Why was the Civil Rights Movement necessary?
The primary reason the Civil Rights movement was necessary is because Reconstruction was a failure. Although the 14th Amendment guaranteed African Americans Equal Protection of the Law, and the 15th Amendment guaranteed them the right to vote; Southern States devised a number of methods to prevent the exercise of these rights. Congress took little action to enforce these amendments, and the South used the Supreme Court decision in Plessy vs. Ferguson (which said separate facilities were constitutional as long as they were "equal" facilities) to justify de jure segregation. Blacks were not allowed to sit in restaurants where whites dined (although they could get a carry out plate from the back door); were forced by law to attend separate schools, and were not even allowed to use the same restroom facilities. Most public establishments had three restrooms: Men, Women, and "Colored," which was the politically correct term of the day. African Americans were denied the right to vote by requiring the payment of poll taxes and insisting they read and correctly interpret provisions of the state constitution. The provisions they were asked to interpret were much more difficult than the that required of white voters. Without the Civil Rights Movement, it is doubtful that Southern schools would have volunarily integrated, nor that African Americans would be granted equal protection of the law.
The Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s was necessary because of the fact that African Americans were being denied their rights as citizens during that time. This was most clearly seen in the South's system of legal segregation.
Before the Civil Rights Movement changed things, blacks were not allowed to share equally with whites in many public facilities. They had to, for example, sit in certain sections of theaters and busses. Restaurants could refuse to serve blacks simply because of the color of their skin. Blacks also faced many obstacles to voting and were often essentially denied the right to vote.
The Civil Rights Movement was necessary so that African Americans could enjoy the equal protection of the laws that is promised to them in the Constitution.