Civil Rights Movement (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The civil rights movement was a struggle by African Americans in the mid-1950s to late 1960s to achieve CIVIL RIGHTS equal to those of whites, including equal opportunity in employment, housing, and education, as well as the right to vote, the right of equal access to public facilities, and the right to be free of RACIAL DISCRIMINATION. No social or political movement of the twentieth century has had as profound an effect on the legal and political institutions of the United States. This movement sought to restore to African Americans the rights of citizenship guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which had been eroded by segregationist JIM CROW LAWS in the South. It fundamentally altered relations between the federal government and the states, as the federal government was forced many times to enforce its laws and protect the rights of African American citizens. The civil rights movement also spurred the reemergence of the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, in its role as protector of individual liberties against majority power. In addition, as the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, and other leaders of the movement predicted, the movement prompted gains not only for African Americans but also for women, persons with disabilities, and many others.
The civil rights movement has been called the Second Reconstruction, in...
(The entire section is 3688 words.)
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