What was the impact of the Civil Rights Movement in bringing about change in the USA during the 1960s?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Civil Rights Movement brought about great change in the United States, particularly in the early and middle parts of the 1960s.  However, it did not bring about as much change as its leaders would have liked, particularly after 1965.

In the early part of the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement was pushing for legal rights.  It wanted to obtain equal political and legal rights for African Americans.  By 1965, the movement had achieved these things.  The movement had helped to push the federal government to enact two major pieces of legislation.  These were the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

After that, however, the movement lost steam.  Leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. turned to more economic goals and to changing conditions in the North.  King tried to push for desegregation in Chicago, where segregation was not a matter of law but of certain practices on the parts of private individuals.  He was trying to help a union in Memphis win better working conditions and wages when he was assassinated.  These kinds of goals were much harder to achieve than the legal and political rights that the movement had aimed for earlier in the decade.

For these reasons, the Civil Rights Movement had a tremendous impact, but it failed to achieve its goals later in the decade.