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116 Civil Rights Movement Essay Topics & Examples

Trying to write a successful civil rights movement essay? Questions about the subject may flood your brain, but we can help!

📃 8 Tips for Writing a Civil Rights Movement Essay

🏆 best civil rights movement topic ideas & essay examples, 🎓 most interesting civil rights movement topics to write about, 📌 good civil rights research topics, 👍 interesting civil rights essay topics, ❓ civil rights movement essay questions.

As a student, you can explore anything from civil disobedience to the work of Martin Luther King Jr in your paper. And we are here to help! Our experts have gathered civil rights movement essay topics for different assignments. In the article below, see research and paper ideas along with tips on writing. Besides, check civil rights essay examples via the links.

A civil rights movement essay is an essential assignment because it helps students to reflect on historical events that molded the contemporary American society. Read this post to find some useful tips that will help you score an A on your paper on the civil rights movement.

Tip 1: Read the instructions carefully. Check all of the documents provided by your tutor, including the grading rubric, example papers, and civil rights movement essay questions. When you know what is expected of you, it will be much easier to proceed with the assignment and achieve a high mark on it.

Tip 2: Browse sample papers on the topic. If you are not sure of what to write about in particular, you can see what other students included in their essays. While reading civil rights movement essay examples, take notes about the content, sources used, and other relevant points. This might give you some ideas on what to include in your paper and how to enhance it to meet the requirements.

Tip 3: Collect high-quality material to support your essay. The best sources are scholarly articles and books. However, there are also some credible websites and news articles that offer unbiased information on the civil rights movements. If the instructions don’t prevent you from using these, you could include a wide array of resources, thus making your essay more detailed.

Tip 4: Offer some context on the civil rights movement. The 20th century was instrumental to the history of America because there were many political and social events, including World War II and the subsequent Cold War. While some events may not relate to the history of the civil rights movement, they are important for the readers to understand the context in which the movement took place.

Tip 5: Consider the broader history of discrimination in the American society. Discrimination is the key focus of most civil rights movement essay topics. For the black population, the movement was instrumental in reducing prejudice and improving social position. However, there were many other populations that faced discrimination throughout the American history, such as women, Native Americans, and people from the LGBT community. Can you see any similarities in how these groups fought for equal rights?

Tip 6: Reflect on the sources of the civil rights movement. The story of racial discrimination and oppression in America spanned for over 400 years, so there is a lot of history behind the civil rights movement. Here, you could talk about slavery and segregation policies, as well as how the black communities responded to the struggle. For instance, you could consider the Harlem Renaissance and its influence on the Black identity or about other examples or cultural movements that originated in the black community.

Tip 7: If relevant, include a personal reflection. You can write about what the civil rights movement means for you and how it impacted the life of your family. You can also explore racial discrimination in contemporary society to show that some issues still remain unsolved.

Tip 8: Maintain a good essay structure. Ensure that every paragraph serves its purpose. A civil rights movement essay introduction should define the movement and state your main argument clearly. Follow it with several main body paragraphs, each one exploring a certain idea that relates to the key argument. In conclusion, address all the points you’ve made and demonstrate how they relate to your thesis.

With these few tips, you will be able to write an excellent paper on the civil rights movement. Check the rest of our website for essay titles, topics, and more writing advice!

