- from Civil Rights
Slavery in the United States officially ended in 1865 with the end of the Civil War. But that was not the end of the mistreatment of African Americans.
By the turn of the century, a system had been made up to keep African Americans “in their place.” This place was lower socially, economically, and politically to that of whites. The system was called segregation, or the separation of the races.
In the South, laws kept African Americans in segregated schools, restaurants, and restrooms. They had to use separate drinking fountains and sit in the backs of buses. In the North, there were unwritten rules about where African Americans could live, work, and play. Two things kept segregation in place. One was the constant threat of violence against African Americans. The other was the southern states’ organized denial of African Americans’ right to vote.
From the start of segregation, African Americans fought hard for their rights as U.S. citizens. But until the 1950s, they didn’t get very far. That was when a series of nonviolent protests began. African Americans started to undo some of the wrongs done to them, starting with the enslavement of their ancestors. These protests came to be known as the civil rights movement.