The exact dates of the Civil Rights Movement, even whether its goals
have been completely accomplished, have been debated amongst historians
and researchers. Regardless of that debate, the Civil Rights Movement
was a long, arduous struggle for equality.
Separate but equal
The infamous epithet of separate
but equal evolved from Plessy
v. Ferguson – the case in which Homer Plessy, a Louisiana
octoroon, challenged the established Jim
Crow laws when he refused to sit in
the train car for blacks. His refusal subsequently landed him
in jail and resulted in the case in which
Jim Crow laws were upheld. The case went to the Supreme Court,
the court upheld the lower court's ruling.
The first pieces of legislation that dealt with the
civil rights of blacks were the Thirteenth
Amendment and the Fifteenth
in history, blacks were promised fundamental citizenship rights under
these amendments. The realization was that the amendments, particularly
Amendment, which outlawed voting discrimination, had little effect as
methods were used to “discourage” blacks from voting.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Not until the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 would change finally
be seen. Little had been done since Brown v. Board of Education,
which outlawed segregation
in public schools, to integrate schools, especially in the South.
the act made it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion,
or national origin in public or state-funded places or institutions.