AP US History
September 10, 2007
DBQ: Civil Rights Failure or Success
The Civil Rights Movement took place during the 1960s. Two Civil Rights Acts,
pertaining to African Americans, were past in more or less the period of the Civil Rights
Movement. Consequently, one could say that in legislative terms the movement was quite
an achievement. In any event, this movement’s main focus was to advocate and demand
that African Americans had their civil rights enforced and guaranteed, as stated in the
U.S. constitution. First of all, in the landmark Civil Rights case of Brown versus Board of
Education, where the court ruled that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional, a
positive outcome resulting in the desegregation of all public facilities resulted. Secondly,
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech which he gave in his march on
Washington at the Lincoln Memorial seemed to put extreme pressure on the John F.
Kennedy’s administration to help pass Civil Rights legislation. Thirdly, at first JFK’s
assassination seemed to put a major dent in the Civil Right’s Movement, however, his
vice president Lyndon B. Johnson passed and signed the two Civil Rights acts during the
1960s. Finally, the Civil Rights movement was for the most part peaceful. However,
some groups such as the nation of Islam, led by Malcolm X, took an extremist role on
whites, both advocating and threatening violence. Therefore, the Civil Rights Movement
was a success overall despite social tensions that arose during and after the movement.
Many whites saw a paradigm shift in their culture, class as well as their everyday life.
The laws past during the Civil Right’s Movement shook the very foundations of America
for the better. These changes are still highly apparent in our lives to this very day.
The milestone case of Brown versus the Board of Education had a profound effect
on not only the American public school system, but also in America’s segregation of
blacks as a whole. The Supreme Court ruled that the segregation of schooling for blacks
and whites was unconstitutional as well as psychologically unhealthy. This ruling, by
Earl Warren, put an end to the Supreme Court Case of Plessy versus Ferguson in which
the Supreme Court said, “separate but equal”; meaning that blacks and whites could be