African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968)
The African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) refers to the social movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against black Americans and restoring voting rights to them. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1955 and 1968, particularly in the South. The emergence of the Black Power Movement, which lasted roughly from 1966 to 1975, enlarged the aims of the Civil Rights Movement to include racial dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency, and freedom from oppression by white Americans.
The movement was characterized by major campaigns of civil resistance. Between 1955 and 1968, acts of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience produced crisis situations between activists and government authorities. Federal, state, and local governments, businesses, and communities often had to respond immediately to these situations that highlighted the inequities faced by African Americans. Forms of protest and/or civil disobedience included boycotts such as the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) in Alabama; "sit-ins" such as the influential Greensboro sit-ins (1960) in North Carolina; marches, such as the Selma to Montgomery marches (1965) in Alabama; and a wide range of other nonviolent activities.
Noted legislative achievements during this phase of the Civil Rights Movement were passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, that banned discrimination based on "race, color, religion, or national origin" in employment practices and public accommodations; the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that restored and protected voting rights; the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, that dramatically opened entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than traditional European groups; and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, that banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. African Americans re-entered politics in the South, and across the country young people were inspired to action.
Famous quotes containing the words movement, rights and/or civil:
“Failure or success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.”
—E.M. (Edward Morgan)
“Good breeding ... differs, if at all, from high breeding only as it gracefully remembers the rights of others, rather than gracefully insists on its own rights.”
—Thomas Carlyle (17951881)
“... one of the blind spots of most Negroes is their failure to realize that small overtures from whites have a large significance ... I now realize that this feeling inevitably takes possession of one in the bitter struggle for equality. Indeed, I share it. Yet I wonder how we can expect total acceptance to step full grown from the womb of prejudice, with no embryo or infancy or childhood stages.”
—Sarah Patton Boyle, U.S. civil rights activist and author. The Desegregated Heart, part 1, ch. 10 (1962)