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Civil Rights Movement: 1954–1974


American Indian Movement (AIM)

movement to help American Indians who had been pushed off reservations and into urban ghettos; also to secure their economic independence, protect their legal rights, preserve and revive traditional American Indian cultures, and gain control over current and former tribal lands

Bloody Sunday

March 7, 1965; the day on which 600 unarmed, peaceful demonstrators protesting unfair voting laws were attacked by law enforcement officers in Selma, Alabama

Brown v. Board of Education

1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that determined separate but equal public schools actually were not equal

civil disobedience

peaceful refusal to comply with certain laws

Civil Rights Act of 1964

law prohibiting discrimination based on an individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

civil rights organization to advance race relations and eradicate discriminatory policies through direct, nonviolent action; founded in 1942


way of life with a set of values and behaviors in opposition to how mainstream society lives and thinks


deprived of the right to vote

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

proposed amendment to the Constitution that would have outlawed gender-based discrimination. The ERA was passed by Congress but never ratified.

Freedom Rides

interracial groups, called Freedom Riders, who chartered buses to travel through the Deep South to test the recent desegregation laws pertaining to interstate transportation facilities, specifically bus terminals


economically depressed sections of cities that are almost exclusively populated by a minority group

Great Society

President Lyndon B. Johnson's vision for economic and social reform in the mid-1960s

Jim Crow laws

segregationist legislation, known as Jim Crow laws, that became common in the South following post–Civil War Reconstruction in the 1870s. Segregationist laws were legally abolished with passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.


savagely killing a person, especially by hanging, without legal trial or authority

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

civil rights organization to ensure the rights of all people and end race-based discrimination; founded in 1909

National Organization for Women (NOW)

activist organization to "take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society … exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men"

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

poll taxes

fees charged to voters as a prerequisite for voting


separation of white people and black people (and other minorities) in public places


someone who rents a parcel of land on which to farm and pays for that land with a share of the crops they grow


nonviolent protests during which protesters refuse to leave a particular place, such as a restaurant, store, or library, until the establishment's policies are changed

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

civil rights organization to coordinate nonviolent demonstrations and support local groups striving to achieve complete equality of African Americans in the United States; founded in 1957

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

civil rights organization formed to bring together people of all races to nonviolently protest white racism in the South; founded in 1960; disbanded in the 1970s

United Farm Workers of America

originally the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), formed to protest years of low wages and poor working conditions for Chicanos

Youth International Party

counterculture group founded in January 1968 by political activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin