The Modern Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1964
In the greatest mass movement in modern American history, black demonstrations swept the country seeking constitutional equality at the national level, as well as an end to Massive Resistance (state and local government-supported opposition to school desegregation) in the South.
Presidential executive orders, the passage of two Civil Rights Acts, and the federal government’s first military enforcement of civil rights brought an end to de jure segregation. The success of this movement inspired other minorities to employ similar tactics.
Three years after the Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education and two years after the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction. The 1957 Civil Rights Act created the independent U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Although the Commission was limited to fact-finding, its reports helped shape the breakthrough Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also provided the Commission with greater authority. FOR MORE