  • Impact of Civil Rights Movement The freedom to vote for all Americans became central in the civil rights movements, and one of its successes was the legislation that culminated in the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  • Civil Rights-Black Power Movement Barack Obama was aware of the violence and oppression of black people in the United States. It shows self determination of the black people in struggles for civil rights- black power.
  • Plan: Civil Rights Movement in United States The following assessment plan has details on the objectives of the assessment plan, the types of assessment plans, and the adaptation of the lesson plan to fit special groups of students.
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Martin King and Malcolm X’s Views King also stressed that the major concepts he adopted were taken from the “Sermon on the Mount and the Gandhian method of nonviolent resistance”.
  • Civil Rights Movement The Civil Rights Movement is an era that was dedicated for equal treatments and rights to the activism of the African American in the US.
  • Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War The Vietnam War caused unintended consequences for the civil rights movements of the 1960s as it awakened the African-Americans’ consciousness on the racism and despotism that they experienced in the United States.
  • Civil Rights Movement Major Events in 1954-1968 This research paper seeks to highlight the historical events that took place in 1954-1968 in the United States which were instigated by the Civil Rights Movement in the hope of securing the civil and basic […]
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Historical Interpretation Rosa Parks was one of the pivotal figures in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and a critical event in the Civil Rights Movement.
  • The Civil Rights Movement’s Goals and Achievements Despite the considerable oppression of non-white groups of the population and the fear accompanying it, the Movement continued to fight and achieved success in its goals, affecting the country even in the modern period.
  • The Civil Rights Movement: I Have a Dream The civil rights movement has changed many aspects of the nation, such as housing, the economy, and jobs. The movement changed the outlook, the power structure, and the very core of the nation.
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the United States In the United States, the 1960s was characterized by the rise of Civil Rights Movements, the aim of which was to suppress and end discrimination and racial segregation against African Americans.
  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Leader of the Civil Rights Movement The psychology of a leader is the psychology of a winner. One such example is one of the early leaders of the civil rights movement, American investigative journalist Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, who, thanks to her […]
  • Music and the Civil Rights Movement It was famous in the 1960s and 1970s and continues to live now.”We Shall Overcome”, like many other freedom songs, reflects the goals and methods of the early protestors.
  • Invisible Southern Black Women Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement Based on 36 personal interviews and multiple published and archived sources, the author demonstrates that black women in the South have played a prominent role in the struggle for their rights.
  • “The Souls of Black Folk” and the Civil Rights Movement At the beginning of the 20th century, multiple decades had passed since the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery.
  • Law History From Jim Crow to Civil Rights Movement It was not until the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.that the problems of law enforcement in the South was truly recognized and reforms started designed to reduce the influence of political agendas on the […]
  • Civil Rights Movement: Fights for Freedom The Civil Rights Movement introduced the concept of black and white unification in the face of inequality. Music-related to justice and equality became the soundtrack of the social and cultural revolution taking place during the […]
  • Civil Rights Movement and Political Parties One of the examples of the effects of social unrest on political institutions in American history is the Civil Rights Movement, and it defined the general courses of the main parties as well as the […]
  • Civil Rights Movement Distorted Image The study of the role and image of historical characters in CRM is incorrect and distorted. Rosa Parks is considered the person who informally initiated the movement due to the refusal to give up a […]
  • Protest Music and the US Anti-Lynching and Civil Rights Movement In the 1950s and 1960s, the civil rights movement continually challenged the government to fulfill the promise of equality and justice.
  • Civil Rights Movement in the USA Brief History From the Time Before the Civil War This was part of a planned act of civil disobedience in which Plessy was to be arrested, charged and tried, and the court case would then be used to challenge the law.
  • “Black Power” in the Civil Rights Movement They wanted to reform the system to ensure a more democratic and actively participating society in the decision-making process of governance for the country.
  • Civil Rights Movement in “Freedom Riders” Documentary As a commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of freedom movements, Nelson’s movie is a story of segregation and racism, abhorrence, courage, and the general brutality of the depicted events.
  • President Johnson in the Civil Rights Movement The problem of gay and lesbian rights appeared to be rather challenging and disruptive to the society. They include hippies and other social layers that were not eager to change things while others were trying […]
  • Medgar Wiley Evers in the Civil Rights Movement Following the rejection of his application to study at the University of Mississippi, NAACP hired him as a field secretary to Jackson that was to the Deep South in recognition of his effort and contribution […]
  • Civil Rights Movement by E. Durkheim and K. Marx The theories will also be used to predict the future of racism in the United States. The level of segregation experienced in the country led to new interferences and constraints.
  • Civil Rights Movement: Purposes and Effects The civil rights movement was a popular lobby group created to advocate for equality in the United States for both blacks and whites. To a large extent, the civil rights movement completely transformed the lives […]
  • Coalition Politics After the Civil Rights Movement Such coalitions also forced the American government to address the challenges affecting different cities. New policies and laws emerged in order to promote the rights of many American citizens.
  • Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance in the Civil Rights Movement by Lance Hill The book describes the tension and struggles that existed between the African Americans and the members of the white citizens’ council, Ku Klux Klan.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Movement Martin Luther King noticed the negative trend and he took his stand to make people see the devastating effects of the war.
  • Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson: the Civil Rights Movement The social historians have managed to cogently present the politics that surrounded the civil rights movement. The movement also managed to gain the support of the aims of government, the executive, legislature, and even the […]
  • African-American Women and the Civil Rights Movement The key factors that left the Black women unrecognized or led to recognition of just a few of them as leaders are class, race and gender biases.
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the USA The movement’s main aim was to end the racial segregation and fight for the voting power of the black people in America.
  • The Civil Rights Movement Although the positive role of the Civil Rights Movement for changing the role of the African Americans in the American society is visible, this topic is also essential to be discussed because the movement for […]
  • The Contributions of Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks to the Civil Rights Movement Among these were Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks who used literary works to voice out their displeasure on the discrimination against blacks as well as portray a humanitarian point of view on the plight of […]
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Oppressing the Black Population In response, the black citizen resorted to fighting for his rights; thus, the rise of the civil rights movement. In conclusion, these key events helped to reinforce the African American struggle for equal right rights, […]
  • Music of the Civil Wars, Civil Rights & Freedom Movements of Europe, Africa, North & South America During the 20th Century The aim of Giovinezza was to reinforce the position of Mussolini as the leader of the Fascist Movement and of Italy.
  • Silent Voices of the Modern Civil Rights Movement This is the why she gets my nomination for recognition in the “Museum of Silent Voices of the Modern Civil Rights Movement”.
  • Dr. King’s Role in United States Civil Rights Movement His popularity started after he led other activists in boycotting the services of the Montgomery Bus Service in the year 1955 after an incident of open discrimination of a black woman in the bus. Martin […]
  • The Civil Rights Act as a Milestone Element of American Legislation Although the Civil Rights Act has undergone several amendments, the Civil Right Act amendment of 1964 was the main amendment that addressed the above types of discrimination.
  • Harold Washington With Civil Rights Movement Hence, this study examines the main achievements of Harold Washington in the fields of employment, racism, equality in provision of social amenities, gender equality, freedom of expression, and the creation of the ethics commission in […]
  • American Africans Action in the Struggle for Equality Community leaders in various segmentations of the society had showed resistance to the white supremacy and domination against the African Americans which had been abounded in some states.’Everyday’s Use’ written at the peak of the […]
  • The Civil Rights Movement: Ending Racial Discrimination and Segregation in America Finally, the paper will look at both the positive and negative achievements of the civil rights movements including an assessment of how the rights movement continues to influence the socio-economic and political aspects of the […]
  • The African American Civil Rights Movement During the 1960s notable achievements were made including the passage of a Civil rights Act in 1964 that outlawed any form of discrimination towards people of a different “race, color or national origin in employment […]
  • Theatre in the Era of the Civil Rights Movement
  • To What Extent Can the 1950’s Be Viewed as a Great Success for the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Stages of the Progressive Reform in the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Contradicting Outcome of the Civil Rights Movement in America
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Fight for Aid from the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Long Term Effects of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Violent and Non-violent Methods of Protests Embraced by African American in the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Role of The Supreme Court in the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Success of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s
  • Women in the Civil Rights Movement
  • U.S. Democracy and the Civil Rights Movement
  • The History of the Civil Rights Movement in the United Stats and Its Impact on African Americans
  • The Relationship of Southern Jews to Blacks and the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Importance of Students During the Civil Rights Movement
  • A Look at Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the Role of Martin Luther
  • White Resistance to the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Impact of Rock ‘n’ Roll on the Civil Rights Movement
  • African Americans and Religion During the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Historical Accuracy of the Portrayal of the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, a Drama Film by Ava DuVernay
  • The War on Drugs and the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Civil Rights Movement and the Black Middle Class
  • The Role of Police During the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Achievements of Peaceful Protest During the Civil Rights Movement
  • Analyzing the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War
  • The True Face of The Civil Rights Movement
  • The History of the Civil Rights Movement, National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Successes and Failures of Civil Rights Movement
  • The Historiography of Womens Role and Visibility in The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Relationship Between Activism and Federal Government During the Civil Rights Movement
  • To What Extent Was Grass Roots Activism a Significant Reason to Why the Civil Rights Movement Grew in the 1950s and 1960s
  • The Value of Studying the Civil Rights Movement
  • A History of the Civil Rights Movement and Feminist Movement in the United States
  • The Foundation of the Niagara Movement and Its Influence on the Civil Rights Movement in America
  • The Role of Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Role and Importance of the Grassroot Organizers on the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Effect of Society on the World of Doubt and the Effects of the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Importance and Impact of the Civil Rights Movement to the Public Policy
  • The New York Times and The Civil Rights Movement
  • Understanding the Civil Rights Movement: America Vs. Australia
  • The Laws in the Reconstruction Era and the Civil Rights Movement
  • How Effective Was the Early Civil Rights Movement in Advancing Black Civil Rights in 1880-1990?
  • What Role Did Jews Play in the American Civil Rights Movement?
  • How Did the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s?
  • Did Minority Rights Campaigners Copy the Tactics of the Black American Civil Rights Movement?
  • What is the NAACP’s Impact on the Civil Rights Movement in the US?
  • How Did Gandhi Influence the Civil Rights Movement?
  • To What Extent Can the 1950’s Be Viewed as a Great Success for the Civil Rights Movement?
  • How Far Was the Effectiveness of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s Limited by Internal Divisions?
  • How the Cold War Promoted the Civil Rights Movement in America, and How It Promoted Change?
  • How Far Was Martin Luther King Responsible for the Civil Rights Movement?
  • How Was Civil Disobedience Used in the Civil Rights Movement?
  • How Did the Civil Rights Movement Change America?
  • How Successful Had the Civil Rights Movement Been by the Late 1960s?
  • Did Black Power Groups Cause Harm to the Civil Rights Movement in America?
  • To What Extent Was Grass Roots Activism a Significant Reason to Why the Civil Rights Movement Grew in the 1950s and 1960s?
  • How Did Kennedy and His Administration Effect the Civil Rights Movement?
  • Did the Black Power Movement Help or Hinder the Civil Rights Movement?
  • How the Civil Rights Movement Influenced the Women?
  • What Are the Results of the Effort of the Civil Rights Movement?
  • How Did Martin Luther King Affect the Civil Rights Movement?
  • Are the Problems Faced by the Feminist and Sexual Emancipation Movements Similar to Those Faced by Civil Rights Movement, or Are There Major Differences?
  • Was the Civil Rights Movement Successful?
  • Has America Really Changed Since the Civil Rights Movement?
  • Why Was the Civil Rights Movement Successful by 1965?
  • How Did Religion Influence Martin Luther King, Jr as He Led the Civil Rights Movement?
  • How Significant Was Martin Luther King Jr. to the Black Civil Rights Movement?
  • How Did Martin Luther Kings Jr Death Affect the Civil Rights Movement?
  • How Important Was Martin Luther King to the Civil Rights Movement?
  • Does the Civil Rights Movement Have an Effect on the Way Minorities Are Treated by Authorities?
  • Was the Civil Rights Movement a Success or Failure?
  • Malcolm X Questions
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What the Civil Rights Act Really Meant

