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Civil Rights

right or rights belonging to a person by reason of citizenship including especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th amendments and subsequent acts of Congress including the right to legal and social and economic equality and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

13th Amendment

abolished slavery
response of white southerners w/ black codes = laws restricting the rights of newly freed slaves

14th amendment

definition of citizenship to African-Americans
equal protection clause "no denying to any person the equal protection of the laws" (by state governments) inclusion of the Due Process (of law) clause

15th amendment

right to vote extended to African-American males
southern states responded with: literacy test, poll tax, grandfather clause: exemption from poll taxes and literacy test if ancestor voted before 1866, "white-only" primaries, very difficult voter registration forms- complex, couldn't get assistance

Jim Crow laws

The "separate but equal" segregation laws state and local laws enacted in the Southern and border states of the United States and enforced between 1876 and 1965

black codes

Southern laws designed to restrict the rights of the newly freed black slaves

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

L.A. law segregated into "white only" and "black only" seating on the train; example of de jure (by law) segregation- Jim Crow laws; nothing unconstitutional about a state requiring racial separation in public facilities "separate but equal" doctrine

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

"separate but equal" has no place in education, they are inherently unequal" violoates 14th amendment "equal protection clause"
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.
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.

Brown v. Board of Education (1955)

desegregation with "all deliberate speed" since there was no timetable set! by 1964, fewer than 1% of African-American school children in the South attended integrated schools

University of California Regents v. Bakke

UC @ Davis medical school had a program that gave 16 of its 100 spots to people who were historically disadvantaged even though they had lower test scores. Bakke wasn't accepted and he said it was b/c he was white.
ruling= 5-4, Bakke should be admitted to medical school; multiple opinions: race can be considered a factor in deciding to remedy disadvantages cast on minorities; can only use affirmative action for the goal of educational diversity
importance: thought affirmative action was only needed temporarily

Affirmative Action

based on the idea of group, rather than individual rights; emphasizes equality of results rather than equality of opportunity. reasons to implement:
bring new opportunity to people who have suffered racial prejudice before; more diversity; give people opportunities they couldn't have received otherwise; lessen discrimination


a legal right guaranteed by the 15th amendment to the US constitution, women got to vote in the 19th amendment in 1920

de jure v. de facto segregation

by law v. by chance/tradition

literacy tests

Method used to deny African-Americans the vote in the South that tested a person's ability to read and write - they were done very unfairly so even though most African-Americans could read and write by the 1950's they still failed. also, they published the names of the people who passed so the KKK had an opportunity to find them.

poll tax

a tax of a fixed amount per person and payable as a requirement for the right to vote

Grandfather Clause

grandfather clause: exemption from poll taxes and literacy test if ancestor voted before 1866,

Strict Scrutiny Test

used in "all legal restrictions which curtail the civil rights of a single racial group" , A test applied by the court when a classification is based on race; the government must show that there is a compelling reason for the law and no other less restrictive way to meet the interest

24th amendment

in 1964: abolition of poll taxes!

civil disobedience

a group's refusal to obey a law because they believe the law is immoral (as in protest against discrimination), opposing a law one considers unjust by peacefully disobeying it and accepting the resultant punishment;

boycotts, sit-ins, marches/demonstrations/Freedom Riders

impact: show solidarity of black community; display black economic power; obtain nation and world coverage by the press; wake up many Americans

Civil Rights Cases (1883)

application of the 14th amendment to state action only; prohibits Congress from barring discrimination by private individuals (ex. theaters owned by private citizen can discriminate)

Loving v. Virginia (1967)

struck down ban on inter-racial marriage; "use of racial classification is suspect"; violated the 14th amendment equal protection clause

Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver (1973)

background: the design of the school system to guarantee "de facto" segregation; "de facto" segregation: racial discrimination that results from practices rather than law (like housing patterns and other economic factors" decision: violation of the 14th amendment's Equal Protection Clause by design's hidden intention ("de jure segregation")

Civil Rights Act of 1964

banning of discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, religion or (later) sex; applied to public places; applied to state programs receiving federal funding

Voting Rights Act of 1965

barred literacy test and other voter tests; impact: millions of new black voters

Swan v. Mecklenburg School Board (1971)

permission of cross town busing to integrate the schools

roots of the 1st women's right movement

abolition movement!

Seneca Falls Convention (1848)

met in New York and passed resolutions to call for abolition of discrimination against women; only franchise (the legal right to vote) didn't pass; Declaration of Sentiments created

US v. Virginia (1996)

the Supreme Court rules that the all-male Virginia Military School has to admit women in order to continue to receive public funding. It holds that creating a separate, all female school will not suffice.

Strict Scrutiny, Intermediate Standard and Minimum Rationality Tests

S.S.S used in "all legal restrictions which curtail the civic rights of a single racial group" 100x = race; 50x = gender (intermediate standard(; 10x = age/wealth/sexual preference (minimum)

Title IX

a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding. It's a living, breathing, law.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978)

bans employment discrimination against pregnant women. Under the act, a woman cannot be fired or denied a job or a promotion because she is or may become pregnant, nor can she be forced to take a pregnancy leave if she is willing and able tow work

Violence Against Women Act (1994)

tightens federal penalties for sex offenders, funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and provides for special training of police officers


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People


National Organization for Women; Wanted to achieve equality either through the passage of an equal rights amendment or by judicial decision


A constitutional amendment originally introduced in Congress in 1923 and passed by Congress in 1972, stating that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Despite public support, the amendment failed to acquire the necessary support from three-fourths of the state legislatures. Didn't pass because it was seen as a threat to the family; women less likely to support.


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; federal agency created to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination on the basis of race, minority groups, women, new but it wasn't really a success


National American Woman Suffrage Association created in 1980; Susan B. Anthony was president; devoted to securing women's suffrage

One example of the president furthering civil rights

TRUMAN desegregated the military

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