A People's History of the United States Questions and Answers
by Howard Zinn

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In Chapter 17, of A People's History of the United States, how does government respond to the Civil Rights Movement?  

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Zinn states that the federal government responded to the question of Civil Rights in the 20th century by doing very little to protect the people risking their lives in the movement. For example, during the Freedom Rides to New Orleans, the buses were torched in Alabama, and activists were savagely beaten. However, state police and the FBI did not intervene. SNCC, or the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, asked for protection from the Department of Justice for their ride from Nashville to Birmingham, but they were denied this protection. However, after they were attacked in Montgomery, Alabama, the government wanted to avert further violence. District Attorney Robert Kennedy agreed that authorities in Jackson, Mississippi could arrest the protestors in return for preventing a mob from developing. 

By passing civil rights laws in 1957, 1960, and 1964, Congress promised voting and economic equality but did not necessarily enforce these laws. As Zinn writes, the federal government...

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