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A Legal Perspective on the Struggle for Civil Rights

A Legal Perspective on the Struggle for Civil Rights

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A Legal Perspective on the Struggle for Civil Rights

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  1. A Legal Perspective on the Struggle for Civil Rights An Overview

  2. The Constitution • 13th Amendment: • Outlaws slavery • 14th Amendment: • Extends citizenship to African-Americans • Equal protection clause • 15th Amendment: • Gives people the right to vote regardless of race.

  3. Black Codes & Jim Crow Laws

  4. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) • Supreme Court sets a precedent of “Separate but Equal” • Segregation laws do not violate the “equal protection” clause of the 14th amendment • This is the new standard UNTIL………

  5. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) • Oliver Brown attempts to send his daughter to an all white school in Topeka Kansas • The Supreme Court sides with him and declares that “separate facilities are inherently unequal” • This overturns the Plessy precedent • 1955 the Supreme Court insists that school boards desegregate “with all deliberate speed”

  6. Presidential Involvement • Truman: • Eisenhower: • Kennedy: • LBJ:

  7. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 • JFK wanted to pass civil rights legislation but was killed prior to its passage. • LBJ signed it into law despite opposition in Congress. Provisions of the law: • Helps to prevent discrimination in the areas of: • Voter registration • Public accommodations (motels, restaurants, gas stations, theaters, sports arenas) • Withholds federal $$$ from programs that discriminate • Bans discrimination based on race, sex, religion, or national origin by employers and unions • Created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate claims of job discrimination.

  8. 24th Amendment

  9. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 • While the Civil Rights Act was a turning point, there were still problems getting African-American voters in the South registered. • Problems arose such as violence against civil rights workers during Freedom Summer and attempting to prevent the Selma March (intended to bring attention to these registration issues) • The VRA outlawed literacy tests & enabled federal officials to register black voters • Effect: By the end of 1965 a quarter million new black voters are registered

  10. Some Lasting Effects • UC Regents v. Bakke- The Supreme Court outlaws the use of a quota system for admitting minorities to colleges • Proposition 209- California voters outlaw the use of Affirmative Action programs • Gratz v. Bollinger & Grutter v. Bollinger- The Supreme Court rules that race may be taken into account when deciding who to admit to college campuses, but it may not be the determining factor.