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Affirmative Action

A policy in educational admissions or job hiring that gives special attention or compensatory treatment to traditionally disadvantaged groups in an effort to overcome present effects of past discrimination. 172


In the context of civil rights, the transportation of public school students from areas where they live to schools in other areas to eliminate school segregation based on residential patterns. 153

Civil Disobedience

A nonviolent, public refusal to obey allegedly unjust laws 154

Civil Liberties

Limitation on government; they specify what the government cannot do. 149

Civil Rights

Generally all rights rooted in the 14th amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law. Specify what the government must do. 149

Common Law

Judge-made law that originated in England from decisions shaped according to prevailing customs. Decisions were applied to similar situations and thus gradually became common to the nation. 183

Criminal Law

The law that defines crimes and provides punishment for violations. In criminal cases, the government is the prosecutor. 182

de facto segregation

Racial segregation that occurs because of past social and economic conditions and residential racial patterns. 153

de jure segregation

Racial segregation that occurs because of laws or administrative decisions by public agencies. 153


The movement that supports political, economic, and social equality for women. 162

fertility rate

A statistic that measures the average number of children that women in a given group are expected to have over the course of a lifetime. 169

gender discrimination

Any practice, policy, or procedure that denies equality of treatment to an individual or to a group because of gender. 164

grandfather clause

A device used by southern states to disenfranchise African Americans. It restricted voting to those whose grandfathers had voted before 1867. 152


Someone who can claim a heritage from a Spanish-speaking country (other than Spain). The term is used only in the US or other countries that receive immigrants-Spanish speaking countries do not normally apply the term to themselves. 158


An alternative to the term Hispanic that is preferred by many. 158

literacy test

A test administered as a precondition for voting, often used to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote. 152


The age at which a person is entitled by law to the right to manage her or his own affairs and to the full enjoyment of civil rights. 183

mandatory retirement

Forced retirement when a person reaches a certain age 176


Things necessary for existence. In contract law, necessaries include whatever is reasonably necessary for suitable subsistence as measured by age, state, condition in life, and the like. 183

poll tax

A special tax that must be paid as a qualification for voting. In 1964 the 24th amendment outlawed the poll tax in national elections, and in 1966 the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in all elections. 152

reverse discrimination

The situation in which an affirmative action program discriminates against those who do not have minority status. 172

separate-but-equal doctrine

The doctrine holding that separate-but-equal facilities do not violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. 151

sexual harassment

Unwanted physical or verbal conduct or abuse of a sexual nature that interferes with a recipient's job performance, creates a hostile work environment, or carries with it an implicit or explicit threat of adverse employment consequences. 166


A legal writ requiring a person's appearance in court to give testimony. 156


The right to vote; the franchise. 161

voting rights of 1965

Increased voting rights where previously blacks had none, b/c Jim Crow, Federal Agents enforced

white primary

A state primary election that restricts voting to whites only; outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1944. 152

Jim Crow

Statutes, beginning in the 1890s, that required segregation of public services by race

Civil Law

The law regulating conduct between private persons over noncriminal matters, including contracts, domestic relations, and business interactions. 182

Constitutional Inequality

During reconstruction period following the Civil War, passage of the 13th, 14th & 15th amendments ended Constitutional Inequality, 150

Thirteenth Amendment

1865 neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the U.S. 150

Fourteenth Amendment

1868 tells us that all persons born or naturalized in the US are citizens of the US. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the US; nor shall any state deny to any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Citizens have political rights, such as to vote; Persons have right to due process of law and equal protection under the law but not political rights. 150

Fifteenth Amendment

The rights of citizens of the US to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. Citizens have political rights, such as to vote. 150

Black Codes

Oppressive laws designed to regulate affairs of emancipated Blacks, ensuring a stable and subservient labor force; included allowing corporal punishment. 150

Civil Rights Cases

A group of five similar cases consolidated into one issue for the United States Supreme Court to review. The decision held that Congress lacked the constitutional authority under the enforcement provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to outlaw racial discrimination by private individuals and organizations, rather than state and local government. "Individual invasion of individual rights is not the subject of the Amendment." 151

Title IV

also known as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. Stated that no person, on the basis of sex, should be denied any opportunity pertinent to education or any activity receiving federal funding.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka I (1954)

Facts of the Case:
Black children were denied admission to public schools attended by white children under laws requiring or permitting segregation according to the races. The white and black schools approached equality in terms of buildings, curricula, qualifications, and teacher salaries. This case was decided together with Briggs v. Elliott and Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County.
Does the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprive the minority children of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment?
Yes. Despite the equalization of the schools by "objective" factors, intangible issues foster and maintain inequality. Racial segregation in public education has a detrimental effect on minority children because it is interpreted as a sign of inferiority. The long-held doctrine that separate facilities were permissible provided they were equal was rejected. Separate but equal is inherently unequal in the context of public education. The unanimous opinion sounded the death-knell for all forms of state-maintained racial separation.

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