Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement was an unprecedented mobilization for social, political, and economic justice that took place in the United States primarily in the 1940s through 1960s, in response to centuries of violence against and oppression of Black people in this country. That oppression included segregation in schools and public facilities (like restaurants, restrooms, and buses), widespread discrimination in jobs and housing, and rampant suppression of the votes of people of color. That—layered on top of our nation’s history of slavery and lynching of black people. The Civil Rights movement—which included remarkable leaders such as Ella Baker, Pauli Murray, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr.—sought to spark change through organizing, education, boycotts, civil disobedience, and widespread nonviolent protests. They taught, in the words of Pauli Murray, that:

  • True community is based upon equality, mutuality, and reciprocity. It affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common human ties that bind us together.
  • The fight to accomplish that vision is still very much ongoing.