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Civil Rights Movement

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Submitted By baby02
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Definition
Civil rights are defined as "the nonpolitical rights of a citizen; especially those guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the 13 th and 14 th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress" (Merriam-Webster Online). The 13 th amendment of the Constitution abolished slavery in the U.S., and the 14 th amendment insured African Americans of their legal citizenship and equal protection under the law (National Archives Experience).
Movement is defined in part as "a series of organized activities working toward an objective; also: an organized effort to promote or attain an end" (Merriam-Webster Online).
The Civil Rights Movement was an era dedicated to activism for equal rights and treatment of African Americans in the United States. During this period, people rallied for social, legal, political and cultural changes to prohibit discrimination and end segregation.

Historic Roots
Many important events involving discrimination against African Americans proceeded the era known as the Civil Rights Movement. The importation and enslavement of Africans is perhaps the most notorious example of inhumanity in United States history. The abolishment of slavery did not change the perceptions that allowed discrimination to continue.
• In 1808, there was a ban on the import of slaves. The prohibition was in vein because the trade continued.
• In1863, the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln officially ended slavery. However, the proclamation could not instantly transform attitudes of many citizens or the legacy of a country that had considered African Americans as less than human.
• In 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was confirmed by the 13 th amendment of the Constitution which outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude.
• In 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson established a policy of separate but equal accommodations for African Americans.
Many accept that the Civil Rights Movement occurred between 1955 and 1965, but the exact time span is debated (Encarta). There are even some who argue that the Civil Rights Movement has not ended and that discrimination and efforts to oppose it continue. During the years of 1955 to 1965, many legislative and judicial events emphasized the legality of fair treatment of African Americans. Despite the support of the federal government, these new laws and rulings faced opposition. Many individuals and local governments refused to end discrimination and continued practices of segregation.
• In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The case of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, presented by Thurgood Marshall, overturned Plessy v. Ferguson. It was an important step in initiating integration.
• In 1957, the governor of Arkansas attempted to prevent nine black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. President Eisenhower sent federal troops to enforce the court order.
• The Civil Rights Act of 1957 protected the freedom of African Americans to vote.
• 1960, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation was illegal in interstate bus and train stations. A group of citizens called Freedom Riders tested this ruling by traveling throughout the southern portion of the country on buses. The Freedom Riders encountered violence in Alabama. President Kennedy intervened to ensure their safety.
• In1964, President Kennedy sent federal troops to the University of Mississippi so that rioters would not prevent James Meredith, the school's first black student, from attending.
• The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade discrimination in public places and by any program that receives federal government funding. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 also established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a U.S. government agency that takes employment discrimination complaints to court, in an effort to enforce laws that prohibit job discrimination.
• The Voting Rights Act of 1965 suspended the use of voter qualification tests, creating a sharp increase in black voter registration. These tests had been used to disqualify African Americans from their voting rights.

Importance
The Civil Rights Movement was important to the history of the United States and the world. It established that discrimination was unjust and would no longer be tolerated in the country, while setting an example for oppressed people everywhere.
The efforts of the Civil Rights Movement ended segregation publicly and legally. The era redesigned the nation's social system. The Movement changed where African Americans could take a drink from a fountain or attend college. The efforts to help a specific group united many citizens to achieve a common goal. People, regardless of race, fought together for the just treatment of African Americans.

Ties to the Philanthropic Sector
The Civil Rights Movement greatly contributed to and benefited from the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. Many nonprofit organizations were created during this era specifically to assist in the orchestration of events. These organizations, staffed mostly by volunteers, acted as facilitators for change.
Philanthropy assisted many legal and political endeavors that were necessary to promote change in the government. Without philanthropic aid, many of the nonprofit organizations created during the Civil Rights Movement would not have been able to carry out their missions.
AARP. "Voices of Civil Rights." http://www.voicesofcivilrights.org.…...

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