This guide will help you work with the civil rights movement in the US. The guide is mainly intended for use in English class, but it may also be relevant for other school subjects such as History or Social Studies.
The guide is designed to give you a good overview of the civil rights movement, as well as its historical background and aftermath. You can also find suggestions for specific texts that you can use as references when working with the civil rights movement, as well as ideas for putting the topic into perspective.
Even though slavery was officially abolished in the US in 1865, the former slaves still faced systematic discrimination in American society in the following years. In the Southern States in particular - the former slave states - a number of discriminatory laws and reform were introduced, intended to make life more difficult for African Americans. Segregation was put into practice in many areas, enforcing division of ethnic groups - while also securing the best facilities for white Americans.
As a reaction to these rights violations, a number of protest movements were organized. Collectively, these are referred to as the civil rights movement. The movement was at its peak in the years 1954-1968 and it became especially famous for its focus on non-violent protests as a means to create political change. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most prominent leaders of the movement. Through well-organized protest campaigns and convincing rhetoric, the movement managed to create real political change. Among other things, they pushed the government to make two major legal breakthroughs - the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
To this day, the civil rights movement inspires other protest movements across the globe.