An overlooked effect of the legislation, passed 60 years ago this week, was its powerful message of hope for Black Americans.

collage with 1960s photo of young Black male student receiving books

S ixty years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a monumental piece of legislation that forever changed the nature of race and gender in American society. In the decades since, legal scholars have offered hundreds of interpretations of the law, but none more powerful than the words of the young Black students who attended the Mississippi Freedom Schools that opened just days after Johnson signed the bill. Perhaps the law’s most important lesson for us today is rooted in the students’ efforts to explain how it would affect their future.

The Freedom School students imagined new dreams for their lives based on the messages conveyed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although the law did not immediately resolve America’s painful legacy of racial injustice, it did embody a wave of hope. Today, however, legislators in dozens of states are in a frenzied rush to pass laws that do the opposite for America’s youth: Animated by right-wing activists, lawmakers across the nation are seeking to ban the teaching of parts of U.S. history that they deem “ divisive .”

Many of the lessons once taught in the Mississippi Freedom Schools would certainly fall under these bans. In fact, some of the very same books used to empower Freedom School students have already been censored in parts of America. In blocking access to the most potent form of intellectual empowerment, legislators convey clear societal values, especially in places such as Alabama and Tennessee , where state legislatures have passed laws to protect monuments to the Confederacy.

Although young people may not understand the complicated legal implications of new legislation, they can certainly discern broader cultural meanings behind our laws. Most of today’s young children won’t follow debates over school segregation and private-school vouchers, or even the laws dictating classroom content or efforts to ban books. But young people can sense when they are being devalued. Like the Freedom School students of 1964, they understand that laws have expressive functions. Today’s young people, too, should have the chance to know what the Civil Rights Act means for them.

Vann Newkirk II: Revisiting America’s most radical experiment

T hat summer of 1964, more than 2,000 young Black Mississippians attended one of some 40 Freedom Schools that operated across the state. These schools were organized by a coalition of civil-rights activists to supplement the inferior education available to Black youths in Mississippi’s public schools, which remained segregated until fall of that year, when the Civil Rights Act finally forced Mississippi to begin to comply with school desegregation. Those young Black people lived in a state that tightly controlled and censored the subjects that could be taught in regular Mississippi schools. Teachers were surveilled and barred from belonging to such organizations as the NAACP.

