This chapter covers the mass movements for civil rights beginning in the black community and then extending to the Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Asian, and American-Indian communities as well. This era, often called the “Second Reconstruction,” saw advances against segregation through federal court decisions and more direct demonstrations as black leaders forced the larger community to face segregation issues. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 reinforced political equality, but economic and social equality did not automatically follow. The persistence of poverty, entrenched racism, and racially segregated “ghetto” slums brought about a split within the formerly united black community over what goals the movement should subsequently pursue. The civil rights movement overall created new pride and expectation as well as anger and a more militant “Black Power” movement.
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
Explain how the Montgomery bus boycott drew an African-American community together to challenge segregation.
Discuss the origins of the civil rights in the postwar years to the crisis in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Explain why and how some black leaders pursued means other than the legal strategy followed by the NAACP.
Summarize the successes of the civil rights movement from the Montgomery bus boycott to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Outline the issues and strategies followed by other minorities that were inspired by black protest movements, as well as the results they gained.
Trace the record of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson in trying to change segregation.
Compare the first period of Reconstruction, the era following Plessy v. Ferguson, and the era after World War II, which led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision and a revived civil rights movement. (review Chapters 17 and 19.)