Where and when did the modern Civil Rights Movement begin and end?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The movement to acquire civil rights for African-American people technically began even before the Revolutionary War, as there were slave revolts and people opposed to slavery even before the American colonies became a nation. After the Revolution, there was a fervent abolitionist movement during the antebellum period (the period before the Civil War), and during the Reconstruction period, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments provided civil rights (at least in name) to African-American people and the vote to African-American men.

However, the period at the end of and after Reconstruction saw the return of the wide-scale practice of denying African-Americans basic civil rights. The modern Civil Rights movement started during World War II, when A. Philip Randolph, an African-American labor leader, proposed a march on Washington to end desegregation in defense plants. As a result, President Franklin D. Roosevelt integrated defense plants. 

After the war, the modern Civil Rights Movement is often traced to the Montgomery (Alabama) Bus Boycott of 1955-1956, when Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks led a long boycott of the city's buses to protest against segregation in a non-violent way. The Civil Rights Movement had several victories, including the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and many stages, and that phase of the movement perhaps ended with the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. Many believe that the movement is still going on today to ensure equality and justice for African-American people. 

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