Every child who attended a Freedom School experienced racism on a daily basis. In addition to public harassment and the prospect of violence, these youths grew up in segregated neighborhoods and attended underfunded schools, and their hometowns were filled with Confederate monuments as well as with streets and parks named for slave owners and Klansmen.

And yet, a century on from the Civil War, they were also living in a moment of transition. Their time in Freedom School coincided with the first days of the Civil Rights Act.

Freedom Schools exposed Black students to history lessons that connected them with inspirational heroes such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. The experience also offered a path to empowerment by explaining the systems and laws that created the stark racial inequalities between Black and white Mississippians. In Freedom School, students learned about Reconstruction and the historical origins of racial discrimination—lessons that dispelled the myths of white supremacy by showing how carefully Mississippi’s racial hierarchy had been shaped and curated.

Emboldened by these lessons, Freedom School students wrote thousands of essays, articles, and poems expressing their feelings about race. The things they wrote are held in archives in dozens of institutions across the country, as I found while researching my 2015 book, To Write in the Light of Freedom . Many of these students were indignant about the whitewashed histories taught in public schools, and they gave credit to the Freedom School for helping open their eyes. A junior-high-school-aged girl named Linda wrote, “We have been taught that the white man was responsible for the abolishing of slavery, but that is false. What about the Negro abolitionists?” And she concluded, “The reason for my coming out of the darkness is by attending Freedom Schools.” Another student compared the Freedom School experience to “having the lights turned on after you have lived all your life in a darkened room.” That type of intellectual liberation was one of the most profound products of the civil-rights movement, in Mississippi and beyond.

Almost immediately after the Civil Rights Act became law, the students began discussing its implications for their own life. A pair of junior-high-school kids in Hattiesburg wrote, “I am glad that the Civil Rights Bill was passed because whites can go to any show. And we could go to any show they go to.” One of their classmates wrote, “I know that the white people are angry because the civil rights laws has passed, but I am very glad because we are able to go to cafes and shows, we will have better school books and most of all we will have the opportunity to go to better schools.” Another 13-year-old expressed this complaint about Hattiesburg: “The one thing I don’t like is these Jim Crow restaurants. What I mean by that is these places where they allow no one but white skinned people to eat and not people with black skins. Since the bill passed I eat where I want to.”

Some of the more forward-thinking Freedom School students shared still-loftier dreams. “Now that the Civil rights Law has been passed,” wrote a junior-high-school student from Palmer’s Crossing, “I pray and hope for a better America, and a better Mississippi in which to live.” As Archie Richard of Benton County wrote, with a 12-year-old’s syntax and spelling but with absolute clarity of vision:

Now that the civil rights bill have been signed, we children going to school have a better chance of learning the different subjects we wish to, if we put our minds to it. We can finish school, go to college, and make a new start in life. We hope and pray that everything works out okay that we all can work and play together—Whites and Negroes—in the name of the Lord.

Molly Ball: No, the Voting Rights Act is not dead

M ore than 30 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the legal scholar Cass Sunstein argued for understanding “the expressive function of law” when considering the effects of legislation. Sunstein, who was the same age as the Freedom School students but of a very different background, articulated a legal philosophy that reflected the experience of Black Mississippians in 1964. Laws matter, Sunstein argued, not only for the process of “controlling behavior” but also for “making statements” to members of society.

Today’s renewed efforts to censor the topics taught in American classrooms reek of the very Jim Crow system that civil-rights activists sought to strike down. In a healthier democracy, and in a freer and more open country, we would pass more laws like the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When he signed the bill into law, President Johnson praised its “abiding commitment to freedom, a more constant pursuit of justice, and a deeper respect for human dignity.” Like the Freedom School students of 1964, the children of the 21st century deserve laws that express messages of hope.

Public Opinion on Civil Rights: Reflections on the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Depiction of Lyndon B. Johnson in 'Selma' Raises Hackles - The New York  Times

Likely the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ushered in a new era in American civil rights as discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin was outlawed. By signing the law into effect on July 2, 1964, President Johnson also paved the way for additional school desegregation and the prohibition of discrimination in public places and within federal agencies.  Public opinion polls held in the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archives reveal changing attitudes about race in the U.S., exposing how divisive racial issues were at the time, how much improvement there has been since the Act – and how very far the country still has to go.

Civil Rights Today

The effects of the Civil Rights Act, and improvements in race relations more generally, are apparent in a March 2014  CBS  poll, which finds that 8 in 10 Americans think the act has had a positive effect on the country and only 1% thinking it has been negative. Additionally, the poll also found that 60% of whites and 55% of blacks think that the state of race relations in America is good.

However, these fairly positive assessments are relatively new. The U.S. public has been asked o give their overall assessment of race relations in the U.S. regularly since 1990. A low of 24% of whites and 21% of blacks said race relations were generally good in 1992, the year of the Rodney King riots. Not until the year 2000 did a majority of either whites or blacks say race relations were generally good. Public opinion toward minority civil rights was even more unfavorable in the past. According to Paul Herrnson, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, “Issues related to race relations and civil rights challenged Americans prior to and during the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, throughout the Civil War period and the sixties, and they continue today. Despite the progress that has been made, many have yet to fully embrace the notion that all Americans are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties.”

Americans in 2014

Source: CBS News Poll March 2014: “Overall, do you think passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was mostly good for the country, or mostly bad for the country, or don’t you think it made much difference?”

