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Civil Rights Defined

Civil Rights Defined Clear and Easy

Civil Rights Defined

Civil rights are the lawful and constitutionally guaranteed rights that all individuals possess, regardless of their race, gender, religion, or national origin. These rights protect individuals from discrimination and ensure equal treatment under the law. This article will provide a detailed overview of civil rights and their significance in society.

What Are Civil Rights?

Civil rights consist of a wide range of legal protections and rights that are guaranteed to every individual by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These rights include freedom of speech, equal protection under the law, and the right to vote. Civil rights laws also prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, and other factors.

Why Are Civil Rights Important?

Civil rights are important because they protect individuals from discrimination and ensure that they are treated fairly and equally under the law. Without civil rights protections, certain groups of people would not receive the same opportunities or protections as others, leading to systemic discrimination and inequality.

How Are Civil Rights Protected?

Civil rights are protected through federal and state laws, as well as through legal enforcement and court rulings. Government agencies such as the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforce civil rights laws and investigate allegations of discrimination. The courts also play a critical role in protecting civil rights by issuing rulings on civil rights cases and upholding the constitutional principles of equality and justice for all.

Examples of Civil Rights

Some of the most significant examples of civil rights include:

Voting rights: The right to vote is a fundamental civil right that is protected by the Constitution.

Equal protection under the law: This civil right ensures that everyone is treated fairly and equally under the law, regardless of their race, gender, or other factors.

Fair housing: The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.

Employment discrimination: Civil rights laws also protect individuals from discrimination in the workplace based on factors such as race, gender, age, and disability.


Civil rights are fundamental rights that protect individuals from discrimination and ensure equal treatment under the law. These rights are protected through federal and state laws, as well as through legal enforcement and court rulings. It’s essential for everyone to understand their civil rights and work towards upholding the principles of equality and justice for all. By doing so, we can create a society that is fair, just, and inclusive for all individuals.

Civil rights are those rights which protect individuals from unwarranted governmental interference during an individual’s daily life. Civil rights also ensure that no individual can suffer from unwanted interference from any organization outside of the Government, such as political organizations or institutions.

Civil rights allow individuals to take part in voting and other political practices without interference from the Government. In other words, individuals should be able to vote freely, without pressure or threats.

One of the most fundamental civil rights is the freedom to live a life free from discrimination based on any factor including race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. Civil rights are meant to be equal rights for all citizens.

Basic civil rights include the freedom to exercise religion and freedom of speech. These rights, among many others, are guaranteed to all citizens.

What You Didn’t Know About Civil Rights Movement

What You Didn't Know About Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement:

The civil rights movement, throughout the world, may refer to a series of specific events, protests, political actions, and various campaigns that were instituted to deliver equality regardless of race, religious creed, age, sexual orientation, or gender.

That being said, the term “civil rights movement” is most often synonymous with the civil rights movement that occurred in the United States during the early 1950s and throughout the mid-1960s. Throughout these decades, African-American citizens of America struggled in securing equal rights.

Civil Rights Movement in the United States:

The civil rights movement in the United States was a series of events instituted by African-Americans to outlaw racial discrimination and restore basic civil liberties (such as the right to vote) in areas primarily throughout the southern region of the country.

The civil rights movement was a civil resistance that incorporated nonviolent protests and acts of civil disobedience that perpetuated tension between government authorities and activists or leaders in the African-American community.

Racial tensions in America have long been created a societal schism. The foundation of the civil rights movement in America is enrooted in the country’s history of slavery as well as the post-reconstruction period following the Civil War.

During this time, the country was racially segregated by law; public facilities and government services (such as education) were divided into separate domains: “white” and “colored.” Characteristically, the facilities, services and general treatment of African-American citizens was far inferior and underfunded when compared to white citizens of the country.

When white Democrats regained power, they instituted various laws to further impede African-American citizens from voting. As a result of such legislation, the number of African American voters precipitously dropped; the black community was unable to elect representatives who were focused on their needs.

From 1890 to 1908, Southern states further empowered segregation through the creation of constitutions that contained provisions to disenfranchise African Americans as well as many poor white Americans. These laws further created a rift between white and black as increased economic oppression of African Americans led to the denial of opportunities and the augmentation of employment discrimination.

These laws and this general notion that African Americans were inferior to their white counterpart’s precipitated violent recourse as mass riots prompted by racial tension and the denial of civil rights created a crisis situation throughout the United States. With that in mind, many African Americans rejected violent actions and sought resistance through the development of new organizations, political redress, labor organizing as well as the institution of lawsuits.

Civil Rights Movement Timeline:

July 26th, 1949: President Harry Truman signs Executive Order 9981, which states that all members of the armed services units, regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin, shall be treated equally and given the same opportunities to find success within the military.”

May 17th 1954: A prominent portion of the civil rights timeline; The Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, that the segregation of public schools is unconstitutional. This ruling paved the way for large-scale desegregation; this landmark decision overruled the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson which sanctioned the “separate but equal” clause. The ruling stated that “separate educational facilities” are inherently unequal.

This victory in the civil rights movement timeline was prompted by the NAACP– (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) an organization formed to end discrimination through education, lobbying efforts and education—and the acting attorney, Thurgood Marshall, who later returned to the Supreme Court as the country’s first African American justice.

