What legal and formal impact did the civil rights movement have on American life and how did it change culture and politics and where did it fail?
The lauding of the dissenting spirit might be where I see the fundamental impact of the Civil Rights Movement. The movement did much in terms of stressing how it is the constitutional responsibility and ethical duty of American citizens to speak out when the promises and possibilities of our nation are not being met. The Civil Rights Movement laid the foundation for other groups to follow in their pursuit of legal, economic, and social equality. Through it, issues such as race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, and class were all brought to the forefront and leaders of these movements used rhetoric, ideas, and principles first established in the Civil Rights Movement as a guideline for their social transformations.
The legal and formal impact of the civil rights movement was to make segregation of the races illegal. This was a huge impact because of its actual direct effect (on the law), but also because of its indirect impact.
The indirect impact was that it affected American culture and politics in a big way. It affected culture by helping to make overt racism unacceptable. It affected politics by giving blacks the true right to vote. This helped make the Democratic Party into a party that relies on blacks for much of its core support.