1960s Climate for the Passage of the Civil Rights Act

Race relations in the first half of the 1960s were toxic in many parts of the country. These years saw numerous sit-ins, marches, protests, and riots in the deep south from Greensboro, North Carolina to Birmingham, Alabama as well as forced integration at the University of Mississippi and racial violence by white supremacist leagues in Neshoba County, Mississippi. In 1963, the March on Washington saw the now famous “I Have a Dream” speech be given by Martin Luther King Jr. and in the following year, the poll tax was abolished through the 24th Amendment. A sign of the times, in 1963, a  Gallup  poll found that 78% of white people would leave their neighborhood if many black families moved in. When it comes to MLK’s march on Washington, 60% had an unfavorable view of the march, stating that they felt it would cause violence and would not accomplish anything.

Civil Rights Act: August 1964

Source: Harris Survey August 1964: “Looking back on it now, would you say that you approve or disapprove of the civil rights bill that was passed by Congress last month?”

In the months leading up to the bill being signed on July 2, there was support for the act, but still a third opposed the bill. One month after its passage, when the implementation phase began, support was just more than 50%, with nearly 1 in five voicing uncertainty about the bill.  The civil rights movement itself was viewed with suspicion by many Americans. In 1965, in the midst of the Cold War, a plurality of Americans believed that civil rights organizations had been infiltrated by communists, with almost a fifth of the country unsure as to whether or not they had been compromised.

Communism infiltrating civil rights movement?

Source: Institute for International Social Research and the Gallup Organization,  Hopes and Fears  September 1964: “Most of the organizations pushing for civil rights have been infiltrated by the communists and are now dominated by communist trouble-makers. Do you agree with the statement or not?”

The legacy of the Civil Rights Act:  1980s and 1900s

An examination of the legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 indicates that it has taken several decades for the Act’s effects to be fully felt. The 1980s saw that new generations of Americans believed that the Civil Rights Act had indeed worked. Ninety-two percent of respondents in a 1984 Attitudes and Opinions of Black Americans Poll stated that the civil rights movement had improved the lives of the black community.

However, this is not to say that this period was without some controversy in civil rights.  The drumbeat for school integration through busing began in the 1970s and the issue persisted through the 1990s.  While support increased nationally from 19% in 1972 to 35% in 1996, the issue reflects a fragile state of race relations at the time as well as a significant divide between the races, something that a quarter of a century did not solve. Eight-six percent of whites were opposed to busing in the early 1970s and by 1996 that had shifted to two-thirds opposed.  Among black respondents a majority in nearly every year favored busing and only 39% opposed in 1996.

A racial divide: Busing to achieve integration

Source: National Opinion Research Center, General Social Survey 1972-1996: “In general, do you favor or oppose the busing of Negro and white school children from one school district to another?”

Race Relations over Time

The 1990s saw the issue of civil rights once again bubble to the surface of American society as race riots erupted in Los Angeles over the Rodney King incident in which white police officers were acquitted after being videotaped beating a black man. President Bush signed a new civil rights act into effect in 1991 which shored up measures to prevent discrimination in the workplace. This act coincided with a Gallup Poll in June 1991 finding that 58% believed the black community had been helped by civil rights legislation. As the thirty year anniversary approached of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a Gallup/ CNN / USA Today  Poll in 1993 found that 65% believed the civil rights movement had had a significant impact on American society. By 2008, the  Pew Research Center  found 53% of whites and 59% of Black Americans saying that “the civil rights movement is still having a major impact on American society.”

Everyone: Are race relations generally good or bad in the US?

Source: CBS News/New York Times, May 1990-March 2014: “Do you think race relations in the United States are generally good or generally bad?”

Polls on the state of race relations in the country, as a whole, suggest that things have been improving since the general question was first asked in May 1990, albeit not a steady incline. Those who claim relations are bad have declined substantially since a high point in 1992 at 68%, during the Rodney King riots.  Looking at these surveys by race, the trend indicates that whites and blacks alike believe race relations have been improving over the last twenty years. However, there still exists a gap between the races with whites believing there to be a better state of race relations than blacks. In 2011 there was a 30 point gap between the two groups, but by 2014 the margin had narrowed to its closest point since 1992. As of March 2014, 60% of whites and 55% of blacks believe race relations to be good. According to Herrnson, “Although things have been trending in a positive direction, the evidence suggests that change comes slowly and public opinion is sensitive to politics and other events.”

Employment Opportunities

Polls measuring opinion on employment opportunities for whites and blacks over time document the different views of the races. The Gallup Organization has periodically asked a question comparing the opportunities that blacks have at attaining jobs compared to whites.  The results over time show an even greater gap than exists on the general view of race relations in the country—since 1978 blacks have consistently been much more likely to say they do not have the same opportunities as whites than the general public.

Percent saying blacks do not have the same opportunities for jobs as whites?

Source: Gallup Organization, 1978-2011: “In general, do you think blacks have as good a chance as white people in your community to get any kind of job for which they are qualified, or don’t you think they have as good a chance?”

In the latter part of the 2000s, America once again questioned whether it was ready for a black president. With Barack Obama running on behalf of the Democratic Party, the time appeared to be right, and public opinion data backed up this sentiment. Support for voting for a black candidate had been steadily rising for several decades and in 2008, history was made. With public opinion surveys conducted since 1996 reporting 9 in 10 Americans would vote for a black candidate if they were qualified, Barack Obama won the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections in what many have considered a significant step forward in race relations.  An outcome that would have been simply impossible in 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was first passed had now become a reality.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the act, surveys conducted in March 2014 by  CBS News  found that 52% of America believes that we can totally eliminate racial prejudice and discrimination in the long run and that 78% think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an important historical event. But perhaps most tellingly, CBS News found that 84% of whites and 83% of blacks believed that the act had made life better for blacks in the United States, while only 2% thought it had made life worse. These statistics serve to reaffirm the legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Far from forgotten or relegated to the history books, the act is remembered for the hope and change it brought to a country gripped by racial tensions.

