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Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

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Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

Civil rights movements paved the way for the future of social progression, and we still build on those ideologies today. Learn more about 'Brown v. the Board of Education,' affirmative action and state, and civil rights initiatives regarding housing, voting, and school transportation. Updated: 11/05/2021

Fixing Broken Schools

When discussing the legacy of the civil rights movement, let's start with education. After all, it was the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case that jump started the civil rights movement in the 1950s. The case brought about the abolition of the practice of separate but equal, which had enabled many of the segregationist laws of the period. The separate systems had caused devastating effects on African American school children, and this had to be changed. It was clear that assistance was needed for people to have a chance to catch up from the impact of institutional racism.

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  • 0:01 Fixing Broken Schools
  • 0:44 Affirmative Action
  • 1:45 Fair Housing, Fair…
  • 3:56 Lesson Summary
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Affirmative Action

One of the ways to do this was through affirmative action programs that would provide preferential treatment to people in minority groups who had been excluded in the past. Signed into law in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the idea was furthered in 1965 by Lyndon Johnson. At first, the policy sought to only remove the possibility of discrimination, but with the expansion came official encouragement to ensure diversity. In doing so, the policy hoped to fix the vast differences for people in high-achieving roles that had previously been excluded. Also of note was that, by the end of the 1960s, affirmative action could be applied to advance the cause of women as well.

These programs have not been without controversy, however. A number of challenges have been issued against the constitutionality of affirmative action, saying that it did not grant equal protection as guaranteed under the 14th Amendment.

Fair Housing, Fair Voting & Busing

The Fair Housing Act was also passed as part of the Civil Rights Act in 1968. This act forbade people from discriminating against individuals when dealing with housing, whether as landlords or as realtors. Before then, people in minority groups had been steered to separate neighborhoods as a result of racism, even if they had the financial resources to live in the area of their choice.

As far as voting, many people were being intimidated from going to the polls because of the color of their skin. The Fair Voting Act of 1965 sought to correct this by outlawing intimidation or pre-voting tests, like literacy tests.

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