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Civil Rights

Civil Rights

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Civil Rights

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  1. Civil Rights

  2. What are civil rights? • Civil Liberties: • Constitutional protections from government power. Liberty is protected when government does nothing. • Civil Rights: • Guarantees to equal treatment under the laws that government must secure on behalf of its citizens. Government is obligated to act.

  3. Tyranny of the Majority • When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government...enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens…we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control.

  4. White tyranny • Slavery • 13th, 14th, 15th amendments • Plessy v. Ferguson

  5. Jim Crow Laws • Disenfranchisement • White primary. • Poll tax. • Literacy test. • Grandfather clauses provided to protect poor and illiterate whites. • Segregated public accommodations • Segregated transportation • Segregated education • Restrictive covenants

  6. Evolution • NAACP legal strategies • Smith v. Alright (1945) White primaries • Swett v. Painter (1950) • Brown v. Board of Education (1954) • World War II • Civil Rights Act of 1957

  7. Evolution • Nonviolent resistance • 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott • 1960 Greensboro, NC and other lunch counter sit-ins • 1961 Freedom Rides on interstate buses • 1963 Birmingham, AL demonstrations • 1963 March on Washington • Civil Rights Act of 1964: makes it illegal to discriminate in public accommodations, schools, and employment • Voting Rights Act of 1965: outlaws literacy tests and discriminatory local and state voting laws; provides for federal registration of voters in low voting areas; requires pre-clearance of changes to state voting laws

  8. White and Black voter registration, southern states, 1965(Bars represent the percent of white and black citizens who are registered to vote)

  9. Black voter registration, southern states, 1965 and 1967

  10. Black and white voter registration, southern states, 1967 (Post-VRA)

  11. White-Black difference in voter registration, 1965

  12. White-Black difference in voter registration, 1965 and 1967

  13. Later developments • Remedial action • Affirmative action

  14. Later developments • Remedial action • Affirmative action

  15. See both sides:Current civil rights issues • Should the police be able to pull someone over without any other reason than that they belong to a racial group that is popularly associated with crime? • Should airport baggage screeners spend more time screening Arab or Arab-looking men than other people? • Should gay partners’ property automatically go to the other when one partner dies? (Should communal property laws apply to gay couples?) • Should states be able to pass laws requiring that all state business (including forms, etc.) be conducted in English? • Should bosses be prosecuted under Civil Rights laws for propositioning their employees?