  • Roper Center  iPOLL Databank  Surveys including polling data from CBS News, CNN, Gallup Organization, Pew Research Center, New York Times, Institute for International Social Research, USA Today
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964:  http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/

Date Published: July 2, 2014

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Civil Rights Movement - List of Free Essay Examples And Topic Ideas

The Civil Rights Movement, a pivotal era in the struggle for racial equality in the United States, bore witness to significant events, legislation, and figures dedicated to dismantling systemic racism. Essays could explore key moments like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the passing of Civil Rights Act, among others. Discussions might also delve into the prominent figures of the movement like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks, exploring their ideologies, strategies, and contributions to the cause. The wider impact of the Civil Rights Movement on subsequent social justice movements, policy reformations, and the broader discourse on race and equality could be analyzed. Furthermore, a comparative analysis of the Civil Rights Movement with other global human rights movements can provide a broader perspective on the enduring struggle for racial and social justice across different societal and historical contexts. We’ve gathered an extensive assortment of free essay samples on the topic of Civil Rights Movement you can find at PapersOwl Website. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

Civil Rights Movement

The Sixties Civil Rights Movement Vs. Vietnam War

The 1960s were a very turbulent time for the United States of America. This period saw the expansion of the Vietnam War, the assassination of a beloved president, the civil rights and peace movements and the uprising of many of the world’s most influential leaders; known as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Over the years, scholars have discussed the correlation between the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. It has been argued that violence happening overseas directly […]

How did Martin Luther Kings Jr Death Affect the Civil Rights Movement

In the early 1950’s and late 60’s down south there was a huge movement dedicated to the fight for rights of African Americans. His main goal was to lead a movement that was non-violent no matter what they were up against. Martin Luther King Jr. Was one of the major leaders of the civil rights movement and he fought for civil rights and political rights to get rid of segregation in the United States. On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther […]

The Struggle for African American Equality

The struggle for African American equality played out in all parts of life including schools, public life, and political office. This struggle was ingrained in American culture and it proved to be extremely difficult to escape. Until the 1940s, segregation, inequality, and violence was the norm for African Americans. In the late 1940s, African Americans began to see an opportunity for true freedom and that gave them the fuel to take action to demand change. Change was made through various […]

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Masterpiece Cakeshop V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Jack Phillips, owner, and baker at Masterpiece Cakeshop believed that it was his First Amendment right to refuse any gay couple a wedding cake because it was against his religious beliefs. Further, he felt that by participating in making a cake for a gay marriage would be an act of complicity, as it would be seen as him condoning such a marriage which is strictly the opposite of what his beliefs are, that homosexuality is wrong, and is considered a […]

Does the Civil Rights Movement have an Effect on the Way Minorities are Treated by Authorities?

Abstract The civil rights movement was a mass popular movement to secure for African Americans equal access to and opportunities for the basic privileges and rights of U.S. citizenship. While the roots of this movement go back to the 19th century, its highlighted movements were in the 1950s and 1960s. African American men and women, along with white American’s and other minority citizens, organized and led the movement at national and local levels nationwide. The civil rights movement centered on […]

Logical Fallacies in Letter from Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King, Jr. "Letter from Birmingham Jail" was composed in 1963, when African Americans were fighting for their rights. The reason for this letter is that Martin Luther King is attempting to persuade the clergymen. While doing this, he utilizes critical and powerful tones to endeavor and to impact the clergymen to agree with him. Martin Luther King gives a substantial contention utilizing Logos, Pathos, and Ethos all throughout his letter. Martin Luther King utilizes logos in the letter […]

Civil Rights Martyrs

Are you willing to give your life for your people? These martyrs of the civil rights movement gave everything for their people. Although some may say their deaths did not have an impact on the civil rights movements. They risked their lives just so African Americans could have the rights they have today. The definition of martyr is a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs. They believe that everyone should be equal and have the […]

Segregation and Civil Rights

Throughout 1950 to the 1960s there was a lot of racial tensions regarding people who were not white. Segregation was a huge part of this including bathrooms, water fountains, transportation, and education. African American people were still being mistreated, performing the same type of labor as the slavery times, except with little payment. Laws were put in place, such as the Jim Crow laws. These laws were a collection of state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation (“Jim Crow […]

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest James Gaines

The author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest J. Gaines, is a male African American author who has taken full advantage of his culture by writing about rural Louisiana. His stories mainly tell the struggles of blacks trying to make a living in racist and discriminating lands. Many of his stories are based on his own family experiences. In Ernest J. Gaines’ novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, four themes that are displayed are the nature of […]

Illegal Immigrants Deserve Civil Rights

Citizenship in the United States comes with a very significant and powerful advantage; civil rights. Under these rights, your freedom is protected from several infringements by the government. Many individuals are entitled to these rights, such as those born in the United States, while many individuals may not be granted all of these rights, such as illegal immigrants. There is a huge controversial debate surrounding illegal immigrants and whether they should have civil rights and liberties, and this debate is […]

Civil Rights Figures in the United States

Who were the important civil rights leaders in America and how did they impact the United States of America? Introduction: For our project on social justice, we decided to talk about the leaders of the civil rights movement for their intellect, bravery, and ingenuity. We chose to honor the more widely known people like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and those whom everybody might not know about such as Nina Simone, Dorothy Height, and the Freedom Riders. We […]

Civil Liberties Definition

Civil liberties are the freedoms that citizens have in order to exercise rights that have been given, written, and documented in the Constitution. Although freedom of speech and unwarranted interference from the government are stated within this document, there too are many others. In order to clearly outline and state which rights of the American people were protected by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights was drafted. Although a document such as The Bill of Rights exists to protect citizens’ […]