December 1st 1955: Months after an African American boy was brutally slain for whistling at a white woman (the men who committed the crime were acquitted by an all-white jury), NAACP member Rosa Parks refuses to give-up her seat (located at the front of the bus) to a white man.

The bus, which Park travelled on, was segregated into a “colored” and white section; in response to her arrest, Park’s community (the Montgomery black community) launches a bus boycott that lasted for more than a year. Martin Luther King Jr. a dominant civil rights leader was instrumental in leading the boycott, which ended a year later when the buses were finally desegregated.

January 1957: Civil rights leaders, Fred Shuttlesworth, Charles Steele, and Martin Luther King Jr. come together to establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The SCLC becomes a critical force in organizing the civil rights movement and bases its character and principles on civil disobedience and nonviolent actions. The group placed an emphasis on non-violent actions as King stated that is essential that the civil rights movement should not sink to the level of the racists and individuals who sparked discriminatory actions.

October 1st 1962: James Meredith becomes the first African American student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.

April 16th 1963: Martin Luther King Jr. arrested and subsequently jailed following an anti-segregation protest in Birmingham, Alabama. In response, King writes his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, stating that individuals have the moral duty to disobey unjust laws.

July 2nd 1964: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964—the most comprehensive civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws all discriminatory actions based on color, religion, national origin, and race. The legislation also provides the federal government with the ability to enforce desegregation.

Although this marks the end of this particular civil rights timeline, there have been numerous instances, achievements and organizations who have further battled for the delivery of equal rights to all individuals, regardless of ethnicity, color, religious beliefs, gender, political viewpoints, or sexual orientation.

Civil Rights Leaders:

Malcom X: An inspirational civil rights leader who worked to end segregation in the 1960s through educational speeches and peaceful demonstrations. Malcolm X commonly preached to his followers that they should fight for their rights and embrace individuality and expression.

Rosa Parks: A civil rights leader who proved to be an inspiring catalyst for human rights when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This event, which took place on December 1, 1955, is viewed as the beginning of the civil rights movement and the impetus for the Montgomery bus Boycott—the first civil rights movement action taken by martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Arguably the most famous and influential civil rights leader. Dr. Martin Luther King can be found throughout the civil rights timeline; King was a president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a principal member of the NAACP.

King was a crucial civil rights leader, who was inspired by Christian ideals as well as non-violent recourse. Through such actions and teachings, King sparked the civil rights movement and enabled African Americans to seek more opportunities through the establishment of equal rights and freedoms. King won the Nobel peace Prize in 1964.

Thurgood Marshall: A prominent civil rights leader who acted as an activist through litigation. Marshall was a shrewd lawyer and best known for his victory in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1964, where he argued successfully against the “separate but equal” doctrine that long justified racial segregation in public facilities and places of education.

W.E.B. DuBois: One of the older civil rights leaders, W.E.B. DuBois was a sociology scholar who acted as a prominent protest leader in the beginning half of the 20th century. Dubois played a crucial role in founding the NAACP and organized fierce protests to change the attitudes surrounding racial discrimination and the inability to receive basic civil liberties.

What You Didn’t Know About the Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement was a transformative period in American history, marked by intense activism, resistance, and social change. While most people are familiar with the key figures and events of the movement, there are many lesser-known details that are equally fascinating. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the lesser-known aspects of the Civil Rights Movement.

1. The Role of Women in the Movement

While Martin Luther King Jr. and other male leaders are often seen as the figureheads of the Civil Rights Movement, women played a critical role in the struggle for civil rights. Women like Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and Diane Nash were instrumental in organizing and leading protests, sit-ins, and other actions. Despite their contributions, however, women were often sidelined and excluded from leadership positions in the movement.

2. Nonviolent Resistance Was Not Universally Accepted

While nonviolent resistance became one of the defining features of the Civil Rights Movement, it was not embraced by everyone. In fact, many activists believed in more radical forms of resistance, including violence. The Black Panthers, for example, were known for their militant tactics and confrontational approach to civil rights activism.

3. The Role of Music in the Movement

Music played a vital role in the Civil Rights Movement, serving as a source of inspiration, unity, and protest. Songs like “We Shall Overcome” and “A Change Is Gonna Come” became anthems of the movement, and artists like Sam Cooke, James Brown, and Nina Simone used their music to address issues of racism and inequality.

4. The Impact of Television on the Movement

The Civil Rights Movement coincided with the rise of television as a dominant form of mass media. This meant that events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the Selma to Montgomery march were broadcast to the entire country, bringing issues of civil rights and segregation into the living rooms of millions of Americans. The impact of this visual media on the movement cannot be overstated.

5. The Role of Lawyers in the Movement

While nonviolent resistance was a critical component of the Civil Rights Movement, legal action was also indispensable. Lawyers like Thurgood Marshall, Morris Dees, and Constance Baker Motley were instrumental in challenging Jim Crow laws, segregation, and other forms of discrimination through the court system. Their legal victories helped to pave the way for many of the gains made by the movement.


The Civil Rights Movement was a complex and multifaceted struggle for justice and equality. By exploring some of the lesser-known aspects of the movement, we can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, triumphs, and complexities of this transformative period in American history. It is a reminder that even when the odds seem insurmountable, collective action, resistance, and activism can make a difference in the fight for social justice.