Issues The Fight to End Slavery Leading People to Freedom The Right to Vote The Fight for Equal Education The Fight for Desegregation Leading the Country Resistance to the Movement Willing to Give their Lives
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A big goal of the Civil Rights Movement was to change laws that allowed black people to be treated unfairly. After the Civil War, laws needed to be changed to abolish slavery. The Constitution had to be changed to let Blacks have the right to vote and have all the same rights as Whites. Even after the Constitution was changed, Blacks still did not have equal rights, so civil rights leaders had to work very hard to win and keep the rights they were promised.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 allowed the people in each state to decide whether their state would allow slavery or not. The compromise also was designed to keep an even number of free and slave states. This was one of the laws that helped avoid fighting between the slave and free states for forty years, until the Civil War.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 totally wiped out the Missouri Compromise. Through chaos and terrorist attacks in Kansas, the fighting over slavery in that state became known as "Bloody Kansas."
Dred Scott was one of many people who fought for their freedom. He felt that since he was taken into a free state with his owner, he should be free. Learn how the Supreme Court's decision in the Dred Scott Case angered people in free states and helped cause the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln was the person who wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation eventually freed many slaves, and was made to punish the South for breaking away from the country during the Civil War.
The Emancipation Proclamation announced the end of slavery in the South. But, since the South broke away from the United States, slavery didn't end until the country was back together again. Freeing slaves was Abraham Lincoln's way of punishing the South for splitting up the country.
The Civil War Amendments were Amendments 13, 14, and 15 to the U.S. Constitution. The 13th Amendment freed all slaves in the United States. The 14th Amendment made all freed slaves US citizens. The 15th Amendment was made to let all freed slaves vote in the US.
Reconstruction was the period after the Civil War. During Reconstruction, laws were changed to give Blacks more rights, and Blacks were treated better because the Union Army protected their rights. This period of more fair laws lasted for twelve years.
Plessy v. Ferguson made it legal to have segregation in trains, cars, and buses. The case went to the Supreme Court where Plessy tried to end segregation and unfair treatment. Learn how his plan backfired!
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas was a more successful Supreme Court battle against segregation. Oliver Brown was the first parent to sign up for a group court case for kids living in his area who had to walk a mile through a railroad switching yard to catch a bus to take them to an all-black school. The court's decision made it illegal to segregate schools.
President John F. Kennedy helped make laws to end segregation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which passed after his death, made it illegal to force Blacks to use separate schools, theaters, restaurants, buses, restrooms, and trains.
Learn about the laws that helped end slavery and discrimination in the United States. Click on the links above to learn about the laws that interest you most. Then click on the puzzle to test your knowledge with our Changing the Laws Double Puzzle.
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