Women of the Tennessee and Memphis Civil Rights Movement

Memphis, Tennessee is one of the stomping grounds for the Civil Rights Movement. Before the sanitation strike and before Dr. Martin Luther King’s arrival in Memphis regarding the sanitation workers’, we must learn from the women who initiated for his arrival to help. Women were not as direct and bold as far as the Civil Rights Movement around the United States but in Memphis, Tennessee they were. Take for example Julia B. Hooks, Maxine Smith, Mary Church Terrell, Meharry Medical […]

Impact of the Civil Rights Laws

The Civil Rights Movement continues to impact society today, this has inspired and impacted the lives of many. Humanities is by definition, “the study of how people process and document the human experience”. From the beginning of time, the human race has used philosophy, literature art, music, and history to make record of the world as a whole. Culture is a a very important part of our society as a whole, it is by definition the characteristics and knowledge of […]

After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace

Since the Civil Rights Act was legislated, the United States has gone through a dramatic change in regards to race and racism in our society. This essence of change includes the ideas of racial and ethnic composition in the United States today, and in regards to this review, the shift in employer behavior. Today, employers seek a more diverse workforce, with hopes of achieving organizational goals because of it. John Skrentny’s After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American […]

Civil Rights Leaders

Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King were two of the most influential and inspiring leaders during the Civil Rights Movement. Both leaders had methods used to inspire followers, major key events, and strong effects on both religion and political views regarding war. The leader had their own unique way in changing history as we know it, but both had a similar goal in mind. Even though both had a similar goal one had a larger effect on Civil rights […]

Civil and Political Rights

This document belongs to the era of the sixties after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This act happened during the Civil Rights Movement that took place during the 1950s to the 1960s, where racial minorities were fighting for equal rights under the law in the United States. It all started when Lyndon B. Johnson took over the presidency and established the “Great Society” that stated that all Americans should have equal rights and freedoms. From that program he was […]

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights

As I reflect upon what I learned from undertaking an oral history; I realized that Oral history interviews are like fingerprints. The information that you learn cannot be stolen or erased. Oral histories are important to my understanding when it comes to learning a topic at hand because; it offers a place for students like myself to begin finding historical evidence to support their essay. Oral histories are records of the past obtainable by culturally tradition or a person whom […]

Voter Suppression from the Civil Rights Movement to the 21st Century

History of voter suppression In 1865, President Lincoln stated that freed slaves that are intelligent or served as soldiers should be allowed to vote. Although Lincoln felt this way many white people had begged to differ. Throughout history, there have always been obstacles that African Americans faced while trying to vote. Since the civil rights movement to the age of trump, the obstacles they faced were literacy tests, poll taxes, inaccessibility to information, lack of protection, intimidation, and physical violence […]

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Native American and African American were not the only ones that had been discriminated against and deprived of their civil rights. Asian Americans were also denied their civil rights and discriminated against. As a matter of fact, Asians are the most hated of all immigrants group and subjected to the same discrimination as were African Americans and American Indians. Countless Asian Americans were moved by the growth of African American, Chicano, and Native American civil rights movement in the 60’s […]

Progressing the Civil Rights Movement with Aristotle’s Artistic Appeals

Right amidst the heat of the Civil Rights movement in a small cell block within the solid confines of Birmingham city jail, a passionate African American activist completed a published statement in response to eight white clergymen who called out the whole band of the African American community to be patient to earn their rights in the US. Unbeknownst to King, this revolutionary piece of literature advocating for nonviolent resistance to racism for African Americans in America would reshape the […]

The First Amendment

The First Amendment does not protect all forms of speech. Although its protections are incredibly diverse and broad, the First Amendment does not protect forms of speech including: “obscenity, fighting words, defamation (including libel and slander), child pornography, perjury, blackmail, incitement to imminent lawless action, true threats, and solicitations to commit crimes” (Freedom Forum Institute, 1). The incorporation doctrine is a constitutional doctrine establishing the Bill of Rights (amendments 1-10) as fundamental rights guaranteed in both federal and state court […]

Civil Rights and the Media

The media played a vital role in bringing to light the trials of the people who fought for civil rights of the African American right into the living rooms and offices of thousands of people. Some examples of media use are television, newspaper, and radio. Several interest groups used the aforementioned media as forms of promotion. One of the major groups that used the media in all forms was the NAACP with the circumstances of the Little Rock High School […]

The Struggle for Civil Rights

In 1971, Jose Cisneros took to the forefront the fight of bringing the fight for civil rights to Mexican Americans. At the time in the United States, equal rights had only been an issue largely focued on by whites and blacks, basically leaving out any protections to Mexican Americans. This was brought all the way to the supreme court as a continuation of the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. At the time, Corpus Christi Independent School […]

How are Organizations Influenced Today by the Civil Rights Era then and Now

“The minute we look away, the minute we stop fighting back, that’s the minute bigotry wins” (DaShanne Stokes). Blacks and whites in America see racism and disparities in the United States very differently. How we view race, racism, inequality, and the justice system depends a lot on our background. The things that are occurring in our country now are no different than the events that occured in Los Angeles’s 1972, Chicago 1960, as well as New York in the 1970’s […]

Lives Matter – a Civil Rights Issue

The story of Emmett Till, a young black boy, killed in Mississippi is a symbol of the horrible outcomes of hatred and prejudice. Americans today still struggle with equality and fair treatment of all its citizens. In 1955, the beginning of change came from a mother’s decision to show the world the true reality of hate. After the brutal beating of her son, she opened his casket to show the world just what hate was allowed to do. Emmett Till’s […]

Civil Liberties in the United States

In the United States of America, very few documents affect our lives as much as the American Constitution. As being one of the first documents written by describing the inalienable rights of men it has shaped the laws, the thinking, and lifestyles of all those that have or will live in the United States of America. One man who thoroughly understood the Constitution and the liberties that were contained in it was the first ever African-American supreme court justice Thurgood […]

