had little initial effect
    • Violence in some areas
    • Federal troops required to enforce segregation
    • Busing of students

Martin Luther King

  • Rosa Parks refusal to go to the back of the bus in Alabama
  • King advocated non-violent protests
    • Boycotts and sit-ins
  • Birmingham march (1963)
    • Violence occurred
    • Extensive Media coverage
    • City capitulates and desegregates many facilities
  • March on Washington (1963)
    • "I Have a Dream" speech
    • Assassinated in 1968
  • Civil Rights Act (1964)
    • Strategy of Lyndon Johnson
    • Take advantage of Kennedy death and being a southerner
    • Act prohibited discrimination by businesses serving the public
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factpetersen. (2007, October 29). Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License