African American History Discussion Ten

383 words | 2 page(s)

The African American Civil Rights Movement, which encompassed almost two decades of social movements advocating for the end of segregation and discrimination, was essential to the plight for political equality. Two important legislative milestones, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, encouraged federal protection for those seeking equal protection before the law. The African American Civil Rights Movement brought the debate about segregation and discrimination back to the national arena after set backs following Reconstruction, which included the Jim Crow Laws and voting registration restrictions.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – eliminating voter registration requirements and racial segregation policies. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ensured the enforcement of the voting rights approved in the Reconstruction Amendments of the Constitution. These legislative landmarks did more than the Fourteenth and Fifteen Amendments because they held the federal government accountable for violations – ensuring that regulations are not merely established but also enforced. By more effectively guaranteeing suffrage to African Americans, the federal government encouraged them to fully participate in elections – something that they were previously persecuted for doing. This would lead to a larger turnout and inspired more African Americans to pursue local and congressional positions – setting the stage for the election of the first self-identified African American president.

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There was criticism of the campaigns of civil resistance. The acts of non-violent protest and disobedience, as well as the violent riots and boycotts, were either criticized for their radicalness or their tameness. Conservatives argued that the Great Society programs, specifically those addressing welfare, encouraged the disintegration of the African American family structure. The 1954 Supreme Court decision known as Brown II, which addressed schools requesting relief concerning the obligation of desegregation, established that segregation occur “with all deliberate speed.” But because of its ambiguity, integration could be resisted, delayed, and avoided for a number of years. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 and 1960 were deemed ineffective. Unlike the later legislation, there were vague grounds for enforcement and protection. There was hesitation about government involvement in solving the race issues facing America – given that “the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow laws essential defanged the federal government of its power to police civil rights when state and local governments would not.”

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