The African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) refers to the movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights to them in the Southern states. The movement was characterized by major campaigns of civil resistance. Between 1955 and 1968, acts of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience produced crisis situations between activists and government authorities. Federal, state, and local governments, businesses, and communities often had to respond immediately to these situations that highlighted the inequities faced by African Americans. Forms of protest and/or civil disobedience included boycotts such as the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) in Alabama; “sit-ins” such as the influential Greensboro sit-ins (1960) in North Carolina; marches, such as the Selma to Montgomery marches (1965) in Alabama; and a wide range of other nonviolent activities.
During the same time as African Americans were being disfranchised, white Democrats imposed racial segregation by law. Violence against blacks increased. The system of overt, state-sanctioned racial discrimination and oppression that emerged out of the post-Reconstruction South became known as the “Jim Crow” system. It remained virtually intact into the early 1950s. Thus, the early 20th century is a period often referred to as the “nadir of American race relations”. While problems and civil rights violations were most intense in the South, social tensions affected African Americans in other regions as well. African Americans and other racial minorities rejected this regime. They resisted it in numerous ways and sought better opportunities through lawsuits, new organizations, political redress, and labor organizing (see the African-American Civil Read more