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Civil Rights

The government-protected rights of individuals against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by governments or individuals.

Thirteenth Amendment

One of the three Civil War Amendments; specifically bans slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States

Black Codes

Laws denying most legal rights to newly freed slaves; passed by southern states following the Civil War

Fourteenth Amendment

One of the three Civil War Amendments; guarantees equal protection and due process of the law to all U.S. citizens.

Fifteenth Amendment

One of the three Civil War Amendments; specifically enfranchised newly freed male slaves.

Jim Crow laws

Laws enacted by southern states that discriminated against blacks by creating "whites only" schools, theaters, hotels, and other public accommodations.

Civil Rights Cases (1883)

Name attached to five cases brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1875. In 1883, the Supreme Court decided that discrimination in a variety of public accommodations, including theaters, hotels, and railroads, could not be prohibited by the act because such discrimination was private discrimination and not state discrimination.

poll tax

a tax levied in many southern states and localities that had to be paid before an eligible voter could cast a ballot.

grandfather clause

Voting qualification provision in many southern states that allowed only those whose grandfathers had voted before Reconstruction to vote unless they passed a wealth or literacy test.

Plessy v. Ferguson

Supreme Court case that challenged a Louisiana statute requiring that railroads provide separate accommodations for blacks and whites. The Court found that separate but equal accommodations did not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

suffrage movement

The drive for voting rights for women that took place in the United States from 1890 to 1920.

Nineteenth Amendment

Amendment to the Constitution that guaranteed women the right to vote.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that school segregation is inherently unconstitutional because it violates the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection

equal protection clause

Section of the Fourteenth Amendment that guarantees that all citizens receive "equal protection of the laws."

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Wide-ranging legislation passed by Congress to outlaw segregation in public facilities and discrimination in employment, education, and voting; created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Federal agency created to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination on the basis of face, creed, national origin, religion, or sex in hiring, promotion, or firing.

Women's Equality Amendment

Proposed amendment to the Constitution that states "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex."

suspect classification

Category or class, such as race, that triggers the highest standard of scrutiny from the Supreme Court.

strict scrutiny

A heightened standard of review used by the Supreme Court to determine the constitutional validity of a challenged practice.

Title IX

Provision of the Educational Amendments of 1972 that bars educational institutions receiving federal funds from discrimination against female students.

affirmative action

Politics designed to give special attention or compensatory treatment to members of a previously disadvantaged group

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