- 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 developed to keep Black people “in their place.” This place was inferior socially, economically, and politically to that of White people. The system was called segregation—the separation of the two races.
In the South, laws kept Black and White people in segregated schools, restaurants, and restrooms, at segregated drinking fountains, and in the backs of buses. In the North, there were unwritten rules about where Black people could live, work, and play. Two tools kept segregation in place. One was the constant threat of violence against Black people. The other was the southern states’ systematic denial of Black peoples' right to vote.
From the beginning of segregation, Black people fought hard for their rights as citizens of this country. But until the 1950s, they didn’t make much progress. Then, a series of nonviolent protests began to undo some of the wrongs done to Black people, starting with the enslavement and involuntary movement of their ancestors. These protests came to be known as the civil rights movement.