Foot Soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement

Growing up as a black woman in America, you learn very early on that we face a triple barrier: race, gender and class. We also carry the burden of slavery, rape, lynching and other atrocities, while trying to maintain family ties in a America that has historically depicted us as childlike, aggressive, hypersexual and violent. The result of that construct and the accompanying racist fears and forced subjugation it justifies has been counterintuitive: black women in America are caring, loving […]

History of the Battle for Civil Rights

It is impossible to discuss the history of the battle for civil rights for Hispanics without including Black Americans. Minorites of all backgrounds had to band together in order to fight back against the white man’s system of oppression. The battle for civil rights in the south, particularly in the state of Texas, is often associated with Texas's two largest ethnic minorities: African Americans and Hispanic people, particularly Mexican Americans. Mexican Americans have made efforts to bring about better social […]

Civil Rights and Intolerance SA

African Americans in the 1920,The kkk is a klan that is not good for the African Americans. African Americans could not do the stuff that they can do now such as right to vote and the segregation was very bad for the back people sadly.The kkk aka KU KLUX KLAN was founded between the 1865 and the 1866 by the sixs soldiers who had been in the Confederate soldiers during the one war that is the old civil war. The […]

Start date :1954
End date :1968
Caused by :Racism, segregation, disenfranchisement, Jim Crow laws, socioeconomic inequality

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How To Write An Essay On The Civil Rights Movement

Introduction to the civil rights movement.

Writing an essay on the Civil Rights Movement requires a deep understanding of its historical significance and impact on American society. This movement, which spanned from the 1950s to the 1960s, was a pivotal era in the struggle for racial equality in the United States. In your introduction, provide an overview of the key events and figures that shaped the movement. Highlight its primary goals – to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans and to secure legal recognition and federal protection of the citizenship rights enumerated in the Constitution and federal law. Setting the context is crucial for a comprehensive analysis of the various strategies used by civil rights activists and the outcomes of their efforts.

Exploring Key Events and Figures

The main body of your essay should delve into the critical events and figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Discuss landmark events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the Selma to Montgomery marches. Highlight the roles of prominent leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and organizations like the NAACP and SNCC. Analyze how their strategies and ideologies contributed to the movement's goals. This section should provide detailed insights into how these events and leaders collectively helped to bring about significant changes, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Analyzing the Challenges and Opposition Faced

In addition to highlighting the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, it's essential to address the challenges and opposition faced by activists. Discuss the widespread resistance from state and local governments, particularly in the Southern United States, and the often violent backlash from groups opposed to desegregation and equal rights. Examine the role of the federal government, the impact of the Cold War, and the influence of the media in shaping public perception of the movement. This critical analysis should provide a balanced perspective, acknowledging the hurdles that the movement had to overcome in its pursuit of equality.

Concluding with the Movement's Legacy and Continued Relevance

Conclude your essay by reflecting on the legacy and ongoing relevance of the Civil Rights Movement. Discuss how the movement fundamentally transformed American society and laid the groundwork for subsequent social justice movements. Consider the progress made in civil rights since the 1960s and the challenges that remain, particularly in addressing systemic racism and inequality. Your conclusion should not only summarize the key points of your essay but also encourage further contemplation on the Civil Rights Movement's role in the broader context of American history and its enduring impact on contemporary discussions about race and equality.

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Home / Essay Samples / History / History of The United States / Civil Rights Movement

Civil Rights Movement Essay Examples

Emmett till: the murder that changed america.

For every citizen to have the same importance, privileges and prospects would mean to have equality. The lack thereof became the determination to obtain for black woman and men in the US, on a platform known as the Civil Rights Movement. Contrary to popular belief...

Martin Luther King Jr.: a Legacy of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Martin Luther King Jr. is an iconic figure in American history, celebrated for his tireless efforts in advancing civil rights and social justice. His life and work continue to inspire and resonate with people around the world. This essay delves into the remarkable journey of...

Civil Rights Movement and Civil Rights Act of 1964

Considering the topic 'Civil Rights Movement and Civil Rights Act of 1964 Essay' we can say that the main aims of the Civil Rights movement in the classic ‘Montgomery to Memphis’ period of 1955-1968 were to establish laws and public institutions in an attempt to...

Causes and Effects of the Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement was a period committed to activism for equal rights and treatment of African-Americans in the United States. During this period, many people revitalized for social, lawful and political changes to deny separation and end isolation. Numerous significant occasions including victimization African-Americans...

Discussion About Was the Civil Rights Movement Successful

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress”. The civil rights movement had many successes along with some failures as well. Successes included ending segregation and the important advance in equal rights legislation. Failures of the movement included a continued deep-rooted racism towards African...

The Success of the Civil Rights Movement: a Struggle for Equality

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States was a watershed moment in history, seeking to dismantle racial segregation, discrimination, and ensure equal rights for all citizens. This essay explores the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, examining its impact on legal reforms, social attitudes,...

Civil Unjust in United States in 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. quotes, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” This generation had civil unjust, no trust in the...

Civil Right Acts after Civil War

In my essay, I will be writing about racism in the united states between the blacks and the white and how the blacks are treated unfairly compared to the whites. So, what exactly is racism about? In layman terms racism is the belief of one...

Gender Ineguality in the America

This assignment will compare the sociological perspectives between functionalism and feminism and contrast them. It shall be analysing their views on families. Although feminism began in 1792, when Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) wrote a book ‘a vindication of the rights of women’ stating that women were...

The African Americans in Custer Died for Your Sins

In Chapter 8 of Custer Died For Your Sins, Deloria sets the foundation of how African Americans and Natives were treated by the white man and effectively highlights the differences between both minority groups. The Civil Rights movement was a “huge” accomplishment for African Americans...

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About Civil Rights Movement

United States

W.E.B. Du Bois, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry MacNeal Turner, John Oliver Killens

Unfortunately, there's still a lot of discrimination in our society. The modern civil rights movement is working to address the less visible but very important inequities in our society, such as gender inequality, discrimination of the disabled, ageism, police brutality, etc.

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