What were the causes, characteristics, and consequences of the modern American Civil Rights Movement and Second Reconstruction? How was this a "culture clash," and how did American culture change...

What were the causes, characteristics, and consequences of the modern American Civil Rights Movement and Second Reconstruction? How was this a "culture clash," and how did American culture change forever?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The causes of the Civil Rights Movement were many and varied. In part, the movement gained speed after World War II; during the war, many African-Americans participated as soldiers or as factory workers on the home front. After returning from the war, they sought to fight for "double victory"—victory abroad against the Nazis and Japanese and victory at home in the battle for equal rights. Additionally, the Brown v. Board of Education court case in 1954, in which separate but equal education was ruled inherently unequal by the Supreme Court, resulted in the use of federal resources to fight against segregation in public places. At first, the movement was characterized by Martin Luther King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)'s use of passive reisistance or non-violence. Over time, the movement changed to involve more non-violent student input from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and more violent forms of protest by the Black Panthers and other groups. The consequences were the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed the abridgment of African-American voting rights. 

The Civil Rights Movement involved African-Americans actively fighting for equality in southern areas where the culture had always acted to intimidate them. The movement changed American culture forever because segregation was no longer allowed by law, and the federal government became involved in fighting to enforce desegregation. Racism in its most overt forms was outlawed, which was a radical change in culture, and non-violence became a powerful way for other groups, including women, the LBGTQ community, and Native Americans, to fight for equality. 

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