Course Hero Logo

Civil Rights in the United States


19th Amendment

constitutional amendment ratified in 1920 granting all women the right to vote

affirmative action

policies implemented to redress past discrimination and inequality by giving opportunities to members of unfairly treated minorities

Americans with Disabilities Act

law that prohibits discrimination against a person with disabilities in employment, public accommodation, and government services

Brown v. Board of Education

1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that determined separate but equal public schools actually were not equal and that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional

Cesar Chavez

labor leader and a founder of the United Farm Workers, which campaigned for Latino migrant farmworkers

Chicano movement

effort that stressed cultural pride and fought discrimination against Mexicans and other Latinos

Chinese Exclusion Act

law that banned any new immigration of Chinese workers into the United States

Civil Rights Act of 1964

federal law that banned racial segregation in voting, public facilities, public schools, federally assisted programs, and employment and strengthened federal authority to enforce its provisions

civil rights movement

effort by many different groups to achieve equal political and social rights for African Americans

de facto segregation

segregation that results from social norms or traditions

de jure segregation

racial segregation established by law and government policy

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

law that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman


forced return to one's home country

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

policy under which military personnel could neither ask another member of the military about their sexual orientation nor reveal their own sexual orientation

Equal Pay Act

law that prohibits wage discrimination based on a worker's sex

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

proposed constitutional amendment 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"

Executive Order 9066

1942 presidential order issued by President Roosevelt giving the U.S. military authority to designate "areas … from which any or all persons may be excluded." The order was used to force Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast into detention camps.

Indian Citizenship Act

law that extended U.S. citizenship to all Native Americans

Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968

law establishing that many of the protections in the U.S. Bill of Rights apply to tribal governments


confinement of a person who is considered to be a security threat

Jim Crow laws

legislation passed in the 1890s and later that imposed racial segregation and deprived African Americans of civil rights

Korematsu v. United States

1944 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared Japanese internment justified by World War II and thus constitutional

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

organization dedicated to fighting discrimination against persons of Latin American ancestry


lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people

Plessy v. Ferguson

1896 U.S. Supreme Court case that determined segregation laws for public facilities were legal as long as white people and black people were provided facilities of equal value


policy under which a certain number of slots for members of a particular group

Title IX

section of the Education Amendments of 1972 that banned discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs that receive federal funds

undocumented immigrant

person from another country who has entered and is living in the country illegally

Voting Rights Act of 1965

federal law that outlawed using literacy tests as a qualification for voting and provided federal oversight of elections in states with a history of racial discrimination in elections and voter registration

women's suffrage movement

movement for women's voting rights that began in the mid-19th century