American History The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement Plessy vs. Ferguson


Throughout American history different races have been treated unfairly. Native Americans were forced to move off their lands to reservations. Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II. Africans were brought to America as slaves. It is the African Americans who have had to fight the hardest for equality.

In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled that Dred Scott was property and not a citizen. Another Supreme Court case took place in 1896. Homer Plessy was told that the only place he could ride on the train was in the black only car. He refused to sit there. The case ended up in court. The ruling was that the Constitution gave only political rights and not social rights. This means that African Americans had the right to vote but not the right to sit where they wanted on a train. The Supreme Court went on to say that laws could not take away people's racial feelings or physical differences.

Jim Crow

In the South, the Jim Crow Laws kept African Americans from mixing with whites in public places such as stores, hotels, and public transportation.


In 1910 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed. This organization tried to bring about equal rights.

dmiral Chester W. Nimitz pins the Navy Cross on Doris Miller, 
Pearl Harbor, May 27, 1942

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz pins the Navy Cross on Doris Miller, Pearl Harbor, May 27, 1942

After World War II, some improvements could be seen in the United States for the African American population. Some African Americans were hired in management jobs and could have careers in law and medicine; however, the majority of the African Americans still lived in slums.

In the 1950's Presidents Truman and Eisenhower tried to make changes. They ordered all public places to be integrated. Some people obeyed these orders while others did not.

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