Accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement

March on Washington, 1963March on Washington, 1963



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Link to AP US History Key Concept 8.2:  Civil Rights and Expanding Roles for Government

Focus Question: What were lasting accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement?

Interactive Historical Timeline for milestones in African American history beginning in 1619.


Roy Wilkins, executive secretary, NAACP, 1968.
Roy Wilkins, executive secretary, NAACP, 1968.



13 Civil Rights Picture Books for Kids


  Selma Online



1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was a first step in ensuring voting rights for African Americans. It established a Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice.


First brought about by President Kennedy, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stated that:


The Freedom Summer of 1964, video, audio and photos. During Freedom Summer, many Northern, black and white, male and female college students into Mississippi to challenge that state's brutal segregation policies and to help blacks register to vote and get an education. The students were met with intimidation and violence from members of the KKK. The most famous case being the murders of Mickey Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. Click here to find out more.

See what a program called Freedom Schools (based off of the 1964 program Freedom Summer) is doing to help African American and Latino students with their literacy skills, leadership skills, and cultural knowledge.


Click here to hear an interview with author Bruce Watson about his book Freedom Summer that documents the efforts of hundreds of American college students.

President Kennedy was assassinated before the bill could be presented before the House and the Senate, but President Johnson continued to push the bill. It passed in the House in February and then in the Senate in July. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only was intended to end racial discrimination but also declared that discrimination based on sex was illegal as well.


Link here for a video about the Civil Rights and the 1950s for a summary of the events that led up to the Civil Rights Movement and the events of the 1960s.


Voting Rights Act of 1965


Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Martin Luther King, Jr., 1965


President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Martin Luther King, Jr., 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 stated that:


The Jim Crow Laws that were established after Reconstruction were successful in continuing discrimination against blacks by making them pass literacy tests in order to practice their right to vote.


The Jim Crow Laws and the literacy tests were forms of disenfranchisement.


external image Red_apple.jpgA lesson plan on the Jim Crow era. A lesson plan on the Alabama Literacy Test.



Growth of the African American middle class, increased political power, and declining rates of African American poverty


It is undeniable that racism still exists today in many places in American society. However, the strides made during the Civil Rights movement have greatly advance the situation of African Americans.




Click here to read an analysis of the growth of the black middle class from Dateline.

Click here for a lesson plan on the election of Barack Obama, the first African-American President. This lesson focuses on the relation of the Civil Rights Movement to his election.

Click here for a timeline of African Americans and women in politics

African Americans in Congress by the Numbers from the Washington Post.

Integration of Professional Sports

The integration of sports in America created a framework for changing racial attitudes toward people of color. Click here for a brief overview from ESPN

For a perspective, see the essay "Why Sports History is American History" by Mark Naison

African Americans and Integration of Professional Baseball

See also Historic Baseball Resources from the Library of Congress.

"Southern League": Birmingham Barons Break Racial Divide, from NPR describes how in 1964 the Barons became the first integrated professional sports team in Alabama.

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Jackie Robinson broke baseball's "color barrier" in 1947 as in this video from the History Channel.




See also, Jackie Robinson Integrates Major League Baseball (1947) from the PBS website, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.


Jackie Robinson Letter to President Dwight Eisenhower, May 3, 1958

Negro League World Series, opening game Oct. 11, 1924, Kansas City, Mo.
Negro League World Series, opening game Oct. 11, 1924, Kansas City, Mo.

Negro Leagues History from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

See also the following about Latinos and Baseball




African American Firsts from Other Sports




African Americans and Professional Football


Kenny Washington


Kenny Washington




For more, see Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football (official trailer on YouTube)

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Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins. Thomas G. Smith, Beacon Press, 2011 details how the Washington Redskins became the last team to integrate African American players. 


The Washington Redskins became the last NFL team to integrate its roster in 1962.







The 2,128 Native American Mascots People Are Not Talking About from FiveThirtyEight Sports, September 2, 2014




African Americans and Golf


“National Colored Tournament," Shady Rest Country Club, Westfield, New Jersey, July 12, 1925


“National Colored Tournament," Shady Rest Country Club, Westfield, NJ, July 12, 1925.

external image Beautiful_red_apple.jpg


Uneven Fairways is a documentary from the Golf Channel about the struggles of African Americans to integrate the professional golf tour. 


See also When the Fairways Weren't Fairfrom ESPN (February 11, 2009). The article includes text from the PGA charter banning Black players.

external image 200px-Hebrew_timeline.svg.pngTimeline of African American


Achievements in Golf from

Redemption for Negro League Players. Story of 16 year old student working to connect old Negro League Teammates and even getting some their pensions from Major League BaseballClick here for the story.

For information about African American basketball teams in New York from 1900 to the 1950s, see The Black Fives from the New York Historical Society.



Major General Walter E. Gaskin, left, greets, Earl "The Pearl" Lloyd*, March 3, 2006.


Major General Walter E. Gaskin, left, greets, Earl "The Pearl" Lloyd*, March 3, 2006.


Bill Russell, 2005
Bill Russell, 2005

Women during the Civil Rights Movement 



Link here for a Democracy Now! YouTube video about Gloria Richardson, a civil rights pioneer and the co-founder of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee in Maryland, which fought to desegregate public institutions like schools and hospitals. Although Richardson was on the event program for the March on Washington, when she stood to speak, she only had a chance to say hello before the microphone was seized from her and she was silenced.


Combating the Radical White Community and the Rise of Black Power and Nationalism 


  Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party as "the American Che Guevara"












Explore more about the beginning of the Black Panther Party through images and audio





   Think: How can grass-roots movements be used by those other than by a politicians hoping to get elected to office?

Works Cited

Civil Rights Act-1964. Retrieved May 3, 2007, from Our Documents Web site:
Educators and Students: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved May 3, 2007, from The National Archives Web site:

Alabama Literacy Test circa 1965. Retrieved May 3, 2007, from Alabama Literacy Test Web site:

Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Retrieved May 3, 2007, from Web site:

Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Retrieved May 3, 2007, from Web site: